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Difference between revisions of "Budapest/Pest"

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(updated listing Colombo's)
(Bars & Clubs)
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* '''Fat Mo's Music Pub'''. Nyári Pál u. 11, [http://www.fatmo.hu/]. Apparently has live music most nights of the week.
 
* '''Fat Mo's Music Pub'''. Nyári Pál u. 11, [http://www.fatmo.hu/]. Apparently has live music most nights of the week.
  
* '''For Sale Pub''', Vámház körút 2, A country-style pub located at the bridgehead on Szabadság Bridge. Though small, it has two floors. They serve good food and many kinds of beers and have live music. Shelled peanuts come free with the beer and you can have fun throwing them around; as litering the place is officially allowed. This, over 10 year old pub, has bills, currencies, business cards etc. of their visitors ornamenting their walls; and don't miss to stick yours while you are there!
+
* '''For Sale Pub''', Vámház körút 2, A country-style pub located at the bridgehead on Szabadság Bridge. Though small, it has two floors. They serve good food and many kinds of beers and have live music. Shelled peanuts come free with the beer and you can have fun throwing them around; as litering the place is officially allowed. This, over 10 year old pub, has bills, currencies, business cards etc. of their visitors ornamenting their walls; and don't miss to stick yours while you are there! Staff is unfriendly.
  
 
*'''Fregatt''', V. Molnár u. 26, 318-9997. A British-style pub that's popular with foreigners. The interior is styled after a frigate.
 
*'''Fregatt''', V. Molnár u. 26, 318-9997. A British-style pub that's popular with foreigners. The interior is styled after a frigate.

Revision as of 06:44, 21 September 2008

The Chain Bridge and a view of Pest

Pest is the eastern side of the Danube River in Budapest, Hungary.

Contents

Get around

The metro network does a pretty good job of covering the Pest side of the river, with all three lines meeting up at Deák Ferenc tér in the center of the city. The trams running along the east bank fill in a useful gap.

See

Cow statue in Budapest
  • Budapest Zoo & Botanical Garden, Állatkerti krt. 6-12, +36(1)273-4900 (), [1]. Feeding hippopotamus is recommended by travellers as one of the main attractions in the zoo.


Downtown

Parliament
  • Parliament (Országház), Kossuth Lajos tér. The Hungarian National Parliament building is the largest in Europe, designed by architect Imre Steindl for the 1896 millennial celebrations, and built 1880-1902. It is based on England's Parliament building, and supposedly is one meter wider and longer than that august building, just a little bit of architectural conceit. The building is so immense, the weak alluvial soil along the Danube had to be reinforced with a 7-foot-deep concrete foundation. Not surprising, as the building is 300 yards long and 140 yards wide, with 691 rooms and 12.5 miles of corridors. The lacy white Gothic froth covering the building is actually educational: 88 statues representing Hungarian rulers, princes and military commanders. These statues are small and cannot be readily distinguished from the ground, but they are there.
Under the Parliament's cupola the Hungarian crown jewels are exhibited. After World War II, the medieval crown (last used in 1916) was taken out of the country by escaping Hungarian fascists, ending up in the United States. President Carter returned the crown to the Hungarian state in 1978, accompanied by a large American delegation. It was exhibited in the National Museum until 2000 when it was moved to its present location.
The only way inside the building is via organized tour. The tour lasts ~30 minutes and is free if you are an EU citizen, so bring your passport to prove it. Tours only run on specific times during the day, and you have to get your ticket in advance for a timed slot, you have to use the ticket the day you get it. Tickets are sold out by about 11am, so arrive early at 8am when the ticket office opens. Getting to the ticket office is bizarrely confusing and time consuming. Queue up by the security fence where you see the "buy ticket" sign, this is by the front of the Parliament at gate X (the opposite side to the river). There will be no sign of a ticket office or anyone selling tickets. It will seem like you are queueing up in front of a fence. Do not panic - this is OK. There may be people in a separate queue, these may be Hungarians who can visit more frequently, or indeed tourists in the wrong queue - you won't be told where to go or what to do, so it is common for people to wander about. The security guard will open the security fence (there is no gate) and you should walk towards the doorway with an X above it, inside is the cash office and you can get your ticket here. Be warned, there are no signs or explanations anywhere of what to do. They only let 2 people at a time in the cash office, and it can take 2-3 minutes per person to get a ticket. Come back at the specified time on your ticket and join the "with tickets" queue to the right, where, again, you will be left with no one to greet you or explain what's going on, until 1 minute before your tour time, when a guide will appear (not in a uniform)and you can go through the fence and get security screened before starting. The tourist information gives tour times for the various languages (e.g. English is 10am, 12pm and 2pm), your ticket may have a different time on it, like 10.15am, this is because there is more than 1 tour around the times listed, so you will not join the 10am tour, but the 10.15 tour. The end result of this system is that at first glance, there are people standing in a very slow moving queue, with occasional tourists wandering into an unmarked door in the corner of the building. Suddenly, a large group of people will appear and jump the queue and wander through the security fence (this is a timed tour starting), the guards are not tour advisors and will not tell you if they are sold out of tickets, or if a tour is starting, or that you are in the wrong queue. Parliament is in session Monday and Tuesday, but tours still operate. For the time of your language tour get the slip of paper from a tourist information office. Non EU Admission: 800 ft adults, 300 ft children.
  • St. Stephen (István) Cathedral (the Basilica). Though often called "the Basilica" for short due to its clerical rank as a basilica minor, it actually is shaped like a Greek cross, with two steeples and a dome on top. Designed by Miklós Ybl and József Hild, and built 1851-1905, it is as high as the Parliament building -- it's the highest church in Budapest. Walking in the main entrance, after climbing a series of stairs, the viewer is first greeted with a relief of St Stephen, then a mosaic of Christ's resurrection. There are many notable mosaics in this church, especially those within the dome designed by Károly Lotz, best known for his ceiling frescoes in the State Opera and Ethnographic Museum. While designed here, the mosaics were made in Venice. The foremost Hungarian artists of the day designed the artworks within St Stephen's, among them Bertalan Székely, Gyula Benczúr and two men also known for their work in the Opera, Mór Than and Alajos Stróbl. Here Stróbl contributed the central statue of St Stephen on the main altar. In the left hand chapel is the "Chapel of the sacred right hand" this is pretty surreal as St Stephen's surviving hand in a glass box, lovely. For a fee, you can also climb to the very top of the Basilica to get a wonderful view of the city.
  • Great Synagogue and the Jewish Museum, Dohány ut. 2-8. This synagogue is unique both because of its size, and its two onion-shaped domes, which are forty-three meters high. Onion domes are typically found on Catholic churches, and Hungary is a very Catholic country. Perhaps Ludwig Förster, the architect, meant for it to blend in a bit.
  • Ethnographic Museum (Néprajzi Múzeum), Kossuth Lajos tér 12 (across from Parliament). Sometimes said to resemble the Reichstag (parliament) building in Berlin, the white neo-Renaissance façade complements the Gothic-style Parliament building just across the square. Do not miss the richly decorated interior, including the ceiling frescoes by Károly Lotz (who also frescoed the State Opera's ceiling). The building was originally used to house the Supreme Court and chief public prosecutor's office, explaining some of the motifs used in the frescoes.
  • LightEvolution, [2]. Lightpainting exhibition of Dóra Berkes. A mix of abstract paintings is projected onto walls of several buildings in the square--through a unique projection installation. Pictures change every day, show starts right after sunset, accompanied with a DJ music and artistic performances on the square, and providing a cafe with hot wine, some other drinks and even declared gulyas. Was held at Március 15 square from Dec 18 to Jan 1 in 2006/2007--and probably a regular event (in June 2005, there was a similar event in Szentendre). See web sites of organizators (Dora Berkes [3], LimeLight [4]) for dates of future shows.
  • little princess monument, (on bank of Danube, somewhere near Vigado ter).
  • Shoes on the Danube memorial, (Danube bank, right at the end of Szechenyi u.--about 300m south of the Parliament).

