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Exploring Vienna through Coffee

Vienna’s coffee culture is an important part of Austria’s identity and both locals and visitors can easily spend a few hours in a Vienna coffee house, simply relaxing and sipping on a cup of coffee.

There are lots of fantastic coffee houses to visit when searching for things to do in Vienna, but for an authentic Vienna coffee house experience there are a few that top the list time after time. If you are looking for somewhere to spend a few hours in Vienna on your luxurious river cruise holiday, try some of these fantastic cafes for an authentic taste of Viennese coffee.

Café Sacher

This café is part of the famous Hotel Sacher, which automatically entitles it to a certain status and inclusion in this list of Vienna coffee houses. During a visit to Café Sacher one can expect to find the atmosphere and style of a very traditional Vienna coffee house and one of the highlights of a visit is being able to enjoy a slice of Original Sacher-Torte, Austria’s famed chocolate cake. It is recommended that a slice of Sacher-Torte is enjoyed with unsweetened whipped cream and a cup of Original Sacher coffee.

The recipe for the famous Sacher Torte is held in real secrecy, as the Café themselves told us

“Only a handful of the hotel’s employees have ever seen the original 1832 recipe for the Original Sacher-Torte, which is kept in a safe. Buxbaum, who as the pastry chef makes the Original Sacher-Torte with his thirty or so co-workers and ices it himself, is one of them.”

- Café Sacher



Café Demel

Less of a café and more of a confectioner, Café Demel is a must for those with a sweet tooth and who are fans of royalty. The former royal confectioner is known for its creative window displays featuring its delicious pastries and sweets. Even if you don’t go inside for a coffee, it is well worth at least passing by to see the amazing window displays. The serving staff are quite unique at Café Demel; they are exclusively female and refer to customers in the third person.





Alt Wien Kaffee

For a different coffee experience, a visit to Alt Wien Kaffee is a must for those keen on pushing the boundaries of what traditional coffee is all about. Opening back in 2000, the business has grown from strength to strength and is a well-admired name for those longing for a delicious coffee. It really comes alive in the evening but will almost certainly be packed full of students looking for a venue with an artsy vibe; it is quieter during the day and its bar food comes highly recommended for a light lunch. Alt Wien Kaffee is a good place to visit if you wish to take some freshly roasted coffee beans home.

When we got in contact with Alt Wien Kaffee, they were more than keen to tell us how their coffee differs.

“Here at ALT WIEN KAFFEE we try to show what coffee can be. All its different and interesting faces, without judging or deciding between the factions of chocolatey/nutty/dry and fruity/acidic, of dark and light roasted coffees. We treat each coffee differently when roasting to maximize its potential using our Loring 35kg kestrel roaster (the only one of its kind in Austria).”

- Alt Wien Kaffee





Café Prückel

Café Prückel occupies a lovely spot on the Ringstrasse opposite the Museum of Applied Arts. Its 1950s interior is quite unique for Vienna and it offers a wide range of traditional pastries and Vienna coffee specialties. When visiting in the evening you can expect to find people playing card games, and sometimes there are live piano evenings.





Café Mozart

Café Mozart is over 140 years old and was established shortly after the death of Mozart, one of history’s greatest composers and a native Austrian. Close to the Vienna Opera House and the Imperial Palace, it is consistently popular with visitors. Some coffee houses allow smoking but Café Mozart does not, which is ideal for those who prefer to enjoy their Vienna coffee in a smoke-free environment. With such incredible history, combined with a diverse menu, Café Mozart is a must visit for any visitor to the city.





Café Central

If you’re looking for a grand and impressive coffee house then Café Central is a top choice. The former Vienna stock exchange has retained many of its classic features, including high ceilings, impressive lighting and large columns that stretch from floor to ceiling. Café Central is incredibly popular with visitors exploring Vienna on a Danube river cruise in Europe, not just because of its impressive appearance but also because it has been historically popular with leading figures including Leo Trotsky and Sigmund Freud. 

Here’s a short quote from Café Central on why you should pay them a visit: 

“Together with the large range of traditional coffee varieties the Café Central also tempts you with its home-made pastries, which range from “Kaiserschmarrn”, a tiered pancake with stewed plums, to Altenberg cake. The sweet delicacies emphasise the dignified Viennese coffee house charm and can equally, as for the original Café Central cake, be bought to take away.”

- Café Central





Café Schwarzenberg

This Vienna coffee house is very close to the Vienna Konzerthaus and the Musikverein, which makes it popular with those who are catching a performance at either of the two venues. Its location on the historic Ringstrasse also makes it ideal for a quick coffee break when touring the city, but it is equally good for those who have a little more time; Café Schwarzenberg often hosts readings and concerts and it also offers a range of international newspapers. Those interested in Vienna’s history are sure to enjoy knowing that it was the Ringstrasse’s first café.

We got in contact with Café Schwarzenberg to find out more about their offering, and here’s what they had to say.

“At Café Schwarzenberg guests can truly absorb the atmosphere of a typical traditional Viennese café. It opened in 1861, and today it is the oldest café in Vienna’s famous Ringstraße. Every year the café attracts around 250,000 regulars and visitors from around the world to enjoy Vienna’s coffee house culture in a unique atmosphere. The guests appreciate the many speciality coffees, the quality of the coffee, the sweet pastries, the traditional Viennese delicacies and the wide range of national and international newspapers. Café Schwarzenberg also regularly hosts cultural events, including the famous jazz breakfast, private viewings, concerts and readings.”

- Café Schwarzenberg  





Cafe Dreschsler

While Café Dreschler may have only opened in 2007, it has quickly become one of the most popular names in the world of Viennese coffee. With architecture inside taking a standpoint of simplicity rather than grandeur, it offers far more than just coffee and patrons can enjoy a full menu of foods alongside a great selection of beverages.

Image Credit: Café Sacher