Perhaps my favorite part of Vienna is its café culture; home to some of the best coffee and cakes you will find in Europe, they are more than just a place to grab a snack or your caffeine boost. In the past, they’re where intellectuals such as Freud, and major politicians met to work and discuss ideas, sometimes play a round of chess. While this is still true today, coffeehouses are now also home to tourists, friends who love to people watch, and any resident who suffers from an apartment without air conditioning in July.
No two cafés are remotely alike, and they’re everywhere. From the famous Café Sacher to the newly opened and critically acclaimed Jonas Reindl, each has its own character waiting to be discovered. For me, it was Café Palmenhaus (conveniently next door to the National Library when too much time had passed wading through research). Palmenhaus also serves as a perfect crossroads within the city, and a symbol of Vienna’s evolution. Sandwiched between the Hofburg (once the Imperial Palace), the Albertina (another palace converted into a museum), and in view of the Opera (no longer exclusively for aristocrats), Palmenhaus manages to plant itself in the heart of the city while feeling like a cool oasis overlooking a park (which, too, used to be the royal garden of the Emperor).