Andrássy út

The House of Terror

This boulevard was built emulating Paris' Champs-Élysées. It connects the Erzsébet tér in V. District and Hősök tere in City Park. It crosses the körút at always-busy Oktogon square, which got its name from its shape.

  • Millennium Subway. The recently renovated metro 1 line goes along under the boulevard (see Budapest:Get around:By metro for background). A convenient way to reach the outer areas of City Park. Normal ticket needed, but unlike other public transport, this it is only good for thirty minutes after the ticket is validated.
  • State Opera House, Andrássy ut 22. Built between 1875-1884 by the premier Hungarian architect of the day, Miklós Ybl, who also worked on nearby St Stephen's Cathedral.
  • House of Terror (Terror Háza), Andrássy út 60 (a few hundred metres from Oktogon), [5]. The building in the block of "Andrássy út 60." was used both by Nazis and and the communist-led Political Police/State Security Police as headquarters. In the basement a labyrinth of prisons was created. Many people were jailed and even executed here. 2002, the "house of fear" was converted into a stylish but depressive museum about Nazi and communist terror which helps to understand Hungary's 20th century. This museum is displayed for the enlightenment of Hungarians, so one must get an English-language audioguide at the front desk for an extra fee.

City Park

At the end of Andrássy út City Park (Városliget) is probably the most pleasant of Pest's districts and houses a number of interesting if low-key attractions often skipped by the package tour companies. The area is easily accessible with the yellow subway line (nearest station M1 Hősök tere) and entry into the park, including the castle grounds, is free.

Statues in Heroes Square
  • Heroes Square (Hősök tere) - with the Millennium Monument in the middle and two museums on the two sides:
    • Museum of Fine Arts (Szépművészeti Múzeum). 41 Dózsa György útca, tel. (36-1) 1429-759. Open daily except Mondays 10a-6p. Has an incredible range of European artwork from Greek and Roman times to the present. It is best known for its Spanish collection, the largest accumulation of Spanish paintings outside Spain. There is a large Greek and Roman collection, an Egyptian collection, much Italian (also French, German and Dutch) sculpture, including a statue of a man on horseback by da Vinci, and a very large collection of 10,000 drawings and 100,000 engravings rivalled only by similar collections in Berlin.
    • Műcsarnok [6]. An "art hall" showcasing exhibitions of modern art by Hungarian and international artists. If you're nearby it's always worth taking a look to see what's happening today. Open 10am to 6pm daily except Monday, admission varies from exhibition to exhibition.
  • Vajdahunyad Castle (Vajdahunyad vára). While loosely modelled after a Transylvanian fortress of the same name, the building is not really a castle at all: it's a full-scale model built for Hungary's 1896 millenial celebrations. The structure has three distinct wings, one Gothic, one Romanesque and one Baroque, making it quite a bizarre sight when seen from a distance. But sneak up closer and its magic will be revealed: thanks to the moat, the trees and the carefully laid footpaths, you can usually only see one section at a time. The attention to detail (all copied from real sites around the country) has been painstaking, so it's like seeing three extraordinarily pretty castles rolled into one. The structure was originally supposed to be only a temporary one, but Budapest's people liked it so much that it was rebuilt to last. Located on an island in the middle of the park's lake.
  • Hungarian Agricultural Museum. Housed in Vajdahunyad Castle's baroque wing, this is the only part open to the public and it now houses the exhibits on breathtaking topics like cattle breeding and fishing. But at 50 ft a throw for students it's worth seeing just for the architecture. 50 ft.
  • Next to the chapel is the statue of Anonymus, a hooded monk representing the unknown historian who recorded the annals of the early Magyars in the time of the mighty King Béla. (He is unknown partly because the King Béla he dedicated his work to could be any of 3 or 4 during the 12 and 13th centuries.) Hungarian writers still trek to the statue to touch his quill for inspiration.
  • Walking about 300 metres from Hősök tere south-eastwards on Felvonulási tér you can see the striking ING office building designed by Dutch architect Eric van Egeraat. It is located along the busy Dózsa György útca.

