I have to admit, I like a little sweetness in my life every now and then. A steaming cup of freshly brewed coffee. A delicate cake. A spoonful of sugar really does help everything go down. Whatever tantalising treat you’re in the mood for, let the experts do the work and delve into six of my tried-and-tasted best coffee shops that Innsbruck has to offer—or rather, my 6 favourites. By the way, a good café isn’t just about the coffee and cake; I need the right atmosphere, too.
1. Café-Konditorei Valier
This long-established coffee shop is my number one among finest patisseries in town. Here you can indulge in exquisite cakes, delicious gateaux and confectionery overlooking the action on Maximilianstraße Street. Resistance is futile! The location of the Valier, although close to downtown, is nonetheless somewhat off the beaten path. However, I guarantee that the pastries, patisseries and coffee are totally worth this short walk. A completely satisfying experience. Leaving is a wrench.
Favourites: All of their stellar cakes are just as beguiling and a must-try. To me, the star attractions are their chocolates and confectionery. Valier is as well renowned for their Panettone, an Italian type of sweet bread loaf (which is not my piece of cake…)
Ambiance/Interior: It feels like stepping back in time, very homey, just like with Grandma Hilde. Loaded with (vintage) charm. I also love their outdoor courtyard area, which offers a small and peaceful space to relax for when the weather starts warming up.
Clientele: Ranging from suits in meetings to families to friends hanging out.
Friendliness: Valier employs ladies who know that a smile and a friendly word are just as important as efficiency. Plus they are neatly dressed.
Price/Value Ratio: The exceptional quality is well worth the money.
2. Strudel-Café Kröll
For that classic Austrian staple, strudel, head to Strudelcafé Kröll in the heart of Old Town. It’s no wonder this pastry creation is close to the nation’s heart when it’s as nutty, fruity and moist as the Kröll version. You’ll find a huge range of strudels beyond the traditional apple and cream cheese, along with seasonal specialties.
Favourites: All of their strudel variations are strongly recommended. My personal highlight are the wafer-thin dough varieties. The fusion of damson plums and walnuts is also well worth a mention – and a taste, of course.
Ambiance/Interior: Situated in a historic building, the inside is reminiscent of an elegant wine cellar, complete with stone walls and a rounded ceiling.
Clientele: A steady stream of locals and tourists keeps this treasure buzzing – and it’s easy to see why.
Friendliness: Is OK (not outstanding).
Price/Value Ratio: It’s a bit pricey but the strudels are wonderful.
3. Café Heidi
Central but secret, Café Heidi is tucked away in a quiet courtyard off the Triumphal Arch close to Maria-Theresien-Street, Innsbruck’s main artery. Simple but satisfying cakes and pastries are a focus here, with an emphasis on quality. Really, need I say more?
Favourites: I prefer their unpretentious sour cream cake, along with spelt cookies and butter biscuits (simple, classic and outstandingly delicious, too).
Ambiance/Interior: Capacity at this tiny spot doesn’t make it far into double digits. The interior is not exactly stylish yet it is inviting, a feeling which is only added to by the friendly and helpful staff who work there.
Clientele: Mainly locals who want a catch-up on news along with their pick-me-up.
Friendliness: The friendly staff make everyone, local or not, feel welcome.
Price/Value Ratio: The most reasonably priced cakes in Innsbruck. Great value for money!
4. Konditorei-Café Munding
With all of the original 1930s fixtures remaining in place, this café has a homely vintage feel but feels refreshingly hip nowadays. The Munding brews light-hearted nostalgia with dedication to faultless coffee and service. This place is steeped in tradition and the patisserie is delicious. They even roast their own espresso blends on the premises twice a week. They have the most extensive coffee list in town—and you can as well succumb to sinfully good hot chocolates. My only grumble is that my coffee could have been stronger. But this is hardly a problem, and certainly not enough to keep me away.
Favourites: The moist chocolate raspberry “Haustorte”, which is decadently delicious is a must-try—as everything else on offer here.
Ambiance/Interior: It’s the outstanding interior with all of the original 1930s fixtures remaining in place that make this spot a classic for architecture lovers.
Clientele: A popular tourist spot with a very loyal following (which is along in years now).
Friendliness: Customer service varies but is mostly friendly.
Price/Value Ratio: The prices aren’t that low, but the cakes and the location are worth it.
5. Café Katzung
Café Katzung is the best place to meet friends. It’s a roomy space and the sleek furniture and decor help to contribute towards the relaxed atmosphere. The coffee here keeps diehard caffeine lovers happy and with outdoor seating along the pedestrianized heart of the old town district during the warmer months, it’s the perfect place for an extended afternoon of people-watching—and to soak up one of the best views of Innsbruck, across to the Golden Roof.
Favourites: Katzung Torte is their signature cake (a nutty treat without flour)—yet there’s a wide range of tempting cakes and pastries to accompany your coffee. Those restricted to a diet can breathe a sigh of relief when they step through the door, as the cakes at the Katzung are quite small treats.
Ambiance/Interior: The interior has a sleek, modern vibe with close-set tables that might get busy on late afternoons and in the evenings.
Clientele: A favourite hangout for sweet-toothed locals and tourists of all ages.
Friendliness: Staff is passionate, dedicated and very friendly.
Price/Value Ratio: Cakes and pastries are a bit on the expensive side (and small) yet the location and the quality is worth the money.
6. Café Central
No list of the best coffee shops in Innsbruck would be complete without Café Central. A staple on the local scene, this Viennese-style café is a popular meeting point. Here you will find an elegant yet a bit outdated café, its banquettes filled with chatting friends or office workers who flock here to do business over coffee and cake. Café Central is also great for sitting down to read the papers over a slice of torte.
Favourites: Esterhazy Schnitte is my favourite treat, as well strongly recommended are their fruit cakes and pastries. The selection is small yet devilishly indulgent.
Ambiance/Interior: Café Central resembles the world-famous atmosphere of a traditional Viennese coffeehouse, solid, classy and quiet. The outdoor patio is a great addition in the warm summer months.
Clientele: Here you will find coffee goers of all ages.
Friendliness: For a typical Viennese coffeehouse, the staff are beyond friendly.
Price/Value Ratio: Cakes and pastries are reasonably priced, coffee is quite expensive. The overall experience is definitely worth the money.