The Best Places in the World to Vacation If You Love Cheese

Because, yes, it is perfectly reasonable to plan an entire trip around your favorite cheese.

Reggio Emilia, Italy

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Is there anything better than cheese? After all, cheese pretty much goes with everything. It's amazing on bread or with fruit, vegetables, pasta, chocolate, wine or beer, or even just on its own.

The best thing about cheese, besides that it simply exists, is that there are so many varieties made all over the world. You can get a mild Brie in France, a flavorful goat cheese in Tuscany, or a pungent (dare we say, stinky) blue cheese in Asturias that'll knock your socks off (or at least smell like them). Many cheeses can be found in particular places around the world, where cheesemongers have been perfecting their craft for generations.

Who wouldn't want the perfect excuse to roam around France, eating every morsel of Camembert, Brie, and Beaufort in sight? Or around Italy, where you can sample Gorgonzola, pecorino Romano, and classic Parmesan? There are also cheesy excursions in Spain, and the actual town of Cheddar for some real-deal cheddar goodness. And if you want to stay stateside, don't worry. There are plenty of places to visit in the U.S. as well.

Cheesy travelers might be reaching for their passports when they read about these amazing cheeses — and the destinations that created them.

01 of 20

Bordeaux, France

Village Of Saint-Emilion in Bordeaux vineyards
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France is a cheese utopia and some of the best in the world come from Bordeaux. Try regional favorites such as Tomme des Pyrénées (made from cow’s milk), Barousse (made from cow’s or sheep’s milk), and Ossau-lraty (made from sheep’s milk) while you’re in the area. Not only are there are tons of varieties of cheese shops you can go to — like Le Chèvrefeuille, a factory specializing in rich goat cheeses — but also Baud et Millet, a tiny cheese restaurant inside a cave.

02 of 20

Normandy, France

Normandy France Camembert
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Normandy is the home of the creamiest French cheese around: Camembert. Visit La Maison du Camembert, a cheese museum built in the shape of a Camembert wheel, and the President Farm, where you can eat plenty of fresh cheese and learn everything about Camembert, from its historical beginnings to the cheesemaking process.

03 of 20

The French Alps

The French Alps
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Along the borders of France, Switzerland, and Italy, you're bound to discover some delicious cheeses, such as Reblochon, Beaufort, Abondance, Bleu de Sassenage, and Tomme de Savoie. Plus, you can enjoy them while admiring the gorgeous views.

04 of 20

Asturias, Spain

Cabrales Cheese Cave
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This part of Spain is often called "El Pais de los Quesos" (The Land of Cheese). The most popular cheese from this region is a strongly blue variety called queso de Cabrales. Cheese lovers can even discover all there is to know about this famous cheese through the special Cabrales Foundation, dedicated to its historical and cultural importance.

05 of 20

La Mancha, Spain

La Mancha Spain
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La Mancha isn't just the home of Don Quixote, it's also the home of the most famous Spanish cheese: Manchego. The buttery good stuff is made from the milk of Manchega sheep that are herded in the provinces of Toledo, Cuenca, Ciudad Real, and Albacete.

06 of 20

Sardinia, Italy

Bosa, Sardinia
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You can find just about any type of Italian cheese in Sardinia, from pecorino to blue cheese. But what makes Sardinian cheese special (and maybe a little risky) is an illegal cheese made with live maggots called casu marzu. Featured on an episode of The Amazing Race, the cheese, said to taste like a strong Gorgonzola, is considered safe to eat as long as the maggots are alive. Of course, the selling of this particular cheese is illegal — in the U.S., Italy, and many other countries — because there's always a risk the maggots will survive and go on to cause issues inside your abdominal tract, no matter how hard you try to avoid eating them. Perhaps it's better to stick to other cheeses during your trip to avoid bringing home any extra souvenirs.

07 of 20

Pagazzano, Italy

Pagazzano, Italy
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Lovers of pungent cheese should definitely go to Pagazzano, home of gorgonzola. One of the best companies producing the traditional Italian cheese, Arrigoni, is definitely worth a try.

08 of 20

Reggio Emilia, Italy

Reggio Emilia, Italy
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Ever wondered where your favorite cheese that practically goes great with everything comes from? We're talking about parmesan, or Parmigiano-Reggiano. Turns out, it was created in the Middle Ages in the Italian province of Reggio Emilia, and it's a must-go for cheese lovers.

