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Feedback on 3 nights in Budapest?

My 27 yo daughter and I will be traveling together. I had some difficulty setting itinerary for our 3 nights in Budapest- mainly due to Fri/Sat closings/early closings. Using RS Budapest guide.
Would love some feedback on our proposed itinerary- and will appreciate any suggestions for improvement.
Have I allowed enough time? Does the order make sense, etc?
We will walk whenever easy- ride metro/tram as needed.


Fri June 5
Arrive 11 am from Vienna- Keleti Station- City Taxi- to hotel near Opera
Great Synagogue 1-2:30 - closes 4:30
Leopold Town Walk 3-6 St Istvan’s closes at 5
PM? Night Walk

Sat June 6
9:45-10:30 Parliament Tour
** ?walk or take tram to
11:30-1:30 Great Market Hall- lunch - closes at 3
Break at hotel-
4-6 House of Terror
PM Andrassy Ut Walk, Ruin Pubs

Sun June 7
10-1:30 Walking Tour includes Heroes Park ends at Castle HIll
Visit Buda sites
Suggestions for PM? Pest Town Walk? Night boat cruise?

Would also welcome any dining suggestions!

Thanks

Posted by
11094 posts

I love Ricks work, but I don't think he has been to Budapest in a decade

Arrive 11 am from Vienna- Keleti Station- City Taxi- to hotel near Opera
For location of the hotel I think you chose wisely. Call the taxi when the train pull into the station. Then follow their directions. Nice folks.
Great Synagogue 1-2:30 - closes 4:30
By the time you reach the hotel and get checked in and are back out the door its going to be close to 1pm. That’s fine. Let’s not rush things. First go to the metro station in front of the Opera and get your metro tickets or Travel Card.

Time for a good Hungarian Lunch. Walk to the end of Andrassy ut and turn right. On the same side of the street you are on, but behind the basilica you will see http://lugas-etterem.com/ Good basic Hungarian fare.
Now its close to 2 pm so head for the Synagogue. You can hoof it our take the 47/49 tram part of the way if you have tickets or a card.
The paid tour is worth it and it takes about an hour.

You might make it back to the Basilica before it closes, but it’s not the end of the world if you don’t. When facing the Basilica if you look to your right you will see some of the best souvenir shops in town. Further down the pedestrian plaza in front of the Basilica is a shop that specializes in music themed souvenirs. I like it a lot.
So go get cleaned up. You can walk or take the M1 up Andrassy to your hotel. Then I suggest a great night walk. Make reservations at http://www.maceszhuszar.hu/menu.html (do this before you arrive in Budpaest) for 7 pm. Leave the hotel about 6:30 and walk to the restaurant. From the Opera it will take 10 to 15 minutes if you don’t do any window shopping along the way.

After dinner, walk it off; head straight for Deak Ferenc ter, then Vorsmarty ter, then the river. Its beautiful on the embankment in the evening with all of the lights. You can take the M1 home if you get tired.

Sat June 6
9:45-10:30 Parliament Tour
Get up early and walk to the Parliament tour. It’s a great walk through great plazas and past great architecture.

Then take the tram to the market hall to shop. Eat lunch at the food court on the top floor. Be sure to visit the basement for pickled food and fish.
You can take the 47/49 tram back to the base of Andrassy ut to reach your hotel, but you might want to first take the tram across the river to the Gellert Hotel. First read the history of Nazis and Schindler at the hotel.
The house of terror is right up Andrassy ut from your hotel and a nice walk.

I think I would suggest you continue to Hero’s Square and the City Park and the Bath House.

Have dinner at http://www.paprikavendeglo.hu/ then back to the hotel to clean up before hitting the ruin pubs.
Sun June 7

Today I would walk to the Chain Bridge, across the bridge and up the funicular to Buda Hill. Eat lunch at one of the tourist places in Buda. Then back to Pest where you spend some time shopping along Vaci utca and the Vth district. Dinner maybe at http://hungarikumbisztro.hu/ or http://hungarikumbisztro.hu/ or http://www.menzaetterem.hu/
Tonight go to Kadarka’s wine bar (or one of many other excellent wine bars), sit outside and share memories with a good glass of Hungarian wine and a big plate of pate.

