We’ve got some awesome boutique Bed&Breakfasts in our collection, but sometimes there is no better way to get a feel for a place than to start it with the locals, so we’ve spent some valuable time sniffing out the latest buttery croissant in Paris, searching for the best espresso in Rome and hunting down the most tomato-ey tostados in Seville so that you can start your day the best way in six of our favourite European cities.
For Sevillanos, breakfast is a two-part affair, an early snack (possibly light and airy churros dunked in chocolate) at 7am and a more filling bar breakfast at 10am. The latter tends to be a sacred ritual based around toast. But this is no ordinary toast. This is bread that has been carefully, lightly toasted then doused in big glugs of olive oil infused with garlic, piled high with summer fresh, rich, red, juicy tomatoes and finished with a liberal sprinkling of salt. Eating them is one of the singular joys of Seville.
Best for breakfast: Little La Cacherreria (Calle Regina 14) in the Soho Bendita area packs in a wide variety including museli, smoothies and of course the requisite freshly pressed orange juice and tostadas. Bar Europa (Siete Revueltas 35) has a pretty tiled interior within which you can take your time over orange juice, tostadas and coffee and get your churros fix at Bar El Comericio, said to be the best in the old center.
Stay: Corral del Rey, a 10-minute walk or under from all our recommendations.
Stay: see our full list of Andalusian boutique hotels
Germans take their first meal of the day very seriously. You’ll find cafes serving up enormous platters of cheeses, hams and often piled high with smoked salmon and eggs, homemade salads, fresh fruit and all the sweet stuff. But the hero is the bread and there are a mind-boggling variety of freshly baked loaves, rolls and pastries to choose from. Do you want sourdough, wheat or rye, steamed or baked, crusty or soft, with or without grains, white, grey, black or brown? Chose your bread and then layer up with cheese and meats.
Best for breakfast: To give the German breads a good tasting head to Alpenstueck Baeckerei (Schröderstrasse 1, 10115), one of Berlin’s best bakeries who serve up their bread with mountain cheese, brie, cottage cheese, Emmental butter and jam.
Anna Blume (Kollwitzstrasse 83), an Art Nouveau inspired café cross flower shop serves up a legendary breakfast. On the ‘Alpenrose’ platter you’ll find creamy goat cheese, Tyrolean ham and pork loin, on ‘Oleander’ there’s salami with provolone and oyster mushrooms whilst brunch is a three-tiered extravaganza that will give you a taste of everything from feta and avocado creme, to antipasto and scrambled eggs.
Stay: Ackselhaus & Blue Home, a 10-minute walk from Anna Blume
Stay: see our full list of Berlin boutique hotels
Ah, breakfast in Paris….. Pastries and pancakes, thickly buttered and crispy tartines (a thin baguette sliced deftly down the middle) with freshly squeezed orange juice, the ever so more-ish pain perdu, “lost bread”, where egg-soaked bread is pan-fried in butter often with the help of a liberal dose of brandy.
Best for breakfast: Above all, foodies the world over agree that the greatest gift the French have given breakfast, are oeufs en cocotte and our top tip is to get them at Eggs & Co (11 Rue Bernard Palissy, 75006). You’ll get your eggs baked in ramekins with cream and then choose your extras from asparagus and salmon to courgettes and coriander. They also offer up a full range of eggs, all done brilliantly and however you want them, scrambled, fried, boiled, Florentine or Benedict, omelettes and a huge assortment of sides and combos. Reservations recommended.
Stay: Hotel Montalembert is a 10-minute walk away. Le Petit Paris a little bit further but your path will take you though Jardin du Luxembourg, our favourite park in the city.
Stay: take a look at our full Paris collection of boutique hotels
Here there are 3 different types of breakfast. The simplest brings coffee and a pastry, a more substantial salty version comes with eggs and ham or bacon and thirdly there is the traditional esmorçars de cullera (breakfast with a fork) and probably the closest the Catalans get to brunch (think butifarra, a local sausage or a potato omelet). A quick word while we are here on coffee, it’s café con leche with a croissant, strictly a café solo at all other times and beware the ferocious caffeine hit of a café double.
Best for breakfast: no doubt about it, head to the bustling Boqueria market and El Quim. The market is a riot of fresh produce, colour and smells and this tiny stand with just 16 stools and busy grill surrounded by the heady cornucopia of the market is the place to go to. Try eggs with crispy serrano ham and cubed potatoes or eggs with prawns in cava, a just-made tortilla or a lomo bocadillo (pork loin sandwich) with asparagus and onion confit – we’ve heard they are phenomenal! Go early and take a stool at the counter.
Stay: Hotel Denit,& Mercer Barcelona are both just a 10-minute walk away
Stay: our full list of Barcelona boutique hotels
Breakfast in a coffee house is the classical way to begin your day in Vienna. It is part of the culture but don’t come if you are in a rush to get out and start your day. Come expecting leisurely service, settle in and order your soft-boiled egg, rolls and coffee. One thing is for sure, the coffee will be worth the wait and there are usually dozens of different kinds to choose from.
Best for breakfast: Meinl’s Café (19 Graben) within the city’s extravagant food hall and will there are over 35 different coffees including the Viennese classics of mélange (cappuccino), kaffee verkehrt (latte macchiato) and Einspänner (One-Horse Carriage), a double espresso stretched with a touch of water and finished with a dollop of whipped cream. There is also an incredible range of teas ranging from the well known to the lesser, such as China Green Samba Acai, White Tea Fujian Peach, Earl Grey Blue Blossom. Afterwards pop into the shop downstairs, there are rare cheeses, hams, spices, jams, honey and more to tempt you.
Stay: Hollman Beletage is a 10-minute walk from MinI’s. Hotel Lamee and Hotel Topazz are even closer, probably around 7 minutes each!
Stay: take a look at our full Vienna handpicked collection of boutique hotels
What constitutes breakfast in Rome, is a culture chasm for many. It’s coffee and Romans like it unsweetened, strong and very hot, drunk standing at a neighbourhood bar or café. Beware, there is no take-away here, it’s more of a “stand, drink and go” moment. But don’t be put off, there are normally some delicious pastries to partner up with that strong caffeine hit, cornettos (croissants) which come plain or filled with chocolate or nutella (cioccolato) or kick start your tastebuds with a ciambella (doughnut).
Best for coffee: around Piazza del Popolo are arguably two of Rome’s greatest cafes. Bar Rosati (4/5a Piazza del Popolo) who’s espresso is said to be “bliss in a cup” and Canova (16/17 Piazza del Popolo), a touch more glamorous with a restaurant and outdoor tables facing onto the piazza.
At Giolitti (40 Via Uffici del Vicario), politics, ice-cream and coffee collide. Known for its espresso served in a glass so that you can be sure that the temperature and creaminess are just right – and its ice cream. In our view this is surely the best of two worlds. Don’t leave without trying their signature “Coppa Giolitti” made with chocolate ice cream, custard and chilled zabaione, topped with cream and hazelnut shavings. It is a recipe that dates back to the 1920s.
Stay: Casa Montani and Crossing Condotti both well under a 10-minute walk to the Piazza del Popolo. Casa Howard Capo Le Case is about the same to Giolitti.
Stay: our full Rome collection
We’ve a great Boutique B&B collection plus luxury and boutique hotels from Barcelona to rural hideouts in Puglia, safaris in Africa to lodges in Australia. Oh and of course, if you are travelling with kids we’ve a family friendly collection, and if you’re without them then check out our fabulous child-free hotels as well as some for you to get completely off the beaten track, for gourmet foodies or to have an amazing room with a view.
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