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Revision as of 01:08, 17 July 2013
The Chain Bridge and a view of Pest
Pest is the eastern side of the Danube River in Budapest, Hungary.
From the Airport there are a few options to get in to Central Pest. Easiest is the Airport Shuttle (2880 ft or 10EUR) which will take you to any address anywhere in Central Pest for the flat fee. Book online or buy tickets at the Airport Shuttle office outside baggage claim near the main exit.
Public Transport is the 200E bus from Terminal 2 (Terminal 1 closed spring 2012) to the Kőbánya-Kispest metro terminal (metro line M3) where you can board the Metro to any stop in the City. Tickets can be bought at Newstands (Relay), from Machines at the Bus stop or from the driver. Beware you will need to buy a Transfer ticket (525ft) because you will be changing from the Bus to the Metro. Budapest transit tickets are only valid for one journey not a predetermined amount of time like other European cities ie: 60-90 mins.
Taxis are the last resort and are not recommended. If you need one book at the Főtaxi kiosk in Terminal 2.
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.
- Budapest Zoo & Botanical Garden, Állatkerti krt. 6-12, ☎ +36(1)273-4900 ([email protected]), . Feeding hippopotamus is one of the main attractions in the zoo.
- 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 with an 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.
There is a bar just inside the main doors which is open to the public during the tour times.
- St. Stephen (István) Cathedral (the Basilica), Szent István tér. 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), . Tue-Sun, 10-18. 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. 1000 ft..
- LightEvolution. 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 , LimeLight ) for dates of future shows.
- Little Princess statue, (on bank of Danube, somewhere near Vigado ter). A bronze statue created by László Morton, a child sitting on the fence of the tram.
- Shoes on the Danube memorial, (Danube bank, between Kossuth tér and Széchenyi tér (former Roosevelt tér)). The shoes are placed there in memory of the Jews who were shot into the Danube during World War II.
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.
Cheapest Opera on the planet-a full blooded production costs E1.50 in the "gods"
- House of Terror (Terror Háza), Andrássy út 60 (corner of Csengery Street, a few hundred metres from Oktogon), . Tue-Sun, 10-18. 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 starved or beaten to death 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. 1800 ft..
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.
- 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 10AM-6PM. 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 . 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, but most probably King Béla III.) 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 utca.
- National Museum (Nemzeti Múzeum), Múzeum körút 14/16, ☎ +36-1-338-2122, . Tu-Su 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. According to a popular urban legend 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.
- 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. This boat has guiding in 11 languages, and makes a non-stop round trip in about 1 hour. There is a cheaper boat line operated by BKV, which leave from Boráros tér, and makes a stop at other places too, such as Batthyány tér, Jászai Mari tér or Margitsziget. Of course you can take the boat the opposite direction too, however a round trip is not recommended, because the route is really long, and you'll have to buy two tickets. This line does not have any kind of tour guiding.
- State Opera. 22 Andrássy út.  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.
Open-air skating rinks: (only during winter)
- City Park's lake, Olof Palme sétány 5.. M-F 9-13, 16-20; Sa-Su 10-14, 16-20. Rink entrance: M-F 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..
- WestEnd. There is a rink on the top of WestEnd mall. It is smaller, but it usually less crowded than the rink at City Park. Usually operates from October or November until March.
- You can do several things in Budapest: caving under the city, paintball, gokarting, kayaking / canoeing on river Danube.
Unfortunately, there are few bicycle lanes and many dangerous drivers. However with organized groups such as Critical Mass  operating in the city, things are slowly becoming more bicycle friendly. Pest is very flat and excellent for bicycle riding - just make sure to keep your wits about you, as drivers can be somewhat careless.
There are several places in Pest to rent bicycles:
- TreeHugger Dans  - Used english bookstore, bicycle rental and coffee shop. Smoke free and the staff is very friendly even if the book prices are extortionate. A good place to pick up a local city map with fresh recommendations.
