Delicious Destinations to Celebrate Ice Cream Day
Those with a sweet tooth will be happy to hear that Ice Cream Day is just around the corner (July 21). For many travelers, ice cream and vacation go hand-in-hand. And no matter where you go, there always seems to be a unique spin on this classic frozen treat to savor. So, if you are one of the almost one in five (18%)* travelers who enjoy a gastronomically-themed getaway (and have a particular penchant for ice-cream), we have delved into our more than 28 million listings across 150,00 destinations to identify some of the most scrumptious places to satisfy your cravings for the world's favorite chilly delight.
A hot take on ice-cream in Xi’an, China
A kind of ice cream is said to have been invented in China as early as the year 200 BCE, which was originally a mix of milk, rice and snow. Today, China is the world’s biggest ice-cream market, making it the perfect destination for a super sweet stay. Xi’an, the capital of Shaanxi Province is one of China’s top foodie destinations, with local delicacies like roujiamo (pulled meats in a doughy bun) and guantang baozi (steamed buns) top of the menu. For ice cream lovers, Xi’an also offers a twist on the much-loved classic, with street food vendors serving up fried ice cream: a breaded scoop of ice cream that is quickly deep-fried, creating a warm, crispy shell around the still frozen ice cream. For those who prefer the chill factor, Shan 13 in the Muslim Quarter of Xi’an is a locally owned ice cream parlor serving unique flavors, including everything from smoky tofu and black vinegar to wasabi.
Where to stay: Xi’an’s Muslim Quarter is a foodie-lovers dream, with great street food and restaurants to explore. Located in the heart of the Muslim quarter, Xi'an Simple Palace homestay is the perfect place to rest your head while exploring all the area has to offer. As well as the scrumptious food options nearby, the property is also close to popular sites such as Drum Tower and a just a short journey away from the Shaanxi History Museum.
Have a chilled vacation in Costa Mesa, California, USA
Costa Mesa, California is renowned for having a vibrant art scene and an even bigger foodie culture. From amazing beaches, fancy boutique stores and a diverse range of food and desserts on offer, there is a lot in store for visitors. The OC Fair celebrates national events, and on July 16 will be celebrating all things ice cream. From sundaes and ice cream sandwiches to unique flavors to sample, there’s something to delight every palate.
Where to stay: The Westin South Coast Plaza is the ideal spot for travelers to experience the best of what Southern California has to offer. The hotel is a short drive from the OC Fair, Disneyland, South Coast shopping center and the best dining options. Within the Plaza, guests can enjoy an outdoor pool, a sun terrace and an on-site restaurant for must-have meals between all that ice cream!
Gobble Gelato in Florence, Italy
Starting out with a similar base to ice cream, gelato is a milkier variant on its ice cream counterpart, often made with no eggs. First invented by Bernardo Buontalenti in Florence, those looking for a gelato getaway won’t be disappointed by its birthplace. La Carraia is the gelato hotspot for locals, offering super creamy and decadent scoops. Even more central, Perche’ no!... is a gelateria that offers delicious scoops of flavors such as Tuscan Rose, Sicilian Pistachio and Sesame & Honey, enchanting both tourists and locals alike.
Where to stay: Gelato lovers can stay at centrally located Campo Di Marte at the beautifully quaint Florence Liona Apartments. With exposed beams and rustic tiled flooring, this apartment is the perfect Italian home away from home. Well connected with great transport links, this area is perfect for exploring and foodies can feast further at Sant'Ambrogio Market.
Sweet stays in Auckland, New Zealand
As New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland is a great place for tourists to experience the very best of what the country has to offer, including its ice cream hotspots. With amazing beaches, great exhibitions and sensational food, it’s a great vacation choice. Auckland boasts a number of gastro-delicacies for travelers, including restaurants offering traditional Maori hangi (meat and vegetables slow-cooked in an underground oven) and Kina (the local name for sea urchin). For ice cream lovers, the local treat is Hokey Pokey flavor (caramelized honeycomb) which is served at Giapo, a unique ice-cream spot, popular amongst many locals for its incredible handmade ice-cream and adventurous flavors. Giapo’s other unique flavors include Yellow Kumara (an indigenous potato) and Yorkshire Pudding, lined with milk chocolate in lieu of traditional cones. Giapo even offers masterclasses for those looking to learn even more about their favourite sweet treat.
Where to stay: Avani Metropolis Auckland Residences located across from Albert Park, is situated in the heart of Auckland. Each apartment comes with comfy sofas, a TV, an open-plan living and dining area plus a fully-equipped kitchen. Popular tourist’s attractions such as Auckland Art Gallery, Queens Wharf and the Sky Tower are all within walking distance. The best part of the location is that guests are close to the dessert spots serving up some of New Zealand’s best ice-cream: Giapo, Liky Liky Gelato and Island Gelato – those with a sweet-tooth are in for a treat.
Frozen delights in Helsinki, Finland
Helsinki is still somewhat of a hidden treasure, despite the fact that it's home to a vibrant and flourishing food culture. Many flock to the capital to experience Finland’s world-renowned modern design heritage, which is also prominently on display in Helsinki, with stunning architecture, boutiques and galleries galore. If the art doesn't draw you in, perhaps the food might! Sample local sweet treat, Runeberg Torte, small circular rum cakes topped with icing and jam, or head to Jädelino, known for making some of the best ice-cream in the city. The local delicacy is thickened using natural carob bean gum and guar gum and offers delicious flavors such as local Finnish Honey, Mint Liquorice and Carrot White Chocolate.
Where to Stay: Apartment Hotel Aallonkoti offers modern apartments with furnished terraces and stunning views over Finlandia Park, all just a short train ride from Jädelino. Restaurants, cafés and bars abound in the neighborhood, and the Helsinki Music Centre and Tennispalatsi Finnkino Movie Theatre are both nearby.
Have a helados in Ibarra, Ecuador
For fruit fans, Ecuador’s twist on traditional ice cream is a labor of love that won’t disappoint. First created in Ibarra, Ecuador, this frozen treat is said to envelop the history and palate of the country in one mouthful! Created when refrigerators were very rare in Ecuador, the origin story claims this sweet treat was made with hailstones and local tropical fruits. Today, travelers should visit the dessert cafe Helados de Paila Rosalia Suarez to experience this tradition and try a variety of unique local flavors.
Where to stay: Bungalows Yahuarcocha overlooks the beautiful lake of the same name, with the serenity of Ibarra’s mountainous landscape providing a stunning backdrop. Just a short shuttle trip into the center of Ibarra, it's a very convenient home base to explore the city's culture and architecture, as well as a few scoops of the local ice-cream delicacy.
*Research commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among a sample of 53,492 respondents across 31 markets. In order to participate in this survey, respondents had to be 18 years of age or older, had to have travelled at least once in the past 12 months and be either the primary decision maker or involved in the decision making of their travel. The survey was taken online and took place between October 16th and November 12th, 2018.
 The Telegraph