Last Updated on March 15, 2023 by Jim Ferri
A list of food festivals in Europe in 2023 that will tickle your culinary senses…
Estimated reading time: 22 minutes
By Jim Ferri
As we’ve been preparing this list of the best food festivals in Europe for 2023, I couldn’t help think of Julia Child. The celebrated chef, author, and television personality caught my attention when she opined that “people who love to eat are always the best people.” I can’t help but agree with her.
Child knew that dining with a group of total strangers was a bonding experience, even among those who don’t speak the same language. Sit around a table with newfound friends at food festivals anywhere in the world, and you’ll undoubtedly concur. After all, food is the universal language of humankind.
In Europe, however, where so many countries share a common continent, food festivals provide an incredible bouillabaisse of regional cuisines in a relatively small area. You’ll also find several major European food markets where you can dine very well, sometimes at a lower cost than nearby restaurants.
And there’s also that genetic component. If one’s ancestors are from Europe, you’ll likely find the family meals of your childhood at these festivals. They’re generally events that bring you back for seconds and thirds.
Many Festivals Returning for 2023
As we have for the last several, for 2023 we’ve put together a list of best food festivals in Europe. Many are multi-faceted, with some including musical aspects, for example. But to be on the list, the festival’s primary focus must be food.
Not included are wine and beer festivals, although many exist. The same applies to festivals such as La Tomatina in Valencia.
This list is not all-inclusive since there are many smaller festivals throughout Europe. However, there are just too many to include here.
As we’ve noted in past years, all of these European food festivals are especially worthy of gourmet grazing. And if you can’t attend a festival, visit some of the great food halls you’ll find throughout Europe.
Most European food festivals have returned following the pandemic,. There are, however, some notable exceptions. These include Kookeet Bruges (Belgium), Taste of Amsterdam (Netherlands) and Taste of Helsinki (Finland). None of them, unfortunately, will be held in 2023.
On the other hand, some auspicious festivals fill the void. One of them is Flavourite Bruges in Belgium which will take place during several themed months in 2023 (see below).In addition, Turku, Finland, will also be hosting a Michelin Star Revelation event, the world’s most famous culinary event, according to Michelin, in the summer of 2023.
Finland is also boasting about its Saimaa region being awarded the title of European Region of Gastronomy 2024 by the International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture, Arts and Tourism (IGCAT).
Antwerp: Taste of Antwerp (Antwerpen Proeft)
May 18–21, 2023
In its 15th year, Antwerpen Proeft is Belgium’s most significant and leading food festival. Entry is €8.50-12.50, which includes a welcome drink and discount voucher. As in previous years, tens of thousands of people should attend this famous European food festival in 2023.
More than 25 restaurants and caterers from in and around the city offer an astonishingly diverse range of cuisines. They range from traditional Belgian to Mediterranean and French, helping to make Antwerpen Proeft one of the food festivals in Europe in 2023.
Oostduinkerke: Shrimp Festival (Shrimpfeast and Shrimppageant)
Note: Held annually during the last weekend of June.
Head to Oostduinkerke on the Flemish coast of Belgium for a festival that heralds the fishermen who ride into the sea on their horses to trawl for shrimp. This way of shrimp fishing is so unique UNESCO recently added it to its world list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
At the Shrimpfeast, held the last weekend of June every year, the catch is brought to shore, where it’s cooked in many ways. Activities also include a Shrimp Parade on Sunday afternoon.
Note: Dates not yet set but they will be listed here when announced.
Gastronomy is interwoven into the DNA of Bruges, Belgium. In fact, with 12 Michelin-starred restaurants, little Bruges is a Mecca for gourmets. Throughout the city, one finds quality restaurants, renowned chefs, local foodies, and regional products.
Although the food festival Kookeet Bruges, which we’ve listed in past years, will no longer be held, there is a new festival aptly named ‘Flavourite Bruges.’ It promises to be the new flag under which the city will tout its gastronomic credentials.
