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6 days in Budapest

Hi
We are a family with two kids -12 and 13 , fairly seasoned Travellers and our last leg of this winter holiday is in Budapest. We love history, walking the city, fun stuff with kids, and trying out nice local food , cafes , pubs.( Speciality pubs with good cocktails ). Not really looking for Michelin restaurants but good local food- we dont eat crab, lobsters , prawns. I love my cakes and desserts.
After reading a few books and your forum this is what I have so far. Need help to put it together day wise and comments on feasibility. as not sure how much time we will need .
We are staying at the prestige hotel.Any recommendations on concerts would be good. Though we are not experts in concerts or music. I checked out the A38.Hu website but there ads no concerts during that period.
We would be there from Jan 1( half day ) to Jan 6.Please excuse me if I got some things mixed up
Sights
Parliament tour
Enthographic museum
Terror House
State opera house
Museum of applied arts
Heros square
Market mall
Vajdahunyad castle
Saint Stephens basilica
Szabadsag square
Great synagogue
Danube trip in the evening + see shoes in the Danube
Margaret island
Mathias church n fountain
Buda castle ( worth going in ? ) or just go the the national gallery
Fishermans bastion
Memento park
Hospital in the rock
Flipper museum
Jewish quarter with a guide or extended tour
Bath -
Experiences
Locker room
This one I need to find out which one -Concert at st istavan's / opus jazz club/ zeneakademia/
Eating - This is what I got so far - any suggestions on what's a must do n what's decent. We like flavourful food n looking forward to the goulash
- Kaffee Am flusterbogen
- for sale pub
Hungarikum Bistro near parliament
Van varju
Toltott kaposzta
Ambassador cafe at Danube promenade
Belvarosi Lugas
Cafe Gerbeaud
Rezkakas bistro
Macezsz hussar
Ruin bars
New York cafe
Yek Buffet ( perhaps wrong spelling)
Gundel restaurant
Kadarka wine bar
Cafe Care's
Rose gelato
Any shopping recommendations? I plan to visit the market hall, n thrift and vintage stores. Are there outlet Malls there ?
Humana and ludovika and maybe the gozsdu weekend market.
We would like to stop at Bratislava for a day trip. We would be coming from Salzburg Should we stop at Bratislava on our way to Budapest ?
Many thanks in advance.

Liberty Square

Posted by
16614 posts

The Ethnographic Museum is closed at this time. I think it is relocating. The Museum of Applied Arts is also closed--relocating. I was lucky to catch a special exhibit on handicrafts this summer, so ask at the tourist office, watch for posters and poke around online to see what may be going on.

They've been doing some reconstruction on the Opera House. I'm not sure that tours are running now.

The Franz Liszt Academy of Music is a beautiful building that offers tours. You might also catch a concert there.

Posted by
12084 posts

Hi,

You are definitely in a history place when visiting the St Mathias Church. The last Habsburg Karl (the Emperor Charles) was crowned there in Dec. 1916 if you've seen the documentary film of that sad turbulent time.

There are a lot more historical sites, some pretty grim, to track down in Budapest.

Posted by
5240 posts

Seconding acraven's suggestion of Liszt school concerts -- we have stayed nearby and enjoyed several (well-priced) recitals. Beautiful hall!

Posted by
2081 posts

If you enjoy musical theatre you might want to see what's on at the Operettszinhaz--I've seen 2 productions there, The Duchess of Chicago and Singin' in the Rain, and they were both just absolutely delightful, quality productions. I'll be there again in May and can't wait to see what'll be playing then. The theatre itself is a gorgeous jewel box, and you'll be surrounded by Hungarians--and the ticket prices are quite cheap for what you're getting, and there are English super-titles. It's just off Andrassy ut, about 2 blocks from the Opera, so quite easy to get to on the metro.

For shopping I have a few favorites I always visit--Vaci utca is the main shopping street and I like Desigual and Pylones there but generally avoid the rest of it. I haven't visited any malls or outlets when in Budapest. For unique, quality souvenirs there's Memories of Hungary near St Stephens. If you're up on Castle Hill--allow a few hours to 1/2 day to explore that area, and I do enjoy the National Gallery and Hospital in the Rock was quite an interesting museum to tour, plus the views of Pest are magnificent--there's a wonderful shop called Tarnok 10 Galeria (that's the address) that has a nice selection of hand-made folk art items that I haven't seen anywhere else. The great Market Hall is a fun but crowded place to visit, and Goszdu udvar is good for a 1/2 hour or so, I believe just open on the weekend.

