California Globetrotter

A Delicious Guide for Coffee & Cake in Vienna

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Before you go to Vienna, you should be forewarned, there will be A LOT of coffee and cake breaks as this tradition is and has been a large part of Viennese culture dating as far back as 1683. This tradition is so ingrained into the culture that UNESCO has declared it as an “Intangible Cultural Heritage” since 2011. And seeing as it was my birthday, what better way to eat my cake! Legend has it that while Vienna was being liberated from the second Turkish siege in 1683 by the Polish-Habsburg army, a sack was found with strange beans, which were thought to be camel feed that should be burned. The sacks were given to an officer named Jerzy Franciszek Kulczycki who supposedly started the first coffee house. However, facts stated that the first coffee house was actually opened the year before. But, the legend continues that after a bit of experimentation, Kulczycki added some sugar and milk to the coffee and thus began the Viennese coffee tradition.

When visiting a coffeehouse, you will be transported to another time and place, more specifically, towards the end of the 19th century. Viennese cafes are known for their opulent fin de siècle decor, severs decked out in formal, pressed uniforms and freshly brewed coffees.

Towards the late 19th and early 20th century, leading writers of the time were drawn to these cafes filled with such ambience that inspired frequent meet ups and even a little bit of writing.

Sitting down for a cuppa coffee and a slice of delectable cake is the opposite of the hustle and bustle atmosphere most restaurants give off. No, when coming to one of these cafes, it’s a place for both locals and tourists to unwind, sit for a nice chat or even stop and read a book and simply live in the moment.

So which one(s) should you visit? – And yes, I made that plural because going to just one is not enough!

In case you’re salivating already, PIN IT FOR LATER!!

Café Central

Quite possibly the most famous and the most delicious, you’ll be lining up with other tourists just to get a table, so don’t be surprised if you see the line out the door, but I PROMISE you now, it is worth EVERY minute of the wait!

Café Central has the best architecture, the best ambience, the best service, the best cake assortments and the best food! Should there only be time for one cafe, this would be the one!

The cafe first opened in 1876 and was quickly one of the main meeting points for many intellectuals. Famous writer and poet Peter Altenberg  even had his mail delivered to his this cafe and even became a permanent visitor, greeting you as you walk in, as well as other notable visors often included Leon Trotsky and Sigmund Freud. Quite personally, I wouldn’t mind having my mail delivered here! a-delicious-guide-to-coffee-cake-in-vienna-austria-california-globetrotter-6

The prices are a bit more expensive here than other cafes, but you’re paying for so much more than just coffee and cake. You’re paying for the entire experience and you’ll be hard pressed to find another cafe equal to its splendor.

Drooling yet? Heart pounding? I sure hope so!

Highly Recommended: Central Surprise and a cup of Earl Grey Tea or the Maria Theresia

Address: Herrengasse 14, 1010 Wien, Austria in the Palais Ferstel, on the corner of Stauchgasse

Website: Café Central

Café Sacher

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In Vienna, Café Sacher, found in the Hotel Sacher, is an institution and offers another chance to escape to the 19th century with its red damask walls and staff who wear authentic style, starched pressed uniforms. The cafe has cozier rooms that are smaller and still offer that formal presentation.

Franz Sacher became famous for his Sachertorte, a chocolate cake filled with apricot filling is so good, you won’t want to miss this yummy cake! Created or a reception given by Austrian State Chancellor, this cake has been eaten by everyone from Emperor Franz Joseph, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip to John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

Should you not be able to make it to Café Sacher in Vienna, have no fear, there is another in Salzburg! And yes, I’m not gonna lie, the picture above is actually from Salzburg as I forgot to take pictures of the Vienna cafe!

Highly Recommended: Sachertorte

Address: Philharmoniker Str. 4, 1010 Wien, Austria

Website: Café Sacher

Café Schwarzenberg

Café Schwarzenberg is the oldest existing Ringstraße coffee house, opened during the construction of the prestigious boulevard in 1861 and unlike other coffeehouses in Vienna, the cafe did not not cater to a clientele of artists and intellectuals and therefore was more a place for influential entrepreneurs and financiers.

The interior of the cafe has remained mostly unchanged since opening, and has a more relaxed, casual atmosphere than the previous two. The servers are still equipped with freshly pressed black uniforms and the cakes are on display as soon as you walk in the door.

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Here, there is more of a feeling that this cafe is more visited by locals rather than tourists, who come to sit and enjoy their coffee and cake with no intention of rushing the experience, especially on evenings where the cafe provides coffee house music!

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Uncontrollably salivating yet?

Highly Recommended: Sacher-Putschwürfel and the Kaffee Mozart

Address:  Kärntner Ring 17, 1010 Wien, Austria (at Schwarzenbergplatz)

Website: Café Schwarzenberg

Café Landtmann

Located on the ground floor of the Palais Lieben-Auspilz, the cafe has been nicknamed “Vienna’s most elegant Café” since its opening in 1873. It’s a popular meeting place for actors, politicians, officials, and journalists as it’s just opposite city hall and next to the Burgtheater and quickly became popular with prominent figures such as Sigmund Freud.

