According to Skyscanner, 47 percent of U.S. travelers have booked a destination based on a specific restaurant they want to visit, and a further 37 percent say it’s something they plan to do this year.

With 85 percent of U.S. travelers planning to make the same number of international trips, if not more, in 2024, and the majority reporting that they wish to prioritize holidays where they can connect with nature, Icelandair has conducted new research to pinpoint the best hidden foodie destinations in Europe.

The study, which analyzed review data from over 30 rural hotspots outside five of the most popular European destinations with U.S. travelers (LondonReykjavíkRomeDublin and Barcelona), has found that Wicklow, a seaside town on the outskirts of Dublin, is the best rural hotspot for American foodies, with an average restaurant review rating of 4.63 out of five.

Wicklow, Ireland

Wicklow is a small town located south of Dublin, known for its landscapes and coastlines. This town Wicklow offers a variety of locally sourced ingredients, including artisanal cheeses, seafood and Wicklow lamb. The region is also well-known for its organic apples. Visit a nearby orchard to pick your own or pop into a local pub to try regional cider.

  • Average restaurant rating: 4.63
  • Must-try foods: Irish stew, boxty (traditional potato pancake) and apple-based desserts
  • Most searched-for local dish: Apple crumble (60,500 average monthly searches)

Bagnoregio, Italy

Bagnoregio is famous for its medieval architecture. Foodies can enjoy homemade pasta, locally produced olive oil, aged cheeses and cured meats. The town’s restaurants and trattorias serve up meals made with fresh, seasonal ingredients, often paired with local wines such as frascati.

  • Average restaurant rating: 4.58
  • Must-try food: Local cheeses, cured meats, Fettuccine con rigaglie di pollo, a type of pasta typical of northern Lazio, and hazelnut-based desserts
  • Most searched-for local dish: Cacio e pepe (90,500 average monthly searches)

Vik, Iceland

Vik is a small village located on the southern coast of Iceland. Known for its locally grown produce, such as potatoes, turnips and carrots, as well as its Icelandic seafood, including lobster, cod and Arctic char, Vik is a great destination for indulging in stews, skyr, hot dogs and local candy.

  • Average restaurant rating: 4.50
  • Must-try food: Local seafood such as Arctic char, fish stew, and “kjötsúpa,” a traditional lamb soup.
  • Most searched-for local dish: Plokkfiskur (1,600 average monthly searches)

Whitstable, U.K.

This seaside town is famed for its oysters, mussels, prawns and cockles. Enjoying a pint of locally brewed ale along with your meal is a popular choice for many visitors. After the meal, treat yourself to a traditional cream tea. This typically consists of freshly baked scones served with clotted cream and strawberry jam.

  • Average restaurant rating: 4.41
  • Must-try food: Whitstable oysters, scones and local seafood dishes
  • Most searched-for local dish: Fish and chips (450,000 average monthly searches)

Sitges, Spain

Nestled between Garraf National Park and the Mediterranean Sea, Sitges is a welcome break for travelers who like to avoid the crowds. Only 35 minutes from central Barcelona, it’s easy to spend a morning or afternoon there, or stay the night and enjoy the bar scene.

  • Average restaurant rating: 4.40
  • Must-try food is Fideuà, a seafood dish similar to paella but made with short noodles instead of rice
  • Most searched-for local dish: Croqetas (49,500 average monthly searches)

    Article Courtesy of Travel Agent Central

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