Memento Park is a bit outside Budapest and I found it a worthwhile visit as I am particularly interested in the 1956 revolution and Communist era in Hungary-- about 1/2 hour on the bus to get there.

Margit sziget is quite possibly my most favorite place to go in May as I love to see the nesting storks, but I'm not sure how inviting it will be in winter.

Parliament and the Terror House are two must-sees as well, book your Parliament tickets in advance.

Posted by
10715 posts

Six WHOLE days huh? Comments for what they are worth

Parliament tour .......... Probably worth it given your interests. book in advance, if you still can....
Terror House ........... House of Terror sure sounds better. Yes, worth the time. Figure at least 2 hours.
State opera house ............... at least take the tour. But its still closed for productions......
Museum of applied arts ........... the building is interesting, the displays not so much for my taste.
Heros square ........... a great excuse to see the length of Andrassy ut, and one of those places you have to say you saw.

Market mall ........... I think a good experience. Especially the food stalls.
Vajdahunyad castle ............ see from a distance, but there are better ways to spend your time instead of going inside.
Saint Stephens basilica ............ Worth 30 to 45 minutes unless you go to the top. Mainly about the square out front.
Szabadsag square ....... unless there is snow on the ground its sort of drab that time of year. the Russian war memorial and the US embassy are sort of interesting and you might find yourself walking through it anyway.
Great synagogue ............ worth the long tour and a tour of Jewish Budapest. +++++
Danube trip in the evening + see shoes in the Danube ........ not really a "trip" just a ride down towards the Parliament on the 2Tram. But the 2Tram is a ++++++++++++++
Margaret island .... way too freaking cold in January
Mathias church n fountain ............ i sort of like the inside of the old church. nicely done and unique compared to what you see in most of europe. Worth 45 minutes or so .
Buda castle ( worth going in ? ) or just go the the national gallery ........... if you are into galleries, yes. otherwise its a reconstructed version of the palace that was bombed flat during the war.
Fishermans bastion ..... its sort of part of the landscape in Buda, and worth the time and the views.
Hospital in the rock ....... if you are into that sort of thing (I am) its real, real interesting. The kids will like it.
Flipper museum ........ no comment.
Jewish quarter with a guide or extended tour ........... a must ++++++++++++
Bath ./...... with the kids, a must ++++++++++++++

This one I need to find out which one -Concert at st istavan's / opus jazz club/ zeneakademia/
Most or all will have concerts while you are there. I wouldn't take the kids to Opus. Probably the basilica has the most appropriate concerts for young gentlemen. Like mentioned above, the Budapest Operett is a good choice if something age appropriate for the kids is playing. They do have a few raunchy shows. If you can dress well, get good seats, if not, buy the cheap seats.

Eating - This is what I got so far - any suggestions on what's a must do n what's decent. We like flavourful food n looking forward to the goulash

Hungarikum Bistro near parliament ............. very good
Vak varju .......... my favorite neighborhood sort of place

Ambassador cafe at Danube promenade ..... all the places along the river are tourist restaurants. But thats okay when the weather is good and you can sit outside and look across to Buda. But you realize in January it will be pretty freaking cold and there wont be any places to sit outside
Belvarosi Lugas ............. another of my favorites for Hungarian food.
Cafe Gerbeaud ............ go to see the inside, eat something small and run
Rezkakas bistro ............ complete with Gypsy music. Kids will enjoy
Macezsz hussar ......... very good Hungarian food. Interesting location
Ruin bars ........... go early if the kids are along
New York cafe ........ go drink a cup of coffee so you can say you sat in that opulent place.
Gundel restaurant ............ NO!
Kadarka wine bar ............. HA!!! you read my posts. its an adult place you know.....

Posted by
10715 posts

Oh, i just looked up your hotel. Dress warm!!!!

For what you want to see and do, 6 days might almost be enough. Suggest you get the Eyewitness Travel Guide Top 10 for Budapest.

