To determine Europe’s top hidden gems for food lovers, experts at italki analysed the following criteria from their global database:

  • Number of restaurant options per 1,000 people
  • The total number of 4-star and 5-star restaurants
  • The total number of vegan option restaurants
  • The total number of veggie option restaurants
  • The total number of Michelin restaurants

With so many incredible cities for culinary-driven travellers, it can be overwhelming to plan in terms of superlatives. Few things define a city or country like its cuisine. Foodies will hit the road and go two towns over or to a far-flung locale for the sake of a great meal. If your itinerary is centred around breakfast, lunch and dinner, with plenty of stops for snacks in between, these destinations will keep you busy and full.

The Top 10 Hidden Gems in Europe for Foodies:

  1. Valletta, Malta
  2. Sintra, Portugal
  3. Opatija, Croatia
  4. Delft, The Netherlands
  5. Kotor, Montenegro
  6. Bruges, Belgium
  7. Bath, UK
  8. Ronda, Spain
  9. San Sebastian, Spain
  10. Matera, Italy

Valletta, Malta, is crowned Europe’s best hidden gem for foodies, boasting a perfect score of 10/10. Nestled in the heart of the Mediterranean, Valletta is home to 215 4-star restaurants (per 1,000 people), along with 30 prestigious Michelin-starred establishments. This is a perfect location for food lovers to enjoy new flavours away from the crowds.

The Portuguese city of Sintra ranks as the second-best spot for food lovers, a culinary gem famous for its fresh seafood and mouth-watering handmade desserts. With a total of 74 restaurants per 1,000 people and a whopping 1,928 restaurants serving up an array of classic Portuguese cuisine, this is definitely a hidden gem for food lovers out there!

The city also has 1,215 4-star restaurants, so you can treat yourself to a range of upscale dishes if you’re keen to indulge. If you’re looking for an eatery that’s exclusively veggie, Sintra has 333 vegetarian options to choose from.

Sintra is also ranked as the fourth-best hidden gem city overall. With over 2,627 things to see, the charming "fairytalesque" city has lots to explore and many delicious food options to try.