Fall Travel: Take a culinary vacation and savor the flavors

Food festivals and tours highlight seafood, barbecue, beer and more.

If your favorite restaurant seat is at the counter overlooking the kitchen, and TV food shows are stacked on your TiVo, then a culinary getaway is just for you. Sure, sit on the beach, explore the local history and check out the unique shopping, but make the main attraction a foodie event worth savoring. Whether it’s sipping an assortment of bourbons, exploring local farms before enjoying their bounties or strolling a street fair of local cuisine, book a food-focused vacation at any of these delicious destinations.

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

Barcelona, Spain

History, luxury and an award for having the best breakfast in a European hotel make a stay at the five-star Majestic Hotel and Spa in Barcelona a can’t-miss experience. The hotel’s three dining options are overseen by Michelin-rated Chef Nandu Jubany, the hotel’s gastronomic advisor, and Executive Chef David Romero. Both have developed stellar reputations for their use of seasonal and regional ingredients. Go behind the scenes and learn how they do it with Majestic Experiences, culinary-themed excursions designed to introduce guests to the local food scene. Start with a chauffeured drive to a nearby kitchen garden that supplies the hotel’s vegetables each day. Later, enjoy the leeks, beans, artichokes and peas that might become part of the menus. Visit the Alta Alella Winery and learn about the grapes produced for the hotel’s exclusive vintages that can be paired later with a tasting menu. Explore the city’s fish market, a favorite of food pros who bid daily on the best catch of the day. Meet with a marine biologist who will provide insight on the port, the fishing industry and the market’s history, then sample a selection of tapas at a neighborhood cafe before heading back to the hotel for a seafood dinner. Just be sure to save room for the award-winning breakfast buffet that covers everything from local cheeses to made-to-order hot dishes and exquisite pastries.

Majestic Experiences.$300-$1,995. Passeig de Gracia 68-70, Barcelona, Spain. +34-93-488-1717, majestichotelgroup.com.

Brevard County, Florida

Head to this seaside county for the annual Oyster and Fish Fry on Oct. 29. Join the hundreds who will converge on Field Manor, a 45-acre, 1880s homestead listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The culinary stars are local seafood delicacies from the Treasure Coast, paired with locally brewed beers, but history plays a role, too, as the 19th century mansion and its packing house are open for tours. The all-ages event includes music, games, raffles and a silent auction, with all proceeds going to renovate the landmark property. While in the county, sign on for a culinary trip to Cocoa Village with stops at several quaint restaurants or take the recently added tour of four eateries in historic downtown Melbourne; $88 per person.

Annual Oyster and Fish Fry. Oct. 29. $15-$55. 750 Field Manor Drive, Merritt Island, Florida. 321-848-0365, fieldmanor.org.

Credit: Photography by Deremer Studios,

Credit: Photography by Deremer Studios,

Fernandina Beach, Florida

As the name suggests, at least 20 craft beers are the main attraction at the Island Hop Craft Beer Fest that takes over Fernandina Beach’s Central Park Oct. 1. But the beverage selection goes well beyond brews: Look for ciders, seltzers and cocktails as well from local and regional brewers and distillers. Pair your choices with bites from food trucks and settle in to enjoy live music or sip while shopping the craft market along Main Street. This is the second year for the event, hosted by the nonprofit Fernandina Beach Main Street, and the weekend’s festivities have expanded to include a 5K run, a two-hour river cruise and a free jazz concert. VIP tickets get you in before the crowds and access to the vendors and producers. Entry fees are reduced for non-drinkers and children older than 12; kids under 12 are free. And Fido is welcome; there’s even a dog park.

Island Hop Craft Beer Fest. Oct. 1. $5-$59. 1200 Atlantic Ave., Fernandina Beach, Florida. 906-624-7147, islandhopcraftbeerfest.com.

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

Greenville, Mississippi

For the last 10 years, around 30,000 foodies who like it hot have headed to this western Mississippi town in October to celebrate its reputation as the “Hot Tamale Capital of the World.” Local lore says the food first appeared in the area in the early 20th century when migrant workers from Mexico arrived to help with the cotton crops, but another legend says Mississippi troops brought it back from the U.S. Mexican War. While the historical facts are hazy, there’s no doubt the variety of the celebrated hand-helds stuffed with tangy meat are spicy and tasty. Along with tamale tastings, festival-goers can attend panel discussions and cooking demos, shop the artisan booths and enjoy live music.

