The most fantastic food holidays for gourmands

food holidays
Top food holidays for gourmandsMichele Ursi - Getty Images

If you're anything like us, food is an important consideration when deciding where to go on your next trip. Part of discovering a new culture, destination or city is delving into its gastronomic scene, eating like the locals, and learning about the history of the area's cuisine.

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Anyone who enjoys cooking will love a foodie holiday where you can learn about the local produce, flavour combinations and spices that make a region's food distinctive. A gourmet getaway that includes cooking lessons or demos, like our culinary cruise of Bordeaux, is a great way to learn new skills and bring a taste of your holiday home with you.

There's always time to discover other aspects of a location on a food holiday, too. You can enjoy long walks along dramatic coastlines, an urban adventure exploring a city's culture, or a boat trip to explore hidden towns and villages. And the best part is you can recoup your energy by relaxing and refuelling with delicious local dishes.

We’ve rounded up some of our favourite foodie trips so that you can start planning your next foodie holiday now. Wherever you choose to go, you can be sure you won't go hungry...

Sail the enchanting Venice Lagoon with James Martin

Italy’s Veneto region has colourful, picturesque islands, ornate architecture, magnificent displays of art and a deeply rooted culinary history. Unlike much of Italy, pasta isn’t central to Venetian cuisine, which relies more on rice and polenta, often accompanied by fish caught off the region’s Adriatic coast.

Modern Veneto has seven provinces, each with its own distinctive culture, character and cuisine. Some staples which are found throughout the region, like risotto, are commonly served as a primo or first course.

How to visit: With canals and waterways separating the region's highlights, a cruise is a wonderful way to explore Venice and beyond. Join us on a floating exploration of the region, and you’ll sail through the Venetian lagoon to visit Torcello, Mazzorbo, Burano, Murano, and Venice.

TV's James Martin will join you on this special cruise, hosting a private talk and Q&A session about his life and career, and a cooking demonstration on your luxury ship, the S.S. Venezia.

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Experience Bordeaux on a luxury river cruise with Raymond Blanc

Bordeaux and its surrounding countryside are among the loveliest French regions for any lover of good food and fine wine to explore.

Shellfish is popular, given the Atlantic coastline, but Bordeaux is mostly famous for its meat and wine. Its most celebrated dish is entrecôte marchand de vin, also known as entrecôte a la Bordelaise. This is a juicy rib steak cooked with a rich gravy made from wine, butter, herbs, and shallots.

Of course, the vineyards are what attract many people to Bordeaux. The diversity of its wine-growing districts means a variety of different types of wines are produced here, such as reds, dry or sweet whites, light reds, rosés, and sparkling whites.

How to visit: Travel in spring, when the landscapes are blossoming and the weather is beginning to warm up, we also have a seven-night cruise in with Michelin-starred chef Raymond Blanc.

Raymond will give a cooking demonstration, hold a Q&A session, and join you on a trip to the lively farmers' market in Libourne, where you can experience the wonderful sights and scents of the fresh produce sold here.

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Taste your way around pretty Puglia

Italy is loved for the quality of its food and wine, with some of the world’s favourite dishes originating from this Mediterranean haven. It's not just about pizza and pasta either — there's fresh seafood, creamy risotto, and a range of desserts that will woo anyone with a sweet tooth.

Puglia, the region at the heel of Italy’s ‘boot’, stands out even in a country with such a strong culinary heritage for its rich and flavoursome cuisine. Here you’ll find olive farms, historic bakeries, and Masserie — traditional stone farmhouses surrounded by sun-drenched vineyards.

The region has a rich agricultural heritage, producing a lot of the country's durum wheat, and is home to some of Italy’s most famous pastas, with orecchiette, or 'little ears' being the most authentic Puglian pasta of all.

How to visit: Good Housekeeping has an exciting six-day tour that will take you to some of the best spots in Puglia to wine and dine, with trips to famous bakeries, olive groves and Masserie with enchanting vineyards.

You'll enjoy various culinary activities, like dining at excellent local restaurants, taking informative cooking and orecchiette-making classes, and tasting locally produced olive oils. You’re certain to come back feeling inspired by the flavours of Italy.

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Journey through Portugal’s picturesque Douro Valley

Portugal’s exquisite Douro Valley is a picturesque wine-producing region known for its sweeping, sun-kissed hills and rolling vineyards.

Dotting these heavenly hills are centuries-old Quintas, historic Portuguese wine estates, where wine flows and sumptuous local produce is served to hungry guests.

Dishes typical of the Douro Valley region include goat stew, Bacalhau à bras (a dish made with shredded cod and potatoes), and of course, the famous Pasteis de Nata, with their perfectly flaky pastry holding a creamy custard filling.

Many Douro Valley cruises begin and end in Porto, where you can while away the hours wandering winding cobbled streets past blue-tiled houses and cafes where you might stop for a plate of salty sardines with fresh bread and a glass of port.

