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8 cosiest spots in Budapest for studying or working

Libraries do have a magical atmosphere. But as comforting as it is to sit among stacks of books within the walls of a historic building and catch up on information without closing your eyes or laptop, it's no secret that library snacks and vending machines are far from offering the best energising drinks and sandwiches. If you're bored of libraries and want to escape for a while and start the day knowing you can eat and drink something tasty while you're hunched over your studies or work, we've got some cool places that are free from acrid coffee and dry cookies, and where even artists of the past and contemporaries show up.

Műhely Egyetem Café / H6TNY8LC

  • Tip: best chicken sandwich + Club Mate
  • 1088 Budapest, Múzeum körút 4/a (the big green door on the right)
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  Dorado Café

Rumour has it that Dorado is a favourite haunt of artists in Budapest. And university students can also fall under this category, even if they are not yet famous. The café features a long table, which is also laptop-friendly (except on weekends, which are for relaxing!), where you can fiddle with an assignment on a tight deadline. Or jot down notes for an oral exam, while the vibe of the whole place and the people around you convey that everyone here is doing something very important. You can book your place here from 8:30 am to 5 pm Monday to Friday, which, if you don't want to go overboard, is just enough time in a day to study.

  • Tip: Basque cheesecake + kombucha
  • 1072 Budapest, Klauzál utca 35.
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  Turbina Bistro

In mid-November, Turbina Bistro embarked on its revival with renewed vigour and the vegan, lyophilised, and fermented masterpieces of the Domovoj team. Turbina is a block of cultural space, with a rooftop coworking nook filled with floraria and greenery. Here you are welcome to immerse yourself in your studies or work tasks, and when hungry and sufficiently tired, you can boost your energy with homemade winter drinks and plant-based, heartwarming food. And if you're in the mood for a different kind of relaxation, there are other types of drinks available until midnight.

  • Tip: oriental 'bodag' + a homemade refreshment
  • 1082 Budapest, Vajdahunyad utca 4.
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  Kelet Café & Gallery

The literature-focused café has never disappointed in its 10 years of existence with the same high standards, cosy atmosphere, and delicious food, cakes, and quality speciality coffee. It is therefore very easy to get caught up here. Just try to arrive early to snag the best tables (you might have good chances in January) including a convenient corner that you can then have for the whole day. Here, by the way, intellectual energies are enhanced by the fact that you are surrounded by books available for exchange, and you can even swap your specific school books for an exciting novel...

  • Tip: Oriental dips + filter coffee
  • 1114 Budapest, Bartók Béla út 29.
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  Három Holló Kávéház

Let's return to the Pest side, next to the Danube, to the white bridge. The golden sign of Három Holló catches your eye as you cross the Elisabeth Bridge into the city, and it's clear from the outside that this is a modern copy of a real café from a bygone era. In addition, the ornate bourgeois surroundings of the place, also known as Drei Raben, speak for themselves. Even world-famous Hungarian authors such as Endre Ady, Gyula Krúdy, or Dezső Kosztolányi would have liked this place. University students come here feeling that this is the perfect place to study. You may be caught up in the streetscape through the giant windows, but moments of drift can sometimes be inspiring.

  • Tip: panini + espresso
  • 1052 Budapest, Piarista köz 1.
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  Massolit Books & Café

The tiny bookshop and café is a colourful addition to Pest's Jewish Quarter, taking its name from the hangout spot for writers in Mikhail Bulgakov's famous Russian novel The Master and Margarita (Cyrillic transliteration: МАССОЛИТ). Massolit is nice and quiet, especially if you take a table in the back, where you can best focus and soak up all the knowledge. The only concern here is staring at the bookshelf and being tempted by a good read. Plus the energy of foreign language books can easily lead to hallucinations of Lenin's admonitions, popular in the socialist era: Uchitsya, uchitsya, uchitsya... (in Cyrillic: учиться, учиться, учиться, meaning: 'Study, study, study!').

  • Tip: homemade cookie + Jasmine tea
  • 1072 Budapest, Nagy Diófa utca 30.
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  Móka Kávézó (Módszertani Kabinet)

Let's paddle into more fun waters! Móka (an acronym, but the word means 'fun' in itself) is a good choice because it's secluded, people come and go throughout the day, while you can browse through your notes on the mezzanine level... We can tell you from experience that, contrary to its name, it's a great spot for serious stuff. We've written poetry and short stories here on several occasions (maybe that's why they kept their full name, Módszertani Kabinet [Methodological Cabinet], who knows). It's also a nice place to come for just minding your own business and getting some inspiration. It might be the perfect place to write a paper!

  • Tip: toast sandwich + latte
  • 1027 Budapest, Varsányi Irén utca 9.
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  Kollab

Studying in a mall – who does that? Kollab has recently opened in Mammut shopping centre, and functions as café, coworking space, cultural hub, and relaxation area. The current audience determines its function. Do not be alarmed, because it is fully detached from the mall, and it feels like time travel (which does not mean that time passes more slowly), as its whole design transports you to a futuristic realm. In addition, Kollab's theme changes each month, with a different host(s) determining the design, giving the whole project an experimental feel. Hanging out here can be a really exciting learning experience, and if you're lucky, you might even catch a workshop, panel, or film screening.

  • Tip: any baked goods from nor/ma + cortado
  • 1024 Budapest, Lövőház utca 2–6. (Mammut I, 3rd floor)
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(Cover photo: Milán Medgyesi - We Love Budapest)

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