Vienna, Austria’s capital city, is undeniably known for its coffee house culture. The smell of dark-roasted coffee, the plush red-velvet chairs and hanging chandeliers all combine to create an irresistible invitation to stay awhile. In fact, the Viennese coffee house almost functions as an extension of home, so it is natural to make yourself comfortable with a steaming cup and a good book.
Luckily, whether you crave novels or non-fiction, the city also serves up enough impressive bookstores to keep any bibliophile busy.
Prep for your next coffee stop with our list of the best bookshops in Vienna:
In search of trip recommendations or a glimpse at faraway locales? Freytag & Berndt (Wallnerstraße 3) specializes in travel literature, guides and maps. While mostly in German, the bookshop also has a sizable collection of English-language books and magazines on all things travel. There is even a special table that is specifically for examining maps, so you can let the world literally unfold before your eyes inside the practical shop.
Inspired by the philosophy of the original bookshop in Paris, Vienna’s Shakespeare & Company (Sterngasse 2) sells all English-language books in central Sterngasse. Having opened in 1981, the shop is filled with stacks of books covering nearly every genre. Find the latest best sellers, or dig through poetry anthologies to your hearts content. In addition to a large selection of books, Shakespeare & Company also regularly hosts authors and book nights to keep the literary conversations flowing.
Half coffee house, half media store, Phil (Gumpendorfer Straße 10 – 12) is the ultimate hangout spot. Though decorated in a modern style, the hipster café offers a perfect taste of the traditional Viennese association between literature and coffee. Browse through the mix of English and German books, secondhand and vintage titles, or even opt for a DVD or CD if your tastes guide you towards more high-tech entertainment.
Named after the owner, Anna Jeller (Margaretenstraße 35) is one of Vienna’s friendliest bookstores. With high ceilings, patterned floors and plenty of light, the one-room shop is a cozy place to browse your next novel. The store also has a good selection of children’s books and food-inspired titles to take into the kitchen.
The Chick Lit bookstore (Kleeblattgasse 7) turns the idea of fluffy female novels on its head by offering a high brow and academic selection of good reads. Leaning towards social justice issues, the shop has a section on anti-racism books, as well as tomes on the economy and women’s issues.
Perhaps you will be tempted into Babbette’s (Schleifmühlgasse 17) by the lunch menu, but the café-shop also has a collection of cookbooks. The gourmet titles cover all kinds of culinary trends, and if you find a book of recipes to take home you can also pick up a few of the ingredients before you leave. In addition to cookery titles, Babette’s also has an extensive collection of much-needed spices.