10 Travel Destinations Every Cheese Lover Should Visit

Creamy or aged, orange or blue, artisan or not, cheese has been our silent companion for as long as history can recall.

Whether paired with a classy wine, a French baguette, an exquisite Jamon, nuts and honey, or maybe grilled and unpretentiously topped on a sandwich, cheese remains one of the world’s most varied and versatile aliments, and an endless topic of fascination for enthusiasts from all over.

Here are the world’s top travel destinations to indulge your passion for cheese.

Normandy, France

Étretat, Normandy

Widely famous for its superior dairy products, lovely coastline, historical towns, and picturesque countryside dotted with apple orchards, Normandy is also an ideal destination for cheese lovers. From the renowned creamy and mild Camembert to the pungent Livarot and the slightly crumbly Neufchâtel, the beautiful region along the coast of the English Channel boasts one of the most exquisite cheese boards in France.

The highlight of your trip should be the small village of Camembert, in the Orne department of Lower Normandy, where a rich variety of cheesy attractions await to be discovered. These include the Cheese Museum, built in the shape of a Camembert cheese; the Beamoncel – the manor house of Marie Harel (creator of the famous cheese); Héronnière Farm – Fromagerie Durand; and the President Farm, where you can indulge in plenty of cheese and learn everything about Camembert, from the history to the making process. Enhance your journey with a visit to the Cheese Factory in the pretty old town of Livarot.

La Mancha, Spain

La Mancha region

Home of Don Quixote, El Greco, and some of Spain’s most beautiful and authentic towns (including Cuenca and Toledo), La Mancha region takes pride in delivering the most famous Spanish cheese – Manchego.

Highly appreciated for its full buttery texture and slightly piquant flavor, Queso Manchego, or the cheese of Don Quixote, is exclusively produced from the milk of Manchega sheep breed in designated areas within the La Mancha region, including the provinces of Toledo, Cuenca, Ciudad Real, and Albacete.

For a true taste of Spain, pair it with Serrano ham and one of the local reds (La Mancha is one of the world’s largest wine-producing areas). An equally delicious alternative is to serve Manchego cheese as a dessert, with honey and nuts.

Top off your cheese experience in La Mancha with a visit to Artequeso (Finca La Prudenciana) – an historic cattle and agricultural property in Tembleque, where you can learn everything about the manufacturing process of artisan Manchego cheese.

Emilia Romagna, Italy

Bologna, Emilia Romagna

The northern Italian region of Emilia Romagna is the birthplace of Parmigiano Reggiano – the “King of all Cheeses”, which, together with Modena’s unparalleled balsamic vinegar, Parma’s famous ham, and Bologna’s patented delicacies, defines one of the finest gastronomic regions in Italy.

A visit here will offer you the opportunity to combine your passion for cheese with some fabulous sightseeing. Reggio Emilia, Modena, Parma, and Bologna, are all dotted with charming medieval and Renaissance marvels, and traditional caseifici (cheese factories).

The distinguished Parmigiano Reggiano cheese has its roots almost 8 centuries ago and nowadays is still made using the same genuine time-honored methods. A visit to the Parmigiano Reggiano in Soragna will certainly be the highlight of your trip.

Somerset, South West England

Pub in Somerset

The picturesque South West England, with its charming villages, serene rural landscapes, and old pubs serving delightful local food, is an ideal culinary getaway, whether you’re into traditional farms, alluring food markets, gastronomic festivals, or award-winning restaurants.

Somerset is increasingly gaining recognition for a great range of traditional, blue, and new cheeses, but what really put it on the world map was, and will always be, the versatile Cheddar.

Take some time to explore the village of Cheddar, which gave birth to the most popular type of cheese in the UK, and pay a visit to the famous Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company to see the only cheesemakers left in town practicing their skills.

If you visit Somerset in the fall, don’t miss the annual Frome Agricultural & Cheese Show, which takes place in September.

