During the current pandemic, we’ve all been longing to go to our local café at one point or another. Being stuck inside isn’t exactly what we had in mind for the past year. It definitely made us realize that we’ve been taking a lot for granted and that, once this will all be over, we should be more grateful for the little things in life. Such as drinking a coffee in our favorite bar or making a little city trip. But what if you could combine these two? What if culture sniffing in a beautiful city could go hand in hand with enjoying a drink?
That’s exactly what the following places are all about. It’s no secret that Europe’s buzzing with culture and historical places, yet some gems are better known than others. Castles, museums, markets, churches… they’re always on top of our must-visit list when on holiday. Cafés, however, are often overlooked by tourists, even though they can be just as beautiful as or even more stunning than other tourist hotspots. Make sure to put these on your bucket list!
1. Caffè Florian, Venice (Italy)
Let’s start with a place you might already know about. Located on Venice’s famous Piazza San Marco, Caffè Florian isn’t exactly what you’d call a hidden gem. Right in front of the Basilica, this coffee house has been around for quite a while. According to the official recordings, it first opened its doors in 1720 as Alla Venezia Trionfante with only two rooms. Since then, a lot has changed and the café has seen a lot of famous faces, including – amongst others – Goethe and Casanova (Caffè Florian was the only one to welcome women at the time). Nowadays, people are calling it Italy’s (and even the world’s) oldest coffee house, although that’s difficult to prove. A coffee here will cost you quite a lot but you’ll be able to enjoy the magnificent scenery and the most beautiful view on the Piazza San Marco. Come early and you might beat the crowds!
2. New York Café, Budapest (Hungary)
If you’ve been to Budapest before, you’ll know that the Hungarian capital in its whole is a true gem for the eye. When strolling through the streets, it’s almost impossible to remember all the detailed façades. The New York Palace is one of the city’s most beautiful buildings and apart from a luxury hotel – which definitely isn’t right for everyone’s budget – it also houses the New York Café. It was designed by architect Alajos Hauszmann and although a bit kitsch, it definitely is worth a visit and a coffee break.
3. Café Louvre, Prague (Czech Republic)
When you only pay attention to the name, you might think this café is located in Paris but it actually lays in Prague. This establishment opened for the first time in 1902 and has welcomed some of world’s most famous people over the years, including Albert Einstein and Franz Kafka. On the ground floor you’ll find a café, while the second floor houses a restaurant. While the inside looks very chic and distinguished, the outside doesn’t look like much – something to keep in mind when you’re looking for the café.
4. Konditori La Glace, Copenhagen (Denmark)
According to their website, they’re Denmark’s best patisserie but let’s face it: that’s a bit subjective. What’s sure is that this place in the middle of Copenhagen started out all the way back in 1870 and has been run by the same family for six generations since then. The shop window, with its green marble till, is worth the detour in itself and once you step inside, you’re welcomed by a delicious and cozy smell. Most of the interior dates back to the nineteenth century, so it feels a bit like you went back in time. Nothing better than that on a cold winter day, if you ask our opinion.
5. Café Comercial, Madrid (Spain)
For the last address in this short but sweet list, we’re travelling to Madrid. In the very heart of the city lays Café Comercial, established in 1887. The name of the café was derived from the fact that it welcomed a lot of business men at its tables but in the first place, it was famous for its excellent coffee. Other than that, it was also one of the first to employ women amongst the waiters. The decoration which you can see nowadays mostly dates back to 1953, when the establishment underwent a big remodel. Chess fans (aren’t we all after ‘The Queen’s Gambit’) will find what they’re looking for on the second floor, home to chess club Club de Ajedrez Café Comercial. When you visit, don’t forget to order a hot chocolate and some churros, for which Café Comercial is well known.