- Yellow Zebra Bikes  Rents bicycle and also provides bicycle tours of the city
Paprika and more, Great Market Hall
Váci utca is Hungary's premier shopping street and consequently very expensive. In general however, prices for big-name goods in Budapest tend to be at least the same as in Western Europe, but rarely cheaper. Much of this due to the relatively higher rate of purchase tax (VAT), which in Hungary is set at 27%.
- Great Market Hall (Nagy Vásárcsarnok). Fővám 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 . Váci út 1-3, tel. 238-7777. Formerly 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, Széll Kálmán tér or tram no.4/6, Széna tér[this is on the Buda side]), Corvin Plaza (4/6 Tram or Corvin Negyed Stop M3) Árkád and Sugár(metro2, Örs vezér tere), Duna Pláza (metro3, Gyöngyösi utca), Aréna Pláza (metro2, Keleti pályaudvar) and some others that are not in direct reach with the subways. Mammut and Aréna are rather new and popular, although every mall was built since the early 90s.
- 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.
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.
- Centrál Kávéház, Károlyi Mihály utca 9, ☎ +36(1)266-2110, . Centrál Kávéház is a very famous high-end coffeehouse. Recently renovated.
- Gerbeaud, Vörösmarty tér 7, ☎ +36(1)429-9000, . 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, . 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 - available M-Th noon-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 Mediterranean themes, a hint of bossa nova and samba. Free WiFi access.
- New York Kávéház, Erzsébet körút 9-11, ☎ +36(1)322-1648, . 9AM - 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 lengthy renovation was completed in 2006 and it's now back in business.
- Dunapark Kávéház  - a very noble café-restaurant, originally opened in 1937, for enjoying a coffee or cake, some food, and live piano music. Situated in the pleasant, though less touristy quarter of Újlipótváros quarter, District XIII.
There are Turkish Kebab shops on almost every corner. Kebabs cost 500-700ft (Summer 2013). They also have a nice selection of Turkish dishes inside that usually cost 1000-1500ft for a nce size plate with a side dish (fries, rice, etc). Great for people on a budget trying to avoid the international fast food chains.
- Frici Papa, Király utca 55, ☎ 061-351-0197, . weekdays from 11AM - 10PM Closed Sundays. Authentic Hungarian cuisine in the Jewish district. Menu includes Beef Goulash, Chicken Paprikash, Cucumber Salad and other traditional Hungarian food. They have a daily specials list that includes 20 things not on the menu (ask for the English list). Also, every day the have a 3 course Lunch menu for 990ft. No need for reservations but does get very busy with locals at lunch time. Don't wait to be seated, take an empty table and one of the waiters will come to your table. They all speak English, even if seems like it's a bother too.
- 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 - 9PM. 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 lasagna (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), . 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. It's only a 15 minute walk from the Parliament in Ùjlipótváros quarter. Only a few steps from Kiskakukk Restaurant (s. there) as well as a number of other restaurants and bars in the surroundings. Beware: Large portions, only hungry people can eat two courses here. (800 - 1800HUF)
- 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.
- Hummus Bar, Kertesz u. 39 (from Blaha Lujza Ter take the Yellow tram to Kiraly utca. Kertesz is two blocks east (left)). daily 12.00-23.30. Best Falafel in Budapest, Vegan Friendly, english menu and staff. They also have a second location at V. Alkotmany Ut. 20 and a third inside WestEnd. 600 - 1500 HUF.
- Arriba! Taqueria, Terez Krt. 25 (After Aradi st., one block northwest from Octogon), ☎ +36 1 374-0057, . A Chipotle style Burrito restuarant. Burritos are quite large and cost 1400-1700ft. Daily Special include up to 20% of certain menu items. 700 - 1900 HUF.
- Avocado Music Cafe & Restaurant, Nyáry Pál u. 9, ☎ +36(1)266-3277 ([email protected], fax: +36(1)267-0748), . 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), . 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. Wiener 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.
- Bali Caffe, Károly körút 4 (near Astoria metro), ☎ 06 70 389 3642 ([email protected]), . 10AM-noon, from 11AM on weekends. Small but stylish and laid-back restaurant and café. Great Hungarian specialities like Lètcho, Paprikás and Beef stew. They also serve Pasta and a variety of meat dishes. Check their website for the menu. Very friendly professional staff. Mains 1500 to 5000ft.
