On a Caffeine High: a Biking Tour of Vienna's Famous Coffee Houses

Yahoo Travel
By Brittany Jones Cooper
October 16, 2014


In the United States, grabbing a coffee can be a hectic experience. You’re shuffled quickly through the line while baristas yell out orders and steam loudly escapes from the espresso machine. It’s designed to be quick, but the result is sometimes stressful.  

In Vienna, grabbing a coffee is a way of life. You can’t go more than 10 feet without seeing a coffeehouse with people casually sipping a mélange, reading the paper, and talking with friends. In fact, the coffeehouse culture in Vienna is so unique that in 2011 it was granted status as “Intangible Cultural Heritage” by UNESCO.

As you walk around Vienna, you will see classic cafés steeped in history across the street from new hipster houses serving up the latest indie hits while kids click away on laptops. I wanted to experience as many as I could, so I rented a bicycle from City Bike and café-hopped around the city with only two goals: to enjoy the ambiance and to get jacked up on caffeine. Here are my findings.

Café Central is the epitome of a classic Viennese coffeehouse. A staple since 1876, this spot was a popular meeting place for famous artists and thinkers like Sigmund Freud and Leon Trotsky. Located in the Palais Quarter in the 1st district, the café is near great shopping and landmarks such as St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Over the years, it has also become an events center, and it boasts a pretty extensive menu for lunch and dinner.