It will also showcase many of the city’s top chefs, many of whom possess one or more Michelin stars, a Bib Gourmand mention, or have a high GaultMillau score. As a result, you should certainly find some highly diverse gastronomic gems. It certainly appears ti be one of the up and coming food festivals in Europe in 2023.
Flavourite Bruges will be organized in several themed months in 2023, some accompanied by one or more events. Although details are unknown now, we will update this listing when they are announced.
Prague: Prague Food Festival 2023 (Praha Festival Potravin)
Note: The Prague Food Festival will be held mid-September of 2023. We will provide the date when it is provided by the organizers.
Some two dozen of the capital’s best restaurants partake in the Prague Food Festival. It’s certainly Prague’s gastronomic event of the year, where you’re offered appetizers, soups, main courses, desserts, and a specially curated festival menu. There are also tasting booths for coffee, chocolate, wines, beer, and other delectables.
Although the festival was held in the Royal Gardens at Prague Castle in past years, the venue may be moved this year. We will update all event information here when notified of festival specifics.
Copenhagen: Copenhagen Cooking
August 18–27, 2023
During Harvest Feast (Høstfest), 1,500 people dine at a 1/4-mile-long table on Frederiksberg Allé. The dinner is made by eight local restaurants in collaboration with local producers.
Harvest Feast tickets are DKK 300 (approximately $44) and include a three-course menu from one of eight participating restaurants. Each restaurant offers its own menu – when buying your ticket, you decide which restaurant(s) you want to try. It is certainly one of the more innovative food festivals in Europe in 2023.
Attendees, however, must bring their own cutlery, plates, etc. Thankfully, there are shops on Frederiksberg Allé where you can purchase cutlery for the event. You can also bring your own beverage or buy it from the bar. Tickets will go on sale on the Copenhagen Cooking website after June 25.
While there is a fee for dinner, there are also free events such as tastings and talks. In past years, 80,000 visitors attended cooking workshops, wine tastings, and other events about the city.
Helsinki: Baltic Herring Festival (Silakkamarkkinat)
October 1–7, 2023
Fishermen bring their small boats to the wharf at Helsinki’s Market Square every October to sell their catch. About the square, you’ll find plenty of herring prepared in various ways and other foodstuffs. The fair activities include a competition for the best herring dish and a race of traditional sailing ships.
Although a bit of a niche festival, Silakkamarkkinat is an ancient Helsinki tradition held every year since 1743. Of course, if you enjoy herring, you may find nirvana here.
Honfleur: Shrimp Festival (La Fête de la Crevette)
October 14–15, 2023
Held annually in one of the prettiest old ports in Normandy, one of the best places to visit in France, Honfleur’s Shrimp Festival attracts thousands who come to town for the great shrimp-peeling competition.
There are also concerts, an arts and crafts market, and plenty of sea shanties as old sea vessels gather in the port of Honfleur. In addition to crevettes and other seafood, on the festival menu, you’ll also find cheeses, meats, pastries, bread, and plenty of Calvados and cider.
Gourin: Crêpe Festival (Fête de la Crêpe)
July 29–30, 2023
If you’re looking for a small-town festival with a food connection, on the last weekend in July, visit the Brittany town of Gourin for its annual Crêpe Festival.
Now in its 28th year, you can feast on crêpes and galettes, the region’s famous buckwheat pancakes. And watch the contest to cook the world’s most enormous crepe.
And, as you might expect, there’s also plenty of music and dancing in traditional costumes.
Arles: Rice Festival (Féria du Riz)
September 9 – 10, 2023
During the Féria du Riz, the old Roman city of Arles adopts a decidedly Spanish flavor. As a matter of fact, there’s even the running of the bulls through its streets and bullfights in the old Roman arena.
Plenty of seafood paella is cooked in huge pans, and churros and tapas are for sale. In addition, the festival celebrates the harvest of the region’s distinctive red Carmargue rice.