Museums

  • National Museum (Nemzeti Múzeum), Múzeum körút 14/16, +36-1-338-2122, [7]. Tue-Sun 10a-6p Mar-Oct, 10a-5p Nov-Mar. Not to be confused with the Hungarian National Gallery (Nemzeti Galéria), located in Buda Castle. Founded in 1802 by Count Ferenc Széchenyi, whose manuscript, map, numismatic and print collections formed its initial core holdings, the Hungarian National Museum was designed and built by the popular architect Mihály Polláck between 1837-1847. When it opened, it was the fourth largest museum in Europe. However, it was far enough from the city proper that sometimes loose cattle from the weekly Kálvin tér market wandered into the museum. Before entering, take note of the museum's exterior, a fine example of neoclassical architecture, with an exceptional portico. Eight Corinthian columns support a frieze with an ornamental cornice and a large pediment. The pediment features the allegorical figure of Pannonia (Pannonia was the Roman name for the Hungarian lands) sitting with the Hungarian coat of arms on her shield, surrounded on either side by Science and Art. The exterior of the museum is also significant for what has taken place there. During the 1848 revolutions that swept through Central Europe, on 15 March, Sándor Petőfi (perhaps Hungary's most famous patriotic poet) recited his emotionally gripping poem called "National Song" to a large crowd from the left pillar of the National Museum's exterior staircase. This poem pleaded with the nation to liberate Hungary from the Habsburg oppression. Not everyone was impressed. The director of the museum recorded in his diary that a noisy mob had gathered outside the building that day, disturbing his work so much that he left for home. Major acquisitions and collections donated by the Kubinyi, Pyrker, Marczibányi and Jankovich families rapidly expanded the museum's holdings. Late in the 19th century some collections were separated from the general holdings to form new specialized museums such as the Museum(s) of Fine Arts, Applied Arts, Natural Science and Ethnography. Today the museum's five major divisions (archaeology, Middle Ages, modern era, numismatics, historical paintings), two permanent exhibitions, and archaeological library (with over 100,000 volumes!) make it one of the richest museums in Central Europe.

Do

  • You don't want to miss a boat trip on River Danube! Then you can enjoy both riverbanks and the bridges at the very same time. It is especially spectacular at night. Boats leave from Vigadó tér.
The State Opera
  • State Opera. 22 Andrássy út. [8] Actually the guided tours - every 3pm and 4pm - are more expensive (1000ft) than a ticket to the opera(from 700ft). Buy the second cheapest to be able to see the stage as well. But even if tickets are expensive you will enjoy the performance even if you're not an opera buff. You can get cheaper tickets during the summer when there often are opera festivals. Most operas are in Italian, but at the State Opera they subtitle the entire perfomance in Hungarian. The hall is beautiful and in its original state. On the balcony surrounding the hall they have put the name of every classic opera performed there into the wood. It has to be seen to be fully appreciated. For a real treat, purchase seats in the kabin or box seats ranging upwards of 5000 to 8000ft. Appropriate dress - suits or sport coats for men, dress or skirt/blouse for women (although tuxedos to backpacker wear is seen during the week).
  • City Park's lake offers boating in the summer. There're also open-air tables for ping-pong nearby.

Ice Skating

Open-air skating rinks: (only during winter)

  • City Park's lake, Olof Palme sétány 5.. Mon-Fri 9-13, 16-20; Sat-Sun 10-14, 16-20. Rink entrance: Mon-Fri morning 600ft, Fri evening-Sun. Skate rental available (look for Roces sign further from the Heroes Square); deposit 15.000ft or a photo document; rental hour is 600ft..
  • Roosevelt ter. No skate rental available; glintwein and variety of sweets and snacks is sold in a cafe tent.
  • you can do several things in Budapest: caving under the city, paintball, gokarting, kayaking / canoeing on river Danube.


Buy

Paprika and more, Great Market Hall

Váci utca is Hungary's premier shopping street and consequently very expensive.

Markets

  • Great Market Hall (Nagy Vásárcsarnok). Fovám tér. A grand old three-level market hall, with a modern supermarket in the basement, small stalls selling mostly gourmet food items on the ground floor (more paprika and goose liver than you can shake a stick at) and handicrafts on the second floor. It is very touristy these days but still worth a visit, haggling and comparison-shopping recommended.

