Culinary & Wine Tasting - Best Tours & Trips 2019
Culinary tours -- learning about the foods of other cultures and the fun of shopping for, cooking, and tasting them, too -- are bringing foodies to gastronomic destinations around the globe. Wine tasting tours are especially popular in much of Europe, the U.S., Chile, and South Africa.
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Relaxed A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers.
Full on For those looking to maximize their sight seeing time. You thrive on a packed day’s schedule from 8 am to 6pm, with some (but limited) free time. Most activities and meals included.
Mixed You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included.
Group Tour Groups are between 25-60 people, typically ~30-40. Usually there will be many opportunities to split off and enjoy meals and excursions in smaller groups. This is the most economical way to travel, saving up to 40% versus booking the same itinerary yourself.
Small Group Tour Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
River Cruise These vessels are smaller than most ocean cruisers, limiting which amenties are available. Passenger counts can vary. One of the biggest advantages of a river cruise is the ability to dock at smaller ports and local villages.
Small Ship Cruise Small ship cruises usually have a max passenger count of 500. The primary purpose of these trips is to spend time off the vessel in local ports (e.g. Mediterranean) or experiencing nature (e.g Galapagos or Antarctica). Cabins can vary from budget to luxury.
Private Guided Private tours give you the undivided attention of a guide, and often involve special access to sites and unique experiences not available to larger groups. This is a great option for families, couples, and small friend groups. Expect to pay a bit more for the extra service.
Self Guided / Independent Tour A travel company plans your itinerary and arranges all the logistics including lodging, local activities, and transportantion. You have the flexibility of a solo trip while still getting the convience and time savings of expert planning. Get 90% of the benefits of a tour, without a guide.
Vacation / Holiday Package Similar to a self guided tour, this usually involves a home base, such as a hotel or resort, with packaged activities and day tours as a part of the stay.
Large Ship Cruise This is the "floating city" experience, with multiple ways to enjoy your vacation aboard the ship as much as on land. Ships are multiple floors, provide several activities, culinary, and shopping options. They often make fewer stops and have less time available for shore excursions.
Camping Typically involves most nights sleeping in tents (sometimes permanent tented sites) or in rustic cabins and lodges.
Basic - 2 star You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping.
Value - 3 star Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Premium - 4 star 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Luxury - 5 star The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays.
Price Per Day
Very Easy Minimal walking - motor vehicles available for all major parts of trip.
Easy Normal generally flat walking in urban or suburban environments.
Moderate Walking or physical activity half to most of day - no carrying equipment.
Strenuous All or most of day hiking or biking, hills included.
Extreme Very challenging all day hiking and backpacking carrying significant equipment.
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Rivers & Seas
Cities & Attractions
Good for Singles Trips that specifically cater to travelers looking to meet other singles.
No Single Supplement Trips where single supplement is usually not required for solo travelers.
Flights & Transport
Continents & Regions
- Enjoy daily wine tastings, including an indulgent sampling of Benziger Family Winery’s vintages paired with a tour of their vineyards.
- Stay in the charming Gaige House, a boutique hotel in the heart of Sonoma, which boasts fireside public rooms, tranquil gardens, and easy access to wineries and hiking trails.
- Savor a picnic basket of local specialties at Buena Vista Winery, the oldest vineyard in the entire region.
- Explore Bothe-Napa Valley State Park, a beautiful landscape of oak and redwood chaparral laced by burbling creeks.
- Explore Mendoza
- Enjoy Wine Tasting
- Discover Best Wineries
- Enjoy a private, introductory, wine class at a vineyard
- Exclusive visit to St Emilion Grand Cru Classé Château
- Explore the numerous and varied cultural sights of Entre-deux-Mers
- Explore Bordeaux city
- Tasting at an exclusive Médoc wine château
- Get a real taste of some of India's most famous culinary traditions – Mughal, Rajasthani, and the Portuguese-tinged flavours of Goa – while feasting with locals in family-run restaurants, rural homes, or in temples
- Get in touch with an amazing array of street food on eye-opening and adventurous cuisine crawls
- Take in the splendor of the Taj Mahal in Agra, followed by a cooking demonstration and lunch in a local home
- Visit a working spice farm to view the secret 'building blocks' of Indian cuisine at their source
- Learn to prepare your own authentic regional Indian dishes from expert home cooks and working chefs
- Taste the true heart of India through its food – explore the ingredients, flavours and tastes of the key southern Indian food regions of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu
- Get a truly local insight into Madurai’s street food scene guided by a passionate foodie
- Learn about Chettinad cuisine an impressive nineteenth century mansion – the Chettiars have a reputation of eating like kings!
