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    22 European Foods That Are Worth Traveling For

    Let's face it: The best part of travel is the food.

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    1. Pierogi in Poland

    bowl of pierogi dumplings topped with chives and a spoonful of sour cream on the side
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    There are a lot of amazing reasons to visit Poland, but "eating pierogi" should be at the top of your list. These little dumplings can be filled with literally anything; common varieties include potato and cheese, meat and cabbage, and just plain veggies. They're often served topped with sour cream and fried onion or pork. Dessert pierogi are also popular, filled with fruit and sweet cheese. YUM.

    2. Pastéis de nata in Portugal

    palm-sized egg custard tarts with flaky pastry on a patterned table
    Annapustynnikova / Getty Images

    Delicious pastéis de nata — Portuguese tarts — can be found around the world, but no one can beat the experts. These flaky, golden-brown pastries are filled with a caramelized custard that's just the right level of sweet. Have it with a strong black coffee, and you'll taste perfection.

    3. Kanelbullar in Sweden

    bowl full of buns with swirls of cinnamon running through the dough
    Sarah Biesinger / Getty Images

    "Kanelbullar" literally translates as "cinnamon buns," and we can promise you that they're better than any you've ever tried before. Soft and chewy dough, spiced with cardamom, is lined with a buttery, cinnamony filling and rolled into little knots. They're best enjoyed fresh out of the oven and can be found in most Swedish bakeries — you'll be able to smell them from a block away.

    4. Lakror in Albania

    flaky, golden brown pastry filled spinach and cheese
    Constantinosz / Getty Images

    This dish is kind of a mashup of Turkish börek and Greek spanakopita; it's a flaky, buttery pastry usually filled with a mixture made of spinach or leek, egg, and yogurt. It's often made by grandmas but is also a common low-cost street food available at bakeries. It is widely available in the mountain city of Korçë but can be found around the country.

    5. Bryndza in Slovakia

    plate of small creamy-looking potato dumplings topped with a cheesy sauce, spring onion, and diced bacon
    Phbcz / Getty Images

    In the mountainous northern regions of Slovakia, one of the major industries — along with tourism — is sheep. Bryndza, a form of sheep cheese, is a component of many Slovak dishes and is also eaten on toast with eggs, or just by the spoonful. Try Slovakia's national dish, bryndzové halušky (pictured above), its version of cheesy gnocchi.

    6. Currywurst in Germany

    chopped up sausages sprinkled with curry powder and a pile of french fries
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    We all know Germans make good sausages, but currywurst is on another level. This popular street food — often enjoyed after a night out drinking — involves chopped-up sausages topped with a ketchup that's mixed with curry powder. It sounds strange, but something about it just works. Have it with a side of fries.

    7. Waffles in Belgium

    golden brown waffle topped with light sprinkling of powdered sugar
    Svetlanais / Getty Images

    A waffle in Belguim is better than you could even imagine: warm and sweet, crispy on the outside but soft on the inside. Touristy places serve them topped with whipped cream, chocolate syrup, and fruit, but it's better to restrain yourself. The locals eat them with a light dusting of icing sugar, which really lets the waffle shine as the incredible creation it is.

    Check out: 21 Ways Belgium Makes the World a Better Place

    8. Arancini in Italy

    crispy, golden fried ball of rice with a meat filling
    Dvcdvd84 / Getty Images

    We don't need to tell you that food in Italy is good. But before you make a beeline for the pasta and pizza, consider the humble arancino. It's a ball of rice, stuffed with meat, cheese, or veggies, then crumbed and fried to golden perfection. Arancini are often eaten as a quick snack or as lunch on the go — a favorite meal of budget-conscious students.

    Check out: Italy Has 20 Regions — Here's a Typical Dish From Each One

    9. Bocadillo de jamón in Spain

    crusty baguette filled with generous amounts of thinly sliced jamon (ham)
    Proformabooks / Getty Images

    It looks like a normal ham sandwich, but don't ever underestimate a good bocadillo de jamón. The inside of crusty-but-soft Spanish baguettes is often rubbed with olive oil and garlic, to add more flavor, before thin smoked ham is layered in. Some variations might also include manchego cheese, peppers, tomato, or olives, but even the simple plain ones are delicious.

    Check out: 19 Cheap Dishes Every Foodie Must Try in Barcelona

    10. Moussaka in Greece

    big slice of moussaka with a golden brown top, served on a white plate
    Beats3 / Getty Images

    The best moussaka is messy and oozy and kinda mushy-looking. It consists of layers of eggplant and ground lamb cooked in tomato sauce, topped with a fluffy cream béchamel sauce, then baked in the oven. The meat is usually slow-cooked with spices, making it absolutely packed with flavor.

