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So excited! I got back from a 2.5 week trip to England and Wales and my in-laws said 'hey, we want you and Brett to come with us on this river cruise.' Um, yes please! So anyway, May 2018 and we are starting in Budapest. We will be arriving a few days before we get on the ship so we will have approximately 3 days to take in the sites. My father-in-law is into war history, my mother-in-law culture and music, I'm very into WWII and have a Masters in Holocaust and Genocide Studies, and we are all into food/history/culture etc... So in addition to the Central Market Hall, Matthias Church, Parliament, Szechenyi Baths, Dohany Synagogue, the River Memorial, House of Terror, Communist All Stars park, and perhaps both a traditional show and opera is there anything else I should be considering? While I have traveled extensively, I have never been to Budapest. Any help with getting a start on my research would be appreciated as I am the tour guide for this trip when we are not on the boat. Thanks!!

Posted by
234 posts

I found the Holocaust Memorial Center worth a few hours. Interesting and informative (and of course, moving).

Posted by
4718 posts

We all enjoyed the Hospital in the Rock musuem a hospital that was built during the second world war in the natural cave system under Castle Hill. The hospital was later used as a Cold War bunker, a very interesting place particularly for those interested in war history.

Posted by
13727 posts

Gee, where to begin.......

Start by walking down the streets where you will note two things of interest;
bullet holes in the walls. Some memorialized relics of the 56 Revolution:

Other remnants of WWII:

and Stolpersteines on the ground. and

Then the Hospital in the Rock. First a war hospital, later a Soviet fall out shelter. This is about 2/3rds worth the visit and 1/3 hokey modern nonsense. Go, the 2/3rds is more than worth it.

Yellow Star Houses: everyone knows about the ghetto, but Jews were also entered in market apartment houses. Some because they were being used as labor and some because the ghetto was just too full and some were just steps on the way to the ghetto. Look at the sheer number of houses and the size of the ghetto and understand how many died: Thee is a script on this page that loads incredibly slow. Just wait.

The ghetto. Outlined on the previous link. When you walk down the street and cross that line that was once the wall, remember: the same point on the same street (Wesselényi utca) today:,19.0719135,3a,75y,272.75h,89.58t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sNtG0DvwQm3wPW-kuigMSlg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656?hl=en Just guessing by the way the prisioners were walking it is possible that they were being marched to the Jozsefvarosi train station which the Nazi's used for the deportation to Auschwitz. Here is Wallenberg at the station:

Then there is the Shoes on the Danube memorial and countless memorials and plaques to the terror of the Nazi’s and Russians located through out the city.

Then if you are a total history nut, you can drive a Soviet tank: Great people by the way.

But if your interests in WWII history is strong you might consider hiring a guide that can take you to these and a lot of other small, but important, locations….. I guess my point is that Budapest is a living, functioning museum where you can still touch the history.

Posted by
15053 posts

The Museum of Applied Arts is a few minutes' walk from the Holocaust Center and worth going in - the only way to describe it - you feel like you're inside a wedding cake. It looks like the Postal Museum has reopened. It is really interesting. I enjoyed the Ethnography Museum too. You'll get a good look at St. Stephen's Basilica (Szent István) if you go to an evening concert there. I visited during the day, and it was lit only by natural light, cloudy day. I was much more impressed when I saw it in the evening. And take a ride on the No. 1 metro.

Posted by
12998 posts


If he is into war history, make sure you see the Military History Museum on Castle Hill. It's all in Hungarian, only a bit in German. Very revealing and interesting, I have been there twice. It has the document showing the reply in its entirety in Hungarian with the German translation by Hungarian Minister President to the Austrian Foreign Minister on the topic of the Monarchy's determination to send the ultimatum to the Serbs in the July Crisis of 1914. For this ultimatum to be sent, the acquiescence of the Hungarian Minister President was crucial.

Signs pointing the way to the Museum are in English. Another site you may want to see connected with war history is the Memorial monument on the German Invasion of March 1944. That's recent, ie, with in the last few years and was controversial. See the Soviet Memorial too. In Vienna you can see the Soviet Memorial too, just ca 3 mins or so straight up from the Schwarzenberg Platz and its statue of Schwarzenberg. The Mathias Church is a historical, the last Habsburg was crowned there.

Posted by
15053 posts

I liked both the ethnography museum (not sure what the name is - near the parliament) and the Post Office Museum, which is not about stamps.