- Dine in some of Spain's finest restaurants, enjoying paired tasting menus
- Discover the secrets of Spain's world-famous wine region Ribera del Duero
- Savour delicious and thought-provoking food at Michelin-starred restaurants
- Picture yourself exploring Spain's four world-famous wine regions
- Enjoy a countryside picnic in the middle of the vineyards of Ribera del Duero
- Be amazed by an architectural masterpiece designed by world-famous architect Antoni Gaudí
- Enjoy VIP wine tastings at selected wine states in four different Spanish wine regions
- Let the sun shine on you at the "Rias Baixas", full of unspoilt white sand beaches
- Sleep in style at a 12th century medieval abbey turned world-class hotel surrounded by vineyards
- Walk the classic rolling hills of Tuscany
- Stay in a converted farmhouse
- Enjoy the fabulous Chianti wines
- Tap into the local scene while experiencing two of Italy’s prized wine regions
- Meet the maker. Come face-to-face with the people who produce the wine and experience their undeniable passion first hand
- Taste award winning varietals while traversing the wine-soaked medieval villages of lesser-known Italy
- Indulge in wine and dishes that are fresh, local & organic – the original Slow Food or Slow Drink – at its finest
- Walk the winding medieval streets of Ascoli Piceno, and experience one of the most awe-inspiring piazzas in Italy
- Get to know Italy’s rolling hills and hill-top villages. Explore many of Italy’s “Borghi Piu Belli d’Italia”
- Experience 360 degree views of ancient olive groves & vineyards lined with Montepulciano grapes
- Enter a local family-run wine estate and learn the story of centuries old wine making tradition
- Picture yourself savouring scrumptious tasting menus at two-starred Michelin restaurants
- Admire a stunning masterpiece : "El Capricho"
- Discover a nature lover's paradise : "Picos de Europa" National Park
- See and be inspired by the sights and sounds of Santander, the pearl of the Cantabrian Sea
- Enjoy the cider culture in Asturias, and learn how to pour it like a local
- Enjoy "Jamón Ibérico" surrounded by nature at the top of the mountains of "Picos de Europa"
- Explore Bordeaux
- See fascinating Bordeaux’s highlights, including the Place des Quinconces
- Visit Saint-Émilion, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Discover Blaye
- Enjoy a wine country tour featuring several wine-tasting opportunities
- Explore cultural touring of Lima’s impressive historic district
- Visit Sacred Valley
- Visit to Ollantaytambo and learn cooking
- Discover spectacular Machu Picchu
- A la carte Dinner at the Chef’s Table at Le Cirque, atop the Leela Palace Hotel New Delhi, where you will have the opportunity to meet and dine with India’s elite(4)
- Cooking demonstration and set menu luncheon at Le Cirque
- “Farm to Fork” set menu lunch experience with the chef of Varanasi’s Nadesar Palace Hotel
- Dinner in the home of one of Udaipur’s most influential residents
- Three specialty set menu lunches and four a la carte dinners at seven of India’s finest restaurants selected especially for this Culinary Journey by Ms. Shikha Mishra, one of India’s premier Food Critics
- Explore the major foodie regions of Istria (prsut ham, olive oils, wine, truffles) and Dalmatia (sheep’s milk cheese, lamb, maraschino cherrys)
- Delve into the diverse world of food that lies beneath Slovenia’s fairytale landscape, and find out why this country has more than 20 distinct culinary regions
- Get to know some of the emerging heroes of the Eastern European wine scene – teran, refosk, grk, marastina, and kurtelaška bijela (and try to pronounce them after a few glasses)
- Explore Mendoza
- Trekking in the Andes
- Explorew Wineries
- Enjoy Wine tasting
- Explore Rome
- Discover Macerata and get an opportunity to visit the town of Recanati
- Visit to the tiny Republic of San Marino
- Explore Urbino one of Italy’s fascinating towns of the Renaissance.
- Visit is to Gradara, a medieval village dominated by its magnificent castle which overlooks the Adriatic Sea
- Explore Pesaro and get an opportunity to see Civic Museums and several churches
- Experience visits to Loreto, Recanati, Gradara, San Marino and Novilara.