Malls and department stores

  • WestEnd City Center [9]. Váci út 1-3, tel. 238-7777. The largest shopping mall in Central Europe with over 400 shops, and one of the newest in Budapest. Pop into the pleasant roof garden for a break. At the southern end of Váci út, nearest station M3 Nyugati pu..
  • Further malls in the city include Mammut 1&2 (metro2, Moszkva tér [this is on the Buda side]), Árkád (metro2, Örs vezér tere), Duna Pláza (metro3, Gyongyosi utca), Europark (metro3, Határ ut) and some others that are not in direct reach with the subways. Mammut and Árkád are rather new and popular, although every mall was built since the early 90s.

Small shops

  • Hollo Muhely. (from Gerloczy Cafe next to Váci út, walk down a side street and you'll find this small shop. Be intentional about looking for it because it's easy to pass by) There are nice painted eggs, wooden boxes and candlesticks, and even furniture there. If you are in town for a while, have the man there personalize eggs or jewelry box with your name--it's free.

Eat

There are two areas packed with cafés, restaurants and disco clubs:

  • Liszt Ferenc tér (next to Andrássy út, between Opera and Oktogon) has several trendy restaurants and bars popular with tourists and locals; it's a nice place to stroll around while choosing
  • Ráday utca (starting from Kálvin tér), which is filled with restaurants.

Coffeehouses

  • Anna Cafe, Váci utca 5 (or 7?), 266-9080 (or 318-2016?). Decent place for coffee and cake with mid-range prices, much like Starbucks. Anna is a chain of at least two cafes (both at Váci u.), maybe there are more. The one near Vörösmarty tér is always full of visitors even in winter time, however once a waiter was caught adding extra meal to a bill (Jan 2007)--just check your bill carefully. Latte is bit smaller than usual; by default there's little milk. Good selection of leaf teas; served in kettles about 2 cups in size. Free wifi internet access.
  • Centrál Kávéház, Károlyi Mihály utca 9, +36(1)266-2110, [10]. Centrál Kávéház is a very famous high-end coffeehouse. Recently renovated.
  • Gerbeaud, Vörösmarty tér 7, +36(1)429-9000, [11]. Budapest's most famous cafe, an incredibly ornate Rococo confection dating to 1858 and lavishly restored in 1997. It's also priced to match, but still reasonable value as the pastries, desserts and ice cream remain excellent. Hot chocolate is well worth a try.
  • Gerloczy Cafe, Gerlóczy utca 1, +36(1)235-0953, [12]. Off of Vaci, away from the river, you'll find a small cafe, which is a nice place for coffee. During the warmer weather, have a meal at one of the outside tables.You can select your own two or three course menu from the daily specials; from appetizers, soups, main courses and desserts. This is available from Monday to Thursday from 12 noon to 3pm. 2 courses 1275 Huf, 3 courses 1600 Huf. On Fridays the Chef presents his seafood specialty while on other days of the week and weekends the Chef prepares a variety of daily selections. Live guest musicians, harp and accordion in the night time. In the daytime: fine jazz music, old and new school latin and mediterrian themes, a hint of bossa nova and samba. Free WiFi access.
  • New York Kávéház, Erzsébet körút 9-11, +36(1)322-1648, [13]. 9 AM - Midnight. This is the complete opposite of Buda's Ruszwurm: absolutely over the top ornate, shiny, dazzling. The New York has been a writer's haven for years -- before WWII writers would often come to "work" first thing in the morning, buy some coffee and write in the café all day until it was time to go home. This café was rammed by a Russian tank in the 1956 Hungarian uprising, and the damage has still not been repaired! Obviously, the Russians knew what would sting the most -- damaging a popular coffeehouse! A length renovation was completed in 2006 and it's now back in business.

Restaurants

Budget

  • Colombo's, (district VI). Colombo's (after the American TV character of the same name). The restaurant offers very good quality food for cheap (500ft-2.000ft). It's off of Vorosmarty Utca in district VI, a block north of the subway station of the same name & two blocks south of Nyugati. This is a very small, dingy smokey bar and not very friendly or accommodating towards tourists in November 2007 500ft-2.000ft.
  • Govinda-Klub, Vigyázó Ferenc utca 4 (from the Chain Bridge exit into Pest, turn left into Apáczai u. then take the second right), +36(1)234-2388. weekdays from Noon - 9 pm. Aaah, Hare Krisna, the saviour of vegetarians and budget-conscious travellers across Eastern Europe. Get your fill of tasty and very reasonably priced Indian and Italian dishes, ranging from soups (350 ft) to lasange (500 ft) or sample a bit of everything with the set menu (1200 ft). The staff are helpful and some speak English. Highly recommended.
  • Pasta Dost, (Downtown, under 57 Street Rákóczi, near the Keleti Train Station), [14]. All-you-can-eat concept
  • Pozsonyi kisvendéglő, Radnóti Miklós utca 38 (near Margaret bridge, corner of Pozsonyi út and Radnóti utca). Traditional Hungarian cuisine, cosy atmosphere - friendly staff, cheap and excellent menu. ** under refurbishment as of 24th November 2007**
  • Stex Alfred, Jozsef korut 55-57 (at the corner of Street Baross and Boulevard Jozsef). Pub, restaurant and casino). Try for a good-quality, low-budget (1.000-3.000F) food. 1.000-3.000F.