- Berliner Pub, district IX, Ráday utca 5 (near Kalvin ter metro), ☎ 217-6757 ([email protected]), . 12PM-12AM. Try for high-quality, medium-budget food. Excellent service, fresh beer, huge meals. Recommended (Jan 2010). Mains up to 2600ft (Feb 2007).
- Kiskakukk, Pozsonyi út 12, next to Margaret bridge, between Katona Jozsef and Radnoti Miklos streets, ☎ 1/4500-829, . Traditional Hungarian cuisine, wonderful ambience - very friendly staff, excellent menu, good english spoken, wireless internet. Warm old bookshop/library feel but patrons of all ages - highly recommended. It is only 2 minute walk from the eastern end of Margaret Bridge. Stuffed cabbage excellent as were the meat dishes. Large portions HUF 7000 for 2 courses including beer and good house wine.
- 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).
- Trofea - reasonable buffet - all you can eat and drink (beer, wine, champagne) for 4999 Huf (€ 18) on the weekends, lower prices during the week .
- 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 ([email protected]), . 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.
- Bel Canto - nomen est omen: the staff sings short opera arias! Behind the Opera House. (See accounts here )
- Leroy Cafe. Mid to high-priced restaurant chain that offers Hungarian classics with other Italian and European cuisine. Very fashionable interiors and popular with the well-paid white collar crowd. Reservations are recommended during traditional peak times. When eating here, always make sure that you won't be slapped on an extra 100% service charge. Read the menu before entering the restaurant carefully and insist on talking to someone who speaks english.
- Arany János utca (In the square in front of St. Stephen's Basicila.). The jewel piece of the chain. Often plays live music.
- Sas utca 11 (near the Basilica), ☎ +36(1)266-5248.
- Liszt Ferenc tér 10, ☎ +36(1)411-0915.
- Ráday útca 11, .
- Visegrádi utca 50/a, ☎ +36(1)340-3316.
- Váci út 1-3 (inside the WestEnd City Center mall), ☎ +36(1)411-0915.
- Gundel, Állatkerti út 2, ☎ +36(1)468-4040 ([email protected], fax: +36(1)363-1917), . The flagship of Hungarian gastronomy for decades. 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, 5800 with drinks, 5000 without, +12% service charge - reservations recommended.) This is worth the price for the amazing dessert buffet alone. The restaurant is part of a holding including an own wine brand, and a line of delicacy products (cheese, goose liver, palinka and paprika).
- The Gresham Palace: Part of the recently renovated amazing art nouveau hotel, reputed to be the most luxurious of the city - see Sleep:Splurge section for details.
- Képiró, V. Képiró utca 3, ☎ +36(1)266-0430, . open weekdays from midday - 3PM, 6PM - midnight, Saturdays 6PM - 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.
- Mátyás Pince, Március 15. tér 7, ☎ +36(1)266-8008, . Tourist trap alert! Mains 2800-4500ft and more (Feb 2007).
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 , 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, . 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!
- 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.
- Instant Bar/Club, District VI; Nagymező utca 38. An alternative backyard bar spanning across multiple houses. Good for drinks and music in the cellar but no food served besides hot dogs.
- Kuplung (Clutch (English translation), Király utca 46, . An underground bar located in an old garage, hence the name Kuplung, which means "clutch" in English. Has dancing, frequent live music, friendly bartenders, and decent drink prices. The walls are decorated with graffiti. Usually busy, especially later in the evening. Also, as with most Hungarian bars, has a few foosball (cso-cso) tables which are almost always occupied. Challenge a Hungarian to a game but be prepared to lose. Frequented by Hungarians and a few travelers; Carpe Noctem hostel brings their group there a few times a week.
- 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).
- Szimpla Kert/Mozi, District V; Kayinczy ut. 14, . Apart from the huge ruin-like bar/club/cinema that is frequented by Hungarians and foreigners as well, "Szimpla" is also the name of a project to support alternative culture on a profit oriented basis. The place is definitely worth visiting: good atmosphere, good music, great people and a very interesting location.
