The Hungarian Parliament in Budapest

The Parliament in Budapest (the Hungarian Parliament) is a wonderful building completed in 1902 in eclectic style. Visits need to be booked in advance. Parliament tours are daily, but the Parliament (Orszaghaz in Hungarian) tours may be cancelled if someone important is visiting the political leaders. Regular starting hours of the guided tours. 10 am, 12 pm, 1 pm, 2pm, 6pm

Budapest Parliament Hungary

Budapest Parliament (photo: Christine McIntosh)

You can book your Budapest Parliament tour here. Unfortunately the tickets to the Hungarian Parliament building are not free for EU citizens from 2013.

Address: 1055 Budapest, Kossuth Lajos tér 1-3., Hungary
Phone: 00-36-1-441-4904 or 00-36-1-441-4415
Getting here:
Budapest metro (red line), station: Kossuth Lajos tér
trams/ streetcars: number 2

Cafe Gerbeaud: the Must See Cafe and Restaurant in Budapest

Café Gerbeaud is a few minutes walk from the Gresham Palace at the Chain Bridge: it is one of the most elegant historical cafes in Budapest (on Vorosmarty ter on the yellow metro line). The café was founded by Henrik Kugler in 1858 in Viennese style during the high times of the Austro-Hungarian empire, and expanded by its later owner, Emil Gerbeaud. Sumptuous interior with graceful chandeliers, marble-topped tables, lavish fine wood paneling, gold-plasters and statuettes, etc. The cafe can take up about 330 people inside and another 300 outside on the terrace, if weather allows. As Frommer’s Travel Guide writes: “Whether you sit inside amid the splendor of the late-19th-century furnishings, or outside on one of Pest’s liveliest pedestrian-only squares, you will surely enjoy the fine pastries that made the name Gerbeaud famous; we especially recommend their moist plum pies (szilvás lepény)

Café Gerbeaud in Budapest

It is also a restaurant and a bar. Great place to ‘people watch’. By the way, the name ‘gerbeaud’ or zserbó in Hungarian is used for a type of layer cake (with fruit spread, loads of nuts, chocolate, etc.).

Address: Vörösmarty tér 7. Budapest 1051
Phone: 00-36-1-419-9020
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 9am-9pm

Take a virtual tour here. A good photo of the facade and part of the square (Vörösmarty) where the Gerbeaud is located. See its location on the Budapest tourist map (check the Cup icon in the middle and click on icons to get further info). Read more about the Best Restaurants in Budapest or the Best Cafes in Budapest.

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History of Cafe Gerbeaud

The café was founded by Henrik Kugler a world traveler confectioner, who has been working all over Europe gathering experience of the coffee house and confectionery lore. Although the original coffee house was established in 1858, it was not the same building what you see today as it stood on another square (József Nádor tér). Cafe Gerbeaud moved to Vorosmarty square in 1870, and soon became a prestige place where ‘to be seen’ meant a difference.

Owing to Kugler’s rich European confectionery studies, the cafe was the best in Budapest in the 19th century: not surprisingly selling all kinds of exquisite products from China to Russia, as well as house made specialties like Kugler’s frothy coffee with chocolate, Kugler’s special liqueurs and Kugler’s bon-bons. Cafe Gerbeaud also boasted about the title “the best ice-creams in Pest” at that time.

The musician and composer Franz Liszt, and the ‘wise of Hungary’ Ferenc Deák politician were among the patrons of the café. In 1881, Kugler’s was called “the meeting point of six elegant worlds.”

Henrik Kugler met Emil Gerbeaud in Paris in 1882. He invited him a year later to Budapest in order to make him his business partner, and he became the cafe’s later owner. Emil Gerbeaud did not change the name of the cafe to his own name, but decided to use the well-known name of his predecessor, Henrik Kugler for several decades. He expanded the cafe, so today it can house about 330 people and the terrace can host an additional 300 guests. Soon he was making the take-away services of the cafe flourish with good tastes: good pastries and beautifully decorated artistic paper boxes of his own design. Gerbeaud was presented with numerous awards at various fairs and exhibitions. At the 1898 World Fair in Brussels and the 1900 Paris Exposition, he was invited to be a member of the jury, and was awarded the French Legion of Honour.

Over time, the interior decoration of the café underwent improvements: Henrik Darilek made new designs emphasizing fine woods, marble and bronze features in the 1910s. He used the examples of the French and Austrian royal palaces: for instance, the ceilings were decorated with rococo plaster work in Louis XIV style, the chandeliers and wall lamps were created in Maria Theresa Style. In addition, Cafe Gerbeaud got secessionist style tables to be sent from the Paris World Fair. Emil Gerbeaud survives the awful years of the First World War, sees the deterioration of his beautiful coffee house, then dies on November 8, 1919.

