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There are many beautiful libraries in Budapest, which even have a rich history behind them. Unfortunately, not all of them are open to the public (for example the Parliament Library), but still can be visited.

If you want to spend your time there and study for important exams in peace, then you have to choose others. Fortunately, almost every university has its own library, and most of them are awesome. In addition, all of them are suitable for undisturbed studying.

A library membership costs around 1000-2000 HUF (2.5-5 EUR / 2.6-5.3 USD) for your semester, or even for a year. Corvinus University Library and Metropolitan Ervin Szabó Library are the most expensive ones.

As a general rule of thumb, it’s recommended to use the university’s library, where you spend your Erasmus. The reason is simple: you’ll find the most useful books and periodicals that are needed for your study there. What is more, by being a member of that university you are eligible for the same services as full members (including borrowing books).

Sometimes, however, the university library is not the best place to study. Or there is another with a bigger range of books. In these cases it can be worth choosing a public library, or another university’s library.

We collected seven of the best libraries in Budapest that are suitable for peaceful studying, have a vast collection of books, and are beautiful inside & outside.

Seven libraries for undisturbed studying in Budapest for students

  • Metropolitan Ervin Szabó Library
  • Corvinus University Library
  • CEU Library
  • BME Central Library
  • ELTE University Library
  • Library of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences
  • National Library of Foreign Literature

Metropolitan Ervin Szabó Library

Or in Hungarian: Fővárosi Szabó Ervin könyvtár. It’s located at Kálvin tér, in the close proximity of many universities, like Corvinus and ELTE. Metropolitan Ervin Szabó Library is not only the largest library in the city but also a breathtaking historical venue.

Housed in the Wenckheim Palace, its ornate rooms offer a quiet, inspiring environment perfect for students seeking a peaceful study retreat. The library has an extensive collection of books, newspapers, reading spaces, and modern study facilities, making it a favourite among local and international students alike.

The library’s building is so beautiful itself that it’s worth visiting even as a sight in Budapest.

  • Address: Szabó Ervin tér 1, 1088 Budapest
  • Opening Hours: 10:00-20:00 from Monday to Friday, 10:00-16:00 on Saturdays, closed on Sundays.
  • Membership Fee: 2000 HUF (5 EUR / 5.3 USD) for a quarter of a year, 2700 HUF (6.85 EUR / 7.3 USD) for half a year, and 3900 HUF (9.9 EUR / 10.5 USD) for a year (student discount already included).

Corvinus Library

Situated within building C of the prestigious Corvinus University of Budapest, this library serves as a central hub for students majoring in economics, social sciences, and business studies.

The library offers a wide range of academic resources, including digital databases and specialised research materials. Its modern design and quiet study areas provide an ideal environment for concentrated academic work.

We highly recommend you to go there early in the morning, especially during exam periods. Corvinus Library is quite popular amongst other (external) university students, like SOTE (Medical University of Budapest).

  • Address: Közraktár utca 4-6, 1093 Budapest
  • Opening Hours: 08:00-20:30 from Monday to Friday, 10:00-16:00 on Saturdays, closed on Sundays.
  • Membership Fee: 4000 HUF (10 EUR / 10.6 USD) for half a year, 5500 HUF (14 EUR / 14.9 USD) for a year (for non-Corvinus students).

CEU Library

The Central European University (CEU) Library stands out for its innovative design and state-of-the-art resources. Known for its strong collections in the social sciences and humanities, it supports a diverse, international academic community.

The library features spacious, well-lit study areas and access to extensive electronic resources, making it a top choice for research and study in central Budapest. You can find this library in the vicinity of Deák Ferenc tér, the Hungarian Parliament, and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

  • Address: Nádor utca 15, 1051 Budapest
  • Opening Hours: The opening hours of CEU Library in Budapest is a bit hectic. Currently there are the following opening hours available on their website.
    • Between 2nd and 7th January: 12:00-18:00 on weekdays, closed on weekends.
    • Between 8th January and 31st July: 09:00-18:00 on weekdays, 12:00-18:00 on Saturdays, closed on Sundays.
  • Membership Fee: registration is free, but the cost of producing the membership card is a 3 EUR / 3.19 USD one-time fee.

BME Central Library

The Central Library of the Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BME) is a key resource for students in the fields of engineering, technology, and natural sciences. It offers a vast array of print and electronic materials, including patents and standards.

