Top 10 Most Beautiful Cafés in the World
When European cafés became the preferred hangouts of their city's intellectuals in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, they turned into cultural institutions with ornate, palatial interiors. Many if not most of them remain open today, although the main visitors are now tourists guided by their guidebooks. Those cafés are now essentially museums where coffee and pastries are served at high prices, while others have been turned into full-blown restaurants, and a few still attempt to keep their cultural heritage alive by hosting literary and other cultural events. The biggest café cities are Paris, Vienna, Venice, and Budapest, where café interiors are at their most sumptuous, but you'll find some extraordinarily beautiful cafés throughout Europe and even in the big cities of the Americas that emulated the grandiosity of the Old World.
At UCityGuides we're always looking for what's new and extraordinary, but also love to spend some time in what the past has done best. So after countless coffees, pastries, calories, and overpriced drinks, we bring you the list of the ten most beautiful cafés in the world:
1 | CAFÉ NEW YORK, Budapest
This Budapest legend was the meeting place of artists in the early 20th century. Recently renovated by designer Adam Tihany, it maintains a dazzling gilded interior featuring ornate lamps and paintings on the ceiling mixed with contemporary furnishings. Found connected to the New York Palace Hotel, it is now both a café and full-blown restaurant, welcoming locals and tourists who sit at the mirrored tables for traditional Italian and local dishes to the sound of chill-out music and often short performances by local actors.
2 | CAFFÈ FLORIAN, Venice
Venice's grand old days can still be seen in the city's palazzi, but can only be felt in its historic cafés. The most stunning of all is Caffè Florian, taking you back to the 18th century with its frescoed and mirrored interior.
3 | CAFÉ CENTRAL, Vienna
Despite the monumental streets and palatial buildings around the city, historic cafés are the real Vienna landmarks. The Viennese cafés are inspirations for countless coffee shops around the world, and the Café Central is the most beautiful and inspirational of all. Housed in a historic palace, it features marble pillars, grand chandeliers, and arched ceilings that have welcomed intellectuals since the turn of the 19th century.
4 | CAFÉ IMPERIAL, Prague
Prague's flourishing café society of the late 19th century led to the opening of several grand cafés in the city. While many died out after WWII, others have survived and their former glory has been restored.
Café Imperial is the greatest example, known as an Art Deco gem now stunningly brought back to life. Its ornate mosaic and tile-covered interior is one of the world's most incredibly beautiful backdrops for breakfast in the morning, afternoon tea, or to try a selection of Czech dishes.
5 | CAFÉ DE LA PAIX, Paris
The world's first café is said to have been Paris' Le Procope, but the city's most famous coffee shops are Café Flore and Les Deux Magots. They're the ones that come in every guidebook and that get inundated by tourists every day.
6 | CAFÉ MAJESTIC, Porto
Portugal's most famous cafés are naturally in its capital, but while Lisbon's Café A Brasileira and Versailles certainly have beautiful interiors, it is in the country's second city that we find the most stunning of all cafés in the nation and one of the most attractive in the world.
7 | CAFÉ CONFEITARIA COLOMBO, Rio de Janeiro
Inspired by the grand European cafés, Confeitaria Colombo was the place to be in Rio at the turn of the 20th century. It hosted fancy balls and cultural events, and was the site of much gossip during the afternoon teas of the city's upper-class.
8 | CAFFÈ GAMBRINUS, Naples
Naples' Gambrinus is legendary not just because it is the city's oldest café but because since it opened in the mid-19th century it has welcomed royalty, artists, and celebrities attracted by its beautiful interior.
9 | CAFÉ TORTONI, Buenos Aires
Inspired by late 19th-century European coffeehouses, this art nouveau café became an essential cultural stop in Buenos Aires over the years.
10 | CAFFÈ GRECO, Rome
Rome's oldest and most famous café has served coffee to many of Europe's historical figures, and remains a haven for intellectuals and politicians today.