Delta Hot Tamale Festival. Oct. 14-15. Free. 504 Central St., Greenville, Mississippi. 662-378-3121, mainstreetgreenville.com.

Credit: Melissa Corbin

Credit: Melissa Corbin


Sure, Nashville is known for its music scene. But foodies also know its reputation for great barbecue, too. Each Friday and Saturday on the Nashville BBQ, Beer and Bourbon Food Tour, local experts lead ‘cue fans to some of the city’s top destinations, where the pit masters offer peeks behind-the-scenes at the process. Along the way, sample smoked meats paired with spirits and traditional sides. One stop is a local craft brewery that serves a flight of seasonal beers. Add on some special experiences, such as a two-night stay at the Omni Hotel with private car and helicopter transport to the Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Lynchburg where you’ll be presented with your own private barrel of single select whiskey that can be shipped home in crystal decanters. Other options: “Goos & Booze,” a hands-on candy making session at Goo Goo Chocolate Company, home of the city’s famed Goo Goo Cluster candy bar; or a tour and food-and-wine pairing with five varietals at the city’s first winery, Belle Meade Historic Site & Winery.

Nashville BBQ, Beer and Bourbon Food Tour. $129. 712 Dickerson Pike, Suite 202, Nashville, Tennessee. 615-436-0187, mintjuleptours.com.

Nassau, Bahamas

Explore the best of Caribbean cuisine during the inaugural Bahamas Culinary and Arts Festival Oct. 21-23. Taking place at the luxury Baha Mar resort, the event features 45 restaurants and bars, highlighted by appearances of international celeb chefs Marcus Samuelsson of Marcus at Baha Mar Fish + Chop House, Daniel Boulud of Cafe Boulud and Dario Cochimi of Carnac, who will lead interactive cooking demonstrations. Enjoy an al fresco feast on Long Cay, Baha Mar’s private island, and dine-arounds at the area’s top restaurants. Local artists will be on hand and working on their latest creations. In between bites, guests can relax on the resort’s stretch of Cable Beach, in the casino, at the water park, in the spa or on the golf course.

Bahamas Culinary & Arts Festival. Oct. 21-23. $79-$499. 1 Baha Mar Blvd., Nassau, Bahamas. +1 242-788-8800, bahamar.com.

St. Augustine, Florida

Previously based on Jekyll Island, the Whiskey, Wine & Wildlife weekend now has a new home on Vilano Beach near St. Augustine. The Nov. 4-6 event still features all-inclusive tasting tickets with unlimited bites and samplings of wines, beers and spirits; cooking demos; and a silent auction. Add-on experiences include interactive cooking classes where dishes are paired with a wine, beer or cocktail, and happy hour on the beach’s pier complete with a whole hog barbecue. The wildlife element is highlighted in guided tours of the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve, followed by a wine and cheese reception. The event’s proceeds benefit the reserve.

Whiskey, Wine & Wildlife. Nov. 4-6. $45-$119. Address. 260 Vilano Road, St. Augustine, Florida. 904-385-9121, whiskeywineandwildlife.com.

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

Trondheim, Norway

Yes, there’s more to Norway than lutefisk. During the Norway for Foodies Journey, travelers can explore the country’s array of culinary features. The eight-day trips, run by the Up Norway travel company, take diners into some of the top restaurants in the Trondheim-Trøndelag region, named the 2022 European Region of Gastronomy by the International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture, Arts and Tourism. Experiences include daily food and beverage samplings of local specialties and microbrews, dinners at Michelin-rated restaurants, tea and wine tastings, workshops on sustainable food production and sessions on Norway’s culinary history. Foraging excursions and tours of historic sites and local art galleries are part of the experience, but there’s also free time to stroll along a beach, bike a forest trail or soak in the stunning landscapes. Plan ahead to be on hand for one of the world’s major food challenges when the city hosts the European semi-final of the World Chef Championships in 2024.

Norway for Foodies. $4,006. Up Norway, c/o Spaces, Kristian Augusts gate 13, 0164, Oslo, Norway. +47 412-62-960, upnorway.com.