Café society

Writers, painters, philosophers and poets have gathered for centuries around coffee-house tables in lively conversations, sampling desserts, drinking strong espressos. There were more than 400 coffeehouses in Budapest at the turn of the 20th century and some of the best are still in business.

Today's coffee-houses, after an admittedly shaky period following World War II, are now as vivid and vibrant as they have ever been. Their seleciton of pastries is always impressive and they will certainly have your favourite type of coffee when you wish to relax after a long day of sightseeing.

Cafés in the downtown

Café Gerbeaud is one of the oldest cafes in Europe with an extraordinary history, special atmosphere and world-class pastries.

Another must on the café trail is the elegant Café Művész. This place is located opposite the Opera House, which gives it a special atmosphere charged with the vivid conversation of local celebrities. Pick a spot inside, where marble table tops and crystal chandeliers exude an old-world grandeur, or claim your seat on the terrace for prime people-watching.

Café Central was also popular among the artists in the "Good Old Times, thanks to some purely practical reasons.  It offered a warm refuge from the cold rented rooms the journalists, columnists and critics could scarcely afford - and paper and ink were gratis. However, today you are more likely to rub shoulders with fellow tourists rather than struggling scribes.Dobos Cake

Built by an insurance company as a company hall, the New York Café on the ground floor of the Boscolo Hotel in Budapest was a longtime centre for Hungarian literature and poetry, almost from its opening on October 23, 1894 to its closure in 2001. The café was reopened on May 5, 2006 in its original Italian renaissance and baroque pomp and serves a wide selection of coffees (of course) and famous Hungarian pastries.

Gerlóczy Café is a place bustling with people any time of the day. Once used as a setting in the Steven Spielberg movie "Munich", it has seating options indoors or the outside terrace on the pavement, where you are promptly accommodated by the black-tied waiter staff. Inside, the chalkboard indicates the specials for the day. It also provides a great breakfast option for those who are tired of the hotels' buffet. It serves home baked bread and several types of omelette.

Café in the Buda side

Budapest's oldest café is the Ruszwurm in the Castle Hill district of Buda. This Biedermayer gem sports the same cherry-wood panelling and quality service as it did when it first opened in 1824. And you can still indulge in the same high-quality treats. The Ruszwurm's confectionery is legendary: according to an old story, curiers were sent here from Wienna to take cakes to the local nobles.

Best tea houses of Budapest
Red Lion Tea House is located at Jókai Square. The place offers an amazing selection of tea, a peaceful atmosphere and helpful staff.

For a special, Far-East mood visit Sövény Aladár Teahouse inside the Goldmuseum on Andrássy Avenue. Very pleasant atmosphere, traditional Asian teas and fantastic coffees: perfect accessories for great discussions.

Enjoy the Wide-West or the touch of Asia in Zöld Teknős Barlangja (Cave of the Green Turtle). Sit into one of the teepees, Wigwams or Chinese tents, take a shisha and choose one from the varous types of selected teas.