Food is so much more than a simple pleasure. It's a deeply ingrained part of our national identity - an entire culture within a culture! Food reminds us of who we are and who we've been. That's why eating is one of the very best ways to experience what a country has to offer. Whether its pastries in Vienna, cheese in Paris or goulash in Budapest, to eat local is to feel local.
This week, we wanted to run down some of Europe's very best food markets so you can experience the flavors for yourself. Embrace the hustle and bustle of these gorgeous locations and savor every bite!
Great Market Hall, Budapest
Despite the enormous, stunningly beautiful building that houses it, the Great Market Hall still retains an intimate local feel. The foods here are all freshly produced by farmers just out of town, and you'll find an enormous range of vegetables, meats and traditional desserts. We recommend finding a classic Hungarian goulash recipe and heading to the Great Market to buy all your ingredients.
Borough Market, London
Although it has some great fresh produce, Borough Market is most famous for its street food. In fact, it's probably one of the best places in Europe to explore exciting culinary innovations set to take London by storm. From strange dishes like crocodile steaks to the best vegan burgers you've ever tasted, the food here captures the spirit of London itself - eclectic, lavish and addictive!
Mercato Trionfale, Rome
What the Italians can achieve with just four simple ingredients puts chefs across the continent to shame. It's no surprise then, that you'll find some of Europe's best produce here. Mercato Trionfale is an absolutely authentic Italian food experience and a true culinary gem.
Albert Cuypmarkt, Amsterdam
Amsterdam is a city of colour, conscience, and culture. Nothing captures the spirit of the city better than Albert Cuypmarkt - one of Europe's largest and quirkiest street markets. It also happens to be the best place in town to buy your waffles. Trust us, you don't want to miss it.
Many of the famous 'national' dishes we know from around Europe - croissant, schnitzel and apple strudel to name but a few - were actually invented in Austria. The country has one of Europe's greatest culinary traditions and where better to sample its fruits than in Vienna's biggest market. The 'nasch' of Naschmarkt actually comes from the German 'Naschen' which means to nibble on sweet things. Go figure!
Marché Royal Saint-Michel, Bordeaux
Sure, Paris has some great food markets. But France is all about the rustic vibe, and there are few better places that reflect that feeling better than Bordeaux. Under the gaze of the gorgeous Saint-Michel bell tower, Marché Royal offers an authentic French market experience with a variety of stunning produce.
San Lorenzo Central Market, Florence
San Lorenzo is a wonderful mish-mash of independent local retailers, boutique indoor eateries and artisan producers all housed in the cosy confines of a single beautiful period building. The massive variety and quality of retailers here make it an experience to remember!
Santa Caterina Market, Barcelona
This beautiful, vibrant building is almost as exciting is what's hidden inside. With over 100 stalls, tapas bars and one or two of the best restaurants in the city, Santa Caterina is a true foodie paradise. It might take a few trips to really take it all in but the extra effort is worth it. You'll discover hidden gems like Vila Viniteca - a unique wine bar with over 300 types of cheese.
That's our rundown of Europe's very best food markets. You can visit every single one by building your own route around the continent using our Adventure Planner. Get a true taste of culture.