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A Guide to the Best English Bookshops in Vienna

Shakespeare and Company is one of the best independent English bookshops in Vienna

Vienna is a beautiful city. Of course, that’s the perspective of a traveler, hmm, scratch that, a tourist whose eyes are glued at these Gothic and Baroque architecture, marveling at the preserved beauty of the bygone years. But there are other Vienna quirks that I find appealing. The subway drunkies and their oblivious stubbornness and bravery. And the bookshops, especially two of them that I spent money on. If this is your first dip on my blog, let me introduce myself, hi, I’m Jona, a Filipina, a Cebuana, who moved to Munich after a four-year affair with Hanoi, Vietnam. And traveling and checking out bookstores and fleamarkets as parts of the usual city destinations are my thingzzz. English bookstores in Vienna, especially, was a big chunk of my Vienna itinerary. So hope you enjoy this list! Cheers!

And if you are especially crazy and want to squeeze as many places as possible on your one day in Vienna, I made an itinerary for it. Because I’m equally cray. And because why not.

Personal tips to make your Vienna trip hassle-free

  1. Book the ticketed places in advance. You can get them all on getyourguide.com or viator.com. Listed some of them here as well.

2. This works best if you are traveling alone or with a partner. Forget about this whole thing if you are traveling with a group.

3. It is completely fine to ditch this whole one-day Vienna itinerary and just chill.

4. If I had to play favorites in this list, it would be Stephenplatz, Hundertwasserhaus, the Austrian National Library, and a tram around Ringstraße

5. Buy your public transport tickets online. It saves you time. Or you can also download the app.

Where to stay in Vienna

ChickLit

Chick Lit is a cozy nook in Vienna, celebrating women authors. This independent bookstore exclusively features a diverse range of books penned by talented female writers. Nestled in the heart of the city, it offers a warm ambiance for book lovers to explore and discover remarkable stories across various genres. The welcoming staff is always ready to recommend a new read or engage in lively discussions.

chicklit is one of the best independent English bookstores in Vienna.png
Chicklit is one of the best independent English bookshops in Vienna. This is my bias.

With shelves adorned with literature that empowers and entertains, Chick Lit is an inviting space for readers of all backgrounds to embrace the captivating narratives and voices of women writers, making it a must-visit destination for book enthusiasts in Vienna.

I totally and unregrettably splurged here. I bought the thick diaries of Alice Walker and Audre Lorde, Mikki Kendall’s Hood Feminism, and Mochada’s Dream House—a riveting take on memoir writing I’ve heard. I’ve read Her Body and Other Parties, and I thoroughly enjoyed the crispiness of the language and the metaphors employed.

Day Trips from Vienna

Buchhandlung & Café Librería Utopía

Buchhandlung & Café Librería Utopía is a likable spot with a unique book selection. You can grab a beer at their cozy tables, and the owner is exceptionally attentive. It’s the go-to place for left-wing non-fiction, novels, and captivating children’s books. You’ll find expert advice and exciting events here.

Buchhandlung & Café Librería Utopía
Photo from Buchhandlung & Café Librería Utopía

In the neighborhood, you can explore the vibrant Hundertwasserhaus, an architectural masterpiece, or wander over to the Karmelitermarkt for local flavors. A really nice bookstore with friendly folks, they even have a shelf dedicated to Spanish and English books. For an intellectually stimulating and relaxed visit, Buchhandlung & Café Librería Utopía is a top recommendation in Vienna.

Shakespeare and Company

Shakespeare and Company, one of the popular independent English bookshops in Vienna (if not the most popular for passing tourists), caters to English literature enthusiasts. The store boasts a diverse collection of books, making it a haven for bookworms seeking English-language reads. Situated conveniently, it’s surrounded by Vienna’s cultural gems like the historic St. Stephen’s Cathedral, a must-see for its stunning architecture, and the Vienna State Opera, offering world-class performances.

independent English bookshop Vienna
Yep, the brown bag I’m holding? That’s Shakespeare and Co’s haul

A leisurely stroll along the Graben, a popular shopping street, is also within reach. After immersing in books, exploring these attractions offers a delightful blend of culture, history, and entertainment, making Shakespeare and Company a perfect pre-lunch point of exploration in Vienna.

A natural monkey be like. Seriously though I checked some Doris Lessing on the top shelves. These are the hind shelves and you will rarely see other souls there.

