There are few things in life finer than a delectable pastry or cake with a hot drink. And does it get any better than indulging this passion whilst on holiday – enjoying the sun (hopefully) in a new city or country, with a selection of new and interesting pastries to pique your palate.
But where are Europe’s best bakeries? We’ve done the hard work, so you don’t have to – tirelessly scouring the continent for the best places to sit down for a slice of cake and freshly brewed coffee. You can thank us later.
Here are the 10 bakeries around Europe you absolutely have to visit.
We thought we’d start close to home, and scour the capital for a patisserie which could match the best offered by the celebrated baking cities of Paris or Rome. And in Etnacoffee, London certainly does have a patisserie to challenge the best. Formed by the Sicilian Bauso brothers, the all-day patisserie specialises in authentic Italian cakes and pastries.
Although the arancini and cannoli are the poster boys for this wonderful eatery; we’d recommend arriving early and delving into the breakfast menu. The Raviola Fritta All Ricotta (a fried calzone filled with sheep’s ricotta) proved to be an unexpected delight, and a wonderful way to start a busy day in the capital.
Victoria St, London, W1E 5ND
The Wooden Whisk, Dublin
A modest and unassuming building hides one of Dublin’s great hidden secrets: The Wooden Whisk. Home to a wealth of delicious pastries and savouries, as well as coffee sourced fresh from the world’s finest growing regions.
As soon as you enter The Wooden Whisk, you’ll be taken aback by the amazing selection of colourful cakes and pastries lined up behind the counter. Although it’s possible to pick up a slice of cake and take it with you on a tour of Dublin, we’d recommend taking your time and sitting inside this charming little café. Well-regarded by locals for its wonderful sweet treats and affordable prices, Dubliners routinely make their way to The Wooden Whisk, giving you an authentic slice of Dublin life.
94 Talbot St, Dublin 1
Conditori La Glace, Copenhagen
Something of a food revolution is occurring in Copenhagen at the moment, with many of the world’s great chefs cutting their teeth in the Danish capital – creating a culinary hotbed which is attracting gourmet tourists in their droves.
But if you’re looking for something a little more traditional in this fairy tale city, head over to the Conditori La Glace – the oldest (and many reckon best) confectioner in the whole of Denmark. Since 1870, Conditori La Glace has been baking delicious cakes, pastries and confectionary.
We’d recommend a slice of the Valnøddekage (walnut cake), made up of crushed walnuts, whipped cream sandwiched between an almond base and mocha icing.
Skoubogade 3, 1158 København K
Du Pain et des Idees, Paris
You’re never far away from a skilled Patissier or baker when walking the Parisian streets, but we believe that Christophe Vasseur of Du Pain et des Idees takes some beating. Translating as ‘Bread and Ideas’, Du Pain et des Idees takes its customers on a culinary journey through Paris’ proud baking history.
Each loaf of bread is lovingly crafted and freshly baked using sourdough, meaning that it will last longer than most other artisan breads. Using time-honoured techniques, each loaf is wonderfully crisp on the outside and fluffy within. Du Pain et des Idees is the perfect pit stop if you’re stocking up for a picnic in the French capital.
You certainly won’t look at a plain old white loaf in the same way again after visiting Du Pain et des Idees.
34 Rue Yves Toudic, 75010 Paris
A charming little boutique bakery in the beautiful Andalusian city of Seville, Ofelia’s clean and crisp interior is the perfect place to escape the roaring sun of southern Spain. And of course, the cupcakes, cookies and cakes are all delectable and beautifully presented.
Although you may be tempted to leave the cakes to preserve their beautiful designs, you’ll be satisfied as soon as you dig in. A team of dedicated bakers have worked long and hard to perfect the fluffy and delicious batters – baked to absolute perfection.
The Tarta Romantica Boda is the pick of the cake selection, a delicately layered triumph of sponge and piped icing.
Cuesta del Rosario 16-B, 41004 Seville
Biscottificio Innocenti, Rome
Looking to escape the hustle and bustle of central Rome for a spot of indulgent relaxation? Head over to the Via della Luce – a small Roman street complete with lazy cats and locals, as well as the city’s finest patisserie, Biscottificio Innocenti.
Specialising in that most Italian of treats, the biscotti, the bakery is a tiny shop serving simple and delicious biscuits and sweet bites. Dominated by the massive 16-metre-long oven which cooks all the biscotti to perfection. A family-run business for almost a century, the Biscottificio Innocenti team proudly guard their secret recipes and tricks.
The highlight of Biscottificio Innocenti’s roster is the brutti ma buoni (ugly but good), a delightful pyramid-shaped biscuit which simply melts in the mouth.
Via della Luce, 21 00153 Roma
La Pastisseria Barcelona, Barcelona
Naming yourself La Pastisseria Barcelona is setting yourself up for a fall, immediately raising the expectations of all who pass through your doors. Amazingly, this patisserie, led by the mercurial Josep Maria Rodriguez Guerola, lives up to the expectation and delivers on the promise of the finest sweets in the Catalan city.
Guerola opened La Pastisseria Barcelona in 2012, a year after he scooped top spot at the World Cup of Pastry Making. The minimalistic interior of the patisserie highlights the amazing pastries positioned in the long, glass counter. An astonishing array of colourful sweet treats in a selection of flavours have been amassed to get all visitors salivating at first sight.
Barcelona is one of the world’s great culinary cities, and breakfast in La Pastisseria Barcelona is the perfect place to start.
Carrer d’Arago 228, Barcelona
Located in a delightful little piazza with outdoor seating, Scaturchio is the perfect place to sit and watch the world go by with a cup of Italian coffee and a decadent pastry. The patisserie specialises in the classic Naples delicacy, rum baba, a thick and indulgent cake served with a rum syrup. A baba in the shape of neighbouring Mount Vesuvius may seem a little touristy, but they’re gigantic, delicious and unforgettable.
Located in one of the city’s oldest districts, Scaturchio is a great way to experience the slow and wonderful pace of Neapolitan life.
Piazza S. Domenico Maggiore, 80134 Napoli
Pasticceria da Bonifacio, Venice
The interior of Pasticceria da Bonifacio is recognisable for two reassuring traits: a glut of awards and the presence of local housewives, stocking up on pastries and sweet bites. This tiny bakery is easy to miss but as soon as you step inside you’re transported through Italy’s rich pastry heritage, with time-honoured recipes followed by the expert baking team.
When holidaying in Venice, and looking for that perfect gift to take home to loved ones, pick up a box of zaletti – melt-in-the-mouth cornmeal biscuits with sultanas. And if you arrive too late for the early afternoon pastries, fear not — Pasticceria da Bonifacio turns into a makeshift bar come the evening, serving up local spirits and aperitifs.
Calle degli Albanesi, 4237 Venice
Nenu the Artisan Baker, Valletta
Away from the main streets of the Maltese capital, Valletta, Nenu the Artisan Baker prides itself on the beautiful pastries and breads which draw the young, the old, the locals and the tourists. Providing traditional Maltese baked recipes with historical lessons and interactive participation; Nenu the Artisan Baker is more of a day out than most bakeries.
The bakery also serves as a restaurant, serving up lovingly prepared traditional dishes.
143 St Dominic Street, Valletta, VLT 1605
Thinking of combining a tour of Europe’s great bakeries with a cruise? Check out our guide to the cruise ships with the best pastry and cake offerings, here.