The taste of Europe
Europe is the convergence of cultures, the crossroads of history, the pluralism of the arts, architecture, and tastes. Following these flavors and well-being, we will reach cities and areas that are gems to the European crown.
“Paris is the city of celebration,” Hemingway wrote to a friend in the 1950s. Decades may have passed since then, but the joie de vie atmosphere dominates the restaurants on the left bank of the Seine. Beaufort, Cartier Latin, Louvre, and Versailles, the City of Light has a thousand ways to conquer you.
From the Champs Elysees and the Eiffel Tower to the Gardens of the Trocadero, Paris spreads with the nobility on the banks of the Seine and offers the visitor everything: art, fashion, gastronomy, shopping, history, romance.
Climb the artistic Montmartre of sweet Amelie and Toulouse Lautrec and continue the Monet’s cultural walks in Orangerie and Picasso in Mare’s historic district. In the city of lovers, come for a candlelit dinner on the Seine, the epitome of romance. Discover the bohemian Paris in the Montparnasse bracelets and the French capital’s postmodern version at the Pompidou Center and La Villette Science City.
What to taste? Try the millefeuille, some duck dishes, of course, french fries, soufflés, and tarts (savory and sweet). Don’t forget cheese fondue, rooster (with wine, noodles, or mushrooms), crepes, croissants, and ratatouille dishes (vegetarian). With so many choices, for sure, you can not leave this city and feel hungry.
Medieval and postmodern, imperial and bohemian, the water state in the south-west of France is a city to drink. Fly to the metropolis with “the sweet horizon, the beautiful sky and the warmth of the sun that you can not help but fall in love”, as Victor Hugo once wrote about his favorite Bordeaux.
Bordeaux is where wine was loved more than anywhere else in the world and has associated its name with the finest labels on the market.
The French used to fondly call Bordeaux “la belle dormante” – the sleeping beauty. It is such a quiet city. Absolute sovereign here, one and only: wine. Not only now, but for the “last” two thousand years, wine has determined its fate since Roman times. The region consists of a vast wine-growing zone, the famous “bordelais”, i.e. the “territory” of wines, which stretches from the valley of Girondes to the Atlantic. In between are the farms, the stunning châteaux, some of the finest in Europe, with famous wine names – some of the world’s best – deep in old cellars. From next door, high gastronomy in the wineries of the area, with aromas of ripe and fruity wines of a new harvest that leave you speechless.
In the vineyards
The road to the vineyards is the ultimate goal of every visitor. Here you can stay for long. And, of course, it is better in spring, summer, and autumn. The most famous wine region is the so-called Bordelais, a temple of wine and famous territory of Bordeaux’s large estates, with 1,200,000 sq.km. Vineyards, with over 50 names among the best in the world and 8,000 châteaux – where châteaux are not just a palace estate. The term comes to us from the 19th century, while today it is part of the name that appears on every remarkable label, being an official feature of the area. Usually, these châteaux are located in the center of the vineyards. They are also an attraction, with the owner’s main house, the additional spaces, the sander, the press, the gardens with the rural setting, etc.
Entre-des-deux-Mers: The most famous châteaux are located north and south of Bordelais, while one of the most important wine-growing areas is Entre-des-deux-Mers, just outside the city. Some of the finest Bordeaux wines are produced here, such as the Sauvignon variety with its fruity aroma and floral scents. Farms and châteaux to see with your own eyes! The wine itself, called Entre-des-deux-Mers, a dry white dream wine, comes almost entirely from the same name’s vineyard. Here, however, you will also find exceptional red wines called Bordeaux-Supérieurs and other whiter liquoreux whites, such as Sainte-Croix-du-Mont or the famous Cadillac.
A little further east, in the area of St. Emilien (50 km from Bordeaux), the production of the famous Merlot began, which conquered the entire scope of Bordelais – with its output initially on the monastic estates of the time – and then the Mediterranean. Indicatively the Château Malromé, beautiful, buried in the vineyards – and once the last residence of Toulouse Lautrec, who died here in 1901 at the age of 37 – will be unforgettable with its gardens, good wine, and delicacies.
