• 7 April 2020

You pour it on your salads, mix it into your pasta dishes, and use it to fry mouthwatering steaks. Olive oil is tasty and has so many health benefits. But, do you know where it comes from and which countries make the best olive oil? 

We found 10 countries that pride themselves on excellent varieties of this product. A lot of these countries can be seen when touring in Europe. So, what is olive oil made of? And which country produces the most olive oil? Learn everything you need to know about the best universal, delicious liquid gold right here. 

Olive oil is a great addition to any meal

How is olive oil made?

The process of how olive oil is made is relatively simple and very easy to understand. It all starts with olives, so those of you who might have wondered, “is olive oil made with olives?”, the answer is yes. 

The olives are mechanically or chemically ground to extract their oil. This product is made from the liquescent fat of the olives themselves. Here are some things that set the best olive oil apart from the rest: 

  • Bitterness
  • Fruitiness
  • Pungency
  • Complexity 
  • Harmony of the blend
  • Persistent aftertaste

The best olive oil comes from well-grown olives and a smooth and efficient oil-making process. Below you’ll find the countries that excel in the industry. 

10 Countries famous for olive oil production 

These are the top olive oil producing countries in the world. Each of these destinations has prominent olive oil farms and celebrates this tasty oil with its local cuisine.

 1. Spain

Starting with olive oil royalty, Spain has been producing quality olive oil for years. With a record of 1,059,194 tons of olive oil being produced from 1994 to 2013, according to FAOSTAT, Spain is a heavyweight provider. If you were eagerly waiting to find out what country produces the most olive oil, you have it right here. 

The combination of Spain’s ideal climate and location makes it the best country for cultivating mouthwatering olives. You may be wondering which region of Spain exports olive oil worldwide –  that would be Andalucía, a coastal area in the country.

View of olive fields in Spain
Beautiful landscape with olive fields in Spain.

You can explore the splendours of this incredible country on one of our popular Spanish tours.

2. Greece

Greece has been recorded to use up to 60% of its land to produce our favourite culinary oil. With over 2,800 olive oil mills countrywide, we can feel the passion that Greece has for olive oil. 

The region known most famously for producing record amounts is the Peloponnese region.

3. Italy

Italy is known to produce the second-largest amount of olive oil. Most of the olive oil in Italy comes from the southern regions, such as Sicily, Basilicata and Sardinia.

This is where the most revered farms reside, known for their extraordinary olive oil. These farms can be seen while enjoying a highlights of Southern Italy tour.

Harvesting olives for olive oil

4. Tunisia

Tunisia is a country found in North Africa, and its main agricultural export is olive oil. It has a sterling reputation for providing superior quality olive oil. Tunisia ships tons of this product annually to countries like the USA, Spain, Portugal and France.

With some of the most advanced olive oil reserves, Tunisia never ceases to surprise and delight us with this export.

5. Portugal

Known as one of the most ancient places for producing olive oil, Portugal brings us some of the crème de la crème of this product. Olive trees cover a vast amount of land in Portugal, and have since all the way back to the Roman ruling era.

Process of making olive oil

You can see the countryside and take in all of its highlights on our Spain and Portugal tour.

6. The United States of America

It comes as no surprise that a country like the USA would be famous for olive oil production. California is the only prominent olive oil-producing state in the whole country. 

Companies like the COOC ensure that all of the olive oil produced has a seal of quality excellence, and has been tested for purity. This is because California has the best climate for cultivating just about everything, including flourishing olive trees. 

7. Morocco

Morocco is internationally recognized for its olive oil expertise. With over 80% of its products made with Picholine olives, a caviar-like variation of olive, we’re guaranteed a magical tasting extra-virgin olive oil.

Olive oil tastes different in every part of the world – it’s also a great keepsake!

Moroccan olive oil even won a 3rd place award for its taste in the International Olive Oil Council’s tasting competition. We’re sure to see this country remaining on top, with olive oil that has distinctive flavours and textures.

8. France

With Picholine olives originating in Southern France, we can rest assured that this country has the best resources. Although the production levels are small, the superiority of the olive oil taste makes this country stand out. 

France is all about quality over quantity when it comes to the cultivation of olive oil.

9. Egypt 

Known as the birthplace of the olive tree, there is a legend that tells of Isis – the goddess of life and magic – teaching the Egyptians how to create olive oil. Although this is only a myth, we do enjoy the passion in which this product is made in this country. 

Some of Egypt’s finest olive oil brands are Golden Field, Isis, and Pioneer. 

You can bask in the ancient glory of Egypt and discover its magic on our Nile Jewel adventure.

10. Australia

Olive oil production in Australia has not reached an impressive international status, yet. But, this country is on the rise as one of the best-known olive tree growing nations. The quality standards are fantastic and regulated by the Australian Standards for Olive Oil

Australia truly is one of the world’s most multi-faceted countries.

Delicious and beautiful – olive oil is also the perfect gift after a trip!

A top ingredient to everything from luxury cuisine to everyday meals and salads, olive oil is loved worldwide for its diverse ability and rich, flavour-enhancing qualities. Each of these unique countries has plenty to offer, including remarkable cuisine that more often than not goes hand-in-hand with olive oil. 

Olive oil is loved internationally for its health properties and taste. The olive tree is a plant that brings joy to many kitchens worldwide. We have these top olive oil production countries to thank for providing us with some of the most incredible quality brands. 

Travel to these destinations to experience some of the world’s best cuisine, combined with the best olive oil, and enjoy a tasteful travel adventure.

Looking for a delicious garlic olive oil recipe? Check out this video by Tim Sayer (Expat Explore’s Product Developer, previous tour leader).

Questions & Comments

  1. Stevebosse says:

    Very useful information

  2. you forgot Algeria wich has better ranking than USA, Australia and Egypt.

    • Heather Cameron says:

      Thanks for the info Nemdil, we will be sure to take a further look into Algeria’s Olive Oil production!

  3. Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Palestine produced the best olive oil. Perfect soil.

  4. Rashed Obeidat says:

    The levant area (Jordan, Palestine, Syria and Lebanon) produce the best olives and olive oil you will ever taste, red soil best for planting olive trees.

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