I’m studying abroad in Vienna (yes, you should be jealous), so this piece starts by focusing on gelato places in Vienna. And I’ll admit, Vienna isn’t particularly known for gelato; Vienna is a land of coffee and sausages, Apfelstrudel and Sachertorte. I would highly recommend all these things. If you go to Vienna and don’t go to Cafe Sacher or Nachmarkt, you’re missing out on some delicious and unique food experiences. But sometimes you need a light, sweet treat that you can eat on the go. And despite not being known for it, Vienna offers a ton of great gelato options.
I’m a chocolate addict, so I based a lot of my criteria on that, but I also included other info as well in case chocolate isn’t really your speed.
I also talk about other gelato options in Eastern Europe because another excellent feature of Vienna is its central location, which allows you to travel to all sorts of countries with delicious foods.
1. Ferrari Gelato
This is my favorite gelato in Vienna. As far as chocolate goes, I think Ferrari’s was bit darker and richer than the other places on this list and had an excellent texture. The other flavor I got was Crema Alessandro (almond gelato with crystallized almond chunks), which is listed as one of their specialty flavors, and it was excellent. Located near Karlsplatz.
2. Gelateria Bortolloti Paolo
Initially this place worried me because there are multiple locations, and it seemed like a lot of tourists were there. However the fact that someone in my program had posted an Instagram earlier that day calling this “The Holy Grail of gelato” convinced me to try it. Thank goodness for that Instagram post. The dark chocolate gelato I got here was as good as Ferrari and the stracchiatella was classically delicious. It’s a good place to go if you’re with people who have very different flavor preferences because they had a ton. The only reason this falls runner-up to Ferrari is that they didn’t have unique specialty flavors.
The dark chocolate wasn’t quite as dark as that at Gerlateria Bortolloti Paolo or Ferrari but was still good, giving this the third place rank. One of my friends preferred Vidoni to Paolo Bartollini, but he doesn’t get dark chocolate normally, so if you’re not a chocolate lover, maybe this would be better.
Their flavors were more unique than a lot of the other places: pistachio-pumpkin flavor (it’s excellent), pina colada and walnut-nuss (also delicious). They have four different types of chocolate (my friend got and liked them all) and lots of different sorbet options. Also, you can get four flavors for 2.30 Euro, so if you’re about variety, this might be a good move. It is conveniently located near Wien Mitte and Stadtparkt.
Gefrones was an interesting experience because they have specialty flavors which change every day. When I went, they weren’t offering chocolate (I know, WHAT), but instead were offering Sachertorte as a flavor. I’m pretty into the flavoring of Sachertorte and the gelato actually tasted like it, so this makes the list. If you’re not into the dryness of the real cake but like the flavoring, I’d definitely give this gelato place a go. It also has lots of sorbet options if you’re about the fruitier life. This was the favorite gelateria of a few people in my program.
5. Prater Park
This was my ONLY bad gelato experience in Vienna. Don’t get gelato here. It was overpriced and tbh not even good; both types I got were lacking in flavor, texture and creaminess. They don’t let you have samples, and one of the workers forced us to leave the café tables (note, there were some open tables) less than five minutes after we’d finished our gelato, which is not only rude but goes against the entire Viennese tradition of hanging out in cafes for hours. I guess this was my bad for getting gelato smack-dab in the middle of a huge tourist trap, but this seemed excessive.
OVERALL: There were the four places that were particularly distinctive, but honestly most of the small places which pop up along the street are pretty good. Even the mobile ones selling gelato in the middle of Stephensplatz were pretty decent. Europe is gelato heaven. Mainly just avoid somewhere like an amusement park for choosing gelato. If you go to a small, random place, you might not get a particularly revolutionary gelato experience, but you usually won’t have a particularly bad one, either.
6. Bratislava: Koun
My two traveling companions and I happened upon this place while wandering in Bratislava, Slovakia. There was a long line of people extending out of an alleyway, so naturally we stopped to investigate. Our curiosity was rewarded with AMAZING and completely unexpected gelato. Bratislava is TINY and it randomly has some phenomenal raspberry sorbet and solid dark chocolate. Who knew? When I came to Slovakia I was expecting dumplings and meat. This experience happened after the first week of my program and taught me that sometimes, it pays to follow the crowd.
7. Brno: De Fleurs
This was a super random and lucky find. Because we were only in Brno for 2 hours, I decided to skip eating lunch in order to speed-walk around the city and see as many sights as possible. It was worth it, but as I neared the bus I realized that I was pretty hungry. Luckily as I was hustling towards the bus, I encountered a bakery/gelateria which had this dark chocolate waffle cone for less than 1 euro. It was SUPER dark and creamy. My friend got pistachio ice cream which she said was “dec plus.” And did I mention it was less than a euro? It staved off the hanger and consequently made the next 2 hours on the bus way more enjoyable.
8. Budapest: Gelato Rosa
Reasons why you should go to this place:
1. They shape your gelato like a rose
2. The gelato is delicious
3. They have a solid selection of unique flavors of gelato (I got chocolate, raspberry-elderflower, basil lemon, and vanilla lavender. Yes, I got four flavors. No, you shouldn’t judge me)
4. Four flavors in a cone is 2.25 euro (ish – it’s 700 huff and the exchange rate can vary slightly. Regardless, it was cheaper than most of the 2 scoops of gelato I’ve gotten).
9. Prague: Angelato
This place consistently tops the list when you Google “best gelato, Prague,” and I think it lives up to that rep. In terms of how dark the chocolate was, I’d say this ranks third on this list of five extremely delicious gelato places (all of which I’d recommend), after La Mela Verde in Venice and De Fleurs in Brno. The salted caramel was good but too salty for my taste (tbh I should’ve known that was going to happen because I’m not a huge salt person). The line is long, speaking to its deliciousness, but it moves quickly. It’s also pretty close to the center of the city — Charles Bridge, Old Town Square — so you can easily make a pit stop on your way to exploring this incredibly beautiful city, which also has lots of other delicious food options.
10. Venice: La Mela Verde
Italy is the crown jewel of gelato, so of course I got gelato four times in the span of three days (the only reason it wasn’t more was because I wanted to try some other desserts and pastries while I was there as well). The two that particularly stood out were Gelato Suso and La Mela Verde. One of my friends preferred Gelato Suso, but I had a slight preference for La Mela Verde so that’s what’s topping this list. Gelato Suso had more flavors, but the dark chocolate at La Mela Verde was a bit darker/richer. You can’t really go wrong at either, though.
OVERALL: When in Europe, get gelato.