One of my favorite things to do when traveling is to find a great local cafe, relax with a coffee and absorb the new world around me. I love interesting, beautiful and quirky interiors, good people watching vantages, great service, and of course an excellent brew of coffee. Here are ten cafes that deliver all this in the heart of Budapest.
1. Cafe Frei
You’ll find this coffee house on the touristy Vaci Ut, near the central market. With an inviting retro atmosphere, split over two levels, you’ll want to keep returning to try all of the different styles of coffee from around the world. There’s everything from Peruvian Orange Blossom to Cornflower Coffee, Coconut Hot Chocolate from the Philippines and a myriad of Italian coffee styles. They also specialise in alcoholic coffees from around the world. Expect to pay around 1€ for coffee, 2€ for hot chocolate and 2-3€ for alcoholic coffee.
2. Bluebird Cafe
This cute little cafe has excellent coffee, outdoor seating with swings and to top it off, the barista draws your portrait on a coffee cup. Unmissable. You’ll find it in the popular 7th district.
3. Double Shot
Just north of Magrit Bridge along Pozsonyi Ut are a cluster of inviting cafes. Away from the tourist heart of the city it’s here that you’ll find locals’ favourites. One of the best is tiny Double Shot. They have a couple of outdoor seats and an inviting area upstairs overlooking the leafy street. But it’s their coffee that is the real winner, their macchiato was one of the best we’ve had. Ever.
4. My Green Cup
Just across the road from Double Shot in Pozsonyi Ut this cafe has delicious baked goods, and excellent coffee. There are several outdoor seats and plenty of indoor seating.
5. Astoria Cafe
Just above the Astoria metro stop (which takes it’s name from the Grand Astoria Hotel), this place screams old world charm. Reminiscent of traditional Viennese coffee houses, Astoria is grand, quiet and refreshingly cool during hot summer days.
Open from 7am to 10pm, it’s the perfect spot to sit and read, write or just escape the buzz of the city. The coffee is a little more expensive than other places in Budapest (around 2€) but is high quality and the service is impeccable.
Hidden down an alley off the busy Múzeum Krt you’ll find this trendy cafe. There’s seating in an interior courtyard and a few tables inside a small but beautifully decorated space. The coffee is delicious, as is the food- if a little expensive.
7. Szerpentin Szalon
I loved the quirkiness of this part antique store, part cafe. Sit inside amidst forgotten treasures or watch the world go by in one of their side walk seats. Their smoothies and ice coffee are particularly delicious in summer.
8. Central Cafe
Founded in 1887, Central Cafe is another cafe with an old world cafe feel. Located at an intersection full of inviting cafes and bars, the place has a beautiful, huge interior and elegant classic music.
9. Budai Ketto
This cafe is another favorite of locals, in a residential area of Buda. The range of croissants is amazing and crazily cheap at 1€ each. They also serve sandwiches and their coffee is good.
Another local haunt in Buda, the line was out the door when we arrived. Freshly baked local pastries, bread and decent coffee, all at very cheap prices make it easy to see why.