A Book Lover’s Guide To Vienna

Although Vienna is known for its coffee house culture, it’s also a great place for lovers of literature to wander around in one of its many independent bookstores, cafés and the ever-impressive national library. I’ve been to this charming city twice before, and each time I always manage to find a new antiquariat or tiny bookshop seemingly hidden in plain sight. It’s hard not to fall in love with a city that’s known for the two things I love most- coffee and books- and hopefully I’ll be visiting it again soon. But until then, here’s a book lover’s guide to Vienna to enjoy along with that delicious cup of coffee.

Austrian National Library

Neue Burg, Hofburg, Innere Stadt, Vienna | Fee: €8 for adults | Website

The Austrian National Library, located near Stephansplatz in the heart of the city, is a wonderful experience even for those who aren’t big on books. The library itself dates back to the 14th century, but the main hall pictured above was built in 1723. If the large collection of manuscripts isn’t enough, you can even admire the many baroque paintings adorning the walls, as well as the marble statues and ancient globes littered around the room.

Cafe Phil

Gumpendorfer Str. 10, 1060 Wien, Austria | +43 1 5810489 | Website

This bookstore-slash-hipster cafe was a little further away from the rest of my stops but well worth the walk. The space is partly covered with tables and partly with a large variety of books, mostly in english, ranging from poetry to non-fiction to offbeat contemporary texts. The coffee is good as well, and the staff was very friendly; my only issue was with the crowd, which made it difficult to find a place to sit.

Shakespeare & Co

Sterngasse 2, 1010 Wien, Austria | +43 1 5355053 | Website

Shakespeare & Co is one of the few bookshops in the city that primarily stocks English books, which was a blessing for a native English speaker like me. The store also hosts regular events just like it’s counterpart in Paris, so make sure to check out the website to see what’s happening around the time of your visit.

Antiquariat Locker

Annagasse 5, 1010 Wien, Austria | +43 1 5127344 | Website

This was one of the bookstores I had no idea existed until I accidentally stumbled upon it while taking pictures around the city. It specialises in antique books, most of which are in German, but there is a selection of English books near one of the windows that had some fantastic titles. If for nothing else, it’s worth the visit just for the gorgeous display windows outside.

Christian M. Nebehay Antiquariat

Annagasse 18, 1010 Wien, Austria | +43 1 5121801 | Website

Located just a stone’s throw away from Antiquariat Locker, the store is easily recognisable by its intricate black and gold sign outside the door. Christian M. Nebehay is a legend in the art world- an art dealer and author, he is famous for his work on the artists Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele. His antiquariat in Vienna, although largely an art dealership, houses an exclusive collection of antique books that are worth getting a look at.

Antiquariat Burgverlag

Burgring 1, 1010 Wien, Austria | +43 1 5877311 | Website

Antiquariat Burgverlag is my favourite place on this list. Walking into the store feels very much like walking into a book: dark wooden shelves stuffed with leather bound volumes, pretty vintage paraphernalia strewn around, a wonderful old man who was kind enough to show me around… it felt like it belonged inside a novel more than in the real world. The bookshelves, which were two storeys high, were mostly in German, except a tiny section towards the back that housed English antique books. Although most of them are quite pricey, there are a few you can get for as little as €20.

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