All in all, with its parades, music, and men galloping about on local Camargue horses, it’s one of the more colorful food festivals you’ll find in Europe in 2023.
Weimar: Weimar Onion Market (Weimarer Zwiebelmarkt)
October 13–15, 2023
Munich may have its Oktoberfest but Weimar, a small town southwest of Leipzig, has an Onion Market. Dating back to 1653, it’s more than 150 years older than the beer-fest in Munich.
It’s a huge market with more than 500 stalls selling everything and anything related to the popular bulb. The festival also attracts approximately 300,000 visitors each year.
In addition, there are plenty of other foods (sausages, spiced Lebkuchen cakes) and drinks, along with entertainment throughout the city. Stay for the contest to choose the “Queen of the Onion.”
Abergavenny: Abergavenny Food Festival
September 16–17, 2023
At the 25-year-old Abergavenny Food Festival, 200 exhibitors from Wales and England come together. They then host product tastings, kids’ activities, master classes, and hands-on cookery lessons. As a result, the festival has become one of the highest-profile food events in Britain and remains one of the top food festivals in Europe in 2023.
By all means visit the five festival sites in town and try everything from Welsh onion bread to Herefordshire cider. It attracts nearly 30,000 visitors and has won “Best Event in Wales” in the National Tourism Awards. All tickets must be purchased online.
Brighton: Foodies Festival 2023
April 29 – May 1, 2023
The Foodies Festival, the UK’s largest celebration of food and drink, now celebrates its eighth consecutive year. Surprisingly, this is a large touring Foodies Festival, annually hosting 13 annual festivals throughout England, Wales, and Scotland. It’s a carnival of food and entertainment that attracts large local crowds.
Note: See the schedule of all these events at https://foodiesfestival.com/
Accordingly, this year’s Brighton event includes Michelin-starred chefs, Great British Menu Winners, MasterChef Champions, and top local chefs cooking their signature recipes.
This year’s events include DIY Tea Blends, prosecco & parmesan tasting, beer and chocolate tasting, and cocktail & botanicals masterclasses.
Exeter Food and Drink Festival
June 16-18, 2023
The organizers of the Exeter Foodies Festival 2023 say the event will be their largest celebration yet. On stage will be MasterChef Champions, Michelin-starred and also top local chefs cooking their signature summer recipes. It is certainly the biggest celebration yet of top chefs, tasty food, delicious drinks, and live music.
You’ll find everything from delicious street food around the world to gourmet treats. Sample new wines, champagnes, and cocktails and meet artisan producers. Join one of the chili-eating competitions or other food challenges. There’s even a Kid’s Cookery Theatre.
London: Taste of London 2023
June 14-18, 2023
A Taste of London is certainly a great opportunity to savor the culinary creations of 40 of the city’s top restaurants and celebrity chefs. Additionally, this wonderful food festival in Europe for 2023 is an open-air feast in Regent’s Park. The five days of feasting also showcases the most popular dishes from their extensive menus.
There are workshops, tastings, masterclasses, and 200 food and drink stalls. The entrance fee is £17 per session plus additional fees for tastings, although tasting tickets (which include two dishes) and other options are also available.
In addition, this is a biannual festival; a different Taste of London event is held in November at Tobacco Dock – Wapping Lane, E1W 2SF. Dates for the November event will be confirmed later in the year.
Nantwich: Nantwich Food & Drink Festival
September 1–3, 2023
This wide-ranging Nantwich Food & Drink Festival brings together producers from Cheshire and around Britain.
Set in two main venues and smaller ones scattered about the town, it has tastings of beer and wine, sausages and vinegar, foraging walks, cookery demonstrations, jam judging, and even a cocktail workshop. There is also a wide variety of street food stalls.
Best of all, entry is free.