You don't mention it, but there's wine. . . Hungary's are excellent.

PS - you're going to love it. I'm going back in a couple weeks for a second dose.

Posted by
77 posts

1 - WOW, I could not see all that in 3 weeks!
2- James, Although I am not a history buff - my husband absolutely is - so I am copying/pasting thee sites for him later.

3 - I am going to drive a TANK for sure - that is on my TOP 3 things to do. I am seriously ridiculously excited about this!

Posted by
77 posts

James -
here is my summary of all I have learned from you - tweaked to my own likings of course.
By the way, I have started Hungarian (Madgar) language via Piemsler via my iphone. SO different from French and English.

PS - I will check the message. My husband was a Marine for 6 years - only sent to Okinawa - but he will love the tanks too - but not nearly as much I will.

"Budapest is a living, functioning museum where you can still touch the history." James (Rick Steve's Forum)

• Christmas Markets
• Drive a Soviet TANK.
• Castle District (Gellert Hotel and Bath) Castle Hill Funicular
• Antique shops Falk Miska utca
• Gozsdu udvar (nightclub) on Saturday and Sunday morning
• The Opera House (temporarily at Erkel Theater)
• Opus Jazz Club
• Great Market Hall and smaller market halls
• Széchenyi Bath House/City Park/Zoo (M1 Metro Széchenyi fürdő)
• Tour of Parliament
• Andrassy ut Embassies/Mansions

• Great Synagogue Tour, Jewish Ghetto, Yellow Star Houses
• Hospital in the Rock
• Wine Bars

• Estergom, Visegrad & Szentendre The Danube Bend (All Day)
• Archabbey at Pannonhalma (Hire a driver)
• Margaret Island
• Gior
• Bratislava
• Pecs
• Kiev
• Etvek Wine Country Tour with Dinner (all day)

• Andrew ILLES—Private Guide +36 70 365 4577 László MÁRKUS
• SilverWings Chauffeur Service +36 20 934 6346

• Revolution:
• Other remnants of WWII:
• Stolpersteines on the ground. and
• Hospital in the Rock--- Soviet fall out shelter.
• Yellow Star Houses::
• The ghetto.:
• Then there is the Shoes on the Danube memorial
• Soviet tank:


Posted by
12998 posts

On WW2 reminders in Budapest, there is also the Red Army Memorial (for the Russians) and the Memorial on the German Invasion of 1944...recent and controversial one when it was finished.

Posted by
13727 posts

Jet13, Sounds like i need to get a life..... :)

Fred, the German Invasion Memorial is still "controversial" The walkway is lined with memorabilia of the victims of the Arrow Cross left behind by the protesters. Generally there is one or two still hanging out with a sign. I understand, but have mixed feelings about it.

Posted by
13727 posts

Jet13, to make the indoctrination complete you need to down load music from Katya Tompos's album called: Keresztül Európán (Amazon has it for download) and music from the Budapest Klezmer Band. You might have to purchase a disc, but Amazon may have down loads here are their albums It's all very good but Le Chajem Rebbe is my favorite album.

Posted by
12998 posts

Thanks for the update. I only read that when the Invasion Memorial was set up some years back controversy raged over it with arguments going back forth whether it should be there in the first place.

Posted by
2333 posts

Ruin pubs are a Budapest special thing. They are pubs with fantastic crazy decoration - chairs on the ceiling, weird decorations. There are 4-5 that are great. You can go at 12:30 at night, and have dinner, and a drink - filled with lots of hip folks.

Posted by
13727 posts

Unfortunately the Budapest Klezmer Band doesnt have any downloads that i can find. But here is a sample:

And here is a great video: These guys are magnificent!! If they arent playing when you are in town (and they dont play nearly often enough), you can get something similar on Friday night at Spinoza's Cafe (make a reservation for the dinner and concert)

Posted by
13727 posts

Not to forget Kátya Tompos. In Hungarian she would be known as TOMPOS Kátya. They do the last name first, unless they dont want to confuse westerners in which case they do the last name second, which seeing how sometimes you cant tell a Hungarian last name from a Hungarian first name becomes more confusing and so quite often they will do the last name in all caps. Clear? Clear as Goulash (Hungarian: gulyás)
And this one you play when you are alone with your husband late at night…

Saw her at the Opus Jazz Club a few years back. Excellent performer.

Posted by
77 posts

I'll check out the music! I watched a Hungarian film on Netflix today. I think I understood three words in 1.5 hours!!!! Lol