The Top 6 traditional coffee houses in Vienna
Viennese coffee house culture: sometimes in company, sometimes alone, never too many changes and always a really good coffee and a delicious pastry at a marble-topped table. This is where the Viennese can still be Viennese, and guests can dive into that unadulterated Viennese attitude towards life for a couple of hours.
Sometimes, the Viennese are right to shun change. In an age when everything is moving faster and faster, it's good to find a few things that endure and never change. Vienna's coffee houses among them. UNESCO takes the same view and added Viennese coffee house culture to its list of intangible cultural heritage in 2011.
Dive into Viennese coffee house culture
Anyone who has ever experienced the unique atmosphere of a Viennese coffee house understands that only too well. History comes alive here. The air is heavy with the aroma of fresh coffee and enticing cakes, tarts and strudels. Newspapers rustle, guests talk excitedly about God and the world. Perhaps the busy author at the adjacent table is working on his next bestseller novel. Yet where can all this be experienced with particular intensity? We present six of the best traditional Viennese coffee houses to you here.
Our first stop is at Café Jelinek. Slightly tucked away, just off Mariahilfer Strasse, it's the perfect place to escape from the hustle and bustle of shopping for a few moments. This little café offers everything that Viennese coffee house culture is known for. Most things here have remained unchanged for decades. The wrought iron woodburner, excellent coffee, free newspapers and many sweet temptations give Café Jelinek a very special charm. Our insider tip: the home-made guglhupf cake.
Halfway between Mariahilfer Strasse and Vienna's famous Naschmarkt, we go on a journey through time in Café Sperl. It has been synonymous for Viennese coffee house culture since 1880. At Café Sperl, time seems to have stood still. Little about the furnishings has changed since it opened. Whether a cozy cup of coffee with a slice of original Sperl Torte or at one of the billiard tables, Café Sperl is perfectly suited for a short break in old Vienna.
Not far from Stephansplatz is one of Vienna's most legendary cafés. It's distinctive charm has made Café Hawelka a popular meeting place for famous peoples from the worlds of art and culture, such as Hans Moser, Udo Jürgens or Andy Warhol. The Hawelkas spent decades creating a real Viennese institution. What did Leopold Hawelka say so well? "I wouldn't be Hawelka without my wife." And it wouldn't be Café Hawelka without her famous Buchteln. The sweet aroma of these delicious, jam-filled leavened dough treats is an experience on its own.
Café Korb, also near Stephansplatz, has welcomed guests through its doors since 1904. Breakfast is served here all day long, as is a fantastic Wiener schnitzel. Café Korb is famous for its Artlounge. Several artists designed this special room. The Artlounge forms an artistic and modern antithesis in the midst of a classical coffee house environment. Another eye-catcher in Café Korb are the many pictures from the life of the owner – the glittering actress and performance artist Susanne Widl.
Café Schwarzenberg has always been one of the most popular places to meet among Vienna's coffee houses. It is Vienna's oldest Ringstrasse café, whose charm can be felt in all corners of the place. In 1980, Café Schwarzenberg almost became a car dealership, but the future mayor, Helmut Zilk, was just able to stop this happening. The result: You can still experience the special flair of the old Ringstrasse café today and enjoy traditional coffee and tea specialties with a wonderful slice of cake.
The crowning finale is a visit to Café Central on Herrengasse. Since 1876, this Viennese coffee house in Palais Ferstel has exuded a very special ambience. The magnificent inner courtyard in the Venetian style, the excellent patisserie, and the pleasant piano music make every visit an experience. In addition to various coffee specialties, the café's guests enjoy the delicious classics of Viennese cuisine such as Tafelspitz (fillet of boiled beef), Wiener schnitzel and Kaiserschmarrn (sugared pancake strips).
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