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The glorious interior of the Austrian National Library |  ©  Hernán Piñera / Flickr
The glorious interior of the Austrian National Library | © Hernán Piñera / Flickr
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A Book Lover's Guide to Vienna

Picture of Kate Jackson
Updated: 15 February 2017
Vienna’s cosy cafés and beautiful libraries make it feel like a city made for (book) lovers. Settle down next to the fire with a cup of coffee in Bristol Lounge or get some down time at one of the city’s many bibliothek. Bookshops, modern and antique, are aplenty too, with many selling English copies, where you can pick up a decent holiday read.

Peace and serenity are never far away in Vienna, with plenty of beautiful libraries where you can settle down with a book on a quiet afternoon. The ceremonial room at the glorious Austrian National Library is particularly wonderful, not just for its incredible collection of literary works, but also an incredible building where you can read a book beneath the spectacular dome, decorated with Baroque paintings that you may find yourself distracted by.

The impressive Prunksaal at the Austrian National Library | © Ferran Porta / Flickr
The impressive Prunksaal at the Austrian National Library | © Ferran Porta / Flickr

If your German isn’t quite up to scratch, Vienna’s English bookshop, Shakespeare & Company, is a charming spot to pick out a holiday read, with a strong selection of fiction. Find them in the Ruprechtskirche neighbourhood and be sure keep a look out for events; book talks, poetry readings, and visiting authors.

Cafe Phil, in the 6th district, feels somewhere in limbo between a library, a bookshop, and a hipster café. Selling an eclectic mix of new and secondhand books; everything from erotic novels, progressive non-fiction and coffee table books, it is a relaxed and ambient space where you can grab a beer to sip as you browse the shelves. Pick up vintage editions in Antiquariat in the centre of town, right next to Vienna’s famous Opera House – this place offers antique copies in a variety of languages.

Cafe Phil #cafephil #cafe #bookshop #cozy #kozelbeer #wien #vienna #interiordesign #interior #table #view

A photo posted by vienna_table_view (@vienna_table_view) on

Check out Vienna Lit, a book society that organise readings, performances, authors’ tours, and workshops, with aims to celebrate literature in the English language. One Monday a month, they run a book group at Vienna University, open to all who fancy a cup of tea and a chat with some like-minded literature lovers.