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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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Replies to A Delicious Guide for Coffee & Cake in Vienna

  1. Oh my! Did you do anything else in Vienna other than eat delicious cake? 😉 Yes, yes, yes, I’m salivating and definitely need to go here.
    #citytripping

  2. I’m drooling over these pictures! During out visit to Vienna we ate Sacher torte and popped into several Aida branches but our big splurge was at a place called Café Diglas recommended to us by local viennese friends. #citytripping

  3. I had just finished lunch before I read this and I am RAVENOUS again now. Even as a poor scruffy student with limited time in Vienna (on my one and so far only visit), we found time for coffee and cake – I do love the feeling you should be discussing philosophy or politics or something equally elevated while there. And I rather want to be such a local that I could have my post delivered there too – a good excuse to stop in every day for cake 🙂 Thanks for linking up with #citytripping

  4. Another great guide from your Lolo, Vienna is on my list to visit soon so this will come in very handy. I’ve heard so much about Cafe Sacher but fab to know all the other gems in the city. #citytripping

  5. Oh. My. God. You have no idea how much I love this! Coffee and cakes are two of my favourite things in the world! I love finding out that different countries are known for their coffee, it genuinely makes me want to visit all the more! #WanderfulWednesday

  6. Definitely want to visit Austria and have some cake now 😀 For one reason or another, coffee culture is so different here in Norway. The only pastry you get is cinnamon buns and similiar stuff but they don’t have a great variety of cakes in cafes. I absolutely miss that!!

  7. Wow you took one for the team with this research – this is the kind of mission I like! Vienna just went to the top of my must visit thanks so much for sharing this caketastic city with #citytripping and for the pins!

  8. Okay officially drooling ….. I remember Vienna and all the delicious cakes and sweets! I went to Café Sacher for that cake also! It was delicious!! I just started my healthy diet after two months of non stop travel, so I have to admit this post was a bit hard to read haha … Pinned it for later though 😀

  9. Central is totally my favorite place… Amaretto hot chocolate? Yes, please!! I’ve also tried Demel and Sacher… but Central Cafe was definitely my favorite… but the strudel at Demel? SO GOOD.

  10. Fantastic idea for a post! I do love cakes although prefer French cakes to German or Austrian. I’ve been to Café Central but I do fancy trying out some of these others, particularly the less touristy ones. Thanks for fuelling my cake lust on #farawayfiles

  11. Your photos are mouthwatering! I had heard the names of some of these places, and your photos are helpful to visualize them. I didn’t realize how big Cafe Central is. The chocolate cakes would be my favorite!

  12. Oh my gosh! all the coffee and cakes are making me hungry! Awesome post, I’ll definitely have to make it to Vienna on my next European trip to try some of the delicious looking cakes!

  13. Love your Vienna cake hop Lolo. I was in Vienna as a student and had no money but I still managed to stretch to sharing a Sachertorte. Who am I to argue with a 300 year old tradition. Fantastic guide – pinning, sharing, drooling! Thanks #FarawayFiles

  14. A cake tour of Vienna would be the PERFECT way to spend a birthday if you ask me. During my one day stop there many years ago, I remember having a Sachertorte at the Hotel Sacher. Your photos of Cafe Central look impressive for both the food and the decor. On his last trip to Vienna, my husband brought a cake from Demel all the way back to Texas for me. His luggage was lost in Heathrow for a few days, but it arrived with the torte only very slightly banged up. #WkendTravelInspiration

  15. I love desserts so can’t wait to try some of these when I finally make it to Vienna (hopefully soon). I’m not a big coffee person, but sounds like I should give it a try while I am there too. Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard.

  16. I have a very strong sweet tooth and I was drooling constantly while reading your post. Café Sacher is one of my favorite places in Vienna. I still have a tin box with their monogram on it from my last visit there. #TheWeeklyPostcard

  17. I need to go back to Vienna! It is not simple to get the most of the cafe culture in one trip. I think this is one of the aspects I enjoy about the city. #TheWeeklyPostcard

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

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