The Top 10 Rooftop Bars in Europe
Want to know the best rooftop bars in Europe? Or rooftop restaurants in Europe with a great view? From a rooftop bar in Prague to a secret rooftop cafe in Venice, these are the top 10 rooftops in Europe not everyone knows about. When the sun is shining in a beautiful European city there’s nowhere better to be than a rooftop bar. With a drink in one hand and a local delicacy in another, see Paris, London and Amsterdam from a whole new perspective. Whether it’s the top floor of a department store or a secret hotel rooftop bar in Venice, these are some of the best rooftop bars in Europe. Rooftop hideouts provide the perfect respite from the bustling streets below and some do a pretty good Spritz too.
1. Kotva Department store rooftop bar, Prague
Prague’s Gothic architecture makes it one of the most unique cities in Europe. From above it’s spires jut out from the old town like proud everlasting symbols of the city. One of my favourite places to see Prague’s skyline from is the cafe/bar on the top floor of the Kotva department store. Great food, drinks and friendly service at reasonable prices.
If you’re in the west of the city head to the ‘Dancing House’ where you can get a different skyline view of the city, drinks are pricier though and it’s definitely more well known.
2. Sky Cafe – Rooftop Cafe in Vienna
Vienna is opulence defined. Whether it’s a night at the Opera or hitting the assortment of Europe’s finest stores on the main street you are sure to spend a Euro or two. However high above the main drag, with spectacular views of St Stephens Cathedral, you can find a cheap brunch in Vienna. The prices are worth the trip alone. Sky Cafe is located inside department store Steffl, on Karntner Strauss.
3. Hotel A La Commedia – Rooftop Bar in Venice
Venice is a treasure trove of hidden gardens and windy streets leading to nowhere. You have to get lost in Venice to appreciate it’s character. One of the best kept secrets is the rooftop bar in Hotel a la Commedia. The concierge are strict here and will not let large groups (or anyone not looking the part) to enter the lift to the top. But if you manage to get in, a blissful oasis awaits. Grab a Spritz and watch the crowds fill the alleyways below.
For an easier city top view head to T Fondaco Dei Tedeschi department store next to the Rialto bridge. Pre book a free time-slot online and snap away like mad, as you only get 15 minutes, but the views are astounding.
4. Rinascente Firenze – Florence
Florence, home of the Renaissance, has so much culture to drink in you may just find yourself needing a drink break of the Aperol variety. Rinascente Firenze department store offers just that with a top view of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. It can get very hot in the summer though. So grab a table in the shade and marvel over the rooftop views over Florence in comfort.
Be warned this spot is becoming very popular with the Insta’ crowd and the prices are increasing. Head over to the Oblate library rooftop instead. Wind your way up through the books and the students to the top floor where a spacious, shaded and much more affordable cafe awaits. The Oblate cafe is a hidden gem in Florence on a hot afternoon.
5. Galleries Lafayette – Paris
Paris is pretty from any angle. The city of love shows off at every turn with the towering Eiffel, the insane roundabout of the Arc de Triomphe and the stunning Sacre Coeur. But a top one of the most famous shopping centres in the city you get a close up view of just how elaborate the architecture is. Palais Garnier steals the view with it’s Baroque style and golden statues. The gallery itself is worth a look inside too, as it houses some of the biggest names in fashion.
6. The Sky Garden – Rooftop bar, London
Escape into nature in the very centre of London. At the top off the oddly shaped ‘Walkie Talkie‘ building is a greenhouse full of tropical plants. Get panoramic views of central London including the Thames and the Shard. Why not take in the best views over London from above while sipping Prosecco? Entry is free, but a time slot must be pre-booked online and sometimes sell out days in advance. Click here for tickets.
7. A’Dam Lookout – Amsterdam from above
Amsterdam is a great city to just wander in. It’s laid back attitude has opened it up to some of the most offbeat things to do in Europe. The A’Dam lookout is no exception. Grab a drink at the bar or go for a giant swing over the IJ Canal. At around 20 Euros for entrance and two drinks it’s not the cheapest view of Amsterdam from above, but definitely one of the best!
If you’re looking for something a bit more wallet friendly head over to the NEMO science museum where you can enter the FREE viewing platform over Amsterdam. Visit the NEMO museum cafe for a coffee with some of the best views of Amsterdam’s canals.
8. Gallery Rooftop Bar – ESG – Berlin
Berlin is hipster cool. Quirky bars, Vegan restaurants galore and enough history to enlighten even the most hapless of travellers. One of the best spots in the city is the East side Gallery. A section of the Berlin Wall left as an adaptive art installation showcasing thought provoking street art. Grab a cocktail at the Gallery Rooftop Bar for a panoramic view of the ESG and the River Spree that once divided the city.
9. Buza Bar – Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik’s walls are one of the best things to see in Croatia. Known for their role as King’s Landing in Game of Thrones, they encircle the limestone city with an impressively impenetrable boundary. But for those in the know the best spot is to be found by sneaking through a small passageway that takes you just outside the walls. Buza bar is nestled in the rock face, offering sweeping views of the Adriatic Sea. Now that’s not technically a rooftop I hear you say. Well no, but its a really great bar with good views in one of the coolest cities in Eastern Europe. So yeah.
10. Pierre Loti Roof Pub – Istanbul
Last on the list is possibly one of the most unique cities in Europe. Istanbul is awash with sights, smells, flavours and sounds that overwhelm the senses. It isn’t comparable to any other European city which is exactly why you should visit Istanbul. The Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque are stunning landmarks that can both be seen from the friendly Pierre Loti Roof Pub. It’s one of the best rooftop bars in Eastern Europe. And if you’re still asking why should I visit Istanbul? The reason is the food is cheap and pretty much always delicious.
Ten of the top rooftop bars in Europe, a few secret rooftop cafes, bars and a couple extra for good measure. These are places not to miss in Europe. You really can’t go wrong with a local drink and a view over these great cities to visit in Europe. If you’re headed to Europe soon check out my post “Touchdown – What to do when you land in a new city – Europe”.
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