Asturias, Spain

Rural Asturias

Often called El Pais de los Quesos (Land of Cheese), the wild and beautiful Asturias in northern Spain is a real paradise for the discerning cheese lover. The region offers a wonderful experience in every possible way, combining its spectacular natural beauty with the sweetness of rural life and an abundance of activities.

The most famous Asturian cheese is Cabrales, known for its pungent, strong flavor, but the area features a pretty interesting selection of cheeses, including Afuega’l pitu – the oldest Spanish cheese with its headquarters in the municipality of Grado; Casin – made in southern Asturias; and Gamonéu – a delicious, lightly smoked cheese originating in the village with the same name.

The Netherlands’ Cheese Markets

Cheese Market in The Netherlands
Photo via KaasdragersGilde

The charming medieval cheese markets in The Netherlands are a feast for any cheese passionate out there. Whether you choose to visit the iconic Gouda Cheese Market in western Netherlands (South Holland) or those located in the northern part of the country – including the traditional Edam Cheese Market, the famous Alkmaar, or the one held in the appealing city of Hoorn – you’ll certainly have an excellent experience, filled with plenty of culture, entertainment, and, of course, cheese.

Undeniably the most famous Dutch cheese, Gouda can be savored in its entire splendor at the Gouda Kaasmarkt throughout the summer months, when farmers, Dutch Cheese Girls and Boys, as well as huge wheels of Gouda bring to life the fairytale-like city, offering visitors a genuine spectacle.

The 400-year old Alkmaar Cheese Market held each year between April and September on Waagplein square is an equally delightful affair. Here you can combine a visit to the market with a pleasant sightseeing tour and even a stopover at the Dutch Cheese Museum, in the heart of the city.

If you want to add a bit of history to your cheese escapade, go explore the wonderful Edam Cheese Market, where the magic product is still brought here by boat or horse-drawn cart. The city lies only a few km away from Amsterdam, which makes it a convenient day trip from the capital.

Idiazabal, Spanish Basque Country

Cheese Market in Idiazabal
Photo via Quesosaranburu

Beautiful, unique, and blessed with stunning natural landscapes and an exquisite cultural heritage that sets it apart from the rest of Spain, the Basque Country is a wonderful setting to explore your passion for cheese. The region is widely known for its intense Idiazabal cheese made with sheep milk from Latxa and Carranzana breeds found in the area.

You can visit the Idiazabal Cheese Interpretation Centre, situated in the village with the same name, in the Goierri Valley; tour the Quesería Aranburu – a traditional cheese factory in the heart of Idiazabal, and scour the various authentic family-run farms scattered throughout the enchanting Basque countryside.

French Alps

Cheese travel

In addition to the spectacular scenery and the excellent adventure opportunities, the mighty French Alps grant the world a wonderful variety of cheeses. From the delicious washed-rind Reblochon to the sophisticated Beaufort, the renowned factories and artisan cheese producers scattered throughout the Savoie and Haute Savoie regions welcome guests with a multitude of cheese types, from soft to hard and from famed to peculiar – all of them produced according to ancient traditional techniques.

France’s finest alpine cheeses include Reblochon, Beaufort, Abondance, Bleu de Sassenage, and Tomme de Savoie. No need to worry about where to find them, because once you arrive in the Alps, they’ll find you, whether in their natural form or as an ingredient in various local dishes, so prepare to be spoilt for choice.

Gruyères, Switzerland

Gruyères village

The lovely medieval town of Gruyères in the canton of Fribourg is a delight for anyone in search of an authentic Swiss experience, but most of all is a paradise for Swiss cheese lovers.

Although considered more of a range of cheeses than a certain type, the subtle, albeit very sophisticated, Gruyère cheese originates in the region surrounding the city with the same name, where it has been made for centuries.