Posted by
30 posts

Thank you all ! The suggestions are very valuable. Going to concerts that are bit more local would be good both on the experience and the wallet. Nesting stocks would he been lovely but as you said winter they might not be nesting.I am a shopaholic amd love beautiful souvenirs and Jewellery and bags and colourful unique shoes. Please suggest your Favourite Brand’s. pylons is available here as well amd I love their stuff:).
Thanks for going through the list. I love DK books and so do the kids so will pick it up.
James why war,m:) ? Is the area cold or am I going to going to regret not being at the four Seasons 😃( ijust kidding )

You guys are awesome ! I have one more question besides shopping. My hubby takes awesome pictures. I would like to encourage him to get them published somewhere. Last year we had some good ones of Spain and I offered them to Spain tourism but only got some replies in Spanish which did have look like anything good. We aren't really looking to sell but more for publishing.
Thanks

Posted by
255 posts

Budapest will satisfy your sweet tooth!!! I spent 7 days there in July but still need to return to visit some places that I didn't have time for.

Kürtőskalács are addictive for kids and adults. There are two styles--one is more doughy and the other has a slightly crispy skin. I love them both.

Also, there are plenty of cake shops selling sugar-free cakes, which are healthier but no less tasty.

For savory baked goods, there are langos. So yummy.

When I have some extra time, I can send you my list of fav places. In general, food is beyond amazing. You don't need the Michelin guide. I will add "fish soup" to your must-eat list, though you mention you don't really like seafood. The most famous fish soup place is Bajai Halászcsárda. Another family institution restaurant is Náncsi Néni Vendéglője. They have the cutest pickles in the world!!! Both of these are in the suburb (about 40 min by public transit from city center), but I am a self-proclaimed foodie who will travel far to eat well.

Baths--your kids will have a blast in the "wild river" section of the heated pools.

People watching--I enjoy watching the pretty ladies and handsome guys there. Seems like most people have well-toned bodies. No fat people like here in North America.

Posted by
316 posts

Any concerns re: anti-Orban rallies in Budapest over the past week or so? I don't really see much coverage in the mainstream media, but if Russian/Ukrainian/Euroskeptic Twitter warriors are to be believed, the turnout is quite massive.

Is there anyone on the ground now to provide a quick update?

Thanks

Posted by
5240 posts

Barkinpark talks about "well toned bodies"' -- must not have seen the grandmas and grandpas we saw enjoying the baths.

Posted by
10715 posts

I love the old men with the bellies hanging over the tiny speedos.

I spoke with some friends in Budapest yesterday. The protests have been essentially nonviolent and have consisted for the most part of thousands walking from Heros Square to the Parliament: terminating with a rally at the rear of the Parliament. So far short lived events with the streets (Andrassy it for the most part) clearing fairly fast. Unlike Paris and Portland little if any property damage. A great demonstration of purpose and free speech done the way it should be done. I hope it stays that way. If it does, it will speak well for the Hungarian people. Sounds like the government has over reacted a tad.

I've been there for several of these over the years. With one notable exception about 10 years ago they have all been pretty much like this. Think of it as a civics lesson.

Posted by
12084 posts

"Unlike Paris or Portland...." In past years prior to its current mayor, include Oakland too, where property damage was the experience at least three times. I lost count after the second property damage experience.

Posted by
10715 posts

Things can change; but I hope not. Right now the Left hasn't messed things up by turning violent like they have everywhere else. Still, this is a George Soros backed thing so who knows.....

Posted by
10715 posts

Okay, well the Budapest newspaper says that there are a few people in black masks throwing rocks at the police. Same sort of rock throwing masked cowards as here in the US recently like Portland. The polls in Hungary indicate that 66% of the citizens object to the protests in general and 90% object to violence as a means to an end.

Mostly just relatively short lived marches through town. My place is just off Andrassy ut, and over the years I have witnessed quite a few of these. I still sort of like the fact that they have so much passion and present it peacefully.

Posted by
10715 posts

I'd be careful about rhetoric. Do you know what the law is about? How many hours in a standard work week? Benefits that might balance it out, like maternity leave? How the law compares with the rest of the EU? I spend a lot of time there, and have investments there, and I dont even have those answers. It's easy to jump on a band wagon, but much more tedious to get educated.