- Szóda, Wesselényi u. 18, ☎ 461-0007 ([email protected]), . Another place to go out. By day it's a cafe in the old Ghetto; close to the Shul, but by night it is a strangely unique bar for dancing and enjoying Budapest! Check out this real Hungarian place.
- Gundel 1894 Food & Wine Cellar (Borvendéglő""), Állatkerti ú. 2, ☎ +36(1)468-4044 ([email protected], fax: +36(1)363-1917), . M-Sa 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. There were several huge free wine tasting facilities on Buda Hill, these are now closed though still listed on many sites. One new one is in a catacomb at the cliff at the end of the main street on the hill. You pay a fee for the tour based on how many and which wines you will taste at the end of it.
- Budapest Wine Tasting in Budafok, ☎ +36 20 488 5954 ([email protected]), . Visit one of the largest wine cellar labyrinth of the world and taste quality Hungarian wines from several Hungarian wine regions. Take a walk around the amazing 30 km long wine labyrinth, carved deep into a limestone hill with many historic attractions. it has been a constantly working wine cellar for more than 300 years, aging wines from different Hungarian wine regions. Learn about professional wine tasting. Get to know all you ever wanted about wines!
Pest has a huge number of backpacker hostels.
- 1 ST Hostel  +36-20-915-1029. Cheap hostel, central location, for special request large groups accepted even for 8-15 person
- Jump In hostel  +36-20-554-2273. Cheap prices, central location.
- Centralhostel . Karoly korut 16. Tel. +36-20-262-7381. Very central location, near the metro station astoria and the Danube river. Hostel and separated apartments with bathroom and kitchen.
- 2night Hostel . 22. Szt. Istvan krt. Tel. +36-30-388-7116. Direct train access from airport Terminal 1. Big rooms, no bunk beds, free breakfast, free Internet. Formerly known as 2night Home or 2night Privates hostel. Offers spacey double rooms and dorms.
- King's Hotel Budapest . Nagy Diófa utca 25-27. Tel. +36 1 352-7675. Renovated 19th century building in the heart of Budapest with a lively warm atmosphere, located in the Old Jewish quarter, close to the Opera House. Offers single, double, triple and family rooms.
- Aboriginal hostel. Bródy sándor utca 46. Tel. (+361)2668646, . Next to the National Museum in the city centre. Staff very helpful and speak very good English.
- Acehostel , Vaci utca 46. Tel. +36-20-565-8794. Private rooms , one corner from the walking street and second block from Danube. Small hostel and apartments surrounded by pubs and restaurants.
- Amigo hostel, tel. +36-20-332-6322, . 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.
- Astorihostel . Karoly korut 16. Tel. +36-20-588-5556. Also near the metro station astoria and the Danube river Hostel and separated apartments with bathroom and kitchen.
- Astoria City Hostel . Rakoczi ut 4.. Tel. +36-1-266-13-27. Right at the metro station Astoria in the hearth of Budapest offering dormitories, private rooms and apartments.
- Aventura Boutique Hostel, 1132 Visegrédi str.12. Door bell:5 , tel: 0036-1-239-0782, [email protected], , checkin/out is flexible, 14-18EUR. Uniquely designed, intimate, cosy environment. Great place to stay. From here most of the sites are within walking distance, otherwise metro and tram are a few minutes walk away. Very enthusiastic and helpful staff, clean and nicely decorated rooms, bathrooms and kitchen. Good breakfast and free internet.
- Basilicahostel , +36-20-915-1039. Cheap , central, private. Private ensuites near St. Stephan cathedral
- Boomerang Hostel and Apartments, 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. Stephens’s Basilica and many more sights. The manager is very helpful with giving information about points of interest.
- Budapest Museum Central , +36-1-266-7868. Central, view onto the National Museum, all rooms with private bathroom. Some rooms with jacuzzi.
- Calypso Chillout Hostel Rakoczi ut 53, doorbell 22. Tel. +36-30-723-3203, . Brand new hostel with friendly atmosphere where you can chill out. Spacious dorms and fun staff who show you around Budapest. Walking distance from the Keleti train station. If the hostel is full, staff will make you a cup of tea or coffee and let you use the internet to find another hostel.