Mid-range

  • Avocado Music Cafe & Restaurant, Nyáry Pál u. 9, +36(1)266-3277 (, fax: +36(1)267-0748), [15]. opens 10:30AM; closes: 1AM on Su, M-Tu, 3AM on W-Th, 5AM on F-Sa; restaurant works till midnight; becomes music cafe after midnight. Lounge-style interior place mainly for 30s-40s. Easy-listening music background, a good selection of Newby teas. Pasta ~2000ft, mains around 2000-4000ft and higher.
  • Bagolyvár, Allatkerti u. 2, +36(1)468-3110 (fax: +36(1)363-1917), [16]. Mid-range sister of famous Gundel. Claims to be the only Hungarian restaurant where women cook and serve food. Soups can be served either in a small tureen, which is better for a company to give everyone a try of several soups. Grilled сheese with caramelized walnut and fruits (1450ft) is a must-try, ideally with a semi-sweet Tokaji wine. Wien schnitzel is huge-sized, be careful. Wine soup sound promising, but not everyone likes it. Creamy wild game soup with croutons is really good. Teas (Impria brand) are quite average; cocoa is really good. To buy a take-away bottle of wine you liked in Bagolyvar, head to 1894 Food & Wine Cellar to save half a price. Tourist mix: many locals, but tourists still prevail; Russians/Ukrainians and Austrians can be frequently seen there. Mains 2000-4000ft; 12% service charge is included into bill.
  • Berliner Pub, district IX, Ráday utca 5 (near Kalvin ter metro), 217-6757 (), [17]. 12pm-12am. Try for high-quality, medium-budget food. Mains up to 2600ft (Feb 2007).
  • Fatál, Váci utca 67, 266-2607. Possibly the one place worth going to on Váci utca. Popular with tourists and locals alike, although advanced travellers report it's too touristy. Located in an atmospheric cellar, the foreboding name means "wooden platter" in Hungarian, and refers to the plates that the ridiculously huge portions are served on — an order of goose with dumplings, for example, will lead to an entire goose being deposited on your plate. Takeaway bags are provided on request if you can't finish it all. In solidly meat-eating Hungary, this is also one of the few places where you can sample vegetarian versions of dishes like goulash. Reservations are essential for lunch- or dinner-time visits. Prices have risen but remain affordable (main course 1500-2500 ft).
  • Lugas, Szilágyi Erzsébet fasor 77, +36-1 225-3690. A nice, small, comfortable restaurant located on a main street in the II District. Close to the St. Istvan cathedral. A nice main course, a side, and a glass of beer runs around 2250 HUF.
  • Firkasz, (near Nyugati station). Small and cosy with great atmosphere (including walls cutely decorated with objects associated with the newspaper trade) and excellent Hungarian food and wine.
  • Iguana, (Between Parliament and the American Embassy, off of Szabadsag ter). Mexican food, pretty decent, but but don't look for Southern California standards. Recommended that you reserve a table in advance.
  • Magdalena Merlo restaurant, Király u. 59/b (near Academy of Music), +36(1)322-3278 (), [18]. 10am-midnight. Nice interior and good-looking visitors are promising enough to give it a try. Unrated by wikitravellers yet. mains are under €10.
  • Indigo, Jokai utca 13 (around the corner from the Opera House). Has excellent Indian food, with great options for vegetarians.
  • Múzeum, Múzeum Körút 12 (near National Museum), +36(1)267-0375. Great place to try Hungarian cuisine and wines, although quite expensive. Old-style interiors, looks very much like a museum. Tourist mix: half are locals in evening dresses, another are tourists (even backpackers) driven here by travel guide books. Although service charge is already included on bill, waiters, piano player and even cloakroom attendant all expect tips and hint it heavily--at least from tourists unaccompanied by locals; possibly locals in your company can change their attitude.
  • Signo, Pozsonyi ut 4 (near Margaret Bridge and the terminus of Tram 2/2A), 238.0825 (), [19]. Excellent little restaurant serving amazingly well cooked and presented food for around 2000-3000 HUF for mains, drinks well priced and starters and deserts equally good. Seemed to be a bit of a well kept secret for locals but had very friendly English speaking waiters. Lovely modern decor and very clean.

Places to avoid:

  • Cafe Pattaya, Vaci u. 65 (near Central Market). 10am-12am. Claims to be a thai cuisine cafe, but very disappointing (Dec 2006). Tom Kha Ghai contains none of traditional ingredients: neither coconut milk nor lemongrass, ginger or whatever--only chicken. In winter time (around 0°C), it's quite cold inside even in the farthest end of cafe, heating conditioner doesn't help. Dishes seem to be washed right behind the bar counter.


Splurge

  • Gundel, Állatkerti út 2, +36(1)468-4040 (, fax: +36(1)363-1917), [20]. A main part of a large gastronomic holding including Gundel restaurant, 1894 Food & Wine Cellar, own wine brand (and possibly even wineries), a line of delicacy products (cheese, goose liver, palinkas and paprika). Jackets are mandatory for gentlemen in evening time, and dinner clothes are recommended. On Sundays, the restaurant serves a buffet brunch (11:30am to 3pm, 5800ft, drinks not included).
  • Képiró, V. Képiró utca 3, +36(1)266-0430, [21]. open weekdays from midday - 3 pm, 6 pm - midnight, Saturdays 6 pm - midnight. Very modern Hungarian haute cuisine with some exotic influences. Excellent wine list, exclusively with Hungarian wines. The staff are very helpful, friendly and speak excellent English. Be aware that if asked for advice, they will unashamedly recommend their most expensive. Highly recommended, the food is delicious.


