Whether you’re in a southern European city that’s currently caught up in a heatwave or impatiently waiting for the rain to clear and the British summer to start again, who doesn’t love indulging in delicious ice cream during the summer months? But have you ever wondered which cities offer the best ice cream to be found? From sun-drenched coastlines to the heart of historic cities, these culinary paradises have mastered the art of all things ice cream, gelato and sorbet.
After analysing Google Maps data, Holidu, the holiday rental booking portal, together with Spain-Holiday, reveals the top European cities to enjoy the best-rated and most varied choice of ice cream this summer.
Key highlights of the study:
Milan is officially the best city for ice cream lovers
Italy wears the crown with cities in the top three
Cities in Spain, Portugal, Poland and Germany complete the top 10 ranking
Scotland comes out on top with 3 out of 5 of the cities in the top 5 UK ranking
No. Ice cream shops per 10,000 inhabitants
Milan, Italy | Ice cream shops per person: 1.87
It’s official! The best and most varied ice cream options may be found in Milan, the European centre of fashion. Milan enchants ice cream enthusiasts with its rich and creamy creations, with gelaterias dotted along every street. Milan’s ice cream scene honours the craft of frozen delight with everything from traditional flavours like silky pistachio and rich dark chocolate to creative concoctions like saffron and ricotta. Milan guarantees an ice cream experience that will tantalise your taste senses and represents the city’s flare for culinary perfection, whether you’re wandering through its stylish streets or enjoying a scoop in one of the city’s famed piazzas.
Most iconic flavour: Stracciatella
Best parlour: SBAM Gelati Ozanam
Parlour rating: 5*
Turin, Italy | Ice cream shops per person: 1.84
The picturesque Italian city of Turin, located in the Piedmont region, proudly wears the crown as the second-best city in Europe for ice cream. Turin’s gelaterias are renowned for their extensive chocolate and hazelnut traditions and their unrivalled array of creamy treats. Enjoy classic tastes like gianduja and stracciatella or try something new like lavender and honey. Turin’s magnificent squares and alluring architecture serve as the perfect backdrop for enjoying ice cream, making it a decadent experience that perfectly captures Italy’s passion for gourmet frozen desserts.
Most iconic flavour: Hazelnut
Best parlour: Gelato & Macaron
Parlour rating: 5*
Genoa, Italy | Ice cream shops per person: 1.59
Remaining in Italy, the third place goes to the port city of Genoa. Visitors will find a lovely variety of gelaterias serving frozen treats to tempt taste buds as they explore its historic alleyways and soak up the Mediterranean charm. Genoa’s ice cream scene celebrates a peaceful fusion of tradition and innovation, with flavours ranging from artisanal creations like basil and balsamic vinegar to traditional favourites like creamy hazelnut and zesty lemon.
Most iconic flavour: Chocolate
Best parlour: U gelato du Caruggiu
Parlour rating: 4.8*
Rome, Italy | Ice cream shops per person: 1.57
The Eternal City and Paradise of Food, Rome, claims its spot as the fourth-best city in Europe for ice cream. Rome’s gelaterias provide a fascinating variety of frozen treats among its historic sites and ancient ruins. An unforgettable element of Rome’s cultural experience is enjoying a scoop of handcrafted gelato amidst the city’s eternal allure. Some of the best places for gelato in Rome are Giolitti, Sweety Gelato, Gelateria dei Gracchi, Otaleg and Punto Gelato.
Most iconic flavour: Pistachio
Best parlour: Gelateria Sweet Life
Parlour rating: 4.9*
Malaga, Spain | Ice cream shops per person: 1.53
Malaga, the sun-kissed jewel of the Costa del Sol, proudly represents Spain and takes its place as the fifth-best ice cream city. With its inviting Mediterranean ambience and historic charm, Málaga boasts a delightful selection of ice cream stores that tempt tourists and locals alike. From classic Spanish flavours like creamy churros and dulce de leche to tropical fruit blends like mango and passion fruit, Málaga’s ice cream scene celebrates a fusion of tradition and creativity. Savouring a scoop while strolling along the palm-lined promenades or relaxing by the azure waters adds a touch of frozen bliss to the enchanting Málaga experience.
Most iconic flavour: Turrón
Best parlour: Nitte Gelato Soho
Parlour rating: 5*