5 Amazing Chocolate Museums, Tours and Experiences

Our guide to the world’s top chocolate destinations, from Spain and Switzerland to Mexico. 

Display of truffles and other chocolates

4min read

Published 5 April 2023


Our guide to the world’s top chocolate destinations, from Spain and Switzerland to Mexico. 

When you’re in the mood for a sweet treat, what do you reach for? Do you make a beeline for the sour candies, or do your eyes dart toward the display of chocolate bars? It’s the latter for us, largely because there are so many options to choose from.

Whether we go to a corner store, grocery store or specialty store, the options range from dark chocolate to pink chocolate, caramel-filled chocolate to peanut-stuffed chocolate and everything in between. (And yes, sometimes we’ll buy two or three different kinds at once).

Needless to say, this obsession with chocolate doesn’t disappear when travelling. It may actually be heightened, especially if we’ve gone to a destination that’s known for producing some of the world’s most delicious bars, truffles and novelties — like those listed below.

A man harvesting cacao beans
A man harvesting cacao beans
A man harvesting cacao beans

From bean to bar: A brief history of chocolate

The Maya people of Central America were among the first to use the cacao bean similarly to how it’s consumed today. Approximately 5,000 years ago, they created a beverage with the ingredient, which they would drink during rituals or use as medicine. It was so well liked that later civilizations would continue make the drink themselves, with the Aztecs being the ones to begin calling it “xocolatl” (or bitter drink”). 

Eventually, the recipe found its way to Europe via Spanish colonization sometime after the 1500s, where it was given an industrial-era makeover. Almost immediately, chocolate was transformed into a solid confection and began being traded throughout the world.

Even though its history is mired by colonialism, industrialism and commercialization, chocolate has bridged religious and political divide and continues to be one of the most desired foods in the world. From Europe and Asia to the Americas, Africa and beyond, cacao harvesters, chocolatiers and chocolate lovers span the globe.

A chocolatier carefully placing chocolates in a shop display
A chocolatier carefully placing chocolates in a shop display
A chocolatier carefully placing chocolates in a shop display

Chocolate experiences around the world

If you’re the type of person who searches for the best chocolate in every destination you visit, take note! These chocolate museums, tours and experiences are guaranteed to sate your appetite — whether you prefer solid white, milk or dark chocolate, or bars filled with fruits and nuts.

Chocolate Valor Museum, Spain

Spain may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of chocolate, but the country has a long history with the product. In fact, the Spanish were the first people to mix the bitter xocolatl drink with sugar — helping it evolve into the sweet hot chocolate that we’re familiar with today. 

Since then, Spanish chocolatiers have continued to leave their mark on the industry. This includes Chocolates Valor; established in 1881, the company has been run by five generations of expert chocolate makers. 

While you can find the brand’s confections in almost every supermarket in Spain, chocolate lovers should try to visit the small resort town of Villajoyosa, where one of the original factories now operates as the Chocolate Valor Museum. Here, you can learn about the cacao bean, discover the history of the chocolate-making process and take a look at an impressive collection of industry machinery, including Valor’s original grinding stones.

Lindt Home of Chocolate, Switzerland

What makes Swiss chocolate so good? Perhaps it’s the use of high-quality ingredients. Or maybe it’s the nation’s strict attention to detail. Whatever the reason, Switzerland is known for producing some of the world’s most delectable chocolate.

One of the best places to witness the Swiss’s chocolate-making prowess is the Lindt Home of Chocolate in Kilchberg. When you visit this incredible museum, located on the western shore of Lake Zürich you’ll not only learn about the chocolate-making techniques that have been used throughout history but will also get to witness Lindt’s chocolatiers at work. 

Plus, you’ll also get the opportunity to mix, pour, set, cool, decorate and wrap your own brick-sized bar. 

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Expert tip

One of the best ways to experience Switzerland is on board its panoramic trains. You can see the beautiful, changing scenery, and sample local delicacies and wines from different regions. It's one of the best trips I've taken in my life, from seeing the famous Matterhorn mountain in Zermatt to travelling into Italy on the Bernina Express.


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Hershey's Chocolate World, United States

When it comes to mass production, the United States takes the (triple chocolate) cake. Three of the world’s top five leading chocolate manufacturers are based on US soil, including Mars Wrigley Confectionery, Mondelēz International and the Hershey Company.

The wonderfully Wonka-esque Hershey’s Chocolate World attractions can be found in New York, Las Vegas and Hershey, Pennsylvania. From stocking up on unique flavours of Kisses to making your own one-pound REESE’s Peanut Butter Cup, there are plenty of ways to satisfy your sweet tooth. 

But that’s not all! Kids and adults can also enjoy educational tours, cinematic adventures and zany theatre shows that provide an inside look at Hershey’s history and chocolate-making processes. There doesn’t seem to be a chocolate river though…

Cadbury World, United Kingdom

Cadbury has a long and interesting history, beginning in the United Kingdom with John and Benjamin Cadbury. As Quakers, the brothers decided to launch a chocolate drinks business as a way of offering non-alcoholic beverages to Birmingham, England residents — but it wasn’t long before they began producing bars and other chocolate products. 

They were so successful that, in 1854, they received a royal warrant to manufacture chocolate products for Queen Victoria. And they only went up from there! Today, the company is basically synonymous with Easter (it’s the genius behind Mini Eggs and Creme Eggs). And despite being purchased by Hershey in 1988, is still recognized and loved around the globe…which brings us to Cadbury World.

Located in Bourneville Village on the very ground that the Cadbury family moved the business to in 1878, the attraction invites everyone to dive into a “chocolately world” complete with rollercoasters, 4D experiences, Cadbury cafes and more. Of course, no visit is complete without stopping by the Cadbury World Shop, where you can pick up novelty confections including chocolate soccer balls, teapots, and shoes.

Kaokao Chocolate Factory, Mexico

Let’s finish where we started: Mexico, the home of the cacao bean. Situated on the island of Cozumel, Kaokao Chocolate Factory is a small, family-run operation that specializes in artisanal chocolate products.

Upon arriving, you’ll be invited to make your own chocolate from scratch. As you learn about the cacao’s sacred place in Mayan culture, you’ll get to grind beans, try cacao at various stages of its processing, and discover how chocolate can be combined with other local ingredients. Before leaving, you’ll also get to try a traditional xocolatl drink.

However, the chocolate tasting doesn’t need to end there. Before you leave Mexico, remember to enjoy a plate of mole — a dish comprised of meat and veggies in a sauce made of (you guessed it!) chocolate.

So, which country has the best chocolate in the world? It’s hard to say definitively whether Switzerland, Belgium, Mexico or Ivory Coast create the best confections — but if you’re anything like us, you’re keen to find out (in other words, you’ll continue eating chocolate in every new place you visit). 

Ready to go on a chocolate-fueled adventure? Speak with a travel consultant or check out our top deals.

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