- Carpe Noctem Hostel Szobi utca 5. Tel. +36-20-365-8749, . Carpe Noctem is the perfect hangout and base for single travellers and young, sociable people who want to be part of an interactive and lively hostel experience as well as maximising the city in the day time and seizing the night when the sight seeing has ended.
- Central Hotel 21, Mária utca 10, 8th district center side . In a quiet, renewed area of Budapest near to Blaha Lujza tér (metro station). The centre can be reached in 5 minutes walking.
- Come Inn hostel, 1132 Váci út, 32, 1st floor. The come inn is located across from 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. Flagship of budapests 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.
- Diamondhostel  +36-20-565-8794. Cheap hostel, near the walking area.
- easyHotel.com  Eotvos utca 25/a. Cheap hotel, with all the basic facilities, near the Oktogon square. Close to metro station Oktogon and to the Terror House Museum.
- Friends Hostel Budapest, Haris koz 2. (at Vaci street) (3rd floor) (5th district) . Very well located small hostel in a walking street. Cheap prices: dorm from: 2 000 HUF (8 euro)/person/night, dbl from: 3.000ft /person/night; clean, well equipped, friendly staff.
- Green Bridge Hostel, . Central location, super cheap dorms in the winter, no bunk beds, unlimited free tea and coffee.
- Home to Home Hostel  Tel: 003620/546-2942 Affordable prices, very clean and a great place to stay: excellent location - near the chain bridge, comfortable beds and helpful owners.
- Imperio Max hostel. 13/a Lonyay utca. Tel. +36-612-162-816. Inexpensive backpacker accommodation starting at €6 per night (in off season, €12 in peak), central location near all major attractions, free internet, cable television, no curfew or lockout, fully equipped kitchen, huge selection of DVDs, friendly staff, and lots of fun.
- Lemon Joe Hostel and Guest House has three different locations. Standard studio apartment in downtown starts from €30 and up. Free wi-fi, cable TV, linen, and towels.. Tel: +36 20 595 1905.
- Locomotive light hostel, Baross ter 2. . The hostel is 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, Bláthy, ☎ +36 ([email protected], fax: hours=). url=http://www.manzardhotel.hu. 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.</sleep>
- Mellow mood Marco Polo hostel in Nyar utca  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.
- MyPlace Bed 'N More, Katona Josef utca 17, Very helpful staff, amazing atmosphere, reasonable prices. Near the train station.
- Origohostel . Nador utca 34. Tel. +36-20-265-05-78. Near the metro station Kossuth square, Parliament and the Danube river. Cosy, clean budget accommodation for up to 14 persons
- Peppermint Hostel Dohány utca 47, +36 30 851-5510, Free WiFi, free laundry, free computer usage, and is one of the cleanest hostels in Europe. It was opened only in 2008, and a dorm room is only about €7. It has a great location and great atmosphere. The owner, Hyun, will help you in any way you need.
- Pesto Hostel . Veres Pálné utca 16, 3rd floor. Tel. +36705918530. Near metro stations Ferenciek tere, Kálvin tér and Astoria. Free WiFi, fully equipped kitchen.
- 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 farther north, it can be reserved from the main building.
- Station guesthouse, near Keleti train station, . 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.
- Unity hostel kirali utca, district 5 from E8 per night, free cheapo yellowpack cereal bread jam coffee breakfast, next to music college-enjoy concerts free from tiny rooftop terrace. good place- a bit cramped but clean,central, cheerful,safe and cheap.lockers and kitchen.24 hr admission.has sister hostel on lake balaton.
- X Hostel Budapest - Chill Out Rozsa Utca 72. Tel. +36 (1) 705 2174 . [email protected] Finally also Budapest enjoys an X Hostel after the success in other 5 countries. These independent, sociable hostels are the highlight of travelers, backpackers and weekenders alike. Check them out and you won`t regret it :)
- K+K Hotel Opera (K+K Hotel Opera), Révay utca 24, 1065 Budapest, Hungary, ☎ +36-1-269 02 22 ([email protected], fax: +36-1-269 02 30), . The location is exceptional: like most of the city’s other tourist attractions, the shopping and pedestrian zone “Váci utca” is just a short walk away, while the “Opera” underground station is right next door to the hotel.