Posted by
30 posts

Hello ! We have commenced our holiday and enjoying Prague. Wanted to know if anyone has any recommendations for walking tours in Budapest , Salzburg and Nuremberg. We did the living Prague tour with Jason today and loved it
TIA

Posted by
16614 posts

I took the Buda and Pest walking tours covered by the Budapest Card. It was wanting to take those two tours that made the card a logical purchase for me. I enjoyed them both. I believe they were Cityrama tours.

Posted by
149 posts

Sophie if you're still looking for a guide in Budapest, check out Timea at Budapest Jewish Walk. I did a blog post about our day here: https://sunsetsandrollercoasters.com/private-guide-walking-tour-budapest/ We also had six days in Budapest and did a daytrip with Timea around the Danube Bend. https://sunsetsandrollercoasters.com/wonderful-day-trip-to-the-danube-bend-hungary/

Glad you found Jason. We did a tour with him as well and had a great time!

Posted by
55 posts

“Left wing cowards” - “George Soros backed”.

Please refrain from overtly political statements on this forum. The world is fractured enoigh without bringing it into what is normally a friendly and nondivisive place to share travel information.
Thank you.

Posted by
10715 posts

Cindy, I agree, but you missed the term, "slave laws" in you indignation.

Also, if you are interested in such things, Soros' connection to Hungry is fascinating ... from Holocaust survivor to worlds richest man (?), to an offer to essentially buy the country, to the founding of his university in Budapest, to the current, and very open, conflict with the current Hungarian government. All fascinating and all very worth getting some understanding of if you want to go a step beyond typical tourism and understand more about people and cultures. Or if you are just curious why Soros' photo is plastered on signs and park benches all over town.

Following the politics can be informative in understanding a culture, but unless you want to make it a life study, probably best not to judge.

Posted by
189 posts

Joanne--

Just curious, what did Timaea charge?

Posted by
30 posts

Hello !
I thought I’s Share some of the highlights of the trip and thank everyone for their suggestions and contributions. I followed a lot of advice with regards to sights, activities and especially food.
Sights - One of the highlights was the Parliament. We did the tour and I would recommend it. Second highlight was the fisherman’s Bastion and the Mathias church. Opera house was closed for renovations and there was a short 12 mins performance going on with a tour. We didn’t fancy it so didn’t see it. House of Terrior was worth the one hour wait in the lineThe national gallery in Buda was good as well. We enjoyed doing a self tour of the Jewish quarter.We skipped the other museums.
We did the red walking tour on communism and history which was good but not outstanding. It was a free walking tour by next city tour. I had expected to see more sights. The guides storytelling and details were good but I had expected to see more sights.

Food and entertainment- James recommendations on food were fantastic! Thanks again.
Rezkakas Bistro - We loved the food and most of the the cheerful and friendly ambience. Live music there was by far the best. Their violinist is incredibly talented and very good with kids. Their Palinka was by far the best. We ended up going there thrice.
Belvarosi Lugas- excellent food and very warm service. It’s a nice cozy place, again close to the parliament and our hotel. We tried their cabbage, goulash, milk sweet, chicken with yogurt in a clay pot dishe,another chicken dish , veg dishes. All were good.So was the wine.
Ruin bar - we went to the oldest and the area is very lively. But honestly the bar didn’t excite as thatcmuch because the drinks very ordinary and food options weren’t great.
Hungarikum Bistro - it was full so didn’t get to try it so would recommend reservations. I wouldn’t want to go there as the staff was rude and was shooing customers away even without listening to requests of future booking.
Ruzwarm- would highly recommend this cafe near Mathias church. Cakes are amazing especially the cream cake.There is line but worth it. Service is good too.

Ramazuri - another nice restaurant.

Coffee to go - had stale sandwiches on the one time we picked up before the walking tour.

Transport - we ended up using taxify which was very convenient and efficient. Used it a few times to go to the castle / fisherman bastion side and ruin bars.A lot of places were walking distance though.
Hotel - prestige hotel - excellent stay, food , location, hospitality. Highly recommend it
Few pictures and videos on Instagram and sharing here as well.