  • Leroy Cafe. See detailed review in Chains section of Budapest article.
  • Sas utca 11 (near the Basilica), +36(1)266-5248.
  • Liszt Ferenc tér 10, +36(1)411-0915.
  • Ráday útca 11, [22].
  • Visegrádi utca 50/a, +36(1)340-3316.
  • Váci út 1-3 (inside the WestEnd City Center mall), +36(1)411-0915.
  • Arany János utca (In the square in front of St. Stephen's Basicila.). The jewel piece of the chain. Often plays live music.
  • Mátyás Pince, Március 15. tér 7, +36(1)266-8008, [23]. Tourist trap alert! Mains 2800-4500ft and more (Feb 2007).

Drink

There are dozens of romkocsma (literally translated: ruin-pubs) in city centre (V.-VI.-VII. districts). These inhabit ruined courts of old houses, therefore they are hard to be found. Ask locals for hints and go for the unique post-socialist atmosphere!

Bars & Clubs

  • Action Bar, Magyar utca 42, +36(1) 266 91 48. One of Budapest's gay bars. Located in basement bar. Shows Friday nights. Not easy to find: There is a separate door to the cellar with a A on the door. You'll get a consumption card after you've entered the place. Pay at the bar before you leave. More listings for gay bars, clubs, saunas, but also gay organizations and events can be found at the webpage budapest.gayguide.net.
  • Beckett's Irish Pub [24], Bajcsy Zsilinszky út 72, +36(1)311-1035. Claims to be Budapest's only authentic Irish bar and restaurant. Open noon to 1am weekdays, to 2am weekends; closed on Sundays. This place is renowned for its pricey but potent drinks.
  • Fat Mo's Music Pub. Nyári Pál u. 11, [25]. Apparently has live music most nights of the week.
  • For Sale Pub, Vámház körút 2, A country-style pub located at the bridgehead on Szabadság Bridge. Though small, it has two floors. They serve good food and many kinds of beers and have live music. Shelled peanuts come free with the beer and you can have fun throwing them around; as litering the place is officially allowed. This, over 10 year old pub, has bills, currencies, business cards etc. of their visitors ornamenting their walls; and don't miss to stick yours while you are there! Staff is unfriendly.
  • Fregatt, V. Molnár u. 26, 318-9997. A British-style pub that's popular with foreigners. The interior is styled after a frigate.
  • Gödör Klub, Erzsébet tér, downstairs, under the piscine. In the very centre of Pest, right next to metro hub Deák ferenc tér, this bar and cultural centre is a pleasant spot to enjoy drinks on the outside terrace, sit on the stairs and listen to music, chill out - day or night. It offers concerts on the outside stage during summer, inside the rest of the year. Nice park above it.
  • Kultiplex, 1095 Budapest, Kinizsi u. 28. A cool bar that has kind of an alternative feel. The drinks are cheap and they have good service. There is a cool dance floor with different music nights and a backyard area thats covered in the winter and open in the summer. They also show art house movies when not using their music stage. If you want to score drugs this is the place to go, but don't be scared if you're not. There are plans to demolish the building in 2008.
  • Morrisons English Pub (District VI; Revay utca, 25 / Andrássy út 20). +36(1)269-4060. Morrison's is an underground pub that has a dance floor and offers kareoke. Its a fun place to go with friends and they have cheap beer. You'll find a lot of travellers and local Hungarians.
  • Cafe Negro, Szent István tér 11, +36(1)302-0136. A popular and trendy hang out for ex-pats and locals; also a restaurant. Unprecedented view to a square with St. Stephen's Basilica, especially in the night time. Great drinks, DJ with energetic carefully-chosen music, and beautiful women make this one of the major stops for anyone looking to fall in love with the city. For mass-hangout holidays, reservation is essential. Paid WiFi internet access operated by T-Com (see Budapest#Contact for prices).
  • Szóda, Wesselényi u. 18, 461-0007 (), [26]. Another place to go out. By day it's a cafe in the old Gettho; close to the Shul, but by night it is a strangly unique bar for dancing and enjoying Budapest! Check out this real Hungarian place.
  • West Balkán, VIII. Futó u. 46., +36(20)473-3651, [27]. Calm on weekdays but becomes crazy on weekends! It is a hyped place with an alternative feel. Huge but cozy, DJs, dancefloor, gallery upstairs. Usually free entrance (unless there is a live concert).

Wine tasting

  • Gundel 1894 Food & Wine Cellar, Állatkerti ú. 2, +36(1)468-4044 (, fax: +36(1)363-1917), [28]. Mon-Sat 6pm-11pm; happy hours 5pm-7pm (30% discount for wine by glasses). Preferred place for buying wines from Gundel wineries; 2 times cheaper than in Bagolyvar restaurant (and possibly more than in Gundel restaurant). Offers a series of wine-tasting courses; very serious about rare vintages. Some soups and mains are also served.

Sleep

Budget

Pest has a huge number of backpacker hostels.