09 of 20

Somerset, South West England

Somerset South West England
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Cheddar doesn't come in a mac 'n' cheese box or a Cheez-Whiz jar. It comes from the town of Cheddar in South West England, where the famous Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company is the only cheesemaker left in town producing the deliciously sharp snack.

10 of 20

Gruyeres, Switzerland

Switzerland, Canton of Fribourg, Gruyeres
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Where else are you going to find good gruyere other than Gruyeres? The little medieval town has been making the cheese that's perfect for pairing with your favorite fruits for centuries.

11 of 20

Torjulvagen, Norway

Kraftkar cheese from Tingvollost
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The best cheese in the world (no, really) is a strong blue cheese variety called Kraftkar and it was originally made in the Norwegian town of Torjulvagen only as far back as 2004. At the 2016 World Cheese Awards in San Sebastián, Kraftkar was selected "World Champion" (all categories).

12 of 20

Alkmaar, The Netherlands

Alkmaar Cheese Market The Netherlands
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If you want to hit up the best cheese markets Europe has to offer, you have to go to the Netherlands. At these medieval markets, you can find cheeses of all varieties, including Edam and Gouda. Be sure to also stop by the Alkmaar Cheese Market in Waagplein Square.

13 of 20

Santa Rosa, California

California Artisan Cheese Festival
Courtesy of California Artisan Cheese Festival

You don't have to go all the way to Europe for good cheese, as there are plenty of delicious domestic varieties found around the U.S. as well — in 2021, the top five cheese-producing states, for instance, were Wisconsin, California, Idaho, New Mexico, and New York. Should you be planning a trip to the West Coast, Santa Rosa hosts an artisan cheese festival every spring at the Sonoma County Event Center that draws all kinds of cheesemongers from across the country. Also among the festival's many participants are local cheese makers from the San Francisco area including, Cowgirl Creamery, Cypress Grove (known for its tangy goat cheeses), and Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co, making this the perfect place to sample some of the best offerings around.

14 of 20

Madison, Wisconsin

Fromagination, Madison, Wisconsin
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Naturally, you have to go to Wisconsin for the cheddar. While you're there, stop by Fromagination in Madison, where you can sample different types of cheeses, enjoy tastings (including melty raclette), learn about cheesemongery, and take home cheese baskets.

15 of 20

Cabot, Vermont

Cabot, Vermont
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Cabot is home to quite possibly America's most popular cheese maker: Cabot Creamery. The dairy farm is famous for its white, extra-sharp cheddar that you'll find while walking down the aisle at pretty much any U.S. grocery store. You can also visit the creamery to get a tour.

16 of 20

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Reading Terminal Market Philadelphia Pennsylvania
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This isn't about Philly cheesesteaks. Philadelphia not only has a huge array of amazing restaurants where you can find plenty of cheese. Stop by the Reading Terminal Market to visit the Riehl Cheese Shop and Deli, owned and operated by a Pennsylvania Dutch family, which specializes in Colby, pepper jack, and flavorful cream cheeses, all made locally nearby in Lancaster County.

17 of 20

Toronto, Canada

Saint Lawrence Market Facade in Old Toronto
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While America's neighbor to the north isn't necessarily known for its cheese, it is famous for having lots of great places to eat and shop, including St. Lawrence Market. The impressive farmer's market not only has plenty of organic foods, but also lots of quality cheeses. Stop by the Alex Farm Products stand, which sells seasonal and artisanal cheeses made all over Canada, as well as others brought in from various European and American locales.

18 of 20

Oaxaca, México

Oaxaca México
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Are you a fan of Oaxaca cheese, the mild and salty cheese that makes Mexican food go from tasty to all-out delicious? Just like mozzarella, Oaxaca cheese (also known as quesillo or queso de hebra) is sold in little balls and can be found at lots of Mexican food stands and restaurants. Plus, you will be tempted to take some home.

19 of 20

Pag Island, Croatia

Pag Island Croatia
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The hard and salty Paški Sir cheese comes from sheep that are cultivated on this little island near Croatia — they graze all day near the salty shores and are milked every couple of days. The island is a paradise for cheese lovers.

20 of 20

Adelaide, Australia

Adelaide, Australia
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While you're Down Under, you absolutely need to try the best cheese Australia has to offer. Woodside Cheese Wrights offers a huge variety of cow and goat cheeses, which are crafted by hand and available according to the season.

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