The Top 10 Rooftop Bars in Europe
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 the city from a whole new perspective. Whether it’s the top floor of a department store or a secret hotel rooftop, these top 10 rooftop bars in Europe provide the perfect respite from the bustling streets below and some do a pretty good spritz too!
1. Kotva Department store – 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 symbols of the city. One of my favourite places to see it 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!
2. Sky Cafe – 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 great brunch at a very reasonable price. Sky Cafe is located inside another department store named Steffl on Karntner Strauss.
3. Hotel A La Commedia – Venice
Venice is a treasure trove of hidden gardens and windy streets leading to nowhere. It’s somewhere you have to get lost to truly experience it. One of the best kept secrets is the small 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 so grab a table in the shade and look out over the city in comfort.
Be warned this spot is becoming very popular with the Insta crowd and the prices are going up to match! Head over to the Oblate library and 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 on a hot Florentine 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 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 detailed the architecture is. Palais Garnier steals the view with it’s Baroque style and golden statues. The gallery itself is worth a look inside and houses some of the biggest names in fashion.
6. The Sky Garden – 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. Views of London can be seen from all sides. Why not take them in 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
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 of any city in Europe. The A’Dam lookout is no different. 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 the city, 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 rooftop for free, and visit the museum cafe with great views of the city.
8. Gallery Rooftop Bar – ESG – Berlin
Berlin is hipster cool. Quirky bars, Vegan restaurant galore and enough history to enlighten even the most clueless 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 great walls are a sight to behold. Known perhaps best 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 outside the walls. Buza bar is nestled in to the rock face giving 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. So there.
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 why you have to visit. The Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque are stunning landmarks that can both be seen from the friendly Pierre Loti Roof Pub. And the best thing about Turkey? The food is cheap and nearly always delicious!
Ten of the top rooftop bars in Europe and a couple extra for good measure. You really can’t go wrong with a cold beverage and a great view of these magnificent cities. If you’re headed to Europe soon check out my post “Touchdown – What to do when you land in a new city – Europe”. Thanks for reading, If you have any other suggestions add them in the comments below!