Headed to Europe? It’s only normal to fantasize about savoring traditional dishes and elegant, multi-course meals. That’s fine and good, but sometimes you want something to snack on in a hurry. If you can grab a bite without breaking the bank, even better. Less than stoked about the prospect of eating at American fast food chains abroad but not sure where to start? Eat on the go like a local with our list of addictive European street foods. They might even end up replacing your favorites back home.
On the hunt for fast and local eats in Europe? Check out our Street Food Trip Plan
5 Must-Try European Street Foods
- 1 / 6FOR CHILI DOG DEVOTEESSubstitute your favorite hot dog smothered in spicy beef stew with Currywurst. Invented in Berlin in 1949, it’s a bratwurst cut into bite-sized slices and doused in curried ketchup and sprinkled with even more curry powder on top. Ordered with fries, it’s the perfect hangover cure after downing too much beer or Jägermeister. It’s a credit to its addictive nature that street vendors sell over 800 million a year in Germany, with over 70 million in Berlin alone.
PHOTO VIA JESSICA SPENGLER/FLICKR
- 2 / 6FOR BURRITO FANATICSIf you love your meat wrapped in carbs, you'll love Döner Kebab. Originally a Turkish dish made of meat cooked on a vertical spit—traditionally lamb, but it can have beef or chicken, too—Döner kebabs are on the menu all around Europe and vary somewhat from country to country. Typically it’s sliced meat served on flat bread or as a sandwich with vegetables, salad, and sauces. Travelers going through burrito withdrawal should order up a their kebab burrito style in a Durum flatbread with everything on it.
PHOTO BY ALEX KEHR/FLICKR
- 3 / 6FOR BAGEL ENTHUSIASTSOkay, so these sesame bread rings, called Koulouria in Greek and available from vendors on nearly every street corner in Athens and other big cities in Greece, only resemble bagels when it comes to their shape. It might be sacrilege to say it, but they’re better—you don’t even need to smear them in cream cheese. The dough is barely sweet and baked crisp, and tastes like toasted sesame. They make the perfect on-the-go breakfast, whether you’re headed out for a walking tour of Athens's ruins or consulting the Oracle at Delphi.
PHOTO BY ROBERT WALLACE/FLICKR
- 4 / 6FOR HOT-POCKET FIENDSYou’ll never settle for those frozen microwaved turnovers again after you try Panzerotti. These half-moon shaped Italian empanadas are sort of like calzone. Originally hailing from the southern region of Puglia, you can find them in most big Italian cities. Fried until the dough is crisp, they’re typically filled with tomato and cheesy goodness that will taste like salvation itself after a long day schlepping around Milan in search of Italian leather shoes.
PHOTO BY DARREN&BRAD/FLICKR
- 5 / 6FOR CINNAMON ROLL JUNKIESWhen you’ve got a craving for a cinnamon-y treat, seek out Kürtőskalács, a traditional Transylvanian chimney cake now found in outdoor stalls all over Hungary and Romania and in Eastern European bakeries throughout Europe. This spiral-shaped yeasted bread is wrapped around cone-shaped molds and baked like a rotisserie chicken over hot coals before it’s dipped in cinnamon sugar. On a cold fall or winter day in Budapest it’ll warm your hands and your spirits.
PHOTO BY BRANDON BURNS/FLICKR
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The best cheap eats for a meal on the go—and where to look for them in Europe.