Posted by
1533 posts

Thank you so much James! I was hoping you would come along and offer some of your excellent advice. Going to print your post out, review it and will probably have a few more questions- but your response has made my day.

First question- Sunday-- I had thought we would do the Absolute Walking Tour that includes Heroes Park, peek at Baths, inner Pest sites, Danube Promenade then heads over to Castle Hill area and ends at St Mathias. (I wish we could that on Day 2 but that would mean we would miss Great Market Hall since it closes at 3 on Sat and closed on Sun).
I do like a guided tour for the commentary- hate to have my nose in a book while walking around!
Any feedback on this tour or can you recommend any other tour that would serve same purpose?

Second question- is touring the Parliament a must? With our limited time in Budapest - I want to make sure we see the most important sights but also want time to just experience the city.

I guess I should mention we will be in Vienna 4 days prior to Budapest, Berlin 4 days after and then to Amsterdam. My daughter is an Art History doctoral candidate and will be staying on in Europe thru July for research. So we will be visiting lots and lots of art museums/palaces, etc.

Posted by
6082 posts

James, as always, gives you great first-hand information. From my short (6 days) experience with Budapest I can only make a couple of suggestions.

Definitely get out at night and walk - you don't need a walking tour, just get out and walk, I loved wandering around Budapest at night, especially the area around the river. The parliament buildings at night were just spectacular!

I would take the tram from parliament to the Great Market, it's a bit long to walk and I enjoyed the tram ride. I was there in mid-July and it was HOT so I took the tram many times when I would otherwise have walked. You probably won't have that problem in early June.

Posted by
11094 posts

You know there really isn’t such a thing as bad, because you are seeing a new world and anything is educational, informative and enjoyable. Or at least my mind works that way.

I looked up your tour. If it meets with your comfort factor then go for it and you will have fun. It is a fairly rushed cursory exterior only run through the city. I don’t think you will get much profound history information out of the tour, but it will be a pretty walk. It takes you from one extreme in town to the other. The pathway without the help of the underground metro would take a solid hour. It appears that you will have some time underground to shorten that up. I guess I might suggest that you do this the second day in town. It will help orientate you and if something is of interest you can always return on your last day. While Budapest has a lot of excellent museums, this is more of a town to stroll day and night and just “experience”. Besides you will be burned out on museums after Vienna.

I would skip the interior of the Parliament and spend some time in the shops on Falk Miska utca instead. Be aware the Hungarians passed a screwy new law that closes most of the shops on Sunday.

Finally, there is a fairly decent chance that you will wish you had cut one day from Vienna to add to Budapest. If Vienna or even, Berlin, gets a little long don’t be afraid to move on a day early. We do it a lot and it adds to the value of the trip.

Posted by
1533 posts

Thanks Nancy- good advice on tram vs walking.

James- I wish the walking tour would work on Sat but if we did it then we would not be able to visit the Great Market Hall- and that is something I really want to see!
I think we will skip the tour of Parliament- but probably do the Walking Tour. 
Very glad you mentioned shops being closed on Sunday that's something I needed to investigate. By skipping the Parliament tour we can do some shopping/strolling on Sat am as we make our way to Great Market Hall.

Travel Cards/Tix? I guess a 10 pack of tickets- and purchase more as needed would be best for us? The walking tour includes tix for the metro rides during the tour.

Opera House? We will be touring Opera House in Vienna so don't need to tour in Budapest but I believe I read that you can go in to see just lobby- is that true? Can't find where I read that.

Itinerary is set in stone as far as # of days - already have airline/train tix purchased.

I’m going to spend some time with maps and info and will repost final plans. Wondering if we should just knock out both the Synagogue and House of Terror on Fri then have Sat for wandering/Great Market Hall.