  • Aboriginal Hostel. Bródy Sándor utca 46. Tel. (+361)2668646, [29]. Next to the National Museum in the City centre. Staff very helpful and speak very good English. They have also recently set up the Boomerang Hostel, Bank utca (2nd Floor). Both are highly recommended. The Boomerang is more modern, with a very new clean kitchen. Both have twin private rooms priced at 5000Ft per person per night.
  • Amigo Hostel, tel. +36-20-332-6322, [30]. offers cheap, quality accommodation in the heart of Budapest, Hungary. Prices from 10€ person/night. Private ensuite rooms. Take look at the hostel’s design & low prices.
  • Beds N’ Roses, +36-20-332-6322, [31]. Private rooms, each with its separate bathroom. On a pedestrian street downtown, near the Opera House.
  • Boomerang Hostel and Apartments [32]. Bank utca 7. Tel. +3630-4792971. Prime downtown location, quality services, moderate prices. Multi-bed rooms, private rooms and apartments available. Very close to the riverside, Parliament, St. Stephen's Basilica and many more sights. Near to many clubs, bars, and restaurants. The manager is very helpful with giving information about points of interest.
  • Budapest Museum Central Hotel [33]. Muzeum korut 39. Tel. +36 1 2667868. All rooms with private bathroom, satellite TV, internet, air conditioning, heated floor, beautifully designed, in the heart of historical center, view onto Hungarian National Museum.
  • Come Inn Hostel, 1132 Váci út, 32, 1st floor. The Come Inn is located across from the Westend Shopping Centre and just down the street from the Western Railway Station. This place provides free coffee and tea all day long. There are free lockers in the room. Internet access is available. Laundry on site for a fee. Access through a courtyard, but be quiet out there at night.
  • Diáksport Hostel. Dózsa György út 52, tel. 340-8585 [34] Flagship of Budapest's largest hostel chain. Huge and impersonal, but a good way to meet... other backpackers. Dorm beds expensive at 3000 ft, tiny private rooms better value at 3300 ft and up (per person). Nothing much to see nearby, but near M3 Dózsa György út station.
  • Friends Hostel Budapest, Haris koz 2. (at Vaci walking street) (3rd Floor) (5th District) [35] Very good located small hostel in a walking street. Cheap prices: dorm from: 2 000 HUF (8 EUR)/Person/night, dbl from: 3.000ft /Person/night; Clean, well equipped, friendly staff, highly recommended!
  • Locomotive Light Hostel, Baross Ter 2. [36]. The Hostel is located in the downtown area, just a stone throw from the main International Train Station called Keleti Pu. Surrounded by lots of pubs, restaurants, cafes, nightclubs, a post office and 24 hour grocery shops.
  • Manzard Pension, Bláthy Ottó u. 21, +36 - 20 460-2134 (), [37]. Located in a quiet, green suburban area of Budapest near to Népliget (park). The centre can be reached in 5 min. by car or 15 min. by bus or underground.
  • Mellow Mood Central Hostel - large hostel in a good location. Full of backpackers and a 24hr bar, staff are friendly if somewhat unskilled. By far not the cheapest hostel accommodation available though.
  • Mellow Mood Marco Polo Hostel in Nyar utca [38] Staff not particularly welcoming or helpful. Very clean and well maintained. Expensive compared to other hostels in the area. Easy to find. Internet access was very expensive (250Ft/half hour) in the portal. Excellent buffet breakfast included. You do not have to stay: the breakfast can be purchased on its own for 460Ft per person.
  • Origo Hostel & Guesthouse, Nador street 34. 2nd floor (5th District), Tel: +36 70 245 31 81. [39] Cosy, clean guesthouse with 4 comfortable, nice private rooms in Budapest downtown! Reasonable prices: 14-18 EUR/Person/night. Close to: Parliament building, Chain bridge, Kossuth square - metro stop.
  • NS Youth Hostel, along the Váci street [40] The Hostel has an excellent location in the downtown of Budapest, in the heart of the business and shopping area, the world-wide famous street Váci utca ( the pedestrian zone) and only 150 metres from the Danube.
  • Red Bus Hostel, V Semmelweiss utca 14, 1st floor. Spacious dorm rooms with comfortable beds, a full kitchen where you can cook your own food. Dorm beds go for about 2700ft. Red Bus also has another location further north, it can be reserved from the main building.
  • Station Guesthouse, near Keleti train station [41] This happening joint sees a constant stream of backpackers from around the world; a small bar and a common area with a pool table and couches mean that every night has the potential to become something of a party. If you don't mind the noise, the friendly staff and guests will likely make your stay very enjoyable. Accommodation includes 4 and 8 bed dorm rooms with generous locker space and balconies.
  • Terminus Hostel, [42] Csavargyár u. 1-3. Next to Gyöngyösi utca metro station. This is a summer hostel with 4- bedded rooms.

Mid-range

  • Leo Panzió, [1053 Budapest, Kossuth Lajos u. 2/A, tel: (36-1) 2669-041, fax: (36-1) 2669-042. Centrally located near Váci utca, this is a small, friendly and modern three-star hotel. It has air conditioning essential in summer. Take time to savour the ancient and ornate lift. Rooms €49 and up.
  • Hotel Mátyás , [43] is located in the centre of Budapest just a couple of minutes from the Váci street.


  • Radio Inn, [44] Benczúr u. 19, tel. 142-8347. Small 3-star apartment hotel in a quiet upscale neighborhood, within easy walking distance of City Park. Rooms €43.00 and up.


Splurge

  • The Gresham Palace is a stunning reconstruction of this Art Noveau masterpiece. Located in central Pest, it faces the beautiful Chain Bridge, the Danube and the Castle Hill. Its restaurant and cafe are amongst Budapest's finest, and well worth visiting in their own right.
  • The Kempinski Hotel Corvinus Budapest [45] opened in 1992 and features 366 completely refurbished guest rooms and 31 suites. The five star deluxe hotel is situated in the heart of the city in the pedestrian zone, just of the Elizabeth Park (Erzsebet ter).
  • Queen's Court Hotel & Residence Budapest's newest all-suite hotel, was designed for those who search for more. The Queen's Court is ideally located in the heart of Budapest and is within a few minutes walk from the city's business and institutions as well as Budapest's most famous landmarks.
  • Grand Hotel Royal and SPA. A symbol of history, culture, architecture and the tradition of hospitality opens its doors in all its original splendour as Corinthia Grand Hotel Royal. First opened in 1886, the Royal Spa has been beautifully restored to its original splendour and now offers the latest state-of-the-art spa facilities and treatments.

