3 European Cafés Worth a Return Trip

October 13, 2015

The best cafés in the world are those with history–places where quality has been proven by generations of customers. I love visiting such cafés and thinking about all of the stories that they witnessed throughout the ages. On my travels, I’ve come across several outstanding European cafés that I would like to return to:

Karl Fazer Café in Helsinki, Finland

Karl Fazer Café reminded me of my childhood–the sweet smell of a patisserie, the retro decor of the room and the festive feeling of experiencing something special. There were many tourists and waiting in the queue took a while, but I didn’t mind; I spent the minutes staring at all of the delicacies, with barely enough time to choose from the astonishing selection of cakes.

Fazer is mostly known as a brand of chocolate. Karl Fazer was a Finnish confectioner who opened his first café in 1891 at Kluuvikatu 3 in Helsinki, where the café still stands today. He and his wife were manufacturing chocolate and confectionery, and the family business soon started to grow. Nowadays, Fazer is one of the major Finnish brands in the food industry and the Karl Fazer Café is popular with both tourists and locals.

Café Central in Vienna, Austria

Café Central is situated in a monumental building and it maintains the charm of a traditional café. Established in 1876, it features a high ceiling, pillars, large windows, paintings and portraits. In the centre of the room, there is a circular cabinet with a selection of all kinds of traditional and modern cakes.

A hundred years ago, Café Central was a popular meeting place for Viennese intellectuals like Sigmund Freud, Peter Altenberg and Arthur Schnitzler. Sitting in Café Central, it is easy to imagine the most prominent writers, artists, scientists and politicians discussing the fate of society over a cup of coffee.

Les Deux Magots in Paris, France

I walked into the famous café Les Deux Magots, and felt a bit out of place. The café was once a meeting place for the top artists, writers and philosophers of the time. The list of regular guests included Ernest Hemingway, Jean-Paul Sartre and Pablo Picasso.

And yet, it was impossible to forget about all of the tourists and to enjoy the spirit of the place. Maybe if I hadn’t had the worst spot in the whole café, and if I could stop thinking about paying €6 for a cup of cappuccino, I would have been able to pretend that I was having an authentic experience. On the other hand, I would love to go back and give it another try.


About Patricia Pecnerova

Patricia is a 20-something from Slovakia. She was an expat in the Czech Republic and Spain, studying Biology, and exploring Central and Southern Europe. Now the research has taken her to Sweden and Stockholm has become her new home for the next couple of years. She is using this opportunity to discover Scandinavia, its nature, culture, customs and food.

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