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Apartment in Budapest - location OK ??

1011 Budapest, Fő utca 4., Hungary. First trip. We will be in Budapest six nights, so a little extra travel time is not a deal-breaker. Any comments on this location ? Suggestions ? This is $50 per night and is cancellable.

Thanks !!

Posted by
6554 posts

Hard to believe that property is so affordable.

It's a fantastic location with the tram going up and down the river across the street. And you're almost right on the river. Congratulations on finding such a great place in such a great city.

I suggest taking one of the Free Walking Tours when you arrive. They also have a nightlife tour that'll introduce you to the really great inexpensive restaurants and grunge bars in the area. You'll never lack for something to do with 200 museums in the city.

Posted by
1437 posts

Great location! It's very handy to all the main bus/tram routes.
Personally, I prefer staying on the Buda side, where you'll be.
Do try a couple of the thermal baths nearby - especially those on the Buda side (different water chemistry).

Posted by
12131 posts

Personally, if its your first trip to Budapest I cant find a good reason to stay in Buda. No one wants to confess to being a tourist, but at least on the first trip, that's exactly what most people are. Having six days means you get to see more and experience more so don't squander it by staying so far from what you traveled there to see. Depending on your likes or dislikes 80% or more of what you will enjoy in Budapest is in Pest. There are reasons to stay in Buda if you like a more natural and peaceful surrounding. But this address doesn't even provide that. I sort of think the sweet spot is close to Deak Ferenc ter and areas east and north of Deak Ferenc ter (ter = square). If you go west from the ter you end up in District V and I suggest staying out of District V as that is nearly 100% tourist in nature.

From the Fo utca address:

Castle Hill 8 minutes, almost vertical 200 feet
Parliament 20 minutes walking + No.2 Tram
Great Market Hall 20 minutes walking + No.2 Tram
Hero’s square 30 minutes walking + M1 Underground Metro Line (or 50 minutes all walking)
House of Terror 25 minutes walking + M1 Underground
Great Synagogue 20 minutes walking + No.47/49 Tram
Vaci utca mid-point 20 minutes walking

From an address well situated in Pest (near Deak Ferenc ter)

Castle Hill 18 minutes walking, almost vertical 200 feet
Parliament 9 minutes walking + M2 Underground (or 18 min walking)
Great Market Hall 9 minutes walking + No.47/49 Tram
Hero’s square 4 minutes walking + M1 Underground Metro Line (or 35 min walking)
House of Terror 8 minutes walking + M1 Metro (or 18 minutes walking)
Great Synagogue 6 minutes walking + No.27/49 Tram
Vaci utca mid-point 9 minutes walking

You can shorten times by using the bus, but the bus just isn't fun on vacation. The trams on the other hand are excellent sight seeing vehicles. The underground is well designed but who wants to spend the holiday underground?

Posted by
12131 posts

Sometimes posts can sound a little "strong" or overly opinionated. Not my intent. Once in Budapest, no matter where you stay, I suspect you will have a marvelous time.. If you do consider something else, send me the address and I will tell you what I know about it. Also, go to Google Street view and take a look at the various apartment buildings and the surroundings. Sometimes that helps to make a decision.

Also consider an apartment near a place to stroll in the evening. Restaurants, wine bars, fantastic views of the lights, etc....

Posted by
5534 posts

Thanks for all the information! I get a little nervous going to a new place where one of us can't at least bumble through the language.

Posted by
12131 posts

My wife and I first arrived in Budapest about a dozen years ago. The trip had been to Vienna, but Vienna just wasn’t working for us so we hopped on the first train south and walked into Budapest with absolutely no plans and no research. From the first moments in town we me amazingly kind people who either knew some English or tried in every other way to treat us well. Over the years the number of people speaking English has grown geometrically to the point where language is rarely an issue.

To this day we have rarely been in Budapest when at some point or another, some person hasn’t approached us and offered to assist with something. Maybe we have been lucky or maybe people all over the world are this kind and we just haven’t held the same awareness.