Békéscsaba: Csabai Sausage Festival (Csabai Kolbászfesztivál)
October 19–22, 2023
This festival, about 3 hours by car southeast of Budapest, celebrates the paprika-spiked Hungarian Csabai sausage. The highlight is the sausage-making contest in which about 500 teams compete.
Traditional pig-feast meals, a stuffed cabbage-making competition, folk music, and a wine festival are also on the festival menu. It’s attracted about 10,000 visitors in recent years.
Budapest: Gourmet Festival
June 2–4, 2023
If you enjoy gourmet Hungarian food, this is certainly the 2023 food festival in Europe in for you. According to the organizers, almost the entire list of the top chefs in Hungary will be at the festival. They include those from the countryside as well as super-stars from Budapest.
Attending past festivals, have been the World’s Best Female Chef, Poland’s first Michelin-star chef, and a pastry chef from the Food Network. The festival aims to allow people to sample all of the country’s best restaurants in one place.
Dublin: Taste of Dublin
June 15–18, 2023
First and foremost, Taste of Dublin brings together the top chefs of Dublin and Ireland. It is held in Dublin’s stunning Iveagh Gardens. Over four days, the city’s most outstanding and hottest restaurants will fashion together exquisite signature dishes.
There are also both afternoon and evening sessions, each lasting 4-5 hours, depending on the day. This will allow time for visitors to enjoy their picks of restaurant dishes, browse the artisan stalls, and enjoy some of the many attractions. Tickets are sold separately for each session.
Galway: Galway International Oyster & Seafood Festival
September 22–24, 2023
The Irish know how to party, and they throw one of the largest food festivals in Europe in Galway every September. Some say it’s the most famous Irish festival after St Patrick’s Day. But, be that as it may, it’s also the world’s longest-running Oyster Festival, now in its 66th year. If you love oysters this will likely be your choice of the best food festival in Europe during 2023.
You can down countless pints of Guinness and beer while consuming copious amounts of oysters and other seafood. It all kicks off on Friday evening with the World Oyster Opening Championship, followed by music and parties. It is one of the top food festivals in Europe.
Alba: International White Truffle Fair (Fiera del Tartufo)
October 7, 2023 – Sunday, December 3, 2023
Alba is a small Piedmontese town that comes alive every October for the Truffle Fair. It’s an important event for which some of the world’s most famous chefs also fly in for the annual truffle auction. The auction is an invitation-only event where the exotic truffles can go for more than $1,200 a pound.
In addition, it’s a festival showcasing Piedmont’s foods, including roast pork, salami, polenta, etc. Mangia!
Foligno: The First of Italy (I Primi d’Italia)
September 28 – October 1, 2023
This festival takes place in the Perugian town of Foligno. It is the first and only National Festival of First Courses….pasta, rice, soups, gnocchi, and polenta. It’s a lively festival that includes tastings, demonstrations, master classes, and even the creation of traditional medieval foods for sampling.
You’ll also find some quirky food events, such as pasta sculptures and food clips from classic movies.
Naples: Napoli Pizza Village Festival
Note: the festival is held annually in June but the exact date is not yet confirmed.
Enjoy pizza? If so, head for Naples, the home of pizza, for this spring pizza food festival in Europe in 2023. It’s held on the city’s seaside promenade (Lungomare Caracciolo).
Now in its 27th year, the festival is hosted by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (The True Neapolitan Pizza Association). Its mandate is to uphold the standards of authentic Neapolitan pizza.
You can sample a large variety of pizzas (classic Italian, wood-fired, freestyle, and even gluten-free) at the festival, which also includes free concerts and other events. In recent years up to 30,000 people have attended the 10-day event.
Amsterdam: Rolling Kitchens (Rollende Keukens)
May 17–21, 2023
Rollende Keukens is one of the more creative food festivals in Europe for 2023. For one long weekend every year in Amsterdam, dozens of gourmet-food trucks roll into the city’s Westergasfabriek Park. They then turn the park into an enormous open-air restaurant called Rolling Kitchens.
