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Sites to see/Good (but not expensive) places to eat near Hilton in City Center

This is my first trip to Budapest and I'm staying at the West End City Center (Váci út 1-3). Do you have any recommendations for good places to eat and walkable sites in the area?

Thank you

Posted by
9305 posts

Without knowing the dates or your interests its sort of hard to do much help. I can tell you that your hotel is located on the outer fringe of the tourist zone. You aren't going to walk too many places unless you enjoy long walks. So get a BKK Travel Card. With that you can hop on a tram or the metro line.

Very near your hotel is the entrance to the M3 metro line which will get you to Deak Ferenc ter which is pretty much ground zero for sight seeing in Pest. Getting to the metro station will be a true experience as well. Better if you are in need of women's undergarments (you will understand when you get there).

Also, out in front of the adjacent train station is the 4/6 Tram line. That will get you to Buda in one direction and Andrassy ut in the other direction.

Finally, about 3 blocks away is the end of the No2 Tram line that will get you to the Parliament, Danube River Corso and the Great Market Hall.

Posted by
9 posts

Around April 19-21, which is why I was asking about the spring festival. I'm on my own after a river cruise and want to see as much as I can. (I was also the one asking about Fony, etc., since my great-grandparents came from that area.) I've been staring at maps trying to figure stuff out and am just getting a headache from it all.

How does the tram work? Where do you get tickets?

Thank you,
-Carla

Posted by
9 posts

As for interests, music, art, architecture, history, gardens. But it's all new to me so I'm up for almost everything. I appreciate any suggestions.

Posted by
1966 posts

Get yourself a transit pass for however many days you need and you're set to use the trams, metro and buses. All 3 systems are very easy to use, just flash your pass as you enter the metro--guards will be there--or onto the bus or tram. No validating needed, but always have it on you to avoid a stiff fine. I usually plot out my day and make notes of the lines/exits I'll need--but I think you'll get the hang of it quickly. You can buy tickets and passes at the metro station.

As for things to do, allow plenty of time to just wander happily because Budapest really lends itself to that. If you have Rick's book you'll get an idea of what's on offer, though a couple of my favorite museums are closed right now, Applied Arts and the Neprajzi ethnographic. If you want to tour Parliament--I recommend it, very interesting--reserve a ticket now. The Terror House is also excellent, and if you get up to Castle Hill on the Buda side you might like the National Gallery. Allow a few hours to explore Castle Hill, the views are magnificent. For outdoors I never miss a chance to spend time with the storks on Margit sziget--in late April they're on their nests, and I'll be there in mid-May so will see the chicks. The area around St Stephen's basilica is interesting to explore, and there's a great shop for souvenirs nearby called Memories of Hungary if you want quality items all made in or from Hungary. You plan to spend some time at the Spring Festival in Vorosmarty ter and that's right near Vaci utca, a pedestrianized shopping street.

Posted by
9305 posts

I will give you a quick start, then as i find time I''ll give you some other ideas

First you need a good map. None better than the maps in the DK Eyetwiness Travel Guide to Budapest

To get use to the city a good start would be:

Your hotel is located behind a shopping mall and a train station on a somewhat drab street. First to the 4/6 tram. Go out the front of your hotel to Vaci ut (not to be confused with the famous Vaci utca) Turn left and walk to the first major intersection. Look to your left and you will see the tram stop in front of the Nyugati Train Station. Go to the stop and find a vending machine. Buy a TravelCard as suggested above or at least buy a 10 standard tickets. The machine takes credit cards (never done that) and bills smaller than 20.000 ft. The travel depending on duration is something like 4.000 to 5.000 ft, tickets are 350 ft.

Get on the tram heading towards the river. Get off at the first stop (you can walk this too, its about 6 blocks). Cross the street up the side street just before the bridge you will see the end of the No 2 Tram line. This is one of the most famous in Europe because of the views. Get on and sit on the right hand side facing forward. Its the end so there is only one direction.

First Destination, the parliament building. Use your pre-purchased tickets for the tour. Tour begins from the tourist office to the right of the main building.

Second Destination (about 3 or 4 stops down the line), the beautiful Danube River Corso. Eat lunch, get a drink, soak it in.

Third Destination is the Great Market Hall (the stop is under an overpass so you will know you are there). Up the stairs and about a block away from the river is the Market. If the Corso was too soon for lunch, eat on the top floor.

Back out to the street in front of the Market Hall. You will see another tram line that runs across the river. Get on a tram running away from the river.

MORE TO COME LATER

Again, you want to sit on the right. The second stop is Astoria, get off and continue walking in the same direction that the tram was traveling. In about 3 minutes you will see the Dohany utca Synagogue. Take the short tour. Its worth it.

Now, continue walking, again, in the same direction, following the tram tracks. In about 5 minutes you will find the end of the tram line. If you go down the stairs by the end of the tram line you will find a tourist office where, if you havent already, you can buy a TravelCard. Now you know why you need one.

From the end of the tram line you can see St. Stephen's Basilica. But thats another day. Walk towards the Basilica and the first large road you encounter is Andrassy ut. The oldest metro line on the continent of Europe runs under Andrassy ut and you need to get on it. At the corner of Andrassy ut, in front a really good Georgian Restaurant you will see the stairs down to the M1. Take the metro to Heroes' Square (Hősök Tere). After that if you are interested in the Bath House, or the Zoo (love the Budapest Zoo) or City Park (really pretty with a lake and boats and .... ) then go one more stop up on the M1.

Now, time to head back. Get on the M1 in the opposite direction and get off at a stop called OKTOGON. Better yet, take the 20 - 30 minute walk and see the mansions and embassies and fantastic architecture as you walk down Andrassy ut. There are 3 stops between Hero's Square and the Oktogon so you can walk a section, then ride a section and walk again if you are tired. But with out a Travel Card each ride will be 300 ft or about $1.50

Posted by
9305 posts

MORE

At the Oktogon you have a choice. Home or more. For home, get on the tram heading to the right if you are facing the direction of your travel so far. The first stop is where you purchased your ticket.

If you still have energy, walk down Andrassy ut (this is the commercial end with all the high end shops and restaurants) then when ANdrassy ends, cross the street and just keep walking in the same direction. You will reach Vorosmarty ter which is about a block from the Danube and the No.2 tram which will get you home. Or you can get back on the metro and take it to the end which is Vorosmarty ter.

Thats the grand tour of Pest; but you missed a bunch. But with this tour you will be confident to go anywhere because you know the basic layout of the city. Now get the guide book, find some points of interest for you and see how they are for the most part on that route i gave you.

Posted by
9305 posts

It sounds a bit complicated, but with a simple map it will all make sense. The trams are the way to go. They have big windows and you can see the town. First choice is obviously the Travel Card. With that you just get on and off the trams and the metro at will. If you are asked, just show it. Otherwise it stays in your pocket. I actually give my guests a neck lanyard with the clear plastic credit card size sleeve at the end. They keep it around their neck and under their shirt.

Second choice is individual tickets. Most metro stops and tram stops now have vending machines. With those you have to validate them at the entrance to the metro platform and on the trams. The validation machine is an orange box. On the metro and the new trams you just insert the ticket and you will hear it stamp it. On the older lines like the 2 Tram you have to put the ticket in and then pull down on a lever to punch a hole in the ticket. Sometimes on a crowded tram, reaching the validation machine can be difficult. Notice on the tram that you will be the only one validating a ticket. Most everyone uses a TravelCard.

Posted by
9 posts

James, is it worthwhile to do a tour of the market hall? Or, is it just better to follow my nose to the good stuff?