From traditional coffee houses with opulent décor where the waiters wear waistcoats to the largest privately-owned coffee shop chain in Europe, if you’re planning to visit Vienna, you will probably want to know where you can get the best coffee – and the good news is that you are never too far away. There’s not much more that sums up life in Vienna than a trip to a coffee shop for a slice of cake and a latte – known locally as a melange. Drinking coffee is the basis of the social life in this city, and some of the oldest cafes date all the way back to the 1600s. Coffee houses in Vienna were at the height of their popularity in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, where they were a main focal point for creativity and intellectual discussion. There are about a thousand coffee shops to explore in the city – here are some of the best coffee places in Vienna to visit.
1. Café Museum
Café Museum has been around since all the way back in 1899. But not everybody was a fan of it – in fact, many Viennese were not impressed with the simplistic style of architect Adolf Loos, which was lacking in the chandeliers, opulence, and plush detailing that was typical of the era. However, artists loved the cake served here, and thanks to how close it is to the opera house, the reputation was quickly turned around and it became the main place to be for the culturally elite. Today the café is a masterpiece for the senses/ Stroll in and inhale the scent of freshly ground coffee in the air while elegant waiters serve Meinl coffee. The views from this coffee shop are amazing, and you can see the dome of the Secession Building and the Karlskirche. If ambiance is what you are after, this famous coffee shop has it to spare.
2. Café Schwarzenberg
Located at Ringstraße, close to Stadtpark, Schwarzenberg Café has all the features that you would expect from the traditional Viennese coffee houses like Prükel or Landtmann, but has never made it onto the tourist map, and is usually only frequented by the locals, making it a great option if you want to get out of the touristy areas of the city, off the beaten path, and figure out what the locals like to do. The café dates all the way back to 1861 and still features an interior that is typical of the interwar period including a painted ceiling, marble cladding, and the original tables. It has long been a place for relaxation and today is no different. Writers come here to work on their novels and the city’s cultural elite can often be seen drinking coffee and enjoying stimulating conversation. As well as coffee, there is also a great food menu on offer, with the beef goulash the most popular dish. Some of the finest boutique hotels in Vienna are located nearby if you are planning to stay for a few days.
3. Café Diglas
Although this café located on Wollzeile road has been open since 1923, the original Café Diglas dates all the way back to 1875. It was first It was founded by Hans Diglaz, and Emperor Franz Joseph I was the very first guest to visit. The coffee house still bears the surname of the founder and has been passed down the generations ever since. Along with the delicious coffee on offer, if you visit in the early evening, this is one of the best coffee shops in Vienna to catch some live piano performances.
4. Café Central
Located on high-end Herrengasse inside Palais Ferstel, Café Central has been around since 1876. Back in the old days, it was a second home for the intellectuals and poets in Vienna, and some notable visitors include architect Adolf Loos and psychologist Sigmund Freud. It is located close by to some of the best hotels in the city and offers a wide selection of strong coffees, baked goods, and sweet treats. It’s also one of the best coffee houses in Vienna to visit if you want to get a taste of some traditional food, with plenty of local favorites on the menu including schnitzel and Tafelspitz, beef or veal boiled in both and served with vegetables, potatoes, and a mix of horseradish and minced apples. For coffee fans, fear not as there is an extensive coffee menu to choose from. You can also try the organic teas and fruit infusions if you are looking for something caffeine-free.
5. Café Korb
Located near St Stephen’s Cathedral, Café Korb has been around since 1904, and once again, Emperor Franz Joseph I was on the guestlist for the opening night. Another of the best coffee places in Vienna where Adolf Loos and Sigmund Freud used to frequent, today it has an undeniable 1960s look about it and there are lots of black and white pictures adorning the walls to pay tribute to the early days of the café. If you go downstairs, you’ll find a popular bowling alley that’s been around for decades. Despite being quite a small café, Café Korb is always bustling with activity.
6. Café Hawelka
Located in the prestigious first district in Vienna, Café Hawelka is a nationally-loved coffee shop that has been featured in songs and documentaries. It was opened by then newlyweds Leopold and Josefine Hawelka in 1939 and became very popular with Austrian politicians, poets, and musicians in the 1960s and 1970s. The original owners were still working in the café in their 90s, and it is still run by the Hawelka family today. If you love the coffee served at the Café Hawelka, check out the website, as the all the coffee is available to buy from the onlne shop.
7. Kaffee Alt Wien
Another coffee shop that is located just a stone’s throw away from St Stephen’s Cathedral, Alt Wien has been around since the 1920s and was purchased by Leopold Hawelka in the 1930s. It certainly resembles a classic coffee house with dimmed lights, high ceilings, red velvet banquets, poster-decorated walls, and long opening hours. Along with the great selection of coffee, you’ll also find an extensive selection of traditional food dishes on offer that go beyond just sandwiches and cakes. The goulash is an especially popular dish and you can look forward to traditional Bavarian sausage dishes, too.
8. Café Prückel
Located opposite the Museum of Applied Arts, Café Prückel has been around for over a century and is one of the most traditional coffee houses in Vienna. This is definitely the place to be if you want to get the best Vienna roast coffee. Despite the fact that it has been around for so many years, its long history is not immediately obvious as the coffee house doesn’t have any of the traditional elements you would expect such as stucco ceilings and marble tabletops. This is because after it opened in 1903, Café Prükel was majorly refurbished in the 1950s. However, it hasn’t changed much since then and still has the large chandelier, olive-green chairs, and bamboo desks. Café Prükel is open seven days a week, from 8.30 AM to 10 PM.
9. Café Landtmann
If you’re looking for a cozy and elegant coffee house to visit in Vienna, this is a great choice. It definitely feels like a traditional Viennese coffee house with dark-wood furniture, wood-paneled walls, and crisp white tablecloths. Café Landtmann is one of the oldest coffee houses in Vienna dating back to 1873 and is located in a listed historical building surrounded by the Imperial Palace, the Burgtheter, and the University of Vienna, which definitely makes it one of the busiest and most popular cafes in the area.
10. Jonas Reindl Specialty Coffee
If you want a trip away from the traditional coffee houses and are looking to find the best specialty coffee in Vienna, it’s worth visiting Jonas Reindl. A cozy and vibrant coffee shop, Jonas Reindl is a popular choice with young people who often spend time here in breaks between classes at the nearby University of Vienna but is also a firm favorite with tourists and locals alike. You can expect to find some of the best coffee beans in Vienna here since the owner, Philip Feyer, is very serious about sourcing the best beans and has even traveled to Nicaragua to see the conditions on the farm where he sources them.
From traditional Viennese coffee houses that have been around for more than a hundred years to small, hip, specialty coffee shops where you can find high-quality coffee beans and a thriving third-wave coffee scene, there’s a coffee shop for everybody in Vienna. Whether you like to visit all the places that are popular with tourists or prefer to get off the beaten path and see where the locals like to drink their coffee, you’ll definitely find what you want here with around a thousand cafes and coffee shops.