Better yet, you’ll find quite a variety of food, everything from Indian cuisine to American barbecue and fresh Italian pizza. There’s also sophisticated Dutch seafood and delicacies. Add music, dancing, and rides for the kids and the whole event takes on a county-fair atmosphere.
Portimão: Sardine Festival (Festival da Sardinha Portimão)
Note: usually held in early August but this year’s event date has not yet been announced.
If you love sardines, Portimão’s Sardine Festival on the Algarve may be your nirvana for European food festivals in 2023. Here you’ll find countless sardines charcoal-grilled and dusted with sea salt with sides of potatoes, perfect to down with a cool, crisp vinho verde.
While competitive eaters can enter the festival’s sardine-eating contest, everyone can enjoy the music when the festivities morph into a music concert at 10pm.
O Grove : Seafood Festival (Fiesta de Marisco)
October 5–15, 2023
O Grove is a Spanish town in Galicia on the Atlantic coast near the Portuguese border. It’s not a big town, but even so, it hosts one of Europe’s largest food festivals every October. The festival is dedicated to seafood, including shrimp, crabs, clams, scallops, and even barnacles). Chefs also compete to come up with an innovative mussel dish.
It’s all infused with a lot of dancing and folk music. It claims to have the best seafood in Europe and annually attracts more than 200,000 visitors over a 10-day period.
You may also enjoy: 5 Fantastic Food Markets in Europe for Dining / Some of the Best Renaissance Festivals in the US / Great Things to Do in Helsinki
Stockholm: Taste of Stockholm (Smaka på Stockholm)
June 3–11, 2023
In Sweden, people bid farewell to spring at the beginning of June when they host the Taste of Stockholm, four beautiful days of food and music in the downtown park Kungsträdgården. In 2021, before the pandemic, it attracted 350,000 people, many of whom, one would suspect, would also rate this this food festival as one of the best in Europe in 2023.
About 30 of the city’s best restaurants set up outdoor stalls to serve everything from traditional Swedish dishes to exotic creations from other parts of the world.
Also, if you’re traveling about Scandinavia, you may be able to time your trip to coincide with the festival.
Gruyères: Gruyere Cheese Festival (Fête du Fromage à Gruyères)
May 7, 2023
There’s no better place to sample Gruyère cheese than in the little medieval village of Gruyères, northeast of Lake Geneva in Switzerland. And what better time than at the annual Gruyère Festival?
This one-day festival hosts demonstrations of the traditional cheese preparation with Swiss and other European cheese makers amid the fanfare of Alpine horns, music, and flag throwing. There are cheese demonstrations and also regional handcrafts for sale.
Lugano Autumn Festival (Festa d’Autunno)
October 6–8, 2023 (estimated)
Ticino, the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland, celebrates its grape harvest every year with a huge street food fair in Lugano.
As in past years, at this food festival in Europe in 2023, you’ll find performers and street musicians offering traditional entertainment and numerous stalls offering roast pork, risotto, gnocchi, polenta, minestrone, and other Ticinese specialties.
And, of course, plenty of vino. Delizioso!
You definitely forgot to mention and include ‘open kitchen’ – Ljubljana, Slovenia. Did you know that Ljubljana Open kitchen was chosen among the top 10 street food destinations in the world The Guardian.
Open kitchen food market, every Friday from 10 am to 21 pm from April till end October, if not raining. Every week 50-60 different restaurants cooking in front of your eyes and preparing delish food to die for.
Jim Ferri says
Thanks for telling us about Ljubljana Open kitchen, which, in a column on reader’s travel tips, the UK newspaper The Guardian named as one of the world’s “best street food stalls.” Although it certainly looks interesting (and delicious), it hasn’t been included among the food festivals because it’s not a festival per se, but a weekly food market. I’m definitely going to visit it the next time I’m in Ljubljana, which is a very interesting (and often overlooked) city.