One of the most prominent wine tourism areas is also the Médoc zone with the Haut-Médoc PDO wines. The 2,000-year-old tradition, concentrated in the exceptional local varieties, is even reflected in the area’s Roman mosaics. Médoc is considered the “home” -as experts say- of all Bordeaux wines, but also of all Bourgeois châteaux. It is a 5-8 km zone with farms and vineyards, on winding routes, reaching 80 km. Names like Margaux, Saint Julien, Pauillac, Saint Stephen, Listrac, Moulis, etc. refer to “mythical” wines and farms that took Bordeaux fame to the ends of the earth.
For the more adventurous, the bike is an excellent idea on the D2 axis – the royal road of wines, as the French call it – without forgetting the small branches. The area of Margaux (north of Médoc), with its famous labels, is ideal for a start, as the winemakers had a good idea to create a 9 km walking zone, where you will meet at least 40 châteaux, while all you need is natural endurance to try for days.
Be sure to check out Philippe Raoux Winery, Châteaux D’Arsac. This is a huge modern wine cellar made of glass and steel, dedicated to Médoc wines, with incredible varieties, restaurants, exhibition centers, etc. The ritual of wine drinking includes a tasting of 6-7 wines. With the help of technology and, once you have expressed your preference, in the end, the computer will tell you precisely what you need to buy.
Then visit the famous wine village Pauillac (also north of Médoc and Bordeaux), and you will remember us. Here you will mainly see, among others, a beautiful port that will take you back to the time of the tremendous commercial voyage of the Atlantic to America. Lafite Rothschild, Latour, and Mouton Rothschild wines also left this port. Also, in Pauillac, you can visit the Maison du Tourisme et du Vin (“House of Tourism and Wine”), while a little further down, in the other community of Saint-Yzans-Médoc, it is worth seeing the hidden pride of the area, the Châteaux Loudenne. The charm of Victorian décor prevails in its rooms. Its library challenges visitors and wine lovers to stay there for endless hours, searching for “things and wonders” from the area’s treasure.
Spain’s capital, this fiery Iberian city, likes sangria and is surreal like Dali’s painting, hot like her night’s frantic fiesta.
Madrid is romantic, majestic, full of images of the past, and the vibrancy and energy of a 21st-century city, a Western European capital with a Mediterranean heart. The small village of Castile in the 16th century developed into a metropolis of the Iberian Peninsula, a city-passage of royal dynasties and the core of a country whose power once discovered a New World.
On the one hand, you will see the old imperial town with its baroque palaces like The Royal Palace of Madrid and labyrinthine alleys. On the other hand, you will meet Madrid’s modern face, with its wide boulevards, Castellana Avenue’s skyscrapers, and the chic shops. Thanks to its warm and friendly inhabitants’ temperament, Madrid never rests in the open-air cafes, tapas bars, flamenco hangouts, and fashionable after clubs. The undisputed capital of museums, with collections of priceless value by top artists, magnetizes art-loving travelers.
Try local Tortilla and Polo at ajillo. Eggs, potatoes, onions are all to make Tortilla Española. Potatoes and onions are slowly fried in olive oil and then mixed with beaten eggs. This “confuses” the flavors with each other before cooking. Then add sausage, ham, spinach, and zucchini.
Pollo al ajillo: This wonderful dish, the Spaniards love it, especially when their grandmother makes it! How is it made? Fry a few cloves of garlic in olive oil to taste and then remove them before adding the chicken pieces. When the chicken is ready, add the garlic pieces again, rosemary, thyme, and a little dry sherry wine or white wine.
It is not difficult to fall in love with the area of Tuscany. Everything is beautiful here. Aesthetics are pervasive everywhere. Nothing in the thousands of square kilometers of this province, the full olive groves, medieval villages, vineyards, sunflowers, and cypress trees contradict the unique landscape. The region extends north of Rome, south of Milan, to the Tyrrhenian Sea to the west and the Apennines to the north and east. For many, Tuscany is Italy itself. Close your eyes and create an image with vineyards, low hills, distant medieval castles, quiet villages, and surrounded by cypress villas. Compare it with 14th-century Lorenzetti paintings depicting walled cities with towers, beautiful churches, and red brick farmhouses overlooking vineyards, olive groves, and beautiful sunflower fields with present-day San Gimignano and Monte that few things have changed.
