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some updates to RS's 2017 Budapest guide

I just got back from 3 weeks in Hungary, and I used (among other guide's) Rick's brand new (April 2017) Budapest guide. The guide is excellent! But even though it was published in April, it was not as accurate about, e.g., admission ticket prices and restaurants, as I would have expected. (The research must have been done a little while ago, of course, so perhaps I was expecting too much.)

Here are some updates that might be useful:

  1. The Great Synagogue in Budapest no longer has all of the ticket options Rick lists. It's been simplified to just one option: 4000 Ft, which includes access to everything (synagogue, garden, museum), permission to take photos, and a tour of the synagogue.
  2. The Synagogue at Rumbach Street is closed for repairs.
  3. The Applied Arts Museum (p. 63) is closing for renovation, as of September 3.
  4. In Eger, you are not allowed to purchase the castle's cheaper "walking ticket" when the museum, etc., are open, but only in the evenings and on Monday, when the musuem is closed. (RS implies you have a choice.)
  5. Also in Eger, Rick's recommended spot for tasting wine in town, Bikaver Borhaz (p. 351), is closed, or to be more precise, that location is now operated by the Petreny winery, so you can still sample great wines there.
  6. In Szeged, which is beautiful, the New Synagogue is closed for repairs. You might be able to arrange a guided visit during the closure, however.
  7. In Pecs, the first restaurant (p. 385), Egylet has been replaced with the Balkan Bizstro, so there's still a (good!) Balkan restaurant in that location, but it no longer has the "long list of Hungarian microbrews on tap". And the second restaurant, Jokai Bisztro, is gone.
  8. In Sopron, the New Synagogue can be visited and is currently home an exhibition on 19th and 20th century Jewish residents of Sopron, especially those who died in the Holocaust.

I hope that's helpful.

Posted by
12545 posts

2.The Synagogue at Rumbach Street is closed for repairs

The Synagogue on Rumbach utca has been undergoing repairs for the last 16 years. When we first visited we looked through boarded up windows and saw the utter destruction on the interior. I was in it about 9 months ago and it looks amazing now; but still incomplete. I am surprised it was closed. The last time we had to go around to the side door in the alley. Open or closed, its an excellent neighborhood to wander through. The architecture ranges from monumental to very personal to profound. The shops, cafes, etc all have Jewish flavor as does the entire neighborhood. One of my favorite places.

Posted by
3 posts

I agree, James, that neighborhood is wonderful! Yes, the synagogue was fenced off and people were working on it. Maybe I shouldn't have given up so easily and asked if I could peek inside. (As I probably also should have done at the closed Szeged synagogue.)

I'm surprised that you say it's been closed for so long because in the guide book, Rick gives opening hours for it and says that it's "due for renovation," or something to that effect, but implies it was open at time of research.

Fingers crossed that it's open next time I go! Thanks for sharing your experience.

Posted by
16866 posts

Thanks. I'll pass on these notes. My copy of the book says that the Synagogue at Rumbach Street "may be closed for renovation." I might also interpret that as "may finally be open after renovation," if it's been a long time coming.

Posted by
12545 posts

They have been working on it for over a decade, but a little here and a little there as funds became available. Despite the work it was open each time we visited (maybe 6 times over the years). I would imagine when they scaffold to do the dome it was closed, and other similar times, but we just didn't see it. Maybe something similar was going on when you were there. Google photos of the inside, it's magnificent.

Posted by
14404 posts

Thank you for taking the time to post. I'll be in Budapest, Szeged and Pecs next month.

Posted by
12545 posts

Sent you a link to some photos of the inside of the Rumbach synagogue (and outside). Beautiful place.

Posted by
3 posts

Jeremy,

I really liked all three, but I'd recommend Pécs over the other two. Sopron and Szeged I would rate about the same, but they're quite different from each other, so it depends on what you're interested in. Of the three, Szeged is closest to Budapest (2:22) and probably the only one doable as a day trip. (I visited Sopron while I was staying in Györ; and I stayed overnight in Pécs.)

Mark