Come, follow the Historic Cafés Route
It’s time to introduce you to Historic Cafes Route since the Council of Europe has recently certified this thematic Cultural Route.
Characterizing cafes as simply “historic” doesn’t do them justice! Cafés have shaped the profile of Europe as places of dialogue, equality, literature, culture, arts and much more. Our coffee houses are unique, vibrant in our own century, yet whispering stories from the past.
You’ll find Historic Cafés in most European countries, however this glimpse is of just six cafes located in Portugal, Spain, and Italy.
When in Lisbon in need of the perfect coffee, you must visit A Brasileira do Chiado, created more than a century ago by an emigrant from Brazil who married the daughter of one of the largest coffee producers in the region of Minas Gerais. This café was one of literary genius Fernando Pessoa’s favorite places. Drink your coffee, eat your pastel de nata, or enjoy an elegant lunch or dinner.
If you are fond of the pastel de nata, indulge yourself and taste the original, a few kilometers from the center of the Portuguese capital in Belém.
The Antiga Confeitaria de Belém has exclusive use of the original recipe for Pastéis de Belém handed down by the monks. The rooms of this establishment date from 1837. Take some time to visit the surrounding area by the river Tagus, which is full of monuments and museums.
In Coimbra visit the historic Café Santa Cruz. The café has a monastic atmosphere as it was formerly the “Church for the Poor”. Be sure to visit the Santa Cruz monastery, best known as Igreja de Santa Cruz. The first two kings of Portugal are buried in this church, which is itself a work of art. Only a wall separates the church and the emblematic café!
Not far away, on the Iberian Peninsula in the Spanish city of Gijon, you’ll find Café Dindurra, an avant-garde Art Deco place with unique plaster ornamentation created by Pepín Morán. The café was once part of Dindurra Theater; during the civil war German bombs destroyed the theater, yet the café survived the catastrophe.
Let’s travel to Italy to enjoy a special coffee, and Alexandre Dumas’ favorite, in Turin. Caffè Al Bicerin opened its doors in 1763 and serves bicerin, a unique drink made with espresso, hot chocolate, and whipped cream.
Next, to Trieste to visit Antico Caffè San Marco, established in 1914. A café, bookstore, and cultural event space all at once, writers, artists, musicians, students, and activists have been meeting here ever since to read their newspaper, write, study, and have long discussions.
Your first trip to some of the most emblematic Historic Cafés in Europe now comes to an end. Remember that the Historic Cafés Route certified by the Council of Europe includes dozens of emblematic members that have helped forge the image, the culture, and the social life of Europe. Stay tuned for our next trip to visit more Historic Cafés in different countries across Europe.
Until then, enjoy your coffee!
Historic Cafés Route
A Brasileira do Chiado
Antiga Confeitaria de Belém
Café Santa Cruz
Caffè Al Bicerin
Antico Caffè San Marco
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