Ok, I’m a sucker for a nice romcom and Sachertorte certainly fits the bill. We enjoyed the film and spotting the locations in Vienna. So if you wish to follow Karl’s pursuit of love in real life, then read on.
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Where was Sachertorte filmed?
Nearly all the filming took place in Berlin and (mostly) Vienna, with the Viennese parts featuring various well-known and central places that make tracking Karl’s journey relatively easy.
I can’t speak to the Berlin locations, but here’s a list of the main locations used in Vienna.
Warning: contains spoilers
Let us begin with Karl’s arrival in the city in pursuit of Nini.
The place Karl’s taxi pulls up on his first visit to Vienna is just outside the huge DC tower on Donau-City-Straße close to the UN headquarters.
(The DC Tower and UN complex)
The camera looks down from Isidro-Fabela-Promenade. (No idea where the interior shots of the bus station were done.)
Karl’s second and more permanent arrival begins with a shot of Hotel Sacher and Café Sacher, viewed from the arches of the Staatsoper opera house opposite. We see the inside and outside of both Sacher locations several times over the film.
The Sacher complex is the home of the original Sachertorte, with a shop just around the corner from the hotel if you want a souvenir of your visit.
(Perhaps the most important location in the film)
Some of the humour in the film revolves around the famous cake, that coffee house culture and the different types of coffee served in Vienna.
As Karl discovers, you cannot simply order “coffee” here. Not without risking possible arrest for immoral behaviour and confiscation of your passport.
(One of Vienna’s five star superior locations)
After his first trip for coffee and cake, Karl boards a bus before reaching the house where he will stay in a shared flat. The other inhabitants all speak Austrian dialects full of colloquialisms, but the English subtitles can’t give you a good sense of that sadly.
The past-its-prime house exterior is at Schäfergasse 21 in Vienna’s hip 4th district: close to another key location: Miriam’s café (see below).
(Karl climbs these steps into the Hauptuniversität)
In a vain search for WiFi, Karl goes to the University of Vienna building on Universitätsring and through into its main reading room), which makes other appearances later, too.
The university itself dates back to the 14th century, but the main building is from 1884, albeit in a beautiful neorenaissance style. The architect (Heinrich von Ferstel) also designed the building that now houses one of Vienna’s other famous coffee houses: Café Central.
(Home to Miriam and Baci the dog)
Next up is another critical location that appears again and again throughout Sachertorte: the café where Miriam works.
This is the aromat, a popular creperie also in the 4th district at Margareten Straße 52 and just one street away from Schäfergasse. Sadly, it was closed for a private function on the day we passed by.
Now for the collage of scenes accompanying Karl and Miriam’s walk through Vienna after the latter decides to help the former with his quest to find the elusive Nini.
Sachertorte seems to have one or two nods to the movie, Before Sunrise (and not just in the dialogue).
One example is the Zollamtssteg bridge (Schallautzerstraße at the edge of Vienna’s old town), which Karl and Miriam cross on their walk.
The same bridge is also the first location for Before Sunrise‘s Jesse and Céline on their own walk through Vienna. It spans the River Wien, which merges with the Donaukanal channel soon after.
(The riverside walk taken by Karl and Miriam)
We then see the pair actually walking along the embankment of the River Wien further south where it emerges from its underground passage to cross the central Stadtpark city park (where you find, for example, the golden Strauss statue).
They walk up the west bank as far as the Stadtparksteg, then turn off to climb steps which would take them up into the park proper.
A subsequent montage of café and tram scenes includes a brief shot across to Schillerpark, home to the Schiller monument and the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna (itself home to Hieronymus Bosch’s Last Judgement triptych).
We also catch views of the Donaukanal river, particularly where the pair sit beneath a bridge just in front of the Badeschiff.
The Donaukanal is a short arm of the Danube that runs along one edge of Vienna’s old town; the banks make a popular location for street art, bars, and other forms of urban recreation. It also appears in Before Sunrise and, more recently, in the Netflix CIA series The Recruit.
(The main Danube is much further away.)
(Fruit stall at the Naschmarkt)
Another location now pops up that we’ll see a couple more times in Sachertorte: the long Naschmarkt open-air market and gastronomy area, where Karl and Miriam have a meal.
Immediately afterwards they go to the Prater, and we see them take a ride on the famous Riesenrad: this giant Ferris wheel is another movie stalwart. Jesse and Céline kiss here in Before Sunrise, for example. And Holly Martins and Harry Lime enjoy an iconic scene here in The Third Man.
The Staatsoper & Albertina
(The rear of the opera house)
Up until now, we’ve only seen Karl walking through the arches around the opera house, but now we go inside as he and Miriam watch a performance of Tosca by Giacomo Puccini.
Opened in 1869, the Staatsoper is one of the world’s top opera venues. If you want to catch a performance there yourself, you can do for surprisingly little outlay. Standing area tickets cost as little as €4.
(The sausage stand)
After Tosca meets her unhappy end, Karl and Miriam go for a sausage at the popular Bitzinger sausage stand on Albertinaplatz just below the Albertina art museum. Karl tries out his local sausage vernacular (unsuccessfully).
The rooftop animal in the photo above pays tribute to the Albertina’s most famous possession: Albrecht Dürer’s Young Hare, painted in 1502.
(The Albertina is actually just to the left of this photo)
Afterwards, Karl and Miriam sit up above the sausage stand on the steps of the Albrecht equestrian monument. This platform gives you a lovely view across to the rear of the Staatsoper.
This may be another nod to Before Sunrise, since one of the final scenes in that film plays out on the same steps.
Walks and snow
Karl then goes for a late night walk that sees him stroll up a ramp alongside the Urania building on the banks of the Donaukanal we saw earlier, then through the Naschmarkt again.
Here we have an interlude outside Vienna in the snowy landscape of Schladming in Styria, which is over three hours away by car. So poorly placed (in reality) for Karl to get back for his usual 3pm reservation at Café Sacher. Just saying.
After a later contretemps with Miriam in a club, Karl takes another walk through some familiar locations from earlier in the movie: the Donaukanal (for example, past a piano player just after the Marienbrücke bridge), past the Albrecht monument and through the Naschmarkt, which he leaves at Schleifmühlgasse.
A wild ride
(The van zooms past this end of the Palais Coburg hotel)
We now near Sachertorte‘s big finale, beginning with a wild van ride through Vienna that goes around at least part of the long Ringstrassen boulevard that marks the location of the old city fortifications.
At one point, for example, the van passes the Radetzky monument and later turns off into the old town proper.
After Karl meets Nini in Café Sacher, two new locations bring us to the denouement.
(Another of Vienna’s traditional coffee houses)
The first is Café Bräunerhof on Stallburggasse (close to the stables of the Spanish Riding School), where the budding romance between Café Sacher’s Herr Schwartz and guest Fanny Sawallisch finds a happy end.
Open-air ice rink
(Karl runs down the front of the Konzerthaus)
The second is at the end of Karl’s sprint to meet his true love, which takes him past the Konzerthaus (one of Vienna’s most prestigious concert venues) and into the historical outdoor ice rink run by the Wiener Eislaufverein.
(The location for Sachertorte’s happy end)
And that concludes this quick location tour. Enjoy your cake (remember: don’t call it yummy…call it a dream).