In Tuscany, the Renaissance flourished in the 13th century, starting with the painter and architect Giotto and continuing with the sculptor Donatello and the outstanding painter Pierro de la Francesca. Leonardo da Vinci followed, as did Michelangelo.
Your first visit will be to San Gimignano, which has rightly been called the “Pearl of Tuscany.”. This small medieval town is preserved about ten towers from those that once stood by hundreds in the region’s cities. In the Middle Ages, one of the first things the wealthy bourgeoisie did as soon as they became financially comfortable was to build a tower. The higher its height, the more comfortable the owner. Have at least one breakfast to crawl through the airy streets and admire the wonderful fresh circles found in the village’s two main churches, Koletziata and Sant’Agostino. The attractions of most Tuscan towns are well worth the whole day. Siena demands it, with a calm medieval atmosphere that is the antidote to Florence. The “pink state”, as it was named after the color of the stone, coiled behind its walls, is a real labyrinth. Palaces and churches appear in the narrow streets to reach the city center, the Campo. This arena-shaped square is also the venue of Palio, the horse racing competitions from the 17th century until today are held every summer in early July and mid-August. Wander around the beautiful city and see the Palazzo Public and the impressive Duomo in white and black marble. Spend some time at the National Gallery and sit in one of the beautiful cafes and gaze at the brown-red roofs that are confused with the countryside’s green horizon. The little known Luke comes second, full of grace and culture. Its walls include dozens of small churches, quiet cobbled streets, and numerous museums and monuments. If you do not have much time at your disposal, San Michele, San Frediano, the National Guinness Museum, and the Piazza Amphitheater are the most important attractions.
Chianti: The heart of Tuscan wine
Plan at least one day to visit Chianti, an area known for its wine and its vineyards and hills that offer a peaceful view. Here, the vineyards are adjacent to the olives, the cypresses to the oaks, and the heather’s lavender. Castelo di Brolio offers guided tours of one of Chianti’s best vineyards. The area has belonged to the Ricasoli family since 1167, and Baron Bettino Ricettoli, Italy’s second prime minister, introduced the Chianti Classico formula in 1870. Continue to Gaiole and then to Castellina in Chianti, a walled village where its inhabitants live with wine production. At 13, Della Roca Street in the village, visit the Bottega del Vino Gallo Nero with a wine and olive oil showroom. The region’s capital is the small town of Greva, in the central square of which local products have been sold since the Middle Ages.
The truth is that Florence sounds – and is – fairytale, with its artistic treasures, greenery, cobblestones, and historic center.
And only at the hearing of its name, the Renaissance, Art and Culture flood our minds as concepts that characterize it. Certainly not by chance, since Florence is a city with innumerable artistic treasures and cultural heritage, a city with incomparable architecture and fairytale atmosphere, through which a lover of travel and art must pass once in a lifetime.
Florence is Tuscany’s capital, which is always a classical value for spring road trips or some romantic days in the Italian countryside. Suppose you want to experience the medieval fairytale for a while, be among the vineyards, get Italian air, book tickets for Florence, and organize excursions in the surrounding area. Try Ribolita, perhaps the most typical food in Tuscan cuisine, if you like to try the local flavors. It consists of simple ingredients, such as legumes, vegetables, stale bread, etc. It is the traditional Tuscan soup, which the inhabitants used to make from the old days with their food’s leftovers.
Moreover, don’t miss Peposo alla Fornacina. This is the second most classic dish in Tuscany. You will find it in all its picturesque villages, and you will see the locals prefer it. It is fillet covered with celery, carrots, onions, and a lot of pepper cooked in a clay pot.
Italy’s capital is called the “Eternal City”, and the truth is that from the first moment the visitor arrives at this historic European site, he feels that he is entering a “living” museum. Indeed, Rome is full of historical monuments of exceptional beauty, a fact not to be taken lightly, considering that it is Italy’s capital from its foundation until today.
The Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Palatine Hill, and the Agora even today convey the grandeur of that period when the – influenced by the Greeks – Roman republic and the later empire was the center of the world. It also hosts impressive medieval and Renaissance palaces, baroque mansions, churches, and outstanding museums and works of art that will keep the visitor’s interest undiminished.
