This hotel is not only charming but has aimed their service toward selective discerning clients. It is in a very convenient place in the Buda district which is great in the evening, excellent restaurants within a minute's walk. The hotel is decorated in a modern way this mixed with excellent specification in furniture and bathrooms made our stay very memorable and I would definitely recommend this hotel.
Room Tip: excellent junior suite on the ground floor.
Hungarian artist Victor Vaserely created what we know as Op Art - images that trick the brain and make the eyeballs throb. The Sixties wouldn't have looked the same without him. Situated in a charming square in Obuda (Old Buda), the Vaserely museum has a huge collection of his (also huge) works - as well as suspicious staff who follow you around to check you haven't stolen an eight foot square painting. It also hosts changing exhibitions by contemporary artists and an interactive room for children to explore colour and light. The geometrical images make a refreshing break for eyes saturated with Austro-Hungarian opulence, but it's not a good idea after a few palinkas the night before ...
Entry is cheap and it's easily accessible from the city centre.
Menza is my recommendation around the Liszt Ferenc area, great Hungarian food at very reasonable prices. Then get along to one of the many cafe’s or pastry houses and eat the best croissants in the world filled with the most delicious apple, curd cheese or walnut, or combinations of a couple, with a good coffee and a swig of Palinka, the national drink.
Take a trip on one of the many river boats which take off from stops along the River Danube, cost about 600HUF about £2.00. You can either stay on, take in the history of the nine bridges each with their own story. Or you can go up to Óbudai Island or Margaret Island both with breathtaking gardens.
Along the River Danube
As the name suggests, these are essentially drinking establishments set up in disused buildings, often in the court yards of a derelict apartment blocks. Renowned for their cheap beer, hip music and interesting surroundings - it's definitely worth taking the time out to hunt down one of these bars.
In the backstreets of Budapest
Listed under 'children's attractions' in guidebooks, but a fascinating Communist survivor (1948) for visitors of all ages. Children ('Pioneers' back then) drive the narrow gauge trains, take your tickets and salute you at the stations. A bonus: to get there you can ride on the (adult-run) Cogwheel Railway to Széchényi-hegy.
MAV Zrt. Szechenyi-hegyi Gyermekvasut
1280 Budapest, Pf.: 27, Hungary
It's a change from the city and great for children. You can see rescued brown bears - some have been used for entertainment and maltreated - and feed them honey from wooden spoons! There are also wolves. Regular trains from Nyugati Station to Ivacs take about an hour, then follow the signs two km to the sanctuary. It's popular with Hungarian families and there's also a restaurant. Admission is 300 Ft [about 87p] per person. Hours are March to September 8am to 7pm. October to February 9am to dark.
A hidden gem where you can lose a couple of hours exploring rooms crammed full of art nouveau treasures, followed by the chance to enjoy the finest Hungarian coffee and cake among the collection. You can even buy the displays, if you can fit them in your suitcase!
I love the faded splendour of the Central Cafe in Budapest. Sat on worn red leather seats in the wood-panelled interior it is easy to imagine eavesdropping on the earnest conversations of bearded revolutionaries, artists, poets and lovers.
Art deco lights hang from from starburst ceiling roses, and the doors open up onto the street to entice passers-by into the cool, high-ceilinged rooms with their beautiful painted mouldings and dark wood floors.
The waiters act slightly aloof, as though they carry the weight of history around with their trays of magnificent cakes and hearty Hungarian breakfasts. We feasted on scrambled eggs, Mangalica sausage, soft cheese on brown seeded bread and freshly squeezed orange juice.
There is nothing better to do than escape the busy streets in Pest and have a nice walk in the woods. It is very easy to get to and gives the most amazing panoramic view of Budapest. There are benches and conkers, and it just feels and smells autumn. I love kicking the leaves and running around there.
Once you get tired of enjoying nature, you can walk back to Pest on Szabadsag-hid (Freedom Bridge) and have a nice meal or a cuppa either in Vaci utca or Raday utca. (I would personally go for Raday utca.)
Google map: bit.ly/PWdCXP
The store offers an exciting mix of vintage clothes and accessories (both for men and women) side-by-side contemporary designs, all for very affordable prices.
If you're up in the tourist-packed Castle District (Varnegyed) on a steamy summer's day and long for a quiet sit-down and an authentic Hungarian lunch, stroll along Fortuna utca (street) to Pest Buda.
This traditional 'vendeglo' or local, family-run eaterie, dates back to 1948 and has been renovated to keep all the original features such as the wine bar in the cellar where you can see the cave walls (Buda Hill is almost hollow and riddled with caves and passages).
