The Best Cities for Ice Cream in Europe
Whether you’re in a 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.
1. 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*
2. 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 really decadent experience that perfectly captures Italy’s passion for gourmet frozen desserts.
🍦Most iconic flavour: Hazelnut
💡Best parlour: Gelato & Macaron
⭐Parlour rating: 5*
3. 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*
4. 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*
5. 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*
1. Dundee, Scotland | Ice cream shops per person: 1.76
Dundee is the best city in the UK for ice cream lovers! You can enjoy freshly made gelato at Casa Di Gelato, which uses a family recipe from Italy and has vegan options too. You can sample homemade ice cream with toppings like waffles and brownies at Davie’s Cafe and Ice Cream Parlour, which also makes boozy flavours like Peroni beer and Bailey’s Irish Cream. You can also visit Jannetta’s Gelateria, which has been serving ice cream since 1908 and has more than 100 flavours to choose from. Dundee is a paradise for ice cream lovers, so grab a cone and enjoy the sunny weather.
2. Aberdeen, Scotland | Ice cream shops per person: 1.30
Coming in second place, we have Aberdeen! It has a range of ice cream shops that offer quality, variety and innovation. You can try Mackie’s 19.2, which makes its own ice cream with milk from their farm, and offers flavours like Coco Pops, salted caramel and whisky. You can also visit Forest Farm, which has Scotland’s first milk vending machine and a gelateria that churns fresh gelato every morning, with flavours like pistachio, honeycomb and chocolate. If you want something more decadent, you can go to Reddy’s Marvellous Dessert Parlour, which serves ice cream sundaes, waffles, crepes and cakes. Aberdeen is a great place to enjoy a cool treat this summer!
3. Oxford, England | Ice cream shops per person: 1.23
If you love ice cream, you should visit Oxford, the third best city in the UK for this sweet treat. Oxford has many ice cream shops that will satisfy your cravings, whether you want a cone, a sundae, a shake or a cake. Head to George & Davis, Oxford’s own ice cream cafe, which has been serving homemade ice cream since 1992. They have a variety of flavours, from classics like vanilla and chocolate, to specials like apple pie and tiramisu. If you’re looking for something modern, Swoon Gelato is the place for you. This stylish gelato shop uses fresh and local ingredients to serve you flavours like salted caramel, mango sorbet and dark chocolate.
4. Glasgow, Scotland | Ice cream shops per person: 1.18
Glasgow is the fourth best city in the UK for ice cream lovers. The city boasts a rich history of Italian ice cream cafés, dating back to the early 20th century when many Italian immigrants settled in Scotland and opened their own businesses. Today, Glasgow offers a wide variety of ice cream flavours and styles, from traditional scoops and cones to exotic gelato and Korean bingsu. Whether you prefer a classic vanilla or a pistachio Indian ice cream, you can find it in one of the many ice cream parlours in Glasgow, such as Deesserts, Flavas, Ginesi’s Artisan Gelato or Loop & Scoop. Glasgow is a paradise for ice cream lovers who want to enjoy a sweet treat in a vibrant and diverse city.
5. Stoke-on-Trent, England | Ice cream shops per person: 1.13
In fifth place we have Stoke-on-Trent! Head to Bobby’s Ice Cream Parlour to enjoy ice cream, pastries, cakes, and pies. They even have plenty of vegan options to choose from. Another great spot is Sweet Moments Stoke where you can treat yourself to a kinder bueno ice cream roll or a scoop of gelato. Stoke-on-Trent is a great place for ice cream lovers who want to discover new and delicious ways to enjoy their favourite frozen treat.
This ranking was created using Google Maps data. The starting list was based on the most important cities in specific European countries. The keyword “ice cream shop” in each language from these countries was used to gather data regarding the ice cream shops in the cities. Results such as patisseries and bakeries were not taken into consideration. The data was gathered in July 2023. For the European ranking, all cities with more than 500,000 inhabitants were considered. For the UK ranking, all cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants were considered. The rankings were formed by prioritising the number of ice cream shops in each city divided by the population to get the cities with the most ice cream parlours per 10,000 inhabitants.