- King's Hotel,  Nagy Diofa utca 25-27, renovated 19th century building in the heart of Budapest with a lively warm atmosphere.
- 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.
- Radio Inn, 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.
- ABC . Karoly korut 16. Tel. +36-20-565-87-94. Near Astoria metro station ,central, clean budget accommodation
- Deak . Asboth utca 17. Tel. +36-20-478-14-23. Only 100 m from metro station Deak 2 star.
- Lion's Garden Hotel Budapest . Cházár András utca 4. Tel. +36-1 / 273-2070. The hotel has a large wellness area. From € 69 pp.
- Four Seasons Hotel 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.
- 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.
- Apartment Sinko  Nice and cheap, 2 bedrooms apartment with balcony in the centre of Budapest, in the historical VII. district, for 1-4 persons with free Internet access and with cheap/free parking.
- Apartment Akacia Quality, 2 bedrooms apartment with free parking and inside garden, next to the centre (14.distr.,Zuglo, Pest side) quiet area, WIFI, for 2-5 persons, direcly by the owner.
- Stefi Apartment  One-bedroom holiday rental close to City Park, Széchenyi Thermal Baths and downtown. Short term rental up to 4 people for low budget.
- 7Seasons Apartments, Budapest, Király utca 8. 6th district, downtown Budapest, near to Andrássy Boulevard 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.
- Apartment St.Michael, Janos utca 75, 16th district, Tel: +36-20-9459-401, . 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)
- Arcadia Apartment, Eotvos ut, 6th District. Near Nyugati train station and Oktogon. tel. +36-30-612-5826, fax. (36-1)302-3548, [email protected]  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.
- Budapest Apartment 4, Kertesz utca , 30, 7th District, . Near Nyugati train station and Oktogon. tel. +36-30 894 2069, , [email protected] Budget accommodation in the city center, in a nice two bedroom apartment. &eur;15/person.
- Hungary apartment, Budapest , Sip u 5. 7th district, downtown Budapest, steps from main synagog Dohany. Accommodation price is only €30 / night. Tel: +36 20 478 14 23.
- Budapest Apartments with WiFi and A/C , Iranyi str. 21, 5th district. Available for short term rent from €50 apt/nt. +36-20-332-89-52.
- Golden Stars Budapest Apartments , Vaci Utca 84, 5th district, downtown Budapest, steps from the river Danube and Old Market Hall. ☎ +36-70-419-38-84. Accommodation price is from €50 apt/nt.
- Hercegprímás apartment, Budapest , Hercegprímás street 9. 5th district, downtown Budapest, steps from the St. Stephen (István) Cathedral. Accommodation price is only €32 / night. Tel: +36 30 267 32 79.
- Locust Tree Apartment, Akacfa utca 12, +36 70 394 2651 (City center, close to Blaha Lujza ter station)  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.( Skype : search4.hu ), (Messenger: [email protected])
- Szikra House, 1044 Budapest Tomori u. 5, ☎ +36-20-33-73-398 ([email protected]), . checkin: 14.00; checkout: 11.00. A nice private pet friendly apartment with free Internet access. 2 bedrooms, free parking. 40 €.
- Bikercamp Camping & Pansion, Benyovszky Móric utca 40, ☎ +36 1 3337059 ([email protected], fax: +36 1 3034438), . checkin: 12; checkout: 12. 2 double bedroom, and 1 triple bedroom. Run by a biker since 1991, the campground is near the M3 subway station of Népliget. Offers showers, a pub, and laundry service. Free parking. €10/person.
- Camping Haller, Budapest **, Haller utca 27., Budapest, 1096, ☎ (+361) 476-3418, Mobil: (+36) 20-367-4274 ([email protected]), . 5 €/person/night, 9 €/tent/night, 13 €/camping car/night. Free car parking. LAT 47.475833 LON 19.082916. Each 4th night is free!
|This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!