Upon visiting the cafe, you’ll quickly notice that the cafe is quite popular and has even expanded their cafe with a modern, glassed extension, but walking further into the cafe, you’ll see that the interior is decorated in a simple, classy way and yet again, the servers are dressed in their finest uniforms.

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Unfortunately, as we visited right at prime dinner time, it was absolutely chaotic as seating is first come first serve, except in the back room. So, we decided to get out cakes to go and eat them away from the hordes of guests.

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Isn’t it just heavenly!? Dont’cha just want one, or two, or more!?

Highly Recommended: Edelweistörtchen

Address: Universitätsring 4, 1010 Wien, Austria, near the Burgtheater & Rathaus

Website: Café Landtmann

Demel

Demel is more of a pastry shop and chocolateire than a Viennese style coffee shop, known for their sweet scones, cream cakes and strudel. For that reason, it shouldn’t technically be on the list, but it’s just too delicious not to miss! Plus, they have held the title of “Purveyor to the Imperial and Royal Court” since 1874, which says a lot!

Directly in front of the Hofburg Palace, waitress are dressed in white aprons, known as Demelinerinnen address you in the third person, a tradition dating back 200 years. The downstairs level is a showcase of their most delectable treats. Head upstairs if you’re looking to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee and cake.

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Each room is decorated in the rococo-period salon and dominated by big, beautiful chandeliers, which we all know I love! Notable customers have included the Empress Elizabeth “Sisi” and actress Katarina Schratt.

Highly Recommended: Sorry, I can no longer remember the name!

Address: Kohlmarkt 14, 1010 Wien, Austria, in front of the Hofburg Palace where all the horses carriages wait

Website: Demel

Other notable cafes in Vienna:

If you’re interested in visiting Austria and are looking for more information, I highly recommend using the DK Eyewitness Travel Guide:Austria! Without these guides, I would be lost! This is my travel Bible!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one and make a purchase, I might make a little extra spending money, at no extra cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own and these products/services have been found useful during our travels and come highly recommended to you from yours truly!

Other related posts:

7 Day Road Trip Through Austria

A Romantic Weekend in Vienna

Autumn in Hallstatt

A Taste of Europe Bucket List

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Author: California Globetrotter

At 14 I started traveling the world with my parents and was hooked! By 21 I was studying abroad in Heidelberg, Germany. By 26 I sold all of my belongings and bought a one way ticket to Germany to teach English. Little did I know, I'd meet the love of my life and end up traveling to the most romantic and idyllic towns in Europe and becoming a long-term expat in Bavaria! My name is Lorelei and I'm just your typical CaliGirl, Sunset Chaser, Fairytale Dreamer, Dress Lover, Traveloholic, Beer Drinker!

77 thoughts on “A Delicious Guide for Coffee & Cake in Vienna

  1. I’ve seen this post before and it’s still just as delicious looking. I need to show my husband!

  2. Oh wow it all looks so good, you cant beat coffee and cake xx

  3. Uncontrollably salivating yet? Yes!! I shouldn’t have read this just before dinner. Now I want cake!! That coffee at Café Schwarzenberg looks incredible. Thanks for sharing this on #MondayEscapes

  4. I appreciate that you did all of this delicious research for us! I have wonderful memories of an alfresco coffee and cake break in Vienna with my mom several years ago. I am saving this for a trip I am hoping to take next year.

  5. Oh my goodness, what a beautiful post! Apart from the divine-looking cakes, the history around these places is really interesting, too. I’m sharing this post far and wide! #MondayEscapes

  6. Wow! This certainly makes me want to visit straight away. What a delicious post!

  7. Great list Lorelei, and I actually hadn’t heard the stories about the city’s first coffeehouse. I went to Cafe Central based on your recommendation and have to agree the architecture is beautiful and cake great too. Generally the best coffee spots in Vienna require a short queue.

    You’ve certainly been to the big name ones, although I would say Museum Cafe wouldn’t be a pick of mine as I found the service a bit lacking. I’d add the Oberlaa on Neuer Markt which is always lively but with great service and packed with locals, and one I think you’d like and surprised isn’t listed is Cafe Diglas on Wollzeile, very well regarded local one.

  8. I loved Vienna, it is an amazing and beautiful place. We went to Cafe Central and had apple strudel. Love your blog by the way, off to follow on social media. #Citytripping

  9. What I wouldn’t give for a slice of pretty much all of those Viennese cakes! I love Vienna, it’s so sophisticated, and the food and wine…. My favourite cake there was in the little cafe in the grounds of Schloss Schonbrunn… 🙂 #mondayescapes

  10. Pingback: 200th Post: A Celebration of CG’s Posts | California Globetrotter

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