Much like the neighboring capital of Budapest, Vienna is a coffee city steeped in the tradition of the Austro-Hungarian empire. For centuries, Vienna has been known as the home of glittering, regal coffee houses adorned with gold, crystal and mahogany. Today, some of Vienna’s finest coffee can still be found in those historic coffee houses, but also in a number of new, modern cafés of a completely different style.
Here are five of the top cafes in Vienna, Austria:
Photo courtesy of Phil.
With its warm lamp lighting and rambling bookshelves, Phil feels more like a friend’s library-slash-living room than a cafe. And that’s part of the charm. Settle down with a mug of black coffee, pore over a book and absorb the cozy atmosphere.
Photo courtesy of Burg.ring.
Vienna may have a rich history (coffee-related and otherwise), but that’s not to say it doesn’t also have a burgeoning modern café scene. With its stripped-back walls and light-filled space, Burg.ring is one of the most charming spots in the city to relax over a latte. The vintage-inspired, mid-century décor also adds to the lovely atmosphere.
Photo courtesy of Cafe Central.
A far cry from the coziness of Phil or the modernity of Burg.ring, Café Central is a classic, historical Vienna institution. As you set foot inside the coffee hall, you’re sure to be struck by Central’s glorious, golden decor. In business since 1876, Central has been frequented by intellectuals including Sigmund Freud, philosopher Egon Freidell and writer Peter Altenberg. Hitler and Lenin also attended, but maybe just focus on the Viennese luminaries rather than the dictators in order to enjoy this historic place.
Kaffee Alt Wien
Photo courtesy of Kaffee Alt Wien.
Back in the day, Kaffee Alt Wien (or “Old Vienna Coffee”) used to be another traditional Viennese coffee house, albeit a more modest one than Central. Today, it’s evolved into more of a dive bar, more popular in the evenings rather than the day. It nonetheless continues to serve coffee in a cool lounge space and is the perfect way to experience a different side of Vienna’s coffee history.
Photo courtesy of Gemma King.
Café Sperl is my personal favorite cafe in Vienna, not just for its plush atmosphere and strong espresso, but for its unrivaled apple strudel, my favorite Austrian dish. A member of the Austrian Register of Historic Places, Sperl boasts many of its original fixtures and has hosted all manner of luminaries, thinkers and politicians over the years, including the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, not long before his fateful assassination and the outbreak of the World War I.
Of the many great cafes in Vienna, which is your favorite? Please share in the comments below.
Top photo credit: Photo courtesy of amenic181 via Shutterstock.