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Advice on Experiences and Itinerary

Hi, all. Traveling to Budapest for 4 days in early September, 2 couples in our 60s. I am looking for the itinerary that makes sense each day, and also for suggestions for a cooking class or food tour, a small group or even private tour of Jewish Quarter, and a small boat night cruise on the Danube, if there is such a thing. (without dinner. )The baths are a must, maybe two! We definitely want to see a folk dance show at the Danube Palace and we would like to take a day trip to Szentendre. We don't need to see all the museums that Budapest has to offer, but we do want to see the sites like Parliament, Heroes Square, House of Terror, Shoe Memorial, Castle Hill, (and the sites nearby). I'm sure I am leaving out some other great sites, but we are mainly interested in culture, food and people, with a little history thrown in. We want time to stroll, if possible, and just let the beautiful atmosphere sink in.

Does it make sense to use the Hop On/Hop Off bus to get around? Should we get a Budapest card? For the cooking class, I honestly don't care if we learn much--just want to have fun! I have been reading many of the posts and have gotten some great information! Thanks to all. But still stumped on a few details. We are staying at the Golden Stars Apartments in the 5th district, if that helps. Any advice is greatly appreciated!

Posted by
11265 posts

suggestions for a cooking class or food tour,

For a tour of the market and a fun day cooking with lots of palinka to lubricate the day, check with Agnes: http://budapestcookingclass.com/

a small group or even private tour of Jewish Quarter,

there are a lot of good tours and tour guides. all other things being equal, i would go straight to the source: https://www.greatsynagogue.hu/jewishquartertours.php#stand

and a small boat night cruise on the Danube, if there is such a thing.
(without dinner. )

I've been on a couple of them and I dont prefer on one over the other. yes, without dinner is possible. just make sure you get a cruise time after sunset. one its cooler, two, the lights at night are what its all about. Just google and choose one leaving at the right time.

The baths are a must, maybe two!

Yes, great cultural experiecne. Go here, look for the pull down at the top, choose two. http://www.bathsbudapest.com/mixed-budapest-thermal-baths

We definitely want to see a folk dance show at the Danube Palace

Here I wont comment. For me it was a 30 minute show that they dragged out to an hour. It dragged on and on and on till I wanted to crawl out the back door. Others love it.

and we would like to take a day trip to Szentendre.

From your apartment take a short walk to the Astoria M2 Metro stop. Get on in the direction indicated as "Deli" get off at the third stop which is Batthyány tér, then follow the signs to the H5 Suburban Train. You will pass a ticket window along the way to the train tracks. Show them your TRAVELCARD and get your discounted ticket to Szentendre (about 300 ft if I remember correctly). For the trip back take the boat. https://www.mahartpassnave.hu/en/timetable/danube-bend-excursion-boat-lines/budapest-szentendre/

We don't need to see all the museums that Budapest has to offer, but
we do want to see the sites like Parliament, Heroes Square, House of
Terror, Shoe Memorial, Castle Hill, (and the sites nearby).

If you want to tour the parlaiment, get your tickets early http://parlamentobudapest.com/en/?gclid=CjwKCAjw1f_pBRAEEiwApp0JKDl-7ehpA1FOZfVhaGIKrP2XlEAiujfkFvRZZoDgRzP9DaYfIPKitBoCqYkQAvD_BwE

House of Terror can have long lines. Suggest you get there when it opens http://www.terrorhaza.hu/en

Does it make sense to use the Hop On/Hop Off bus to get around? Should
we get a Budapest card?

NEITHER. Get a 7 Day TRAVELCARD. It will get you on all of the public transportation. All the HOHO busses do is follow the same routes that the trams take (for the most part). https://bkk.hu/en/tickets-and-passes/prices/ Your can get it at the Deak Ferenc ter metro station. Go down the stairs by the 47/49 tram and you should run right into it. Its a bit of a maze down there, if you get lost just ask an officer for the tourist information office.

Posted by
763 posts

Hello from Wisconsin,
I have a map I built for tourists to Budapest. I will email it to you. Ask for a copy from wmccaf@gmail.com

Don't forget coffee houses. In the castle district there is the Ruszwurm. The castle district is about all you will have time to do in Buda. The hill part of Budapest.

Pest has pretty much everything else. Pretty much everything was destroyed in the great flood of 1838. The big buildings were built since them. Pest is not a medieval city, the layout is planned. Pest have several great coffee houses. And it has the opera. To tour it costs $20, to buy a ticket to a performance might run you $10.

wayne iNWI

Posted by
2141 posts

Just an FYI: The State Opera House is currently undergoing extensive restoration and modernization. Reopening in 2020. We are sorry we will miss it on our upcoming trip.

Posted by
11265 posts

The good news is that there are a number of venues that are pretty excellent.

http://www.operett.hu/ 
(Operett Theater)
https://zeneakademia.hu/en/home
 (Liszt Academy of Music - concerts)
https://www.mupa.hu/
 (Béla Bartók National Concert Hall and the smaller Festival Theatre - mostly concerts)
http://www.vigszinhaz.hu/ 
(Comedy Theater)
http://www.thalia.hu/ 
(Thalia Theater - musicals, operetta)
http://www.opera.hu/ 
(Erkel Theater)
http://vigado.hu/fooldal 
(Beautiful concert hall with great history on the Corso)

And you can attend this sort of event in Budapest if thats what turns you on. On this particular night there were no more than a dozen who were not Hungarians.
http://static.origos.hu/s/img/i/1602/20160206magyar-allami-operahaz-shakespeare-estely46.jpg