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.
The famous wine producing town of Eger is situated 128km north east of Budapest and nestles in a sundried valley between the Mátra and Bükk mountain ranges. Eger is famous for its minaret, Egri Bikavér wine and the heroic legend attached to its castle.
Bikavér is a potent hair-on-your-chest brew which suits Eger’s sunbaked hillsides and colourful Mediterranean atmosphere.
Known abroad as Bull’s Blood, the wine brings thousands of tourists to the town and surrounding valleys.
A good time to visit is during the wine harvest season, in September and October, when the 'szuret' (harvest) provides the excuse for festivals, events and enthusiastic sampling of the year’s brew.
Serious drinkers go to the source. A brisk 20-minute walk away and you are in the "Valley of the Beautiful Woman".
The 'Szépasszony völgy' lies just west of town and although most guide books suggest taking a taxi, there really is no need. A relaxing walk through pleasant tree-lined suburbs will stimulate your thirst.
As you reach the brow of the hill, there it is spread out in front of you: the wine lover’s paradise.
It's a sun-baked valley, where 200 wine cellars form a horse shoe shape surrounding a grassy park. Some cellars have tables outside, some have musicians inside.
Besides Bikavér, Eger’s vineyards also produce Medoc Noir, a sweet red dessert wine, and the white Egri leányka, which is honey-coloured and slightly flavored with herbs. Wines can be sampled for around 30p a glass. Egeszségedre!! (Cheers!)
Google map: bit.ly/V8xbm3
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Visegrád on the Danube Bend, 25km north of Budapest. Between Erzsébet (Elizabeth) and Szabadság (Independence) Bridges in Budapest take a boat up river to the delightful town of Visegrád on the Danube Bend. A local taxi or strenuous walk will bring you to Castle Hill, once Hungary’s summer capital for nearly two centuries. Inside Visegrád Citadel you’ll discover the nation’s history, maps and interesting objects, while outside you’ll admire 360-degree panoramic views of the waterway and lush-green countryside. Kids of all ages will love the bobsled track a little further uphill, and friendly, family-run House Honti hotel in Visegrád offers great hospitality and a hearty breakfast.
Google map: bit.ly/XzxFzv
Leaving a disappointingly grey, drizzly Lake Balaton, I needed to raise my spirits. I’d spotted a hotel on my map, at Retimajor among wetlands 30 miles away. As our shadows lengthened over the fields of sweetcorn and sunflowers, my bicycle and I sped along quiet lanes, to the tranquil haven of Retszilas Fishponds Nature Reserve. Despite having no booking, I was made welcome in an airy suite. As the sun set I watched waders and waterbirds settling for the night. Hungary’s only museum of fishery, a wellness centre and fishermen’s inn complement the outdoor activities.
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!
A university city with an ancient history, founded by the Romans and passing though the hands of Charlemagne, the Ottoman Turks, the Croats and the Viennese. European Capital of Culture in 2010, Pecs has much to offer those who want to explore beyond the capital. I am slightly biased, as my family is from here but it's worth a trip if you want to get away from the hustle of Budapest and is much better value! Cultural highlights include the museums of the painters Vasarely and Csontvary, and the Art Nouveau Zsolnay ceramics. A compact city centre with Kiraly Street offering restaurants, cafes and bars, the student population ensures a laid back and relaxed atmosphere. Situated on a plain sheltered from northern winds by the Mecsek Hills, Pécs enjoys an extended summer and produces fine wines and beers. Good train connections from Budapest and Vienna.
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.
Swimming among the waterlillies in warm, mineral-rich water is a unique and relaxing experience. In October I enjoyed the outdoor water temperature of 27 degrees celcius, before relaxing in the warmer water inside at 32 degrees celcius. While here, I joined a short queue in the pool where underwater jets gently massaged various parts of the body from calf muscles to shoulders. Lake Heviz covers 4.4 hectares and is the largest biologically active, natural peat-mud thermal lake of volcanic origin in the world.
Budapest is one of Europe's great cities. However it is actual two for the price of one. Buda & Pest sit opposite one another with the river Danube separating them. The river is at the heart of this old and historic city and many tourist cruises take advantage of this fact. Taking in the views from the river itself is a great way to introduce yourself to the capital of Hungary. With the Parliament building complete with amazing spires on one side, and the Buda Castle sat on the other side with a majestic eagle statue keeping watch, my camera hardly stopped. However even these regal and wonderful landmarks are over-shadowed by the awe inspiring Statue of Freedom which towers over the city from a perch on top of a very large hill situated right on the banks of the Danube. Once you reach the summit you may be out of breath with the climb, but the views WILL take your breath away! On a clear day you can see for many miles in all directions and being able to see almost the full city in one place is a pleasure not to be missed. At night most of the main attractions are lit up which add even more beauty to this dazzling city. A walk over one of the beautiful bridges once darkness sets in is highly recommended.
Budapest, like any capital city, has many wonderful places and lots of wonderful dining, too. Food quality in Hungary is top notch with many mouth watering dishes to tempt the pallet. Catfish from Balaton is a firm favourite of mine followed by a slice of Retes which is a type of fruit pie with sour cherries. Regardless of what you eat or do in Budapest you will leave feeling richer for exploring this unique place. To see a city as vibrant and impressive is a wonder you will want to re-live again and again.
Nice photos on
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
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