I particularly visited Shakespeare and Co for its slim but nonetheless existing selection on Austrian writers translated into English like Robert Seethaler’s A Whole Life (which I enjoyed reading) and Elfriede Jelinek’s The Piano Teacher (I haven’t read it yet, but you can always follow me on Instagram since I break down my readings there once in a while).

Just around the corner is the ancient Ankeruhr, which makes it a perfect stop for a quick look and photo op.

The Austrian National Library

The Austrian National Library is a must-visit in Vienna, not for books, but for its grandeur. The majestic architecture and historical significance of this library are awe-inspiring. Located in the heart of the city, it’s surrounded by cultural treasures like the Hofburg Palace, where you can delve into Austrian history, and the Maria-Theresien-Platz, a picturesque square.

a visit in Vienna is incomplete without visiting the Austrian National Library. Periodt.
A visit in Vienna is incomplete without visiting the Austrian National Library. Periodt.

The Museum of Art History and the Natural History Museum are just a stone’s throw away, offering a double dose of culture. So, while the library itself may not be a bookshop, it’s a hub of knowledge surrounded by other attractions that make it a worthwhile stop on your Vienna journey.

Entrance fees

The Austrian National Library entrance fees

Buchhandlung Löwenherz

Buchhandlung Löwenherz is a warm and inviting bookshop, renowned as an iconic part of Vienna’s LGBT history and scene. The owners, Jurgen and Ben, radiate kindness and generosity, sharing the shop’s rich history with visitors. Their friendly demeanor makes for engaging conversations about Vienna and LGBT+ history while sipping coffee and tasting cake, creating a unique bookstore experience.

Buchhandlung Löwenherz is one of the independent English bookshops in Vienna

The shop boasts a diverse range of books at reasonable prices, making it a true gem for book lovers. Nearby, you can explore Vienna’s Naschmarkt for culinary delights or head to the Belvedere Palace for a dose of art and culture. Buchhandlung Löwenherz is a must-visit for those seeking an inclusive and welcoming bookshop in the city.

Books4Life

Books4Life, a cozy second-hand bookstore in Vienna, offers an impressive collection of affordable English books, especially for mystery and thriller enthusiasts. The welcoming lady running the store is sweet and helpful, making your visit a pleasant experience.

Remember to carry cash since card payments aren’t accepted. It’s a small, adorable store with a big heart, as all earnings go to charitable foundations. Even with limited space, the books are well-organized, ensuring an enjoyable browsing experience.

While in the area, you can explore the nearby Augarten park, famous for its Baroque palace and gardens, or take a short stroll to the Karmelitermarkt to savor local flavors. For book lovers on a budget, Books4Life is a hidden gem in Vienna.

Buchhandlung Yellow

Buchhandlung Yellow, a charming bookstore that’s been around since the 1990s, is a delightful rediscovery. The owner’s enduring passion is evident in the diverse selection of fiction and politics books. Engaging conversations with him make for a unique shopping experience.

Buchhandlung Yellow

Over the years, this store has provided valuable books and enriching discussions. If you’re in search of detailed advice, take your time exploring the carefully curated collection. Nearby, you can visit the iconic Vienna Prater amusement park for some fun or head to the Vienna University Botanical Garden to soak in nature’s beauty.

Buchhandlung Yellow is a gem for book lovers looking for English and German titles, including a great selection of second-hand books.

Morawa

Morawa, one of Vienna’s oldest bookshops, stands as a testament to the enduring love of literature. While predominantly offering a vast collection of German books, it also embraces the beauty of diversity with a selection of English titles.

Morawa: one of the oldest bookshops in Vienna

Founded in 1877, Morawa exudes tradition and innovation, bridging the past and the present in the realm of print. With a commitment to the fundamental right of freedom of expression, Morawa plays a crucial role in nurturing intellectual and cultural values among Austrians.

Its presence, alongside its sister store in Graz, Bookstore Moser (founded in 1868), reflects a rich legacy of book trading, making Morawa a cherished destination for those seeking literary treasures in Vienna.

Thalia

Thalia, Vienna’s largest bookstore chain, is a reader’s haven. With a fantastic selection of English books spanning various genres, it’s a go-to spot for literature enthusiasts. The welcoming atmosphere, complete with a cozy coffee shop, provides the ideal setting to enjoy your freshly acquired book. Whether you’re into fiction, nonfiction, or niche genres like queer literature and manga, Thalia has you covered.

