Follow the Historic Cafés Route

Did you ever have your coffee in an old coffee shop? I mean those Cafés in the big cities and villages with more than a century of history, those cozy places full of charm, telling stories of the past.

Some of them have been restored, and some have been modernized, but they usually keep the tradition of welcoming people with a cup of coffee (or tea), with traditional, good quality pastry, and very often with excellent cuisine.

Time passes, but they often combine tradition and innovation, past and present.

We decided to fly first to the north, to Copenhagen, Denmark, where wonderful sweets will whet your appetite. Café Conditori La Glac is the oldest café in Denmark and was founded in the center of the old city in 1870. It is a point of reference in Copenhagen that hosts people of arts and literature. The great atmosphere, hospitality, and high-quality products characterize this wonderful place, which also hosts a Pastry Academy. Try the sports cake, a classic cake that La Glace first made for the premiere of the political play Sports Men in November 1891. No, it isn’t low-fat, but you can be sure it is superb!

In Central Europe, Prague is also known for its Historic Cafés. “Café Slavia” has been located in a majestic building opposite the National Theater for almost two centuries since its opening and it has always attracted artists. Thanks to its suitable location, most of the actors ended up here after their performance. Composer Bedřich Smetana or director Jaroslav Kvapil often accompanied them.

Not far away, in the Austrian capital, Café Frauenhuber –  the oldest Café in Vienna – awaits, full of stories and memories. History says that in 1720 this Café was a house that Maria Theresia’s personal chef turned into a luxurious restaurant. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven played their divine music in this amazing place.

Let’s move from central Europe to the south. The historic Café Kipos (kipos means garden in Greek) in Chania, Crete, Greece, is situated in the town’s municipal garden. Many important personalities during its 150 years of life have visited its premises, such as Eleftherios Venizelos, Nikos Kazantzakis, Sofoklis Venizelos, and other artists and intellectuals.

From Crete, we sail north to another island, Kythira. Café Astikon was founded in 1908 by two brothers offering not only coffee but also a haircut, as the second brother was a barber! Apparently, Eleftherios Venizelos visited the Café in 1917. The same sources state that this was also the time when the seed for the island’s independence was sown. Later, during the occupation in WWII, the Café also functioned as an ELAS guerrilla hangout!

It’s an experience having a coffee in these Cafés, far from the noise of daily life.

You can find them in big cities, in small villages, and everywhere in between. All of them have a history, many times surprising and always fascinating. This link with history makes the Cafés “historic”, so wherever you go, wherever you travel, take a few minutes and try to visit them. It will be an experience to remember!

George Loverdos
Route Manager
Historic Cafés Route

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