Posted by
1533 posts

TBH I would much rather tour the Opera in Budapest- but tours are only offered at 3 and 4- just not sure how I can fit that into our already limited time but am going to think about it again.
Maybe on Fri- Synagogue by 1:30/2- then get to Opera Tour at 4

Metro pass- from what I can tell there is no 48 hour pass- just a 72 hour for 4150HUF or the block of 10 for 3000HUF. Do I have that info right? I am using this site:
http://www.bkk.hu/en/prices/

Posted by
11094 posts

Generally when I am touring around guests or family I tell them three full days. The first day is from the embankment up Andrassy ut to the park, bathhouse, etc. Second day is the market and Buda and the Parliament because the tram line is so wonderful at connecting the ends along the river. Third day is District VII and VIII and maybe a little shopping. You are taking a different approach and it sounds like you have your plans pretty well thought out. Just a little too much from one end to the other end for me, but you couldn't do it in a better town so have a blast.

The Hungarian State Opera Hose is much nicer than the one in Vienna; the performances are in a way better as well. Predominately in that they are performances for locals and not tourists. Its more immersive than Vienna.

Get a 72 hour travel card. It will cost you about $4.5 more than a book of 10 tickets and its worth it for the convenience (no validating) and no decisions on if you should take the tram or save the ticket.

Posted by
1533 posts

Now I see why 72h card makes sense- did not consider the transfer issue- thanks.

How does this sound? Will drop the Walking Tour.

Fri-
Arrive 11- cab to hotel- get 72 hour card, lunch, tour what we can fit til 3:30. (Basilica, etc -parts of Leopold Town Walk, Pest Walk)
4:00 Opera Tour
Hotel
PM- Dinner- Walk- Parliament, Danube etc.

Sat-
Wander/shop to Great Market Hall-lunch.
After lunch-
Buda-tram 49? cross river then 19 or 41?
2-5 Buda sights- might want to see Hospital in Rock- we’ll see.
Return to Hotel-funicular cross Chain Bridge- or maybe City Taxi!
PM- Dinner and ruin pubs (maybe)

Sun-
Synagogue/Quarter-Andrassy ut- House of Terror- Heroes Square/Park

Mon- early flight to Berlin

It feels like a better flow but what do I know- I just can't wait to be there.

Posted by
11094 posts

FRIDAY
Arrive 11, cab to hotel, 72 hour card
Lunch at http://ketszerecsen.hu/, outside if the weather is good.
Now take the M1 to the Széchenyi fürdő stop. See the bathhouse and walk to Hero’s Square and down Andrassy ut back towards your hotel. Walk time without stops is about 40 minutes. With the anticipated stops it will take an hour. This is the Champs-Élysées of Budapest. You don’t need a tour book. Just drink it in. You will pass the House of Terror on the way back to the hotel. Plan on an hour to an hour and a half. The only limitation is you want to be to the Opera House for the 4pm tour and that shouldn’t be a problem. You are finished with that end of town (or at least its all you have time for).
It’s been a long day and you don’t want to get too fancy so after cleaning up for dinner head down Andrassy ut towards the river. Stop at http://www.hachapuri.com/ for dinner and then continue walking to the river. Maybe stop at http://www.gerbeaud.hu/ for desert before you wander the embankment and enjoy a world class view. Sit in a café and have a glass of wine.
Tired? The M1 runs until 11 or 11:30 from in front of http://www.gerbeaud.hu/ to the Opera House.

SATURDAY
Go the Gozsdu Courtyard and have breakfast at Café Vian. Then walk to the end of Kiraly utca and get on the 47/49 Tram to the Market. Now you are going to do some walking. Walk Vaci utca through the heart of District V to the Basilica. Why? Cause its where all the shops are and they are closed the next day. My favorite shops are near the Basilica (see my previous post). Its about a 30 minute walk plus shopping time. Now a great place for lunch is http://lugas-etterem.com/
Now walk on to the Parliament, then the antique shops on Falk Miska utca then get on the 4/6 tram which will take you to Andrassy ut at the Oktogon very near the hotel.

