City guide
Where to eat, drink, study, and chill near Budapest universities
Photo : Krisztián Bódis/We Love Budapest
Where to eat, drink, study, and chill near Budapest universities

As the autumn semester begins, students flock to the cafés and parks around the city’s major universities, but there are plenty of other destinations to choose from. Whether seeking a spot to get a caffeine boost, or to grab an afternoon snack, or to study in complete serenity, or to enjoy an easy evening lounging around the campus and watching the world go by, there are many places to drop by just a few steps away from the classrooms – from long-established hangouts to the latest downtown hotspots to cozy little parklands. Here are some of our favorite spots to seize the day after class.

Around Semmelweis Around ELTE Around Corvinus Around CEU Around BME

Around Semmelweis

Located amid Budapest’s District VIII, the area that surrounds the university offers many great locales to hang around and attain peace of mind after brain-straining lectures. Nearby Mikszáth Kálmán Square is one of Budapest’s rising academic districts, with many restaurants, cafeterias, and bars lining this pedestrian zone and its adjacent side streets. The aroma of freshly roasted coffee permeates the cozy space of Lumen Café, proffering savory craft beers, local wines, and culture-infused events; just down the road, Vostro quenches any cravings with light breakfast menus, creamy Italian coffee, and a selection of sweets. When it’s time to begin the night with a few cold drinks, Garzonkert is a perfect hideaway during warmer months, while a welcoming Spanish-style ambience awaits at , with a scrumptious tapas assortment and fine wines. Many other terrace eateries offer great food and lunch specials along Krúdy Gyula Street – however, if you need peace and quiet to study for an exam, anyone can utilize the Szabó Ervin Central Library after an uncomplicated registration process, and then enjoy the reading rooms of this ornately designed edifice for edification. Meanwhile, there is another huge selection of pubs and restaurants with terrace tables lining Ráday Street, across busy Üllői Road just a short walk away from Semmelweis.

Around ELTE

Standing at the recently renovated  in District V, lined by historic urban buildings and modern pedestrianized zones, historic ELTE university is encompassed by several cafés, pubs, and eateries, offering diverse hotspots for students. Feel the charming ambience of a bygone era amid the graceful interior of Café Alibi, try ’s creamy chickpea spreads, or devour slices of delightful hams from Spain and the Hungarian countryside (along with wines and pálinka shots) at SonkaArcok, all just a stone’s throw away from the university’s premises. For a little “me-time”, walk down Henszlmann Imre Street from Egyetem Square until you reach , a charming green parkland of downtown Budapest surrounded by statuesque buildings. Beside the garden’s mesmerizing flora and fauna, students can find themselves inside a surreal world by entering  – a unique hangout packed with vintage objects from floor to ceiling, providing an arty atmosphere along with good Hungarian wines and light dishes. 

Around Corvinus

Set along the enthralling Danube riverfront, overlooking Budapest’s iconic  and sweeping views of  as a backdrop, the iconic building of the Corvinus University is surrounded by a wide range of places to pass time. For the freshest local produce and seasonal fruits, the city’s legendary  right behind the building is an exquisite destination, where students can sample many of Hungary’s traditional meals, like the paprika-infused kolbász and hurka (Hungarian boiled sausage), or the hearty lángos (deep-fried dough with various toppings). Tucked away in a small side street, behind the market’s premises, students can soak in Hungary’s retro ambience amid at , a hypnotic destination ideal for stimulating studies. Towering over the Danube, the monumental metal-framed glass attraction of  (“Whale” in Hungarian) – named after its shape, reminiscent of the enormous marine mammal – houses numerous shops, a vast contemporary exhibition space, and a laid-back riverfront terrace. Just a short stroll from the campus grounds you can find several pubs, sweet shops, and eateries along lengthy Ráday Street, including the , a contemporary cultural hub offering regular events for artistic souls.
Corvinus University of Budapest (CUB)

Around CEU

In the heart of downtown in District V, with many of Budapest’s postcard-superstar landmarks in the immediate vicinity like the  and , the Central European University is tucked away on one of the side streets amid the city’s most frequented tourist zone. Due to the great number of travelers in the area, there are plenty of great gathering spots around the school for a relaxing afternoon chill session, offering numerous options for eating and drinking out after seminars. Pop in for a variety of sweet or salty strudels at Első Pesti Rétesház (First Strudel House of Pest), eat vegetarian at , or sip wines from five continents at Innio; students can do all these on Október 6 Street just behind campus. A short stroll away from the school’s main entrance on Nádor Street, Delibaba is a perfect place to grab a quick sandwich, but there is plenty of space to hang out here, too. If you want to discover Hungarian wines,  at Szent István Square, across from the , offers an outstanding local selection, all made by winemakers under the age of 35. When the sun goes down, chug down a few pitchers of Hungarian craft beers and rock the night away with ’s blues and rockabilly concerts. Just a few minutes’ stroll from the university, across busy József Attila Road,  is an immense urban parkland and gathering hub, with numerous spots for fröccs (wine spritzer) around, like the open-air  or ; the stairs here are the best-known meeting spot of central Budapest.

Around BME

Housed in a classic building on the Buda side of the Danube, in the shadow of magnificent , the Budapest University of Technology and Economics is located amid picturesque settings, overlooking the ornate . The area might not be as busy as the bustling downtown parts of the city, but the neighborhood features many hidden pubs and eateries where students can venture during their free time.  is a warm and welcoming hangout on Szent Gellért Square with a thorough collection of wines along with diverse finger-licking nibbles, while the adjacent gallery hosts a variety of cultural programs and regular exhibitions. Whether you are after a warm and frothy cocoa or some potent pálinka shots, the colorful and cheerful  on Bartók Béla Road welcomes everyone with a nice selection of meals and drinks. If you are looking for alternative entertainment within the university’s neighborhood, an extraordinary spot awaits on the water just a couple hundred meters downriver from Petőfi Bridge. The A38 ship is a massive metal party boat – a former Ukrainian cargo ship – that today serves as one of the most prominent concert halls in Budapest, presenting world-famous and up-and-coming artists on stage almost every day.

Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BME)