Photo by emmes.shelf

Nearby, you can explore Vienna’s cultural gems such as the Belvedere Palace for art lovers and Stadtpark for a serene stroll. After immersing in books at Thalia, these nearby sights offer a delightful balance of reading and sightseeing.

Das Literaturbuffet

Das Literaturbuffet, nestled in a convenient location near the Taborstraße metro station, offers a delightful blend of bookstore and coffee house. The informal and cozy setting is a welcome escape for readers and coffee lovers. Their excellent coffee, accompanied by a speculoos cookie, adds to the charm.

 one of the best independent English bookshops in Vienna: Das Literaturbuffet's IG
Photo from Das Literaturbuffet’s IG

The efficient and friendly staff readily provide assistance or offer cultural and culinary recommendations. In addition to your visit here, take a walk to nearby attractions like Karmelitermarkt for local flavors and the Kunsthaus Wien for a dose of modern art. For Vienna residents seeking a charming local bookstore, Das Literaturbuffet is a worthy stop to explore.

Buchhandlung List – Internationale Literatur

Buchhandlung List – Internationale Literatur offers a wonderful selection of books in Italian, French, English, and German, catering to all ages. The owners’ fluency in these languages and their helpful nature make the shopping experience smooth.

 one of the best independent English bookstores in Vienna: Buchhandlung List - Internationale Literatur's IG
photo from Buchhandlung List – Internationale Literatur’s IG

Ordering in advance and collecting later is convenient, providing a valuable alternative to online giants. If you seek books beyond the German language, this is the place to explore, especially for French and Italian literature enthusiasts.

While club chairs and a tea pot for relaxation might be missing, the kind and helpful staff more than compensate. Nearby, you can visit the Belvedere Palace for art and culture or stroll through the lovely Schweizergarten. For those in search of books in different European languages, Buchhandlung List is a valuable find in Vienna.

Buchhandlung Walther König im MQ

Buchhandlung Walther König im MQ is a cool bookstore nestled in the Museumsquartier, featuring a remarkably well-stocked collection. The friendly staff is there to help you explore the extensive selection, especially if you’re into art, architecture, or film-related books. They also offer a nice array of high-quality children’s books.

It is worth checking out if you visit Leopold Museum. Its entrance is practically where you buy the ticket for the museum

Nearby, you can dive into Vienna’s art scene with a visit to the Leopold Museum, displaying an impressive collection of Egon Schiele’s and some of Gustav Kilimt’s works, or explore the Kunsthistorisches Museum, housing an incredible array of art treasures. Whether you’re an art enthusiast or simply in search of an interesting read, Buchhandlung Walther König is a spot worth checking out in Vienna’s cultural hub.

777 Bücher

777 Bücher is a wonderful, cozy bookstore in Vienna’s inner city, offering a unique selection of both German and English books. You can also enjoy delicious coffee and small dishes while exploring the shelves. It’s a truly unique spot for book lovers. Nearby, you can take a stroll to St. Stephen’s Cathedral, an iconic symbol of Vienna, or visit the Hofburg Palace to delve into Austria’s imperial history.

May not be one of the best English bookshops in Vienna, but 777 Bücher is worth checking out
Heard the old man can be grumpy if asked about English books. So I highly suggest just browse through and check out the collections.

The Vienna State Opera is also a short walk away, offering world-class performances. 777 Bücher is an inviting haven for book enthusiasts in a central location, making it a great starting point for a day of exploration in the city.

Dog-eared

I know you can’t really go to all of them in a limited span of time. The popular picks would be the independent English bookshops in Vienna like ChickLit and Shakespeare and Company. But I highly recommend checking out small independent bookstores like Yellow and Books4Life too.

Regardless, happy browsing!

Jona of backpackingwithabook.com

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Jona of Backpacking with a Book

Hi there, I’m Jona, originally from Cebu, Philippines, had live in Hanoi, Vietnam, and now currently based in Munich, Germany. This blog used to house thoughts on life and books, but eventually it morphed into a travel blog. For collaborations, projects, and other things, please email me at backpackingwithabook@gmail.com. For essays, creative nonfiction, and others, find me elsewhere.

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