Diners enjoy Hungarian home cooking on red checked tablecloths and, while munching, admire the Pest Buda carpets; vignettes of old Budapest life which have been scanned in and made into wallpaper.
One of the favourites on the menu is 'kenyer langos' (a kind of 'bread flamed doughnut') advertised as Hungarian pizza and a substantial lunch of oven baked dough with Magyar toppings of sausage and lecso (ratatouille), duck breast and spinach or tomato and tangy sheep's cheese.
Pest Buda Vendeglo Bistro
Fortuna utca 3, Castle District, I. Budapest
Open daily 11.00-24.00
Metro to Moszkva ter (now called Szell Kalman ter) then Varbusz (Castle minibus) up the hill.
Google map: bit.ly/r3QEyc
Located next to the super-cool DiVino wine bar on Pest's trendy Szent Istvan ter (square), this cooling ice cream parlour serves up unusual and delicious ice creams.
The name 'Rosa' is not for nothing: the scoops for the cornets are artfully fashioned to resemble a blooming rose!
It might seem a bit kitsch, but actually it is beautifully done and the ice cream flavours are imaginative with such gorgeous creations as poppyseed (a Hungarian dessert favourite), lemon and basil, an authentic banana (usually a tricky ice to get right), and rich, dark chocolate.
1052 Budapest, Szent Istvan ter 3
+36 70 930 227
Google map: bit.ly/qiXR6j
DiVino is Budapest's latest uber-cool wine bar, found on the swanky, renovated square in front of the mighty Szent Istvan Basilika (Saint Stephen's Basilica).
It's connected to the fashionable Tigris restaurant and the class just oozes from every angle: from the sleek, chic, minimalist decor that lets full attention focus on the beautiful young things posing elegantly on low pinewood stools, to the endless list of wines and tasty, but pricey, nibbles, chalked up on the large blackboards above the bar.
The borbar (winebar) highlights 26 talented young Hungarian winemakers and a different winemaker is featured every week.
When I visited on opening night at the end of May, the winemaker to watch out for was Csaba Miklos and the coolest drink was a sparkling rose called Frici from the Gere vineyards. Refreshing, innovative and very, very hip. Just like DiVino.
Liszt Ferenc tér (or Franz Liszt Square) is party central in Budapest. It is a tree-lined pedestrianised area in the heart of Pest, located in the VI district by Oktogon.
During the warmer spring and summer months, the square is packed with beautiful people and tourists sitting in the bars, cafes and restaurants and filling the terrace areas. You can do this in winter too, as all the cafes have huge heaters. Every kind of cuisine, cocktail and coffee is served here from pizza at Pompeii to retro Magyar dishes at Menza to French style at Cafe Vian to Cuban at Buena Vista cafe. There's also an Incognito jazz cafe, Karma restaurant for good vibes and a late night drinking den at Mediterran.
Liszt Ferenc tér
Metro No 1 (little yellow underground - Kisfoldalatti) to Oktogon, tram 4 & 6 to Kiraly utca or Oktogon.
Google map: bit.ly/hRTKZE
To celebrate 200 years since the birth of 19th century Hungarian composer Ferenc Liszt, Budapest's Ferihegy International Airport changed its name in March 2011 to Budapest Liszt Ferenc International Airport (Hungarians write the surname first, and Franz is Ferenc in the Magyar tongue).
Budapest Airport has two main terminals: Terminal 1 (closer to the centre in an older, original building) serves all low-cost carriers.
Terminal 2 is further away from the city, in the village of Vecses, and divided into 2A, with flights to/from Schengen countries and 2B, serving all non-Schengen destinations, such as the USA.
Budapest Liszt Ferenc International Airport
Tel: (+36-1) 296-7000
The airport is located approximately 10 miles from the city centre.
Terminal 1 is easily reached from the centre on a fast rail link costing about £1.
Terminal 2 is further away, and can be reached by taxi, airport minibus service or metro to Kobanya-Kispest station and then bus.
Google map: bit.ly/g6qOS3
Bock Bistro is a great restaurant serving traditional Hungarian cuisine with the perfect local fine wine to accompany the food. József Bock, one of the founders, is a legendary wine maker so you can be sure of the quality of the reds on offer here.
Csalogány 26 is an upscale restaurant named after its address, but also csalogány means 'nightingale'. Delicious meals prepared in a kitchen with a video link to the front of house so diners can check on the preparation. A bit gimmicky but fun. Upscale dining in a classy setting.
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