When in town, quenches your appetite for this versatile cheese in the wonderful local restaurants; visit La Maison du Gruyère in the nearby Pringy and the delightful Thursday market in Bulle; or take a trip to Les Ponts-de-Martel to see the gallery at Les Martel cheese-making dairy and do some excellent cheese shopping.

Vermont, USA

Fall Foliage in Vermont

Most people are skeptical when it comes to cheese made in the US, but the skillful cheesemakers in Vermont are here to prove otherwise. From award-winning gorgonzola to high-quality Greek feta, the small Green Mountain state prides itself on a great collection of artisanal cheese varieties.

Vermont is home to cheesemakers since the 1800s, but it was the last 20 years when the craft of American cheesemaking has seen a rampant evolution. The best way to discover Vermont’s cheese heritage is to explore the genuine markets, farmsteads, and factories around.

What’s your favorite destination to indulge in cheese?

  1. LOVE this list! I never stopped to think about why I love France so much… probably has a lot to do with the cheese.

    1. It certainly has, Alena. Food is one of the main reasons I felt in love with Italy in the first place, so I perfectly understand.

      1. Nothing like the Greek Cheese

        1. Turkish cheese

  2. How could you leave out cheddar gorge!?

    1. And Wisconsin! The cheese capital of the U.S.!

    2. They did mention Cheddar gorge!

  3. Well it’s not very romantic, but southern Wisconsin has some amazing cheese.

  4. Odd that you would highlight Vermont, but pick “gorgonzola and greek feta” as the cheeses to call out. Maybe the internationally renowned cheeses of the Cellars at Jasper Hill, or the Loire-style goat’s milk cheeses of Vermont Creamery, or the cheeses of Vermont Shepherd, which set the stage for the sheep’s milk cheese renaissance in America?

  5. Matthew McIntyre Matthew McIntyre says:

    Good point Joe, I too thought it was very odd they picked Gorgonzola and Greek feta when there are SO MANY unique artisanal cheeses all over Vermont.

  6. Young Tugg Young Tugg says:

    I need to go on a trip to all of these places. I love Cheese, specifically from the North of Italy in the Reggiano region. Mmmmmmmmmmm

  7. Not possible to make neither Gorgonzola nor Greek Feta in Vermont. Style is something else. Vermont makes excellent cheese, but none of the above.
    Other than that, all picks well worth visiting.

  8. Mike Brown Mike Brown says:

    Wisconsin produces the most decorated artisan cheeses in Us, American and World Cheese Championships….than any other State and most Countries. The traditions, culture, educational institutions place Wisconsin amongst the best in the world in cheese circles. Original cheeses have been recognized in competition and consumers alike and include Dumbarton Blue, Rush Creek, Pleasant Ridge Reserve, Sartori’s Bellavitano, Holland Family Mareika’s Gouda, Hooks Cheddar, 2016 World Cheese Champion – Grand Cru Surchoix from Roth, and many more. They don’t call us Cheeseheads for nothing and it’s a beautiful state to tour.

  9. Best cheese I’ve ever tried has been in Asturias. Can’t believe this article mentions the place. It’s what I was expecting Switzerland to be like, except it wasn’t.
    Best all around food in the world. Spain’s big secret until the hipsters get their and make it expensive.

  10. This is absolutely insane. England makes the finest cheeses. Obviously, there’s Cheddar, the world’s most popular cheese, but all of the regional cheeses are unique and excellent. I’m talking about hard cheeses, I guess, but if you want to go for oozy cheeses, you have such world-famous options as Stinking Bishop and many more. Dislike the English if you like, many do, but the cheese thing is not even a question.

    The very idea that French cheese is better is just mind-boggling. I mean, I do like Brie and Camembert, they’re pleasant enough, but they are dull. The Italians have some good cheeses, to be sure, particularly blue cheeses, but for the sheer variety of quality cheese — oh yeah, and for inventing cheddar, whilst simultaneously having some of the strongest entries in the blue cheese and smelly runny cheese categories as well — England has no rival.

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