For dinner I would walk to http://maceszbistro.hu/ then stop at Kadarka’s on the way back to the hotel after dinner. Maybe a stroll on Andrassy ut to enjoy the lights. Maybe even hop the M1 bacak up to Hero’s square for the lights.

SUNDAY
Café Vian for breakfast, a walk past the Rumbach Synagogue and maybe peek in, then on to the Great Synagogue for the tour. Now the 47/49 Tram to the Market where you get on the famous 2 tram to the Chain Bridge. Eat at one of the hotel cafes with a view across the river. Walk across the bridge, take the Funicular up and spend the afternoon in Buda (now you can use your guide book). Tonight see a show at the Opera or the Operett or the Liszt Academy.

If you don’t do a show then Dinner at http://www.klasszetterem.hu/index.php?lang=en, or http://www.menzaetterem.hu/ or http://kiraly.trofeagrill.eu/ if you do a show then eat at http://www.callascafe.hu/ after the show. They sort of cater to after the show guests.

MONDAY
Cancel flight to Berlin and spend another night in Budapest.

Posted by
1533 posts

I like your enthusiasm James and really do appreciate all your help- but I can say for sure we will not be canceling flight to Berlin and staying on in Budapest! My daughter has appointments she needs to keep in Berlin and beyond.

I can see why your plan for Friday makes sense - getting that part of town all done- but I just think trying to fit a decent visit to City Park sights, House of Terror and still make it to 4:00 Opera will be pushing it for us.
I have made note of all of your suggested restaurants-= so thank you for that.

Unfortunately there are no Opera performances the dates we are there.

Posted by
14013 posts

If there's a concert at the Basilica on one of your nights, do that instead of a daytime visit. The church is lit up and you can see all its beauty, while sitting and listening to some beautiful music. If you get there early, you can wander a bit and take photos.

Posted by
1533 posts

Chani-
That is an excellent suggestion! and there is a concert Sun night.
Checking with daughter now but she usually says yes to everything.

Posted by
11094 posts

You are correct, noting at the Opera

The Operett Theater has a production each night you are in town. Personally l love the Oppertt Theater. We have tickets for a production in about two weeks. Bad news, two nights are Romeo and Juliet which is sold out, and one night which is Palko Csinom which does have a few pairs of seats available but it is one of the few productions that is not subtitled in English.

The Liszt Academy has no performance in the grand hall while you are in town. That's a shame because it really is stunning.

You also might be interested in the Operettaship.

Posted by
1533 posts

Still working on this!

James- what would be the quickest way to get from Great Synagogue to House of Terror?

Posted by
11094 posts

The difference between Budapest and Prague or Vienna is that Budapest isn't a town where you rush from check box to check box location. So, I suggest you walk.

Dohany Synagogue to
Rumbach Synagogue to
Gozsdu Courtyard to
Kiraly utca to
Vasvari Pal utca (wave hello) to
the Opera to
the House of Terror
Total time according to Google Maps is 15 minutes. Plan on 15 minutes to an hour so you can see some things along the way.

From the Opera you could take the M1 two stops to Vörösmarty utca where you will find the house of terror. Maybe save 3 minutes and miss some interesting architecture on Andrassy ut.

I looked at the times using the 47/49 tram and the M1 metro and you really don't save any time at all and most of it would be underground (you see nothing). But you could sit.

Posted by
1533 posts

Thanks James-
Don't worry- sometimes "checking boxes" is necessary due to closing time/short stays but never fear we will leave ourselves plenty of time to enjoy the journey.

Posted by
14013 posts

Christine, if you choose the concert . . . I bought the "second price" ticket, got there really early and had a seat in the first row, right in the nave - perfect for enjoying the beauty of the church.

