My husband and I think we want to visit Budapest for 2-3 full days next August. We are interested in an active vacation...biking, hiking, kayaking... oh and food, beer &wine tasting. I found some interesting day trips through a company called Taste Hungary which gives me some ideas of what might be interesting to us. I'm wondering if anyone has any other ideas or can recommend a private guide) that might be able to introduce us to the "culinary/beer/wine" scene in and around Budapest. Thanks... Donna
For Budapest, Rick's guidebook recommends http://www.absolutetours.com/, including their small-group food and wine tour option. I'd expect that private local guides such as Peter and friends at www.budapestyourself.com could also address the issues, but may not specialize. If you don't go there with a guide, do be sure to visit Budapest’s Great Market Hall.
With 2 to 3 full days you aren’t going to get to very much of what you are looking for. But it’s a start and you can always come back. For Food and Beer and Clubs etc you don’t really need a guide unless you just want a drinking buddy.
Budapest is a pretty easy town to navigate and one of the things I like about it is that it has long sight lines so you don’t have to walk too far to see something off in the distance to regain your bearings. Then the metro and the trams are a breeze to use, few but very strategic in where they take you so its not the bowl of spaghetti like London for example.
Budapest is famous for its Ruin Pubs so I think that’s what you ought to hit first. http://ruinpubs.com/ will tell you about them and where they are located. Wine bars are popular too: http://welovebudapest.com/budapest.and.hungary/the.best.wine.bars.in.budapest.1 My favorite is Kadarka but I have come to realize that I love it for the people that work there and because its 200 feet from where we stay when in Budapest.
An interesting food activity is a cooking class. There are a couple in town but the one we did and really enjoyed was http://budapestcookingclass.com/ What made me choose it is that it wasn’t “institutional”. This wonderful sweet woman will meet you at the Great Market Hall, shop for ingredients with you while she gives you a tour of the market, then you all head to her apartment in Buda where you cook a three course meal, drink lots of palinka and then eat the fruit of your efforts. It was fun.
Other than cooking for yourself Budapest has more good restaurants at every price category than is fair to have in one place. Eating is not an issue. Since you are in Hungary I would suggest trying a lot of Hungarian food, but we’ve had some pretty good Indian, Mexican and good old American Steak in Budapest as well.
Can’t help you on the kayaking but I have seen boats from time to time in the Danube. I will ask around. Budapest is a real city so for most outdoors activity, and hiking, etc. I would head north to the High Tatra Mountains of Slovakia. Spectacular and not terribly far. I can tell you where you can get some pretty exhilarating Russian Tank Driving lessons if that active enough for you?
For a young guide that might be able to help you plan some more I suggest Aliz Toka. We’ve recommended her a couple of time and have received compliments: firstname.lastname@example.org