Vienna is surely one of the best European destinations. To truly enjoy the city, a visitor shouldnâ€™t rush, but should instead slow down and enjoy age-old Viennese traditions. Few of these traditions are as enjoyable as taking time to relax, warm up, Â people watch, and read in the venerable institution of the Viennese cafÃ©.
Outside these lovely cafÃ©s, the hectic and distracting pace of 21st century life may go on as usual, but inside, be sure to pack away your laptops and hide your iphones in order to fully enjoy the splendours of turn of the 20th century Vienna. The cafÃ©s are all well stocked with international newspapers. The coffee is served Viennese-style, on aÂ platter, accompanied by a glass of water with an overturned spoon. Desserts are, of course, sinfully rich. Be sure to incorporate one (or many) visits to some of these cafÃ©s into your next visit to Vienna.
The grande dame of Viennese cafÃ© culture, Demel was established in 1786. The â€œK.u.Kâ€ proudly displayed on its portal and on its confectionary boxes, indicate that it was the official imperial bakery (Kaiser und Kaiserin). Emperess Sissi was said to have been extremely fond of the sweets produced by Demel.
Firmly wedded to tradition, Demel refused to remove the â€œK.u.Kâ€ even after the collapse of the Empire rendered it irrelevant and unpopular. Almost one hundred years after the Empireâ€™s collapse, it still remains proudly on the door â€“ as you can see in this photo – and a visitor to this lovely cafÃ© may indeed feel heâ€™s been transported back to 19th century Vienna.
The beautiful window displays change frequently. Even if you donâ€™t manage to go inside to sit down, be sure to see whatâ€™s on display in this most famous of Viennese cafÃ©s. Demel is located on Kohlmarkt, just a few steps away from the Hofburg.
CafÃ© Schwarzenberg is on the Ringstrasse, midway between the Opera house and the Stadtpark. It was established in 1861 when the Ringstrasse was first built by tearing down Viennaâ€™s defensive walls.
CafÃ© SchwarzenbergÂ is famous for having been occupied by the Russian army after liberating the city in 1945. Today, the cafÃ© upholds Viennese traditions and is a pleasant place to stop on your walk around the Ringstrasse. On warm days, there is outdoor seating on the adjoining sidewalk.
This is my favourite Vienna cafÃ©. Opened in 1861, the CafÃ© Central is housed in the Palais Ferstel on Herrengasse. Over its long history, the CafÃ© Central has seen many famous â€“ and infamous â€“ patrons sipping coffee within its lovely vaulted spaces.
Adolf Loos, Tito, Sigmund Freud, Vladimir Lenin, Adolf Hitler and Leon Trotsky have all spent time here. At a time when many Viennese flats were unheated, many young intellectuals and revolutionaries spent hours nursing their coffees â€“ and staying warm â€“ at the CafÃ© Central.
This was the case with Leon Trotsky, who became such a fixture at the Viennese coffee house that when the Russian Revolution began, the Viennese laughed it off, assured that â€œHerr Trotsky of the CafÃ© Centralâ€ could never succeed in such an endeavour.
Join the ranks of history and culture with a visit to these beautiful Viennese cafÃ©s on your next visit to the Austrian capital. For something more informal Andy recommends Cafe Aida.
Best of Vienna Tips
Our “Best of Vienna Travel Tips” collation will give you plenty of ideas for you trip to Vienna. We’ve also researched some of the best places to stay in Vienna for all budgets. You can also read about ten must-see Vienna museums.