Its historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, full of magnificent alleys, magnificent squares, and fountains, is flooded with visitors all year round. Of course, the local delicacies, ice cream, and tiramisu are also famous and sought after. Don’t miss cafe Greco for the superb flavor of the Italian coffee and the Antico Forno for delicious focaccia, panini, and pizza.
Glamorous, imperial, fairytale, Austria’s romantic capital hides the secret of its timeless charm on the Blue Danube banks, in palaces and baroque gardens. Travel with the Aegean wings to Mozart’s Vienna, Empress Sissy, opera and electronic music, and unbridled shopping, in Central Europe’s metropolis that knows how to steal the hearts of travelers.
Acquaintance with Vienna begins at its historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Go down the Kohlmarkt pedestrian street, with the carriages giving a nostalgic note. On Kärntner Strasse, christened artist street, watch the Amadeus ferrets play the piano in the middle of the road.
Where the Ringstrasse, Vienna’s most important boulevard, opens onto a vast square, you will admire the Hofburg Palace, spectacularly lit at night. The imperial era’s atmosphere comes to life in the State Opera and the National Library’s majestic buildings. In the Stadtpark City Park, look for the gilded statue of Johann Strauss and take the boat for a walk on the Danube waters that the king of waltzes praised with his music.
If you are planning a trip to Vienna, take notes and live unforgettable moments! After visiting dozens of palaces and castles, museums, and green parks, the tasting takes over.
Vienna’s national dish is nothing more than a breaded beef schnitzel, which you will find in various sizes. It is usually served with potato salad and lemon slices. In the Viennese café Landtmann, you will find the original version, a hangout of legendary personalities such as Sigmund Freud, Marlene Dietrich, and Paul McCartney. For the massive version of the wiener schnitzel, visit Figlmueller, but you will need to book several days in advance.
Of course, you have to try the traditional Mozart chocolates. Mozartkugel, are small chocolates filled with fruit, nougat, or dark chocolate.
Poland’s capital for more than five centuries, Krakow is the treasure of the country and a noble city with an unbounded history. Cradle of medieval trade and a large center of arts and sciences during the 16th century, it maintains the nobility of the Old World with many touches of modern lifestyle.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Krakow’s Old Town (Stare Miasto) is a true masterpiece of architecture and significant historical monuments. Walk the magnificent Royal Road, starting from Rynek Glowny Square up to Wawel Castle, the Polish kings’ seat, and the mythical Smok dragon’s nest. Take a tour of the old Kazimierz Jewish quarter’s atmospheric alleys and the inner courtyards of the Collegium Maius, where the great Copernicus studied. Visit Oscar Schindler’s factory-museum and immerse yourself in the magical world of Japanese culture at the Manggha Museum.
Strong paper and a sure dish on the “classic” Polish table are soups: the most traditional are barszcz (with beets) and zurek (with sour barley). Poles love pork, either as a piglet or in the wild version of the wild boar, and make the traditional smoked kabanos. Try a zapiekanki (baked cheese and mushroom sandwich) in a canteen if you want something casual.
A crossroads of peoples and cultures in the center of the Mediterranean, the capital of Greece is not accidentally characterized as the most historical city in Europe. A history that begins in the 13th century BC. century flourished as an important economic and cultural center in antiquity. This era bequeathed to the world-class city monuments and innumerable archaeological treasures. Modern Athens is a metropolitan center that pulsates with life and cultural activities all year round. In addition to the monuments, a destination entices its visitors with its beautiful neighborhoods, crystal clear beaches – a stone’s throw from the center – its delicious cuisine and its famous nightlife.
Apart from Pastitsio, Mousaka or souvlaki, try pies, significant and delicious dishes in Greek cuisine. Every bakery sells a variety, both sweet and savory, for all tastes. There is cheese pie, spinach pie, ham cheese pie, chicken pie, green pie, and combinations.
Try also keftedakia, the children’s favorite food. It’s mixed minced meat, with onion, garlic, spices, and some variations of herbs (oregano, mint, mint).