The nice history of the cafe suddenly stops: world wars and communist rules mean severe obstacles. Gerbeaud’s name is not welcome by the western-hating communists, so the cafe is renamed after the Hungarian poet Mihály Vorosmarty (yes, like the square). From 1950 to 1984, Café Gerbeaud is known as Cafe Vörösmarty. With the loosening ties of the goulash communism, the cafe gets back its name in March 1984, and about ten years later the cafe is bought by the German businessman Erwin Müller. The new owner makes sure that the café regains its old glory: the rich plaster work, the brocade wall coverings, etc. of the cafe were renovated in 1997.

(sources: the official website of Cafe Gerbeaud, and Budapest Lexikon)

Cafe Ruszwurm (Ruszwurm Cukrászda)- the Old-style Confectioner’s in Budapest

Cafe Ruszwurm is one of the oldest traditional cafes & confectioner’s in Budapest. It’s also one of the best cafes in Budapest. As Frommer’s guide puts it: “the Ruszwurm is an utterly charming little place, with two rooms outfitted with small tables and chairs, and shelves lined with antiques.” There is a wide range of great pastries, which you can have in a century old beautiful Biedermeier interior (now the furniture is protected). You will see traditional tools of the old confectionery trade, glass cabinets, mortars, models, etc.

Café Ruszwurm in Budapest

Address: Szentháromság u. 7., 1014 Budapest, Hungary
Phone: 00-36 1 3755-284
Opening hours: 9am-8pm (spring-fall) 10 am-7pm (winter)
Prices: (cakes) 200-500 HUF

Location of Café Ruszwurm on the Budapest Tourist Map (check the Cup icon indicating cafes in the middle of the map – you can enlarge the map by clicking on the View larger map blue link under the map). Ruszwurm Cukrászda is located on Várhegy (the Castle Hill on the Buda side): once you go up the hill to see the Royal Palace, and the Fishermen’s Bastion, it’s only a 2 minute walk from the Matthias Church and you should not miss it. You will find Ruszwurm cream pastry, Esterházy cake, Szamos cake, Dobos cake (Dobos torta is highlighted by several guides but I would rather suggest the heavenly Ruszwurm cream pastry, or – for the less sweet-toothed – traditional Hungarian scones/ pogácsa).

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Confectioner Ferenc Schwabl set up his business almost two-hundred years ago in 1827. Now it’s owned by the Szamos dynasty whose name is a trademark for good pastry and sweets in Hungary. The biedermeier cabinets were made by Krautsiedler and the sculpture by Lőrinc Dunaiszky in the 1830s, surviving the Hungarian revolution of 1848-49 against the Austrian oppression and the world wars too.

Read more about the Best Restaurants in Budapest or the Best Cafes in Budapest.

Best Cafés in Budapest: Luxury, Popular, Wifi, Classic, etc.

Are you looking for a good cup of coffee, or a fantastic cake in Budapest? Now, that won’t be a problem, as Budapest is full of good cafés, mouth-watering pastries, marzipans, etc.

Cafe Central Budapest

Cafe Central Budapest

You will find high-end coffee houses, mid-range popular cafes, historical cafe and confectioner’s – look at the list and pick the best for your tongue & style. To learn more about the basic info, see the individual articles about each cafe for opening hours, prices, addresses, phone numbers and more: click on the name of the cafe in the title. Or if you want full meal, read about the Best Restaurants in Budapest here.

Some High-end Cafés

Café Gerbeaud: café and restaurant

Cafe Gerbeaud is one of the most elegant historical cafes in Budapest. The café was founded by Henrik Kugler in 1858 in Viennese style during the high times of the of the Austro-Hungarian empire, and expanded by its later owner, Emil Gerbeaud. Sumptuous interior with graceful chandeliers, marble-topped tables, lavish fine wood paneling, gold-plasters and statuettes, etc. It is also a restaurant and a bar. Great place to ‘people watch’. See its location, opening hours, prices, address, phone number and more here on Cafe Gerbeaud.

Café Gerbeaud in Budapest

New York Café: café and restaurant

New York Cafe is in the recently renovated opulent five-star hotel, in the New York Palace, in a busy part of Budapest (easily reached by the red line metro at Blaha tér, or the trams 4 and 6). It is a historical venue where the big names of Hungarian literature and movie making got together and an opulent coffee house and bar – one of the oldest grand cafés of the fin de siecle Budapest. Both smoking and non-smoking parts. For your coffee, I suggest trying the Tiramisu in real Italian style, or just sipping a glass of Tokaj aszú – according to totally unscientific studies it helps to feel the grandeur of the café. :) OK, this is my invention, but it has some truth in it. See its location, opening hours, prices, address, phone number and more here on New York Café.

Café Callas: café and bistro

Café Callas is a hip cafe and restaurant right at the Opera House. From strudels and coffees to sushi or Hungarian dishes, you will find all kinds of dishes and rinks on the menu. Nice interior, big windows, prices towards the higher end.