Relax and enjoy

Posted by
12131 posts

You may have already done your research, but:

Get a Budapest Travelcard which come is 24hour, 72hour and 7 day flavors. Do not get a “Budapestcard” unless you are going to spend all of your time in museums. They don’t otherwise pay for themselves and they mark you as a tourist. The Travelcard is good for all public transportation in the city limits.

Ride the historic M1 Metro but try and avoid the others. Not that they are bad, but you don’t want to spend your vacation underground.

Ride the trams as they are so much better than any HOHO Bus and cheaper too.

See Vaci utca, then don’t go back.

See the Buda Hill for half to a full day, then don’t go back.

Stroll Andrassy ut and the Pest River Front Promenade in the evening.

Hear some music. Try and get tickets to the Opera, the Liszt Academy, the Palace of Arts, the Budapest Operett, the Budapest Jazz Club or the Opus Jazz Club. These are venues where you will be in the company of Hungarians. The Church concerts can be good too but they are primarily for tourists. But, again, they are good. Budapest is about the music so this is a must. Get tickets early as they sell out months in advance. Splurge and get really good seats and dress accordingly. You can take your fur coat!!

Falk Miska utca for antiques

House of Terror is an excellent museum despite a kitsch name.

Take a picnic lunch to Margaret Island

Poke your head in the ruin pubs of the Jewish District (early in the evening if your are older, later in the evening if you are younger)

Hang out in a wine bar (Kadarka’s)

Eat, Eat, Eat, Eat…………………….

Oh, and if you are traveling in the summer, Budapest can be warm. Be sure your apartment has air-conditioning.

If you stay in Pest there is an excellent laundry service behind the Opera House. Beats the heck out of the tiny washers and 3 hour drying times inherent in most apartment washer/dryers.

Posted by
2147 posts

I found a lot of English spoken in the main areas of Budapest, no problems there. On my day trip to Szentendre there was much less, but I still managed to buy things and food so all was well.

I was determined to find the flea market, ecseri piac, and using some info gleaned from the internet I took the metro to the right exit on the outskirts, came up into the open and could not find the bus for the next leg. No one at the sausage stands spoke a lick of English, so I retreated back to the metro and a young woman tried very hard to help me, even going back up to the street to point me to the tram across the street. More trouble when the tram driver was also without English, though my now-grubby piece of paper made sense to him and he held up 4 fingers. Sure enough, at the 4th stop he waved me emphatically off the tram. Did I find the flea market? No. I wandered a while, probably circling the area, who knows, then headed back to the tram and metro back to Budapest. I am returning to Budapest in May and per James' suggestion, this time I will just take a taxi to the blasted flea market.

The moral of this story is: Hungarian is exceedingly difficult to learn, people in the main area of Budapest seem to know enough English to help and the best part is that they are extremely kind and unusually helpful, and that goes a long way with me.

Posted by
12131 posts

Christa your comment: "they are extremely kind and unusually helpful" quite possibly the main reason I keep going back.

Posted by
12154 posts

It is because the language is so difficult to learn that educated and multi-lingual Hungarians traditionally fell back on German, (first) out of historical and cultural reasons, then French or English. A good friend of mine ca 2006-08 or so lived and taught English to "young professionals" in BP. Since he is also an EU citizen, ( Irish by passport and nationality) that helped him get the job. Often times in trying to get around, not getting lost, etc, he asked for directions. The older folks in their 50s and up would often ask him if he spoke German (he did not) knowing he was obviously a foreigner so that they could help him better. .

Posted by
5534 posts

Thanks, Fred. My travel companion is fluent in German, so this is a good backup!

Current thought is to take an apartment I saw in Pest near the Liszt Academy -- thanks for all the help, James E -- and figure that as Rick says, "we will return."

