I am a senior lady, and am arriving in Budapest for a full week, after a trip to Greece. This is my second trip to Budapest. The first one was the first 3 days of an Eastern Europe tour, and I was so jet-lagged I can hardly remember it. We did go to Mathias Church and the Fisherman's Bastion, spent a couple of hours at the Central Market and took a day trip to Estergom. However I knew I wanted to see more, and so I planned this. I had hoped for a companion on this trip but that did not work out and I will be traveling solo. I have found an apartment near St Stephen's Basilica. I think that will work for me, since I know a bit about what I want to do already: Visit as many of the thermal baths as I can, go to the Central Market a few times to load up on paprika products, take a Danube mini cruise, go to a couple of musical performances, hang out at local cafes, get to some museums, and just wander around at a leisurely pace. I would really like to connect with some locals, and I would like some advice on how to best do that.
You've already established ways to meet the locals; hanging out at cafes, going to museums and enjoying musical performances. As the apartment is near the Basilica attend a mass, look on the church bulletin board if one exists.
I often find great information on those boards.
Enjoy your trip.
I've sometimes had time to chat with craftspeople at markets (when they weren't too busy) and staffers in small shops. If you'll settle for meeting other tourists, walking tours are good opportunities for that.
Ask for senior discounts. I found paprika products cheaper at the supermarket than the Central Market. I enjoyed a day trip to Szentendre but I missed the recommended boat trip back by a few minutes since I hadn't checked the schedule in advance.
Just thinking out loud here, for I have not yet tested a wave of new apps that offer dining experiences with locals in private home (i.e., EatWith). They sound like a great way to meet both locals who enjoy cooking and meeting tourists, as well as meeting fellow adventuresome travelers.
Hi Idell, I think you will discover that traveling solo makes meeting and speaking to people so much easier. Meeting people just happens when you travel solo. While I've never been to Budapest, I can't imagine it is any different than other places in Europe. I have also found that having tea at the bar makes chatting easy (or wine, whatever). If all else fails for you I find a bartender is a great source of information. Soon others at the bar start chatting. I'm an introvert and have no problem finding people to chat with, nice people, non-dangerous people. Traveling solo is more of a social experience than traveling with another person in my experience. Sounds like a fun trip.
What about a cooking class? When I googled "cooking classes in Budapest" there were lots of choices.
Also, if you want to visit thermal baths, Tuesday is women only day at the Rudas (men only the other weekdays, and coed on the weekend).