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The Viennese coffee house culture

04 Dezembro 2023

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Schönbrunn Palace, St Stephen's Cathedral, the Opera, the Giant Ferris Wheel, the Danube Canal... Vienna is full of sights and unique places to discover. When exploring the many attractions of the Austrian capital, you will quickly find yourself covering several kilometres on foot. No wonder that at some point you will long for a place to rest. And it is in that moment that you will find one of Austria's greatest cultural treasures: The „Wiener Kaffeehauskultur“.

Viennese Coffee House Culture Cafe Jelinek

It’s not about “how”, but about “where”!

The origin of coffee is controversial. An Italian will claim Naples, an Austrian Vienna. Whoever came first, fact is that both countries have different priorities when it comes to enjoying coffee. In Italy, perhaps the most important thing is the taste and the perfect temperature of the coffee, so that it can be enjoyed directly at the counter. The "how" is what the Italian coffee culture is all about. In Vienna, on the other hand, it is the "where" that is most important. That's why in Vienna it's called coffeehouse culture and not coffee culture. 

A coffeehouse is about ambience, coziness and style. The coffeehouse offers a unique, tasteful retreat. Spending hours leafing through the numerous newspapers available in the traditional coffee houses, working on your laptop, reading a book, exchanging gossip and taking a sip from your cup now and then - this is the typical Viennese coffee house visit.

The special "Viennese charm" of the waiters takes some getting used to. The "Wiener Charme", what it’s called in German, refers to the unfriendliness of coffeehouse staff. This can be irritating at first, but it is not meant as a personal attack, it is intended and part of the culture. 

The gastronomic offer goes far beyond a cup of coffee. You can also have a cup of tea or hot chocolate, a delicious lunch or a slice of the famous Sacher cake. Speaking of “Sachertorte”, you can get the original at Café Sacher, one of the best coffeehouses in Vienna. Read on to find out more about the Sacher and two other of Vienna's most charming coffee houses.

Our top 3 coffee houses in Vienna 

Elegance: The Café Sacher

The coffeehouse of the Hotel Sacher offers a truly elegant atmosphere. If you want to feel like an emperor, this is the place to be. Magnificent burgundy décor, fine ceramic tableware and golden chandeliers give this café a special charm. But elegance comes at a price. A slice of original Sacher cake costs €8.9. A cup of coffee costs around €6, depending on the size. But the uniquely stylish ambience of the Sacher is well worth spending a little more.

Living room feeling: Café Jelinek

If you're not looking for imperial elegance, but rather a cozy living room atmosphere, Café Jelinek is the place to be. Velvet-upholstered benches invite you to spend an afternoon reading the paper and taking in the surroundings over a cup of coffee and a slice of cake. A special feature is the Jelinek Coffee, which has been roasted in-house since 2021. The homemade pastries, from poppy seed cake to apple-strudel, are also hard to resist. In summer there is a lovely garden for guests to enjoy.

Tradition: Café Sperl 

Café Sperl is the epitome of coffeehouse culture. Its history dates back to 1880, making it one of the most traditional coffeehouses in Vienna. From the very beginning it was a meeting place for creative people - writers, painters, composers... No wonder, the atmosphere between the velvet benches and the walls decorated with numerous paintings is unique. For those who need a break from their creative work or are bored with reading the newspaper, there are three billiard tables. And, of course, there are coffee specialties and home-made delicacies!

These three coffeehouses are just a few of the many options that await you in Vienna! Whichever you choose, each has its own charm. 

Just as each of our selected accommodations in Vienna has its own special features.

The best hotels to immerse yourself in coffee house culture

Hollmann Beletage Design and Boutique Hotel

This boutique hotel in the heart of Vienna is ideal for those who want to feel at home. Just a few minutes' walk from St Stephen's Cathedral, this design hotel in Vienna offers a wide range of amenities. From complimentary iPads in the rooms and a 6-course breakfast menu to the tranquil garden terrace and library, this hotel is filled with surprising details and great hospitality. And Café Sacher is just a 15-minute walk away! For those who prefer a longer walk, you can reach Café Sperl is half an hour.

Book your stay at Hollmann Beletage - Design & Boutique

Boutique Hotel Altstadt Vienna

This boutique hotel in Vienna offers stylish accommodation in the colorful 7th district, with trendy and charming rooms that reflect the creativity of the area, an on-site bar and an inviting rooftop terrace. Located in the artists' district of Spittelberg, the hotel is surrounded by modern restaurants and venues on one side and historic sights on the other. Café Jelinek is less than a 20-minute walk down the famous “Mariahilferstrasse” shopping street.

Book your stay at Hotel Altstadt Vienna

Boutique Hotel Saint Shermin

This hotel could well compete with the coffee houses with its extensive breakfast offering, which includes coffee specialties from mélange to espresso. In fact, the entire breakfast buffet at the Boutique Hotel Saint Shermin is exceptional and a real insider tip! This small boutique hotel is perfect for those looking for the flair of a smaller establishment and who appreciate hospitality. For those who still fancy coffee and cake in a real coffee house after a sumptuous breakfast, a stroll through Vienna's famous Naschmarkt will take you to Café Sperl in just 10 minutes. 

Book your stay at Saint Shermin

Don't miss out on the uniqueness of Vienna's coffeehouses and book one of our handpicked accommodations for your stay! 

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