It’s the best part of an hour's bus ride between Budapest’s bustling, international airport and the city centre. Whether you’ve just arrived in town or you’re waiting to go home, a welcome or farewell drink in hand makes everything more enjoyable. Luckily, Budapest’s city centre is teeming with cafés, with more than just chains to choose from. Here are the best options within walking distance of the trusty 100E.
Nothing Cafe (Azték Choxolat!)
Just three minutes from the pick-up bus is the charming Nothing Café, which used to be a specialty chocolate shop before it started serving hot drinks in November. Coffee and tea are both available, but the shop retains its chocolate roots with an extensive hot chocolate menu featuring flavours like coconut, hazelnut, passion fruit, rose and ginger. The café’s signature drink is its chili-chocolate Aztek Coffee for 620 forints, which greets you at first with a rush of rich dark chocolate and finishes with a spicy aftertaste that is sure to warm up even the most frozen traveller.
Chocolates, macaroons and bonbons are for sale, as well as a special Slow Post service where guests can write a postcard to themselves or a friend, and the café will post it at a later date – up to five years hence! This service is only available to Hungarian addresses, but couchsurfers in the city might use this as a fun thank-you present to their host. All the chocolate used in the drinks is prepared on-site, melted slowly in a big vat and dispensed from a special chocolate machine. There are also sockets available for those who need to charge their phones.
District V. Károly körút 22
Open: Mon-Fri 10am-7pm, Sat 10am-5pm
The Donut Library
Located only steps away from the airport bus drop-off point, this light and comfortable café features doughnuts, coffee and books – including a Steinbeck anthology for anyone with a really long wait time. Regular coffee drinks range between 499 and 799 forints, including iced coffee for hot days. The doughnuts are a work of art in and of themselves – from pink-frosted and sprinkle-topped, to the Galaxy with a mesmerising and sparkling swirl of blue, purple, teal and aqua. Tables and chairs face the main street, but inside the atmosphere is warm and quiet, an escape from the outside traffic. There are also two other locations of the Donut Library in the city, located in the 11th and 13th districts.
The Donut Library
District VII. Károly körút 7
Open: Daily 10am-8pm
My Little Melbourne
Located right on the edge of the Jewish District, this cosy coffee-shop actually has three levels to it: an upstairs with big tables good for groups, window-front seating on the ground floor, and a nice downstairs area with artwork and lots of plants. A regular cappuccino is 790 forints, and the shop’s speciality drink is the Aussie Cappuccino, with special Australian chocolate and similar to a mocha, for 840 forints. There’s also a cold brew available for 1,250 forints and an affogato (espresso and ice cream) for 1,100. You can take some with you, as the ground coffee is sold as well, along with to-go travel mugs. The view faces a car park, which is less scenic than other choices, but it’s also less busy.
My Little Melbourne
District VII. Madách Imre út 3
Open: Mon-Fri 7am-6pm, Sat-Sun 8am-6pm
If tea is your preference over coffee, then Slow Cha, known for its rich and creamy matcha teas, is a spot which shouldn’t be missed. Located on a quiet avenue only a few minutes from the main downtown drag, the interior decoration is minimalist and tidy, and the cakes for sale are all the own recipes of the founder and business manager. A matcha latte ranges from 850 to 1,150 forints, with alternative milk options available such as organic-oat and brown-rice. Do note, however, that this café is only open Wednesday through Sunday. You can read a more in-depth article on Slow Cha here.
District V. Vitkovics Mihály utca 7
Open: Wed-Sun 10am-6pm
The Cat Café
Animal lovers will love the Cat Café located a short walk from the airport bus, which is spacious, comfortable and full of friendly felines. One room features a full cat jungle gym, and the walls are covered in cat artwork. A blackboard at the front of the café has drawings of all the bewhiskered residents, along with their names and identifying features. The felines are free to move around the establishment at will, and are happy to receive scratches and pets from patrons. The menu includes coffee, tea, soft drinks, beer, lemonade, long drinks and even cat-themed cocktails such as the Cat Island, Pussycat Doll and Virgin Meowito. An americano is 790 forints, a cappuccino is 1,190 and an iced latte 1,090. There are plenty of sockets available, which makes it a perfect place to charge your phone after a long journey, while enjoying the company of a new furry friend.
The Cat Cafe
District VI. Révay utca 3
Open: Daily 10am-9pm