- Food is taken seriously in Japan. From the station tonkatsu restaurant to the highest end sushi, Japanese people take pride in the cooking and presentation, and any bad meal is incredibly rare
- Tasting succulent Hida beef in Takayama is the definition of a melt-in-your-mouth moment
- Exploring the unexpected underground foodie treasure trove that is a depachika (department store food court)
- Staying alongside the brothers of a monastery in Koya-san and discovering shojin ryori – vegetarian Buddhist food - a tradition over 800 years old
- Experiencing the simple pleasures of obanzai ryori – the traditional home cuisine of Kyoto – in a cooking class
- Snacking on awesome and adventurous street food in the unofficial culinary capital of Osaka
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Top Culinary & Wine Tasting Experiences
Attending a private wine tasting in Marlborough, New Zealand and getting a sense of how the unique terroir lends to their crisp and delicious Sauvignon Blanc.
Chocolate tasting in France
Touring a biodynamic farm and winery in Dry Creek, California
Being introduced to a multitude of new spices in Morocco
Making pasta and pizza in Italy from scratch with the help of Italian cooks!
A dairy farm tour which culminated in a delicious cheese tasting in Marin County, California.
Sampling the tasty dishes of Bangkok and learning how to make them at a Thai cooking class.
Touring the vineyards and bodegas of Mendoza, Argentina, on a bike (rather shakily!).
Culinary & Wine Tasting Trip Reviews
929 Culinary & Wine Tasting Tour Reviews - Summary 99% Recommend
Culinary & Wine Tasting Tours and Travel Guide
Culinary & Wine Tasting Attractions & Landmarks Guide
Culinary tours -- learning about the foods of other cultures and the fun of shopping for, cooking, and tasting them, too -- are bringing foodies and people who just like to eat to gastronomic destinations around the globe. Wine tasting tours are especially popular in much of Europe, Chile, and South Africa.
Exploring New Tastes
A culinary tour is a fabulous way to discover a country. Food is such an integral part of culture, from all sorts of fascinating aspects including economics, politics, trade, and family dynamics just to name a few. A culinary tour will introduce you to many different flavors, spices, flavor combinations, and cooking styles. It’s important to be open to all tastes, and even if you don’t think you’ll enjoy a particular dish, try it anyway!
Finding the Right Culinary Tour
Consider where you want to go and what sort of culinary experience you are looking for. Regional cuisine? Local restaurants? Do you have dietary restrictions? Italy might not be the best choice for the gluten-free, but consider Argentina, Morocco, or Thailand instead. Vegetarians might try a garden focused tour. From organic to biodynamic, the world of farm to table is a vegetarians dream.
Thailand in particular is well known as a foodie destination, with some of the best street food in the entire world. If street food makes you wary, Thailand is a place to give it a shot. While western standards of food safety are less prevelant, there's less chance you'll get sick if you take a tour. The best Thailand tours will spend a good amount of time exploring the cuisine of the country.
Europe has grown by leaps and bounds in culinary tourism, with up and coming destinations beginning to shine next to their more famous counterparts in Italy, Spain, and Greece just to name a few.
Consider Switzerland - land of chocolate and cheese! Switzerland trips almsot always include a food component. Somehow the pristine Alpine beauty becomes that much more beautiful when paired with delicious treats.
Eastern Europe certainly didn't used to be known for it's incredible cuisine - the region had somewhat more serious things going on during the time when Western Europe experienced the first major travel boom of recent years. But today, this region is thriving and the cuisine has elevated from the common peasant dishes feature meat and potatoes (though those are still good too!)
Consider the Czech Republic for some truly tasty treats and of course the beer!
Proper Wine Tasting Etiquette
The world of wine tasting has become much more popular among a wider demographic over the past several years. Unfortunately this also means there are some who still treat the activity as a bar experience rather than what it actually is. Exercising proper wine tasting etiquette is important for not only enhancing your experience, but the experience of those around you.
First, it is not taboo to not finish a taste if you don’t want to. There should always be spit buckets provided for this purpose, and it is not offensive to use them. Pour out what you don’t want to finish and have your glass ready for the next pour.
Second, the tasting bar is NOT a bar in the traditional sense. It is an opportunity to taste wines, discuss wines, discover new varietals, and enjoy your group’s company. Will you get slightly buzzed? Most likely, and that’s ok. But it is not an environment in which this is the goal. And plus, you can visit more wineries and experience more if you pace yourself!
Your tasting room attendant is a wealth of information! They love answering questions and talking about wine, but also are the perfect people to ask for recommendations on restaurants or other activities nearby.
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