What are the most beautiful museum cafes in Europe?
Museum cafes are great places to relax a bit during your museum visit. They provide a lovely place to observe all the artworks you saw and to gain some new energy for exploring a museum further. However, often they are pieces of art themselves. Their fantastic decor and special atmosphere often made them unique and inspirational places.
Most beautiful museum cafes in Europe
After exploring all the fantastic artworks in a museum, it’s nice to relax a bit at its museum cafe. And quite often, they are as beautiful as the rest of the galleries. After visiting numerous European museums, I selected the five most beautiful museum cafes in Europe.
Kunsthistorisches Museum Cafe, Vienna
If I had to pick only one as the most beautiful museum cafe, it would be the one at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. The whole building is stunning and filled with marble and stucco ornamentation. Once inside that incredible museum, you can feel it was built by the emperors of the Habsburg family.
Kunsthistorisches Museum cafe is located on its first floor at the Cupola Hall. It has a round shape, and with its lavish decoration, it feels as if you are in a ballroom at one of the Habsburg’s palaces.
Having a cup of coffee and a slice of Sacher cake at Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna will make your visit to that beautiful museum a complete cultural experience.
Rijksmuseum Cafe, Amsterdam
Rijksmuseum Cafe in Amsterdam is a place with a unique story. It’s located in one of the former museum courtyards, closed with a glass roof during the last renovation. So, while sitting at it, you can enjoy wonderful wall decorations, mosaics, paintings and statues that were once on the museum’s outer wall. Its glass roof gives this beautiful museum cafe lots of light and a fantastic view of the always interesting Dutch cloudy sky.
The cafe serves small bites, like typical Dutch cheese platter or smaller meals. However, my favourite food there is an apple pie, a beloved dessert in Amsterdam. Taking a break there before continuing to explore all the Rembrandts and Vermeers at this fantastic museum will make your visit to that great museum even more enjoyable.
Uffizi Gallery, Florence
A lovely cafe at the Uffizi Gallery deserves its place on the list of Europe’s most beautiful museum cafes. And it’s because of its fantastic terrace from which you have a view of the roofs of Florence. Located right in the city centre, you can see the Florence Cathedral dome or the tower of Palazzo Vecchio. Sitting there makes you feel like the whole town is a museum, and you can keep enjoying the art masterpieces even after the museum visit.
Although it’s one of Europe’s most beautiful museum cafes with a fantastic view of Florence, the quality of service and food differs from other places mentioned in this article. So, the Culture Tourist’s advice is to have a coffee and enjoy the beautiful view, but have lunch somewhere else in Florence.
V&A Museum, London
V&A isn’t only home to one of the most beautiful museum cafes but also to the oldest one in the world. Although the restaurant was there earlier, the current three Victoria and Albert Museum dining rooms were opened in 1868.
The first one, known as the Gamble Room, is decorated with tiles and a frieze of putti who are eating, reading newspapers, and enjoying the restaurant environment. The second one, known as the Gamble Room, is decorated with white and blue ceramics, similar to the Delft Blue style, which was decorated by female National Art Training School students. The last one, the Poynter Room, has Eastern influences with incredibly lavish ornamentation.
This oldest and one of the most beautiful museum cafes has an interesting history. You can read more about the V&A museum cafe on this link.
Musée d’Orsay, Paris
Musée d’Orsay is one of the best museums in Paris. Located at the former train station, its building is a masterpiece of its own. And the same goes for Musée d’Orsay museum restaurant and cafes. The museum is home to a restaurant and two cafes, and my favourite is Cafe Campana. Located next to the Impressionist gallery, it makes a perfect stop after enjoying seeing the life of Impressionists in Paris.
The cafe combines the elements of the historical building, like its famous clock, together with a contemporary interior design. The Campana brothers, famous designers from Brazil, were inspired by Art Nouveau in their project for this beautiful museum cafe interior design.
There is something special in museum cafes, making them such an inviting part of these cultural institutions. Although art is the number one thing I’m visiting museums for, I could make an exception with some museums and visit them just to spent some time at their beautiful cafes.
What are your favourite museum cafes? Are you visiting some museums for their cafes only? Let me know in the comments below.
Cover photo by Rick Govic on Unsplash