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Budapest Itenary Help

I will be accompanying my elderly mother to Budapest this December. We will be arriving December 7 around noon. My plan is to settle into our hotel, InterContinental Budapest hotel near the chain bridge, and head our way to the central market for a late lunch and some shopping just to stay wake to avoid jet lag. This being our first time there and not knowing what to expect from the weather nor familiar with transportation around the city, I was hoping to get help with an itenerary ideas that would cover day of arrival and 2 additional days before boarding a river cruise. She is not big into museums and the thermal baths. I would like to make this a special and very easy trip for her since this is a mother daughter trip following the loss of my dad 3 years ago.
Thanks for any help....

Posted by
5262 posts

Here are our host's suggestions for Budapest sightseeing. Other than baths and museums, there's the Parliament building, the cathedral, the opera house, St. Matthias' Church across the river, the Great Synagogue, and lots of good neighborhoods and streets to prowl around. The trams and subways are easy, you could get a multi-day pass and ride even short distances to avoid too much walking.

The Great Market is a little south of your hotel, there's another market closer by whose name I forget. Both would be worthwhile. Margaret Island, in the river north of the central city, is supposed to be a good park but I haven't been there.

Posted by
13564 posts

I can give you a quick answer for the start of the first day. Walk out the door of your hotel towards the river. Look to your right and you will see a tram stop. Wait, ask the front desk to see you a few metro tickets first. Walk to the tram and get on the one heading down river (south - it will the the track closest to the river). The second stop will be under a bridge. Get off, go up the stairs and you are facing the Great Market Hall. Couldn't be easier and you get an incredible scenic tram ride (sit on the side closest to the river)

More to come.

Posted by
13564 posts

Okay, then what?

First if you are arriving by plane, go to the information office in the arrivals hall and get a 24 hour TravelCard; if you dont, then the hotel will sell you a 24 hour BudapestCard for twice the cost. Maybe the hotel will sell you individual tickets but i doubt it. There are vending machines in all the metro stations and at some of the tram stops (cant tell you which). But you will need one or the other to make getting around easier.

It gets dark fairly early in Budapest in December. You can look up the actual time; but its around 5 or 5:30. If your flight arrives at noon, you can be on the tram by maybe 1:30 or 2:00.

The food at the market is fairly authentic, but not the greatest; but it can be a fun event. Maybe you just snack a bit and wait for dinner?

Once done at the market go back out front and you will see a tram parked there. That the 47/49 Tram. If you get on it moving away from the river, sit on the right side facing backward you will see the great synagogue just after the second stop. The next stop is the end of the line. Get off and walk across the street (to the same side as was the synagogue), turn left up the sidewalk and in about 2 blocks you will be at the end of Andrassy ut. (the Av. des Champs-Élysées of Budapest).

I am going to suggest you walk up Andrassy ut until you are tired of walking. There are restaurants, great shops, fantastic old architecture and the Opera House. I want you to be here when it gets dark, cause its beautiful. As the sun sets, hop on the M1 metro line. There are stops all along the way as it runs directly under the street. You want an entrance that says Hősök tere so you know you are getting on it in the right direction (entrances on the right side of the street as you walk up). Get off at Hősök tere (Hero's Square). This is also worth seeing at sunset an later.

If you have the energy, walk back down Andrassy ut a bit to see some of what you missed on the way up. This end is mostly mansions and embassies.

Try and pace it so that at 6:30 to 7:00 you are at the end of Andrassy ut. That metro stop is called Bajcsy–Zsilinszky út. At the end turn up the sidewalk to your right and in about a block and a half you will find Belvárosi Lugas Étterem http://lugas-etterem.com/etlap/ Did i mention to make a reservation? Do so. Good solid Hungarian food in a casual atmosphere. Good service. Best of all easy to find and on the route.

After dinner you have two choices. Walk to your hotel or take the M1 to very near your hotel. If you were to draw a line down the center of Andrassy ut all the way to your river, it would almost hit your hotel. Walk the back streets back and forth till you are there. Great walk, lots of shops and architecture. Along the way you will pass Vorosmarty ter which is ground zero for river boat tourism AND the Vorosmarty ter Christmas Market will be open.

If you take the M1 you will enter the stairs that say Vorosmarty ter and stay on to the second stop. Up the stairs and you are in Vorosmarty ter Walk about a block to the river and about a block to your right and you are home. The river front is beautiful in evening.

The weather in December is Very, Very Cool to downright Cold. But its a life style in Budapest and it doesnt stop much. Some how its more comfortable when you see the number of people around you seemingly unaffected by it.

Posted by
82 posts

Thank you so much James!!! That is a great start and I very much appreciate everything you suggested, even the tip about 24 hour pass and where it sit on the tram!

Posted by
503 posts

For a special treat, I would add a visit to Cafe Gerbeaud. It is a beautiful cafe with gorgeous chandeliers, high ceilings and elegant decor. It serves coffee, tea, hot chocolate, cakes, ice cream and some bistro food as well. It is very old, very famous and very good.

Posted by
589 posts

Stacey
James E. has a wealth of information on Budapest. I used a lot of his suggestions on our trip there in June and he made things a lot easier. I would recommend a tour of the Parliament building, you can do this on line, also the Opera house is a reasonable tour(tickets can be purchased the day you attend right in the lobby) in view of the fact the opera theatre is under repair. They even put on a mini Opera on the lobby stairs. The subway is easy to use and I would recommend on the Buda side of the river St. Mathias church.