Wonderfully ornate cafe which captures the opulence and splendour of early 20th century Budapest.
Now part of a five-star hotel and not cheap but certainly worth a visit.
VII Erzsebet korut 9 -11
Metro M2 Blaha Lujza ter
This is a great place to have a drink. Very cosmopolitan and yet laid back. Seems to be very popular with young people and expats.
Not bad value either - a large glass of wine set us back about £1.30.
On the main square in the heart of the what was once the Jewish ghetto.
District VII, Klauzal ter 1-2, Around Kiraly utca, Budapest
Metro M2: Blaha Lujza ter
If you visit Heroes' Square, I strongly recommend to pass by this small and cosy wine store on the nearby Damjanich Street. It has a wide range of Hungarian and Italian wines, and absolutely not a rip-off like other wine stores in the centre. The staff speak German and Italian, but no English - yet.
Damjanich u. 25/A
(on the corner of Damjanich and Nefelejcs Street
It's a self-catering apartment. I stayed there for one week and I just loved it, because it's really nice with a cute garden view. It's in the very centre, pretty close to everything.
It's in Veress Palne utca, right next to Vaci utca in district 5. Nearest metro is Kalvin ter. However you mostly need to walk only.
If you've done the Budapest basics, you should absolutely take an afternoon and visit Bela Bartok's house museum in the Buda Hills. This is a hymn of praise not only to the conductor, but his passion for Hungarian folk culture.
Among the highlights: his oversized, primitive recording device which he dragged all over historic Hungary, having local residents sing their songs into it, and his furniture, most of which is handmade from various parts of Transylvania. The ladies who staff the museum can give you a tour in English and are very nice and accommodating.
While you are there, make sure you walk through the Napraforgo ut. housing estate, built in 1931 to house refugees from areas cut off from Hungary by the Treaty of Trianon. Architecture fans will delight in the display of creativity there, from Bauhaus to Arts and Crafts. Unfortunately, rich Buda residents are now buying all of them out and restoring them according to their own tastes, so the results of that could harm the ensemble, but you should go there anyway.
This is a great doubleheader excursion well off the well-trodden tourist paths.
It's best to go to Ferenciek Tere (metro blue line), look for restaurant Karpatia and wait for bus #5 just outside there. You go to the end of the line, i.e. Pasareti Ter, and look for the signs. The way to both is actually marked.
Fatal actually means wooden plate in Hungarian but the portions may well prove life-threatening.
Located in Pest off the Vaci Utca, the restaurant is easy to find, cheap and offers huge traditional meals, mostly cooked and served in the dish dish, atop of a wooden plate.
I had the pork knuckle and only got halfway - highly recommended but book in advance if you're going in the evening.
Address: 1056 Budapest, Vaci utca 67.
Phone: +36 1 266 2607
Directions: In southern Vaci utca, halfway between Fovam ter (trams 47 49, buses 15 City, trolley 83) and Ferenciek tere (metro M3, buses 5 7 7A 7exp 8 15 78 112 173exp City).
Really good hostel, comfy beds, free internet, incredibly friendly staff, walking distance from most attractions, free breakfast and it's one of the cheaper hostels in town. I would definitely go back there. Can be difficult to find, up a staircase in the alley next to the billiard hall, follow the pictures of goats.
I've used the fixed fare taxi system (a shared minibus) every time I have visited Budapest - ask for the return fare. They will come and collect you from your hotel and take you back to the airport.
NB: you have to ring 24 hrs before and confirm collection.
This website is about the real Budapest, and gives very interesting background details about the history, culture and architecture of this beautiful capital which is slowly losing some of its unique features (old presszo bars, neon signs, dingy borozos) as it changes into a modern European metropolis. Written by a Hungarian speaker, the articles featured go behind the facade and into much more detail than a guide book could manage.
It has a wealth of information for people who really love Budapest and want to know the city better.
Check out the recent story on the Trabants - really interesting!
Auguszt Confectionary is a charming little cafe in the downtown of Budapest. They are friendly and polite, it is as if you stepped back in time. Not to mention their excellent sweets, cakes and coffee!
Downtown Budapest, between Ferenciek tere and Astoria metro station.
Kossuth Lajos street 14.-16.
Under its dazzling coloured tiled roof and ironwork is a huge array of specialty foods and preserves, liqueurs, caviar, berry jams, and some tourist tat. Wander round the many stalls, and if nothing else, at least buy a colourful string or two of chillies to take home. Take a little care of your possessions, but get stuck in.
Vamhaz korut, right by the river across the green Szabadsag Bridge from Gellert
A tiny cosy traditional patisserie and coffee shop on Buda hill in the castle close to the exuberant neo-gothic Mathias church. After a walk round the Royal Palace or the cobbled streets and quirky aristocrats' houses, indulge in a cherry brandy chocolate and cream coffee, with raspberry torte, and drift back a century or two. Especially nice in winter, and more chance of getting a table.
Szentharomsag Uta, opposite St Mathius church.
Private rooms are the budget way to go in Budapest. Rather like a B&B without the breakfast. Sometimes they are separate apartments and sometimes relatively independent guest units attached to a larger apartment (rather like a granny flat). Private rooms are usually centrally located, operated by Budapest-based expats and locals alike. They are not only a cheap option but also provide instant access to local knowledge via your host who will have the insider lowdown on the best places to see/do/go in the Hungarian capital. Some are quite chic and full of character and make for a memorable stay. Private rooms usually rent from around 30 Euros a night.
Stayed in Budapest two weeks ago and stayed in a lovely self catering apartment. Classical old building but renovated really well, modern, spacious and truly of a 4* hotel equivalent yet €60 per night.
Exceptional value for money and unique accommodation to boot. Worth considering.
Andrassay Utca apartment. Check out www.budarentals.com
Ticks the boxes for adults and kids. Fantastic Art Noveau building with probably the most photographic indoor pool in the world for the adults to appreciate. Outside is another pool with sun loungers around it and every hour a wave machine is turned on. Shrieks and shouts from kids aged 4 months to 40 years (and some).
If you like music, and you can't quite bring yourself to fork out your life savings for a ticket to one of the UK festivals, then go to Hungary in August. The Sziget festival is simply brilliant. It's held on a stunning island in the middle of the Danube river just out of the centre of Budapest. They always have a varied programme of music, in 2007 this included the Killers, the Hives, Chemical brothers, Faithless, Nine Inch Nails, Pink and Razorlight to name but a few. They also have great world and dance music, and local Hungarian music. but even better than the lineup is the civilised way in which the festival is organised. You can get to a clean toilet at any time. The food is delicious, cheap, and easily available. Everyone is really friendly. A lot of the island is a beach, so you can walk around in bare feet and really feel like it's a holiday too. Accommodation is easy, either on the island - or do as we did and rent a beautiful and cheap apartment in Budapest itself. It's so easy to get to and from the island. Don't miss it. Get there before anyone else finds out about it!
Óbudai Island, Budapest, August every year. www.sziget.hu
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