Posted by
12131 posts

So if you are next to the Liszt Academy and if you are bringing appropriate dress then you should really get tickets. Book early as this and most every venue in town sells out fast:

If you speak 3 languages you are Trilingual
If you speak 2 languages your are Bilingual
If you speak 1 language you are American

Population by knowledge of languages

Hungarian 9,896,333 (99.6%) The only official language of Hungary. Of whom 9,827,875 people (98.9%) speak it as a first language, while 68,458 people (0.7%) speak it as a second language.

English 1,589,180 (16.0%) Foreign language

German 1,111,997 (11.2%) Foreign language and co-official minority language

Russian 158,497 (1.6%) Foreign language

Romanian 128,852 (1.3%) Foreign language and co-official minority language

French 117,121 (1.2%) Foreign language

Italian 80,837 (0.8%) Foreign language

Posted by
12131 posts

About Language: Earlier this year my wife and I were at the market. I wanted something sweet and we found a booth that sold dried fruit and fruit covered in chocolate. Like chocolate covered raisins. But there were all sorts of different sizes and with different descriptions in Hungarian and we couldn’t decide. This wonderful woman approaches us and points to one pile of chocolate covered ?? and says in broken English, “these are the best”. I asked what they were and her face went blank. She didn’t know the word for the fruit but assured us we would like them. We thanked her and she left. We bought a quarter kilo and while the sales girl (who spoke no English) was packaging it the kind woman reappeared, smiled and held up one finger as she said, “cranberry”. She had apparently gone and found someone to translate for her and had returned to tell us. I cannot think of one trip were this sort of thing hasn’t happened to one degree or another. In the second trip this year, the instance involved me trying to pronounce the name of a street to the taxi dispatcher. He never gave up and demanded that I not give up. Eventually we got it. “City Taxi? Yes, could you pick us up at number 10 …” then I looked up at the street sign on the building it read, “Tölgyfa utca” which I translated to the dispatcher as, “never mind”. He laughed and made us stay on the line until we worked through it.

So don’t sweat the language issue. It hasn’t been a problem for us in over a decade of traveling to Budapest. But if you could learn:
Here are a few you could try and remember. Don’t try and read them, click the little speaker button and listen to the pronunciation.



Thank you

Good morning

Good Afternoon

Good Evening

Excuse me

Good Bye

Posted by
12131 posts

Laura B,

We spent a lot of time on Wendy's location (Hotel Location post) and how to get around. From your apartment you can walk down Kiraly utca to Deak Ferenc ter or your can take a 3 or 4 minute walk to the nearest M1 metro stop and then take the M1 about 3 minutes to the end of Andrassy ut near Deak Ferenc ter. Then everything else works the same.

Posted by
206 posts

Thank you James for all of the very useful information! During the last few weeks, I was trying to decide where to go after Munich with my limited time. Your recommendations helped me choose Budapest!

Now just have to choose hotel. I am leaning toward the Opera Garden which sounds nice and seems to be in a great location.

Thanks --


Posted by
12131 posts

Not a bad hotel location at all and very near the laundry service.

I have only stayed in three hotels in Budapest. The first was the K&K. We have stayed there a half dozen times and enjoyed it a lot and enjoyed the location. But haven't been there in at least 10 years. We have also stayed at the Art'otel in Buda and didn't care for the hotel or the location at all. and Finally the Hotel Pest which is no more. That's why I only discuss locations. So here are my top locations where I would send a family member on their first or second or even third trip to Budapest. The location of the Wombat and the Carat are the best situated but the area is also "lively" and if you are older you might be more comfortable closer to the Casati or K&K or the Opera Garden or the Roombach. Otherwise:

1 Wombat (tied)
1 Carat (tied)
2 Casati (tied)
2 K&K (tied)
3 Opera Garden (tied)
3 Roombach (tied)

Oh, the laundry service is in the courtyard (look to the left) of the building at 24-26 Ó utca. The machine wash and fold for a fairly good price. Takes overnight.