Some Popular Cafés

Cafe Gerloczy: a place to have an ideal breakfast in downtown Budapest. Cafe Gerloczy is a coffee house and a restaurant at the same time, with fresh, fresh, fresh croissants. See its location, opening hours, prices, address, phone number and more here on Cafe Gerloczy.

Café Centrál has a good central location on Ferenciek tere, and it is also spacious and bright. Insert it in your Váci utca and Central Market Hall shopping program or just a walk along the River Danube on the Pest side of Budapest. See its location, opening hours, prices, address, phone number and more here on Café Centrál.

Café Daubner or Daubner Cukrászda (cukrászda means confectioner’s in Hungarian). Your can read Fodor’s review here. OK, it is not easy to get there by public transportation if you don’t know the city at least a bit. Take a cab if you want to know why people are lining up – regularly. We had our hundreds of snacks called Pogácsa (approx. cheese scone) for our wedding from Daubner. Delicious!

Cafe Szamos

There are several Szamos branded cafes in Budapest (one even in the Zoo), and probably the most conveniently located Szamos kávézó is on the grand boulevard, Erzsébet körút 43-49., within the luxury hotel, Corinthia Hotel Budapest. The Szamos brand is primarily associated with marzipan but the coffee houses & confectioneries serve a wide range of cakes and pastries alongside the marzipan figures. The Szamos business was founded in 1935. Cafe Szamos in the Grand Royal is open from 10 am to 8 pm all week. phone: 00-36-1-413-7968.

Old Grandeur Cafés (Antique Furniture, Old Family Recipes)

Café Ruszwurmis a 2 min walk from the Matthias Church and you should not miss it. Confectioner Ferenc Schwabl started the business in 1827. Great pastries and beautiful Biedermeier interior with remnants of the old confectionery industry, glass cabinets, etc. (officially declared to be protected as the most important confectionery complex in Hungary). There are also various porcelain figures from the sweet past e.g. bishops with sweets under their high cap, with a red flag in their hands and a prayer book under their arms; pretty horses whose neck can be taken off to offer candies from their belly, etc. See its location, opening hours, prices, address, phone number and more here on Café Ruszwurm.

Here’s a photo of the biedermeier cabinet in Cafe Ruszwurm. Looks beautiful, doesn’t it?:

Café Ruszwurm in Budapest

Café Auguszt has three different locations in Budapest. One is next to Astoria square (red line metro) in Kossuth street in a closed courtyard of a 19th century house – the coolness of the courtyard is a true relief in hot summers! See its location on the map. Now, we have to admit that this is our favourite hangout for a cuppa and a cake…

The other is behind one of the most popular shopping mall in Budapest, the Mammoth (Mammut), in Fény utca. Take a seat upstairs. And the third one is next to one of the most reputable cemeteries in Budapest (at Farkasrét) off the city centre. Personally, I am a great fan of Auguszt pastries and salty yummies. Old recipes refined through several Auguszt generations. Their only mistake is the short opening hours (closes at 6 pm!) and the lack of a good website. One more thing, the founder of the Szamos business used to be an apprentice of József Auguszt. See Café Auguszt locations on the Budapest tourist map.

Other admittedly subjective choices

Café Csészényi (Csészényi kávézó) is a lovely little cafe on Krisztina körút with reasonable prices and a special design (a slew of colorful coffee grinders and old Budapest notices, advertisements on the wall). The name means ‘cupful’ and the place is indeed smallish. No internet.

Café Créme: on the left side of Gellert Hotel and Spa bath, there is also a nice little cafe with free wifi, Although the cafe is small, it has also a terrace, great to sit in/ out and have a good café latte. Dark wooden tables and chairs, smallish in size. Good to have a rest before or after a walk on the Gellért Hill, a visit to the quirky and special Cave Church, the Citadel and the Statue of Liberty.

PS: One of the TripAdvisor visitors wrote:

Coffeehouses deserve a special mention. Budapest is the heaven of pastries. Great, beautiful, coffehouses are everywhere, and pastries are excellent and cheap. For 800-900 HUF you can have coffee ot hot chocolate of highest class and pastries that are out of this world. Wow. If you are a serious pastry lover I can recommend staying at the Corinthia Grand Hotel with access to the Executive Lounge. Here, they have miniature pastries of many different kinds, and you can have as many as you like. And truly, these pastries were the best we had in Budapest. I believe that it is the coffehouse next to (or even inside) Corinthia that delivers these pastries, so if you do not live at Corinthia, you might want to try this coffeehouse. There are some old coffeehouses that are often mentioned in guidebooks. Of these, we found Central Kavehaz fantastic in terms of beauty, but less so in terms of the quality of the pastries. Worth going still for the beauty of the place. Cafe New York is equally beautiful, but is now under the ownership of a large hotel chain and is rather expensive, and staff is not very friendly. (emphasis added by me)