If you like wine, you'll love Hungarian wines. They are sooo good, and inexpensive. There was a very good tasting room in the bowels of the Hilton Hotel, next to Fisherman's Bastion on Castle Hill. Even if you don't stay for the tasting, it's worth it to walk down through the hotel and see the room. You'll also be able to stop at the Hilton's toilet - much nicer than the public ones at the Bastion and they're free. Which reminds me, when you're wandering around the center of Budapest, stop in at the Four Seasons Hotel (Gresham Palace). Great toilets and the lobby is worth seeing for its art deco.

Posted by
1533 posts

Thank you Chani-
I had a note about Hilton wine tasting already- I saw you mention that in another post!
I will be booking the concert today- so thank you again so much for that suggestion and the advice on seating.
A peek at Gresham Palace is already on our list.

Posted by
11094 posts

The Faust Wine Cellar does charge you understand. Or at least they did the last time I went. If you tell them you are English or if you tell them you will buy a bottle to drink while in town they might comp you in. Or at last they did the last time I went. (and only time I went). People do seem to enjoy it very much. They aren't just real fond of Americans because the US is the one place they can not ship the wines too; and after all the wine tasting is to sell you wine.

Another option, possibly less expensive, certainly more "Hungarian" is to try one of Budapest's many wine bars. The one I go to a lot will let you taste the wine before purchasing a glass which is sort of unheard of where I live. The two that come to mind that are not far from the Opera are

Kadarka's (corner of Vasvari Pal utca and Kiraly utca)
Doblo (a little more upscale than Kadarka's located on Dobb utca 20 near, and owned by, the same gentleman that owns Macesz Huszár - one of my favorite restaurants in town)

There is another on Kiraly utca between Kadarka's Liszt Ferenc tér which looks lovely but I haven't been in it (I am afraid the Kadarka people will see me and they have been too good to me for too many years).

In each of these places you will have to deal with the discomfort of being among the few if not the only non-Hungarians. All are within about 3-7 minutes of the Opera on foot.

Posted by
14013 posts

I bow to James's superior knowledge. I met an American couple who were also looking for wine tasting across the street from the Hilton. I'd found Faust by accident in the Hilton while looking for the toilets - uh, I mean looking at the ancient ruins on which the hotel is built. We decided to go together. We spent about 2-1/2 happy hours there. Husband was very knowledgeable about wines in generally and Hungarians in particular. He and the owner chatted about everything winey while Wife and I happily shared travel experiences. There is a tasting menu and we knew we would pay for the wine we tasted. It was very clear how much wine would be served and there was latitude in choosing which ones you preferred. For the quanity, quality and variety, the price was fair. It wasn't cheap, but the wines were among the best Hungary offers. There was no pressure to purchase. They bought about half a dozen bottles, I bought 2 or 3. There are certainly many fine inexpensive Hungarian wines and had I known James back then, I'd have gone to the places he's suggested.

Whether you try the wines at Faust or not, it's still worthwhile to make the descent just to see the ruins and the tasting room.

For the record, I also bought a couple of bottles of wine at a supermarket near my hotel. I had no idea what to try, but the prices were so low, I figured I'd take a chance. Good decision!

Posted by
11094 posts

Chani, I guess I came out sounding a little like an arse.

I have known a number of people that went to the Faust tasting room and they all had an exceptionally good time. I should have phrased it as “if you enjoyed Faust, then try this too……” It’s all good. You’re on vacation and so much of being on vacation is having the mindset to have a great time and then going out and doing it. I sort of get stuck in this “get away from the tourist mob” mentality. Funny thing is, there really is no tourist mob in Budapest…..

A good example. I always encourage people to stick to the trams because the go to darn near every tourist attraction and you get to meet some Hungarians along the way. I recently had an employee who spent a few days in Budapest and she choose to ignore my sage advice. Her and her mother purchased the Hop On Hop Off bus tickets. Worse yet, they paid extra for the boat rides!!! Oh My G-d!!!!! They had the times of their lives. They saw it all. They loved it. And I don’t think they would have had as much fun if they had followed my advice.

So, what do I know? Not much……