The Bookstores of Budapest

Budapest is a wonderful city with many bookstores and cafes. I was quite surprised actually because I didn’t expect so many and that too SO GOOD! Now follows my two cents on exploring the many bookstores of the city of Budapest:

The Bookstores of Budapest

Atlantis Book Island: The first bookstore I visited was the Atlantis Book Island. I was probably the only customer in the English section and was surprised by the number of English titles. The store has a big section of fiction as well as non fiction from Central Europe. It opened a new world for me…..

The best part of visiting the Atlantis was that the owner knew English so I could ask him for recommendations. Even though he was slightly shy, I managed finding few new titles for myself. I only wish he didn’t stand on my head while I was browsing! The double storied bookstore has a cute stationary corner with bookmarks all made in Hungary.

The Bookstores of Budapest

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Massolit Book & Cafe: A quaint bookshop in the heart of the Jewish quarter, Massolit was my absolute favorite! You can sit here and read all day inside or in the garden, use the free Wifi and order tea with homemade cake! The owner has a superb collection of historic books and iis very helpful. There is a good selection of travel related books and a second hand rack for the Hungarian readers.

The Bookstores of Budapest

Bestsellers: Right next to Budapest’s famous landmark St. Stephen’s Cathedral is the Bestsellers. Going by it’s name, it has a huge selection of bestsellers in English. The choice of Hungarian literature is massive as is for Romanian. I settled for a Romanian author and a bag of Penguin Books. Befriending the lady at the counter was fun because she told me there was always something going on at the shop whether it was book signings, author interviews or poetry sessions. The only downside of this shop is that since it is close to all the major landmarks it is usually full.

The Bookstores of Budapest
The Bookstores of Budapest

Alexandra: Formerly the Paris Department Store, Alexandra was a huge bookstore at the Andrassy Avenue. I visited in September 2016 and was informed by a dear reader that this chain of stores is now closed. The English section wasn’t very impressive but it had a lot of classics. There was a baroque cafe above the store with a lovely piano. Alexandra was the biggest bookstore chain in Hungary. I hope it opens again!

The Bookstores of Budapest
The Bookstores of Budapest


Do you visit bookstores when you travel to new countries??


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52 thoughts on “The Bookstores of Budapest

  1. Hi there! I just came across this post of yours and your blog in general and I couldn’t help but comment and tell you how much I adore your blog and love this post! Keep up the great work, I am going to follow you so I can keep up with all your new posts!

      1. Alexandra closed all its libraries because of economical problems I think…the cafè was in the same building, but I don’t know if it was related to the library. The only thing I know is that unfortunately is now closed 🙁

  2. I always visit bookstores when I travel. They are like a magnet to me. It is always interesting to see what treasures one can find. I like that you make friends with the sales clerks as well. I do that too!! Sounds like some great bookshops in Budapest.

  3. You are driving me crazy, lady! This is what happens when you go with two boys. My husband and a friend respectively. All we did was shiver and shudder, down shots of Palinka to prevent our life force from freezing, and do crazy runs from cafe to bars to Christmas markets. But thank you, I am adding new names for the next time we land up there x P.S.: Alexandra is a fitting name to live up to its prettiness.

    1. 😀 your trip sounds fun to me in its own ways.. I’m just giving you a good enough list for next time. don’t know if I would go to libraries with anyone. These are things that I prefer doing by myself.

      1. Yes not with my husband who would get restless after 10 minutes of walking into one 😛 I agree with you. These are kind of places you do when you mostly on your own unless you are with like-minded individuals x

          1. Yeah next time I shall drag Adi and let him sleep it off in a chair in the library. He has to pay the price of being my husband (which he actually does often). You have a lovely day x

  4. Bestsellers was my lifeline when I first lived here. Way back when. Alongside a variety of secondhand bookstores.
    Nobody knows why they closed the café, which was truly beautiful and out of this world (think 1920s Bohemian posh but not pretentious). Guesses range from bankruptcy to corruption scandal.

  5. Only been in one bookstore of note … the Selexyz Dominicanen in Maastricht, Netherlands. I used to frequent Beach’s in Salisbury (where I once met former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath) but, sadly, it’s now an Italian restaurant!

      1. We had a conversation, too! (He said ‘Don’t forget your umbrella’ and I said ‘It isn’t mine!) 😀

  6. Thanks for your interesting book store blog. Will be following you, especially more after I finish my travelling. Blogging takes time and learning!

  7. i love your writes, ishi..
    i love bookstores, and yes ofcourse it will be 3rd place of my “mustvisitslist” while am going around new place, after beach and culinary ofcourse.. xixixi
    keep doing freakingreat works!!! 😀🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻

  8. Hi, thanks for sharing your research! I only wish I had found your blog before I went to Budapest! But now I know where to look before my next visit. By the way, I think it’s safe to say I’m also an Italophile.

        1. It feels so nice to have this city loved by so many people, despite its faults. I feel like its’s mine (albeit only by 1/4), because I lived here before (even if only for five years) but after fifteen years of absence, I’m also the tourist all over again, the newcomer, discovering everything anew.

          1. That’s true. I’m sure I’ve been to overly touristy places, and definitely areas in some cities. We’d sometimes go to typical touristy areas / cafes with friends in our hometowns just to see what it’s like, but I tend to block them. From what I gather, if you take a boat cruise here it can get really touristy. Some of them can. Last time we did that was 25 years ago, and it wasn’t one of those themed boats, just a means to get to Esztergom. But if there was a 200-year-old boat somewhere, I’d do that in a heartbeat.

  9. Did not have time to visit shops, on our Viking tour. We did have great guides and got some insight into Hungarian food, architecture, history and art. A real eye opener!

      1. Viking Tours are luxury tours. The service is excellent. It is a good idea to reserve early (June 30 for the 2018 season) to take advantage of two-for-one pricing.

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