The exterior of the library looks like a building that came out of a Harry Potter book. Its interior is beautiful as well.

The library’s study rooms and silent areas are specifically designed to cater to the needs of students engaging in high-concentration tasks.

  • Address: Budafoki út 4-6, 1111 Budapest
  • Opening Hours: 08:00-20:00 on weekdays, closed on weekends.
  • Membership Fee: 2500 HUF (6.3 EUR / 6.7 USD) for a year for non-BME students (free for students of BME).

ELTE University Library and Archives

As part of Eötvös Loránd University, the ELTE University Library is one of the oldest academic libraries in Hungary, rich in tradition and academic heritage. It serves a broad spectrum of academic disciplines with its extensive collections.

The library provides a peaceful atmosphere that ensures an undisturbed studying for your exams. The building’s historic architecture combined with modern academic facilities, makes it ideal for students and researchers alike.

This is mainly about the “central” library of ELTE, but the university has actually more libraries around Budapest for each of the most important faculties. Based on your specific studies, you might want to choose the dedicated library of your faculty. Check it on eltekonyvtarak.elte.hu/en/!

  • Address: Ferenciek tere 6, 1053 Budapest
  • Opening Hours: 09:00-20:00 on weekdays, 10:00-18:00 on Saturdays, closed on Sundays.
  • Membership Fee: free for ELTE students; free for external students if you don’t want to borrow books; 1000 HUF (2.5 EUR / 2.6 USD) for half a year, 1850 HUF (4.7 EUR / 5 USD) for a year if you want to borrow books.

Library of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences

This prestigious library is dedicated to supporting the research and science needs of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Its collections are rich in scientific literature and periodicals, both in Hungarian and in international languages.

The reading rooms offer a tranquil environment with views of the Danube, perfect for thoughtful study and innovative research work. Not to mention the great feeling of being in the proximity of famous Hungarian scientists.

Borrowing is open only for the members of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, university teachers, PhD students, and anyone already having a PhD. If you don’t fall into these categories, don’t worry, you can still read the library’s books and newspapers within the library.

  • Address: Arany János utca 1, 1051 Budapest
  • Opening Hours: 09:00-20:00 on weekdays, closed on weekends.
  • Membership Fee: 1400 HUF (3.5 EUR / 3.7 USD) for a year for students.

National Library of Foreign Literature

Located in downtown Budapest, near the quayside of the Danube, this library is a treasure trove of international literature, offering materials in over 150 languages. It’s an ideal spot for students studying languages and literature, or those looking for materials not commonly available in other local libraries.

The quiet reading rooms and well-stocked shelves encourage hours of undisturbed study.

  • Address: Molnár utca 11, 1056 Budapest
  • Opening Hours: 10:00-17:00 on Mondays and Tuesdays, 10:00-19:00 on Wednesdays and Fridays, closed on Thursdays and on the weekend.
  • Membership Fee: 1750 HUF (4.4 EUR / 4.8 USD) for a year for students.

What to know about libraries in Budapest for students?

Here is some useful information regarding how can Erasmus students in Budapest become members of a library, what types of services are available in libraries in Budapest, and if external members of a university library can borrow books (spoiler: usually no).

How can I become an external member of a library?

You can become an external member of a library by registering at the library, onsite. Some libraries have online registration, but even in these cases to finish the registration (e.g. showing your student ID) you must go to the specific library personally.

You have to bring a valid personal ID (in the case of international students it’s the passport) and also your student ID.

After registering and paying the membership fee, you’re free to use the library’s services!

What types of services can I get in libraries in Budapest?

You get the following services in libraries in Budapest.

  • Reading the available books and periodicals in the library.
  • Printing, scanning, and photocopying.
  • Use of libraries’ computers.
  • Free library wifi.
  • In some cases, you can also book meeting rooms.

The range of services depends on the actual library.

Can I borrow books from the libraries as an external member?

No, external members can’t borrow books from university libraries, unless they spend their Erasmus at that particular university. It mainly depends on the university library’s policy (e.g. you can borrow books from ELTE Library for a higher membership fee). Students can however borrow books from public libraries (e.g. Metropolitan Ervin Szabó Library).

Some libraries, like CEU Library, also restrict access to some of their library databases.

Most of the time you can read and use every book and newspaper of a library onsite as an external member, but you can’t take it with you.

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