10 Aug, 2012 @ 17:06
1 min read

Foodie heaven: Spain voted into world’s top five food destinations

spanish paella

SPAIN has been voted into the world’s top five ‘foodie’ destinations for travellers.

A worldwide survey of 27,000 travellers, conducted by Hotels.com, found eating is a big drive for holidaymakers when planning and booking holidays.

And the popularity of paella and tapas helped Spain clinch 11% of the votes.

Italy meanwhile took the gold medal for the world’s best holiday food with 32% of respondents ranking pizza, pasta and gelato their numero uno.

France, famous for its pastries, baguettes and Michelin-starred restaurants, came in second with 24%, while Japan came in third with 18% for its sashimi, sushi and tempura.

Mainland China ranked fourth in the survey, followed by Spain.

The US, Mexico, Thailand, Taiwan and India make up the rest of the top ten.

“Sampling the local cuisine when travelling can be such a rewarding experience and it’s no wonder it plays such a big part in the decision-making process for travellers,” said Hotels.com spokeswoman Katherine Birch.

“Asking friends and family or joining social media networks for passionate travellers are great ways to find out the best local treats to try and where.”

For tips on where to eat in Andalucia, check out the Olive Press’ sister website www.diningsecretsof


  1. What a joke,
    Paella is not a national dish it applies only to the Med coast and therefore cannot be used as a reference to Spain as a whole. The ordinary meal available in Spanish restaurants as a whole is various forms of ‘meat and chips’.

    The days of eating well and cheaply all over France are long gone. Nowhere in Europe can you eat as well or as cheaply as in a well run UK pub and that applies right across the board.

    Thailand/India and Taiwan have superb cuisines developed over centuries.

    After watching Chef Ramsey and his US visits I was appalled at the ‘quality’ he found and the filthy state of the kitchens and storage facilities.

    Visit places like the Basketmakers in Brighton. The landlord ‘Blue’ set a standard a long time ago and has never dropped it, nor the standard of care in the cellar with his real ales – I used it for years and years from the days of the Bikers and art students – I have never found anywhere that matches the food,beers or atmosphere anywhere in Europe and I’ve eaten in quite few European countries.

    Remember this survey was supposed to be about the ‘local cuisine’ not about super expensive nouveau cuisine.

  2. @Stuart – I feel sorry for you because if you are STILL in Spain, you must be either starving or paying a fortune to ship in your Brit pub fare. If you comment on this, add your location in Spain – I’ll send you a bunch of good places to eat that serve many great local Spanish dishes (without the chips) inexpensively. Sounds like you are missing a good bit that Spain has to offer, or you just miss the UK fine dining.
    As to the “serious” of this Survey – Italy placed #1 with dishes like PIZZA considered ?!! Molte Bene!

  3. I have always been amazed at the lack of diversity in food in Spain. You can see a row of twenty restaurants, all serving some version of the exact same food. Spain seems to have a severe lack of diversity in cuisine, particularly international cuisine.

    The food can be good or bad. But it’s always the exact same thing no matter where you go. I have a feeling this is why McDonalds is actually one of the most popular places for Spanish youth. Because it’s either a hamburger or some type of fried seafood.

    Contrast to the USA or the UK – you can walk down the street and see French, Indian, Moroccan, Mexican, Pakistani, Japanese and even Ethiopian or Mongolian restaurants all on the same block.

  4. @ Reality

    Good one lol!

    Spanish cuisine is as diverse, as any other country’s cuisine. I wouldn’t put paella up as the “star” dish in Spain, but then, as with everything, it very much depends on who you ask. If you ask a local they would give you an A4 page full of their favourite dishes. Same for the different regions you visit, but it would mostly entail foods that the everyday tourist, wouldn’t go near with a barge pole, simply because it is not “normal” to them or recognizable on a menu. It has taken quite a few years for say, octopus, to be acceptable to some tourists, so forget the excellence of a good plate of menudo! Give a regular tourist a good plate of chips with anything, and some ketchup if you please! So who can blame the restauranteurs for dishing out what is acceptable to their clients.

  5. @ Stuart Crawford

    It’s nice to remember the places where you have have had the best food in your life. These memories usually go hand in hand with the best years. Happens to all of us, and I am not being patronizing, I assure you.

    But as sometimes happens too, if you ever revisit these places, you may find that what seemed wonderful then, doesnt quite hit the mark now, something is usually missing. Might be the cook is different or maybe the decor and the ambience is not quite what made up that memory.

    Why doesn’t boiled ham taste like it did when I was a kid? Maybe because then it was more of a luxury than it is now or seeing it cut before you on the bone and served up is not the same as buying it in a plastic container from a fridge in your local supermarket.

  6. The food is bad in Spain in general. The Spanish serve one piece of meat with a potato or chips and that is it. That is why most of them are empty. I have almost given up eating out in rural Spain. I can cook much better at home and I normally bring ingredients with me. It is a shame as the fruits and vegetable sin Spain are so fresh, but you will not find many in a Spanish restaurant. Paella is good but many restaurants want a days notice to order it. There is more choice on the coastal areas.

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