How to visit: Good Housekeeping's eight-day cruise along the Douro allows you to fully immerse yourself in the valley's wine culture, with stops at various vineyards to sample their vintages. Food and wine tastings are a prominent feature throughout this trip, and you'll return home knowing more about Portugal’s gastronomic heritage.

You'll glide along the Douro on the A-Rosa Alva, a boutique ship specifically designed to travel along the Douro with a sun deck for soaking in the views and a sleek onboard spa.

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Alternatively, join Good Housekeeping’s eight-day tour of the Douro Valley, where you’ll visit mediaeval hilltop villages and several historic quintas and vineyards to taste their wines and learn about their heritage. You’ll also stop in Aveiro, a city often referred to as the 'Venice of Portugal' due to its network of canals traversed by colourful boats, called moliceiros, and lined with ornate Art Nouveau houses.

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Take a foodie tour of Bologna and Modena

Bologna has a well-deserved reputation as Italy's gastronomic capital - even earning the affectionate nickname La Grassa - or ‘the fat one’. The capital of Emilia-Romagna is the home of spiced mortadella sausage, tortellini and rich ragu with homemade pasta (or, as the British call it, spaghetti bolognese).

While Bologna might take the crown as the culinary capital of Italy, it's not the only city in Emilia-Romagna where you can indulge in fabulously flavoursome produce and carefully crafted dishes. Nearby Modena produces some more of Italy's most beloved traditional foods, including tangy balsamic vinegar.

How to visit: Join Good Housekeeping for a gourmet adventure that includes a mouthwatering foodie tour of Bologna, where you'll have the chance to learn about this beautiful city through its fascinating gastronomic history.

You'll also visit Modena, where you can spend time discovering the city's history and culture, from the grand Duomo to the Ferrari and Lamborghini museums. Of course, there'll be plenty of chances to indulge in the region's delicacies, with a visit to a local Parmesan factory, a balsamic vineyard, and a family-run Parma ham producer.

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Learn how to cook like Raymond Blanc in Oxfordshire

If you're looking for a foodie staycation with a difference, consider heading to leafy Oxfordshire. This county offers wonderfully flavoursome food, thanks to its agricultural heritage and miles of fertile farmland. One particular highlight is the cheese, with many small artisanal cheesemakers rustling up award-winning varieties like the creamy Oxford Blue.

One of Oxfordshire’s most famous dining spots is Michelin-starred chef Raymond Blanc’s sumptuous Belmond Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons. Wander up a heavenly scented lavender-lined path to a grand honey-stone Oxfordshire manor house, home to Raymond’s cooking school, apple orchard and kitchen gardens, designer hotel and two-Michelin-starred restaurant.

How to visit: For a truly unique foodie break in the UK, you can check in at Le Manoir with Good Housekeeping for a special getaway that includes a seven-course tasting menu in the Michelin-starred restaurant. You'll also take a tour of the gardens and orchards with a senior gardener, learning about the food ethos at Le Manoir and Raymond's passion for sustainable growing practices.

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Belmond

Savour incredible Indian flavours along the banks of the Ganges

India is a country known for its incredible flavours and deliciously diverse cuisine, from rich curries with meat to fantastically fragrant vegetarian food. A Uniworld cruise along the country's longest and most sacred river, the Ganges, will take you through several incredible cities, giving you the chance to discover local delicacies as you go.

Of course, as you taste your way through the country you'll also discover an abundance of breathtaking historical buildings and incredible natural landscapes. There are the magnificent Hindu temples of Kalna, the artisan village of Matiari, the beautiful architectural monuments of Murshidabad and many traditional villages where you can taste unique local delicacies

How to visit: Join Good Housekeeping's cruise along the Ganges following a land tour of India's famous "Golden Triangle" which includes the cities of Delhi, Jaipur, and Agra.

You'll be joined on board by Michelin-starred chef Atul Kochhar, who'll give an exclusive talk about his passion for Indian cooking and join you on a visit to Kalna Market, after which he'll host a cooking demonstration with ingredients from the market.

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taj mahal in morning light with the inscription of the coran in arabic letter meaning in english this is an invitation to live on earth as a good muslim, agra
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Sail the Danube at Christmas and meet chef Matt Tebbutt

For us, the best thing about Christmas is the food. From sweet treats to rich, warming dishes, the colder months are perfect for treating the tastebuds. A cruise along the Danube River provides the perfect opportunity to enjoy some festive food as you sail from one elegant city to another, enjoying the joyous atmosphere of traditional Christmas markets.

The Danube flows through several beautiful cities, including Vienna, Budapest and Bratislava, all of which have lively festive markets to explore. Make sure to try local delicacies at each stop, like Austria's delicious sachertorte and traditional Hungarian chimney cakes.

