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Food festivals to include on your adventure holidays

Food festivals to include on your adventure holidays

If you happen to have fallen upon a local food festival while on your travels, you know how delicious it can be. Because food festivals are places not only packed with gastro-gorgeousness, but also stories from artisan producers, sustainable farmers and pioneering drinks producers. You can lose a day hearing about how to smoke salmon in The Burren, Ireland. Or the history of cheesemaking in the Picos de Europa mountains, and there’s nothing like the Truffle Festival in Piedmont in Italy. We are strong proponents of protecting cultural heritage as part of our responsible tourism policies, and supporting local food producers, traditions and sustainable practices is at the top of that menu. Here are just a few of our top food festivals to include on your adventure holidays. 

Who doesn’t love a food festival?

Food festivals in Italy 

As mentioned above, the Slow Food Festival in Turin, or Terra Madre, is one of the world’s leading sustainable food events, and a leader in its field, taking place in September. This is the capital of the Piedmont region, where we have several adventure holidays, including Cycling in the Piedmont Wine Country, and Hiking the Val Maira. Another Piedmont feast can be had at the Alba White Truffle Festival, which dates back to the 1920s, and you can add that on to this already rich rambling holiday through Piedmont Wine Country. The festival runs between October and December, and our tour runs until mid-October so it will make for a feast of a finale, with traditional dances, processions and medieval reenactments all part of the fun. 

The Parma Ham Festival in the city after which it’s named takes place in September, and one that you can add on to any of these cycling or walking holidays along the Via Francigena. This is one big ham fest, with plenty of other goodies thrown in for good measure. For more meat, the Porchettiamo Festival in the Umbrian village of San Terenziano, is just 33km north of Spoleto, which features on these Umbrian adventures, and takes place in May, so it’s a perfect addition at the beginning or end of your tour. 

At the other end of the country, in Sicily, check out Trapani’s Stragusto Street Food Festival at the end of July, an island that’s famous for its unique food heritage. It makes for another epicurean end to a great adventure on this cycling holiday

Piedmont’s White Truffle Festival dates back to the 1920s, and it just keeps giving.

Food festivals in the UK

If you’re hiking in the Lake District in September, you may want to time it with the Taste Cumbria Food Festival which takes place in the national park in Cockermouth. It’s 50km from your starting point on this Lake District hiking holiday in Pooley Bridge, and takes place at the end of September but worth having an extra night there to pack up your backpack. You will be sure to meet suppliers from places you are going to walk through anyway. For a very different kettle of festival fish, the St Ives Food and Drink Festival, which features on two of our South West Coast Path walking holidays, is one big beautiful beach feast, happening in mid-May. 

The Edinburgh Food Festival in late July is a tasty treat before you head off on the Fife Coastal Path, or check out the vast Eat Drink Festival in Glasgow at the end of May, which will set you up nicely for the West Highland Way, at a time of year when it’s lovely and quiet too. A smaller more independent festival, just 3.8km from Drymen, also on the West Highland Way (in particular on this section) is the Scottish Wild Food Festival in mid-September, with an emphasis on foraging, fermentation and wild food cooking. 

Jam or cream first with your Cornish cream tea? The only issue you will have at the St Ives Food Festival.

Food festivals in Sweden

Swedes love their sustainable food and there is no shortage of events to tuck into while on a walking or cycling holiday there. Check out the street food festivals in Malmo, Stockholm or Gothenburg during June, July and August respectively. We’re totally here for herrings in its bespoke festival in Marstrand, which features on our Bohuslän Archipelago walking holiday at the beginning of June. And if you time your trip there with the first Thursday after 08 August, this is Crayfish Premiere Day, the beginning of the season to fish for this important food source in the region’s lakes. To gorge on Gotland, you could extend our very last hiking or cycling tour at the end of August to take in their famous Skördefestival, or Harvest Festival at the beginning of September.

Gothenburg also goes foodie mad throughout the year, and you can combine our Goteleden walking holiday with its Beer and Whisky Fair in mid-April or its Cheese Festival in October. And if you’re walking the Österlen Way in southeast Skåne, you have two foodie fests to keep an eye out for, with the Österlen Wine Festival at the end of July and the Apple Market Festival which runs from the end of September into October, both taking place in the town of Kivik which is on your way. So it’s rude not to really. 

Food festivals in Ireland 

One of the earliest food festivals in Ireland is the Burren Slow Food Festival in mid-May, and it’s an impressive one too as it’s an official member of the aforementioned Slow Food movement, Terra Madre. Make sure you add this into your hiking itinerary along on our Burren Way and Cliffs of Moher tour. If you are travelling through Dublin, then the Bloom Festival is not to be missed at the end of May/beginning of June, celebrating horticulture and food, with a strong emphasis on sustainability.

Head west for the famous Galway International Oyster and Seafood Festival in September, or the Dingle Food Festival at the beginning of October every year, which you can time with our walking holidays along the Dingle Way or a cycling holiday around the Dingle Peninsula and fill your boots. 

The world is your oyster in Galway, on Ireland’s west coast, in September at their world famous Oyster Festival.

Food festivals in Denmark

As well as being a superb place for walking and cycling holidays, Denmark is now a very popular food destination. Late summer or autumn is one of the best times to visit Denmark for festivals, with the king of cuisine being Copenhagen Cooking in late August, followed by the Aarhus Food Festival in early September. This is the nearest airport for many of our tours, so you could easily extend your holiday for an epicurean event. 

Food festivals in France

It feels like a daily food festival when you go to France, especially if you visit its array of food markets. However, there are a few special epicurean events that you might like to add to your travel itinerary. An early favourite is Brittany’s Scallop Festival, or Fête de la Coquille Saint-Jacques in the Bay of Saint-Brieuc, which takes place towards the end of April and is the biggest scallop festival in the world. Our Pink Granite Coast cycling holiday starts there, and what a way to dive into Brittany’s coastal culture. 

If you embark on either this Highlights of Provence cycling holiday or this shorter six day tour in July, you can time your journey to coincide with the delightful Féria du Melon, in Cavaillon, which you cycle through. It takes place on the weekend before the bigger 14 July celebrations every year and, as well as its celebrated Charentais melon sellers, there are tastings, trips to farms and all round melon madness. For more hedonistic adventures, Colmar in Alsace lets rip at the end of July with an international festival, the Foire aux Vins d’Alsace, that celebrates its fine wines with a lot of joie de vivre. Whether you go before or after some walking or cycling along its wine routes and beyond, get ready to party. 

Hungry for more? Check out some of our other food blogs including Food in the Balkans in plentiful and flavourful, The best food in Scotland, Best markets in France, Our favourite cycling cafes and The best wine routes in Europe. And don’t forget that buying food locally is one of the best ways to be a responsible traveller, something we discuss more in our blog, Conscious Consumption on your travels. As the majority of our tours are self-guided and have flexibility built into them, we always endeavour to book your trip around chosen dates, whether it’s a food festival, family wedding, a work trip or visiting friends living abroad. That’s what our adventure specialists are here for.