The living larder that is Europe is a foodie’s dream. Whether you’re delving into pizzas the size of dustbin lids, silk-like fish fresh out of water or organic veg straight from the garden, our foodie hotels collectively make up some of the most deliciously good-looking places in the world. That’s why so many discerning travellers won’t go anywhere else. Whether you prefer fine dining in castles or a Cretan alfresco lunch, here are our favourite gastro-rich hotspots you just can’t help but photograph:
1. Blas Restaurant: St. Davids, Wales
Fancy dining with Antony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Richard Burton? ‘Blas’ is an award-winning two-Rosette restaurant located at restored former windmill Twr y Felin Hotel in quaint St Davids. Delivering the true taste of Pembrokeshire, the Blas menu is a rich seasonal affair, championing local produce as well as foraged ingredients from the surrounding countryside and coast. Its ambient space, mood lighting, bespoke furniture and original artworks (including striking portraits of Welsh figures such as Antony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Richard Burton by internationally renowned artist Charles Uzzell-Edwards), make Blas an Instagram dream. The variety of art on show is astounding – there are even works from urban and graffiti artists to marvel at, including Remi Rough, Phil Ashcroft, Catrin Webster and Xenz.
2. Gregans Castle: Ballyvaughan, Ireland
From sea or from land, the ingredients whipped up by head chef Robbie McCauley and his creative team at Gregans Castle are fresh, artisanal, local delights. Atlantic fish and shellfish don’t travel far to reach your plate, nor does the organic lamb and game. The 18th-century haven has received multiple awards for its food, including 3 Rosettes from the AA for “culinary mastery and excellence” 2018 and the RAI Restaurant of the Year Best Hotel Restaurant Award 2017. The team have even won awards solely for their breakfasts – so make sure you plan a sleepover (ideally for the week) and some extra slack trousers.
3. Kasteeltje Hattem: Limburg, Netherlands
Kasteeltje Hattem may well be the smallest castle in the Netherlands, but it’s big on taste. Its restaurant – all high ceilings and huge, light-luring windows – is a grand 18th-century space to dine in as you gaze over the verdant park beyond. Your candlelit dinner is a Michelin-accoladed mix of French cuisine with a Meditterranean twist. Think scallop-scattered lobsters, creamy buttered sole, and roasted veal with crisped sweetbread, finished off with the likes of blueberry parfait and homemade tarragon ice-cream, or a generous cheese a la carte.
4. Avli Lounge Apartments: Rethymnon, Crete
One of the most Insta-worthy spots in Crete, Rethymnon is a lovely, lazy slice of Mediterranean life. And that goes for the food, too. For 25 years, the creative chefs at Avli Lounge Apartments have scoured ancient Cretan recipe books to create a traditional menu that delights even the most discerning of palates. Whether you plump for the honey-and-thyme-drenched village goat or a veggie Cretan dakos (basically, Greek bruschetta), there are more than 460 vintage wines to wash it all down with. And for those seeking Insta-worthy scenes, look no further than the award-winning restaurant’s distinctive courtyard – all blossoms, vines and candelabras.
5. Hotel Castel Rundegg: Bozen, Italy
If you think soup isn’t all that pretty to photograph, order the gazpacho from Hotel Castel Rundegg. While you’re on a snap-happy ordering spree, try the Rundegg salad, with its vibrant apples, melons and oranges, or suckling pig trotters served up with a hearty potato salad – guaranteed to wow. There’s plenty more where that came from: the South Tyrolean menu caters to all tastes, as well as gluten intolerant and vegetarian diners.