How to visit:
Good Housekeeping has a Danube cruise that will immediately put you in the Christmas spirit. Sail on an award-winning river ship, where you'll enjoy regionally inspired cuisine made with locally sourced ingredients.

Look forward to visiting Bratislava, Budapest and Vienna on guided tours, with plenty of time to wander through their pretty markets. Joining you for part of the cruise is Michelin-starred chef Matt Tebbutt, who'll prepare a delicious gala dinner on board one evening.

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Follow the prosecco trail in Veneto

As much as we love pizza and pasta, there's far more on offer when it comes to fine Italian food. Northern Italy's Veneto region has diverse cuisine influenced by its varied landscapes, ranging from the mountains along the Austrian border to the shores of the Adriatic Sea.

Pasta is not the staple here, but rather rice and polenta, which are used to craft favourites like risotto, or as accompaniments to flavoursome meat dishes.

As well as its food, Veneto is also famous for its prosecco, with sparkling wines being produced here from juicy Glera grapes since Roman times.

How to visit: Book a self-driven tour of Veneto's fabulous prosecco region with Good Housekeeping and you'll get to taste these fine sparkling wines as you make your way through breathtaking countryside.

You'll have five wine tastings to look forward to, including at the Andreola-Prosecco Valdobbiadene winery, where you'll sample some of the region's best Prosecco. Between wine tours, you'll have plenty of time to set out and discover some of the region's best traditional eateries and sample the freshest of local ingredients.

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historic buildings and ponte degli alpini bridge at dawn, bassano del grappa, vicenza province, veneto, italy
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Taste the rich flavours of Tucany's food and wine

For more Italian foodie adventures, head to the sun-kissed Tuscan hills. This delightfully rustic region in the heart of the country is known for its traditional dishes and farm-to-table dining. The area's enviable climate makes for bountiful harvests of fresh fruit and vegetables and flavoursome meat, which locals take great pride in.

Tuscans are particularly fond of their meat and cheese. You'll find street food like porchetta and tripe sandwiches and flatbreads with stracchino, ricotta or gorgonzola being sold by vendors on street corners. Of course, this region is also famous for its fine wines, with grand vineyard estates nestled among the Cypress-studded hills.

How to visit:
Join Good Housekeeping on a gourmet tour to discover the fantastic food and wine of Tuscany. You'll be fully immersed in Tuscan life with culture-packed city tours, farm-to-table dining, and several wine tastings, including Vernaccia di San Gimignano, Italy's first DOC wine.

A real highlight will be a visit to a family-run farm where you'll get a hands-on cooking class, teaching you traditional cooking techniques, so you can take the tastes of Tuscany back to your own kitchen.

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Sample the wines of the Médoc with Tom Kerridge

The Médoc region of France is a real paradise for wine lovers. Nestled between the Atlantic on one side and the Gironde estuary on the other, this peninsula is home to four of the world's most prestigious wine-producing villages, Margaux, Saint-Estèphe, Pauillac and Saint-Julien.

Being surrounded by water on both sides, it shouldn't come as a surprise that the Médoc has some excellent fresh seafood on offer. To accompany your wine, how about some Médoc oysters, matured in the salt marshes of the estuary, or some spiced prawns and shrimps fresh from the water?

How to visit:
Discover the Médoc and the wider Bordeaux region on a special cruise with Good Housekeeping. You'll take a scenic drive or cycle along the Médoc wine route and taste some of the region's prestigious wine at a historic wine estate. You'll also get the chance to taste some incredibly fresh oysters, straight from the Médoc salt marshes.

Joining you for part of the cruise is Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge who'll host a cooking demonstration and answer your questions in a Q&A session.

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Hunt for truffles in Slovenian Istria

Slovenia is a land rich in natural beauty and with a rich culinary heritage influenced by the diversity of its landscapes. Its most iconic attraction is the serene Lake Bled, nestled in the Julian Alps with a backdrop of snowcapped peaks, with a tiny island and a historic church.

It’s a somewhat underrated foodie destination in Europe, but you’ll discover vineyards, wine cellars, Michelin-starred restaurants and cosy local eateries to rival Italy and France. The country is also dedicated to sustainable tourism practices and this is reflected in its food. In fact, with seven Michelin Green Star restaurants, Slovenia is one of the world’s leading destinations when it comes to sustainable gastronomy.

How to visit: Join Good Housekeeping on a tour of Slovenia centred on its food. You’ll begin in Ljubljana, where you can wander the cobbled streets and enjoy its excellent restaurants. You'll also visit the medieval town of Kamnik, the centre of the country's craft beer production, and head into the lush green rolling hills of the countryside, to learn about local herb culture.

A real highlight will be a truffle-hunting excursion in Istria followed by a hearty truffle-themed homestead dinner.

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Looking for inspiration for your next holiday? Grab a cuppa and browse our brochure packed with unique escapes.

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