March 22, 2023

A love affair with Austrian coffee starts at these enchanting cafes

If you prefer wine to coffee, head to Viennese taverns called heurigen to enjoy a beverage.
Austria’s affinity for coffee can be traced back to the late 1600s, when Ottoman Turkish forces in Vienna fled an attack – leaving behind hundreds of sacks of coffee beans. According to legend, Franz Georg Kolschitzk not only helped the Austrians defeat the invaders, he also opened the first Viennese coffee house, The Blue Bottle.

Today, Viennese coffeehouse culture is an integral part of Austrian life and history – hosting artists, scientists, and politicians and earning a spot on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list.

From upscale to historical, the following five coffeehouses are a must on any list of Vienna attractions.

Café Central
Homemade pastries and exquisite architecture have drawn guests here since 1876, including writer Peter Altenburg, theorist Leon Trotsky, and architect Adolf Loos. Breakfast offers items such as croissants and cheeses, while a changing weekly lunch menu serves up Viennese specialties like Wienerschnitzel. The apple strudel and Kaiserschmarrn pancakes are always a good bet!

Café Hawelka
Opened in 1936, this institution is known for carefully preserved décor and its famous Buchteln, sweet rolls filled with jam. With a history as an artists’ hangout, the café now houses a collection of art made by café guests.

Café Landtmann
With famous patrons such as Sigmund Freud and Max Reinhardt, this elegant coffeehouse has welcomed guests since 1873. Adjacent to the Burgtheater and City Hall, café guests can dine indoors or on a spacious outdoor patio, enjoying refined service and Austrian fare.

Not only is Demel the most famous pastry and chocolate shop in Vienna, it’s also a welcoming place to relax over coffee. Servers here have been exclusively female for 200 years, and are known as Demelinerinnen by the Viennese.

Café Sperl
Opened in 1880, the café was once popular among artists, military personnel, and government officials such as archdukes Josef Ferdinand and Karl Ferdinand. Today, Thonet chairs, marble dining tables, and billiards tables fill the restored interior of the coffeehouse and diners order tasty treats like the Sperl torte, a creamy cake of chocolate, cinnamon, vanilla, and almond paste.

Can’t wait to try the coffee in Austria? Start planning your luxury Vienna vacation here.

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