I will be arriving in Budapest on Oct 14th at 10 am and leaving for Rome on the 16th at 6pm. I am staying at the Budapest Museum Central at Museum korat 39. After reading Steve's Budapest book I should have planned on at least five days:) I will be traveling alone and am looking for suggestions on how to maximize my stay. The market, antiques, baths and local food are high on my list. I love to eat local! Also is it advisable to ship back my purchases such as paprika as I will be spending three weeks in Italy afterward. Many thanks in advance
Arrival: Okay, plane or train? Inter-European or from the U.S.? I will assume you are coming from within Europe.
10am I will assume is the arrival time at the Airport or the Train Station so we will begin at noon and assume you have plenty of energy.
Your accommodations address isn’t half bad. You chose a good location.
Check in, do what you need to do then walk outside. Facing the Museum across the street look to your right and begin walking that way. You are looking for the Kálvin tér (square) metro station. Go down the stairs, find a ticket window and purchase a book of 10 tickets. Now back up to the street. Now you want the yellow tram. You don’t have to but they are fun and part of the culture. Get on the tram heading in the same direction you were previously walking. You will go one stop and get off. You are in front of the Great Market Hall. First go upstairs and follow your nose to lunch from one of the many vendors. This is pretty authentic Hungarian street food. Not gourmet but tasty and filling. After you eat wander the market for an hour. Don’t miss the fish and the pickled vegetables in the basement.
So, it’s what by now? Maybe 2:30? You mentioned antiques so let’s do that first. In front of the Market towards the river you will see steps going down. Go down. Here you will find the boarding location for the No. 2 Tram. You want to board the tram running left to right. This is the best sightseeing “bus” in Budapest as it follows the Danube embankment all the way to the Parliament. After running about 5 or 6 stops the tram will turn to the right and then start to go around the back (front? – inland) side of the Parliament. As soon as the tram makes this turn – get off. Now enjoy the recently renovated area around the Parliament. Pretty impressive. Walk to the far end of the Parliament and you will be facing a street called Falk Miska utca. This is where the best antique shops are. Look carefully because the best hide in the basements.
You can easily spend a couple of hours here but you haven’t got that time. Try and finish up by 4:30 or so. One of the most interesting for large pieces and just to say you wandered through the maze of basements is Pintér Antik at No. 10 Falk Miska utca. One more interesting antique stop to make. Continue down Falk Miska utca till it ends. There you will see another tram line. This is the famous 4/6 tram. Get on going right to left. Get off at the first stop on the Buda side of the Danube. To your left is a great antique shop with jewelry, nick knacks, art, etc.
Tired yet? You have only scratched the surface. Back on that 4/6 tram heading back to Pest. This is a modern tram and the stops are announced in Hungarian, German and English. Sit on the left so you can see the Comedy Theater and the Eiffel designed Train Station. Listen for the Wesselényi utca stop. (4 stops). Get off and walk about a block in the same direction and on your left is the New York Coffee House. Worth stopping in for a cup or a drink and to cool your feet.
Now go outside and with your back to the coffee shop look to your left and you will see a major intersection with a tram stop, but what you want is the M2 metro line station below the intersection. Get on the M1 towards Déli pályaudvar. Get off at the first stop. Up the stairs and your accommodations are about two blocks further down the street (South - towards the Market). By the way, its October so its dark by now. Aren’t the lights great!!!
Head for the A38 to eat and concert.
Okay, I am going to assume you spent the night at the bar on the A38 and didn’t drag your sorry ………. Out of bed until 8am. That’s fine. Walk to the tram stop you started at the day before but this time get on the tram going the other direction and get off at the first stop – ASTORIA, our you could just make the walk up to Astoria. Turn left down Kossuth Lajos utca and on your right you will see Auguszt cukrászda. That’s Hungarian for Pastry Shop. Have a fattening breakfast of pastries. One of the best of these in Budapest. Back to Astoria, turn left, walk a block, look behind you and see the Synagogue. Now take the tour. Worth the effort.
Now up Dobb utca (remember yesterday?) then left on Rumbach utca. Another great old synagogue on the right. Entrance door is on the side. Still under renovation which adds to the interest. Continue down Rumbach to its end, turn right, first left and continue to Andrassy ut.