Apartments

See also Budapest#Apartments for listing of cross-district apartment providers.

  • 4Seasons Apartments, Budapest [46], Király utca 8. 6th district, downtown Budapest, near to Andrássy Boulvard and Deák Ferenc Square. Tel: +36 20 258 2293. Quality one and 2-bedroom apartments right in the city centre, close to the most famous touristic and world heritage sites with free broadband Wi-Fi internet access, TV, DVD and every amenities a traveler would need whether exploring Budapest as a tourist or visiting the city on business.
  • Amigo Apartment, Budapest Cheap apartments in the heart of Budapest. tel: +36-20-332-6322, Take a virtual look at one of them and book: [47]
  • Arcadia Apartment, Eotvos ut, 6th District. Near Nyugati train station and Oktogon. tel. +36-30-612-5826, fax. (36-1)302-3548, service@arcadiaapartment.com [48] Spacious, comfortable accommodation in some of Budapest's best central locations. Broadband internet connection in each room and satellite TV, DVD, washing machine, Jacuzzi. Air conditioning. 45-60 EUR/night. Be advised they may arbitrarily change their policy on the security deposit they require and insist you pay them more even after you already booked and paid a deposit.
  • Golden Stars Budapest Apartments, 5-th district: Vaci Utca 84, Iranyi str. 21, Balassi B. str. 27., +36704193884, [49]. A simple way to spend less then in an hotel, stay in the centre, and feel like at home! Golden Stars ROYAL, DELUXE and DREAM Apartments are 5* star apartments available for short rent in the heart of Budapest. Get the feel for old, aristocratic Budapest by enjoying your stay in those deluxe old-style, spacious apartments. High/low season: from €45/€35.
  • Garay Apartment, Budapest [50], Garay square 3.-4., VII distict. A nice private apartment in the centre of Budapest with free Internet access. 2 bedrooms, balcony, cheap prices. tel: +36-30-9665-390.
  • BudapestApartman.extra.hu, 33 Kinizsi str., +36-1-216-3584, [51]. An inexpensive but fully-equipped one-room flat at the Museum of Applied Arts. There are fridge, washing-machine, microwave oven, kitchen equipment, bed linen, towels--but no phone/TV. Ideal for 1 - 3 persons, however they are able to receive 5 persons. The price is 40 - 50 EUR for the whole flat, depending on the number of guests. Owners live right next door and are extremely helpful.
  • Locust Tree Apartment, Akacfa utca 12, +36 30 916 2443 (City center, close to Blaha Lujza ter station) [52] Warm, cozy 3 bedroom apartments located in the city center. All flats are fully furnished, with kitchen, TV, shower, 2 separate rooms and can accommodate up to 4 people for 45 eur / night.
  • Szikra House, 1044 Budapest Tomori u. 5., +36-20-33-73-398 (), [53]. checkin: 14.00; checkout: 11.00. A nice private pet friendly apartment with free Internet access. 2 bedrooms, free parking. 40 €.
  • Budapest Apartment 4 [54], Kertesz utca , 30, 7th District. Near Nyugati train station and Oktogon. tel. +36-70 940 6710, , jonesinv@enternet.hu. Budget accommodation in the city center, in a nice two bedroom apartment. &eur;15/person.
  • Kleopatra House Apartment, Karpat utca 11, 13th District. [55], tel: +36(309)547 851, email: rentinhungary@yahoo.com. €36..60/night for apartment, depending on season and duration. Close to Margaret Island, Margaret Bridge and Westend City Center. Unrated by wikitravellers yet. See also Rent in Hungary in the Apartments section of Budapest for details on this operator.
  • Renaissance House Budapest, Kazinczy Street, Budapest's 7th District. [56], tel: +36 1 413 2130, email: info@budapestpropertyrental.com. - Very nice apartment building in Budapest's city centre. Located in the so-called historical District of the city (the largest synagogue in Europe is only a few steps from the building) and all amenities can be found nearby. The apartments are all brand new and fully furnished. Astoria station is within walking distance. €40/night for apartment, See also Budapest Property Rental for more details.
  • Apartment St.Michael, [57], Tel: +36-20-9459-401. 16th district, Janos utca 75. High-standard 90 square meters apartment with garden, free Internet access and air-conditioning. Family friendly place with toys. Prices: 29-79 EURO/apartment/night (2-6 people, price depends on number of guests)
  • apartments for rent in Budapest [58] along Vaci Utca, the main and pedestrian street of the city, near monuments, museums, spas. Transfer service from the airport, multilanguage assistance. For more info: info@budapest-flat.com

Camping

  • Camping Bikercamp, Benyovszky Moric utca 40, (+361) 3337059 (, fax: (+361) 3034438), [59]. €5/person, €10/tent, €14/car.
  • Camping Haller, Haller utca 27, (+361) 476-3418, [60]. €5/person, €10/tent, €14/car.

Kosher

King's Hotel. A Glatt Kosher hotel in the heart of the Ghetto. Nagydiofa u. 25-27 Budapest, 1074 Hungary. Rates: 60€ ($72) double; 50€ ($60) single. Rates include breakfast [61]

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