Europe is teeming with old-world history and must-see locations that have inspired travellers, and visitors for centuries. Nowhere is this truer than the social coffee houses frequented by writers, poets, playwrights, students and other notable personalities throughout history. Come along with us now on a journey as we visit the most exquisite cafes in Europe today.
Caffé Florian – Venice, Italy
Considered the oldest café in Italy, it might also be the oldest in the world, dating back to the early 18th century. First opened in 1720, the Caffé Florian is said to have hosted famous patrons such as Goethe and the lothario Casanova. Still retaining the old-world flavour of Venice’s grand old days, the café is lined with elegant and diverse displays of artwork ranging from classical oil paintings, gilded mirrors and even old comic strips. As expected the café serves some of the best coffee in Europe and is part of La Biennale Di Venezia Arts Festival, which runs from May to November this year.
Café New York – Budapest, Hungary
For the most beautiful café experience in the world, Café New York in Budapest was renowned as the place to be for early 20th century artists, literary writers and poets. Located in the famous New York Palace and built in Italian Renaissance-style, the interior features beautifully designed gilded and ornate old-world lamps, and paintings on the ceiling.
In this historic setting, recently renovated by designer Adam Tihany, are contemporary furnishings that give the ornate column lined café an eclectic feel. A full restaurant, the café serves sumptuous, European classic dishes like Beef Goulash, Wiener Schnitzel, and Fishermen Soup among many others.
Studenterhuset – Copenhagen, Denmark
A unique space located in the heart of Copenhagen, the Studenterhuest, or student house, is a multicultural cafe run by 200 volunteers. Visitors can enjoy several events throughout the year while sipping a cup of coffee. This year the café celebrated the World Cup by setting up screens both inside as well as in their back garden. As such, the cafe was especially busy this year with Denmark getting off to a strong start in the tournament with a win over Peru in their opening match.
Unfortunately, their meeting with Croatia ended their campaign early, much to the dismay of many of the cafe’s patrons. Other events put on throughout the year include a music festivals and flea markets, as pictured.
Café Artcurial – Paris, France
Located in the 8th arrondissement along the Champs-Elysees in Paris, this café, ironically, serves impeccable Italian cuisine in a luxurious French setting. Featured in the Paris Michelin Guide, the café is located within the historic gates of the Hotel Dassault. It has recently received a much-needed facelift from renowned interior designer Charles Zana, who beautifully decorated the walls with French art and lavish furnishings.
Café Central – Vienna, Austria
While Vienna abounds in palatial buildings and monumental streets, historic cafés like Café Central are the choice Vienna landmarks to experience. Vienna cafés have been an inspiration for coffee shops around the world, with Café Central considered among the most beautiful. Located in the Palais Ferstel in the first district in Vienna, the café originally opened in the late 19th century. Exquisitely decorated in Renaissance style, the café was host to many famous and infamous figures throughout history such as Leon Trotsky, Sigmund Freud and Joseph Stalin among others.
We hope this list will inspire to see these beautiful coffee shops and don’t forget to check out our complete Interrail packing list.