Walk up Andrassy ut to the Opera; ewww, ahhh, move on up Andrassy ut to the House of Terror. Spend the money, do the tour. Now continue a little further up Andrassy ut to the first M1 metro stop you see (Vörösmarty utca). Get on (you have to cross the street to be going the right direction) and ride it to Hősök tere (research M1 Metro History). You are not at Hero’s Square (more ewwww, ahhhhhh). Walk to the back of Hero’s square and turn right down Dózsa György út until you see Paprika Vendéglő restaurant on your right. Eat Lunch.
Back to Hero’s square and then across the street at the back to the City Park. Walk to the Széchenyi Bath House. It’s culture. Get naked and do your thing. Naa, better bring a suit. Don’t worry, we will do Buda tomorrow. Unwind, enjoy.
If you took advantage of the Bath House then you better take the M1 straight to the Bajcsy-Zsilinszky út station. NOTE: Metros are always marked based on the end stop in the direction the line is running. For this leg you will look for a sign to Vörösmarty ter, not to be confused with Vörösmarty ut. If you didn’t spend time in the bath house then you will enjoy taking the M1 for a stop or two, then waking a stop or two and then repeating. It’s a lovely street with mansions and embassies and some pretty high class shopping. ). Upon reaching the street level you will see St. Stephen’s Basilica on your right. Go that way. See the Church, ewww, aaaaa. Facing the church, right at the front steps look to your right for a few very nice souvenir shops. Some of the best in town. Another one I like is on the right about halfway between the Basilica and the end of the pedestrian zone in front of it. The place has a Music Theme.
Walk back to the end of Andrassy ut and look off in the distance and you will see the 47/49 tram that will take you back to your digs.
Make reservations at Macesz Huszar. It's on Dobb utca just up from the Great Synagogue. You were very near today. Afterwards hit the Ruin Pubs http://ruinpubs.com/
Call city taxi about 2 pm and ask for a taxi to take you to the airport....3:30 pickup time.
Wake up, check out, have them watch your bags, then take the tram back to the Great Market Hall. Across the street from the Market is the entrance to the Vaci utca . You are going to walk the length of Vaci utca without spending money, ha! at the end some 30 minutes later you will turn left and head for the river. Follow the river to the Chain Bridge, Walk Across the Chain Bridge and take the Funicular up to Buda Castle District. Now follow a guide book for Buda hill. There is a lot to see and places to eat lunch. By 2:30 you want to begin your walk home. If you are pooped, then take the funicular back down, get on the tram heading left to right as you face the river. Go two stops to the famous Gellert Hotel (research it) where you can find the 47/49 tram that will take you back across the river, past the Market Hall and to your digs.
Wow! This is quite detailed fun. Can't see how I can fit in some Opera or folk dances? As far as food I'm more of a authentic local type than a Michelin star. Yes I'm going from and then to the airport. I think a taxi both ways would be good as I will have luggage. Thanks for the tram insite sounds like a great way to see what I'm missing:) I'm going to see James Taylor (jazz) on a barge that's a nightclub. I think it's called 38.
My niece likes the boat: http://www.a38.hu/en/ and http://www.a38.hu/en/program/random-trip-hu-james-taylor-gb
So on the 14th eat on the boat. Show starts at 8pm and its docked not far from you.
I did look up the Opera and Operett for the 15th. Nothing at the Opera and the show at the Operett isn't "great". Seen it, just so-so. Just do my 14th dinner recommendations on 15th and you are set. Then head off for the Ruin Pubs.
Or toss it all out, but at least you its an idea to work from. Me, I just wander, drink, eat, wander, eat, drink, wander. etc.
Thanks Thanks and Thanks again!
I think this is a great way to taste Budapest in the short time that I have there. I like taking the tram and Metro. If you ever visit Chicago let me know I'll give you a tour on the "Loop"
James is the Hungarian version of another great American tourist advisor--RonInRome.com. James' knowledge of Budapest is incredible.
When I hit an European city, first thing I do is take one of the 3-4 hour "Free Tours." The guides work for tips. That's where we started in Budapest. It's very important in every city to figure out how to navigate the public transit system, as that's the way to see more in less time.
The free tour guides also offers a pub crawl tour around supper time. It's a great way to find all the off the beaten path restaurants and beer halls. And the people that go on those tours are wild and crazy and full of life. And Budapest is a city of great nightlife if you know exactly where to go.