    Check out: 22 Delicious Greek Foods Everyone Needs to Taste

    11. Karjalanpiirakka in Finland

    rustic-looking hand pies with a bread-like crust and a potato filling
    Misuma / Getty Images

    If you find the name to be more of a mouthful than the food itself, it's also often called a "karelian pie." It's made of simple ingredients, but you wouldn't guess that by tasting it. A thin rye crust is stuffed with potatoes, rice, or carrots and various other ingredients. Keep an eye out for one topped with egg butter — a mix of butter and hard-boiled eggs — which adds another dimension to the dish.

    12. Soupe à l'oignon in France

    bowl of caramelized onion soup topped with a slice of toasted baguette and melted cheese
    Bonchan / Getty Images

    France has a lot of amazing food, but you can't take a trip there without trying French onion soup. It's thick and rich — the ultimate comfort food. A base soup of onions and meat stock is topped off with crusty bread, which is sometimes grilled with cheese.

    Check out: 19 Truly French Foods You Have to Eat at Least Once

    13. Ćevapi in Bosnia-Herzegovina

    logs of grilled meat inside a thick pita-like bread
    Sanja Cokolic / Getty Images

    These little meat logs (sounds gross, but stay with us) are available in a lot of Balkan countries. They're essentially a skinless sausage, usually served alongside a delicious red bell pepper sauce called ajvar. They're a great drunk food and are often eaten wrapped in bread like a kebab.

    Check out: 21 Reasons Why Mostar Is the Coolest City You’ve Never Heard Of

    14. Haggis in Scotland

    a plate of haggis with mashed potatoes and other mashed vegetables
    Pichunter / Getty Images

    The concept of haggis sounds disgusting, but it's surprisingly pretty great — even if you order it just to say you've tried it. It's minced sheep offal (heart, liver, and lungs) mixed with onion, oatmeal, and spices, which is then all boiled together in a sheep's stomach. It's usually served with neeps and tatties, aka mashed potato and turnip.

    Check out: Scottish Food, Explained for Americans

    15. Mekitsi in Bulgaria

    plate of three fried balls of dough sprinkled with powdered sugar
    Vili45 / Getty Images

    This traditional Bulgarian snack is kind of like a flat donut. The dough is made with yogurt, then shaped into a flat disc and deep fried. It's typically eaten for breakfast, dusted with powdered sugar, and enjoyed with fruit and yogurt. Or go the savory route and top it with soft cheese. You can't go wrong either way.

    16. Bramborák in Czechia

    plate of crispy potato pancakes
    OksanaKiian / Getty Images

    This is essentially a potato pancake, but it's so, so tasty. Grated potato is combined with egg and spices, then panfried. It's a common street food snack all through the country; some regional variations incorporate sauerkraut or meat into the pancake. You can buy them at delis, or lahůdky.

    Check out: 16 Foods From Prague That'll Have You Buying a Plane Ticket ASAP

    17. Tavče gravče in North Macedonia

    hearty bean stew in a bowl on a wooden board with chilli garnish
    Marharyta Fatieieva / Getty Images

    This simple, traditional meal is sometimes referred to as the country's national dish — it turns cheap, basic ingredients into a real flavor bomb. Fresh beans are stewed in oil and tomato sauce with a ton of onions and spices. When it's done right, it's cooked and served in an earthenware pot, and it'll knock your socks off.

    18. Chicken paprikash in Hungary

    tender piece of chicken on the bone with a creamy orange paprika sauce and small shell-shaped pasta on the size
    Siims / Getty Images

    For this dish, chicken is stewed in a thick, rich paprika sauce, finished with sour cream. You'll often find it served with nokedli, a Hungarian pasta-dumpling hybrid. It's a heavy dish, best suited to cold winter nights rugged up inside.

    Check out: The Ultimate Weekend Guide to Budapest on a Budget

    19. Raclette in Switzerland

    half a wheel of gooey melted cheese being scraped onto a piece of bread
    Denniro / Getty Images

    Two words: "melted cheese." This dish is named after the Swiss cheese raclette, which is melted on a griddle or off the rind itself. It's usually served on potatoes with pickles and onions, or with bread if it's being eaten as a street food on the go.

    20. Smørrebrød in Denmark

    Traditional Danish open sandwiches, dark rye bread with different fresh toppings
    Anikona / Getty Images

    These are open-faced sandwiches on a base of buttered rye bread, typically topped with some variation of eggs, cheese, meat, or fish. Some smørrebrød-makers might take it up a level and add even more fancy toppings. Resist the temptation to eat it with your hands — the Danes use a knife and fork to make sure the toppings stay intact. There's actually a whole social etiquette to eating smørrebrød, how they're assembled, and the order in which they're consumed. Maybe it's best to do it with a local who can show you the ropes!

    21. Barbagiuan in Monaco

    22. Apfelstrudel in Austria

    a slice of apple strudel with a golden-brown pastry and thin slices of apple inside
    Anzeletti / Getty Images

    You can't go to Austria without trying strudel at least once — but as soon as you taste it, you'll be ordering it every day. Apple is the most iconic variety: Thin pastry is filled with apple, spices, sugar, and often raisins. Have it with a cup of coffee for a perfect sweet breakfast.

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