3 Full days in Budapest

We will be arriving 6pm friday and leaving on tuesday morning to Vienna in mid-march. Right now sightseeing in the till mid-afternoon and then thermal baths.
Planning 1 day for castle hill(buda side), 2 days for Pest side. Welcoming all ideas for how to break the city down? K&K opera is not available so need another option for hotel along the same lines as K&K

Posted by Paul
Sioux Falls, SD, USA
214 posts

Get a map. We were there in 2011 June. We really enjoyed it: 1) City Market is a must-see. Wonderful stuff, probably overpriced for tourists, but it's all there. 2) We went to Marxim pizza on Castle Hill for pizza. It's a fun place.

Posted by James
Frisco
1766 posts

Too bad about the K&K, it's a good hotel but it's also the location that makes it prime. I don't think there is a better zone for a first time tourist. You might check on the Hotel Pest. It's on the opposite side of Andrassy ut and while a little smaller still quite nice and generally about the same price (i've stayed more than once in each of them). I don't recommend hotels I haven't stayed at so let me make this suggestion (if I haven't already) go to Google Maps or Google Earth and find Andrassy ut. Along Andrassy ut you will find a large round intersection called "Kodaly Korond"; or at least that is the name of the metro stop at the intersection. From that intersection draw a line down the center of Andrassy ut and beyond, until you reach the river. My suggestion would be find a place no more than one block northwest or two blocks southeast (Kiraly ut) of that line. The sweet spot is between the Oktogon ter (an octagonal intersection) and southwest end of Andrassy ut. There is a lot to choose from and I've heard good reports on most of them. There are a lot of inexpensive and nice hotels around Astoria metro station and the Kalvin metro station and they get pretty good press but personally I just don't much care for that end of town; especially for a first visit.

Posted by James
Frisco
1766 posts

As for what to do, go here:
http://budapestflat.shutterfly.com/ at the top is a link to "INFO" follow the link and it will take you to a sample 5 day itinerary that you can whittle down to three. There is also a pdf file called the GUIDE that will help you a lot if you stay in the same general area as the K&K or Hotel Pest; and there are some other useful links for planning things to do. And there are a lot of photos of Budapest, Hungary and Central Europe if you want to poke around. If you see anything you like let me know and I'll be happy to tell you about it. Feel free to send me a message if I can help.

Posted by CL
Salem, Oregon, USA
914 posts

Be aware that many museums are closed on Mondays, so plan accordingly (the RS guidebook offers suggestions about what to do those days, including the baths). Use the metro, it will save your feet. If there's an opera going, it is worth getting the cheap seats in the balcony just for fun (cheap seats = you have to use the side entrance and can't see the main part of the venue, but still worth it). I'd suggest hiring a local guide for walking tour, Peter Polczman is an amazing guide (budapestyourself.com)

Posted by Kay
Minneapolis, Mn, USA
37 posts

Make sure you get to parliament. It is supposed to be beautiful. However we missed it. You can't make reservations, but tour buses can. So the spots fill up and then you are out of luck. Even if you get there before it opens, they often have a sign that says the day is full. Also, there were quite a few sites that simply were closed and have unpredictable hours. So call before you go to make sure they are open.

Posted by Emily
Chicago
256 posts

I've stayed at Pilvax Hotel and I've stayed at Residence Baron Inn, both a short distance from the Vaci utca, with Pilvax being by the Ferenciek ter stop and Residence Baron one stop away at Kalvin ter. The Residence Baron has breakfast included in the price and desktop computers in the rooms-so there's my preference. I've been to the city twice for a total of 7 days and I think I spent maybe a half day in Buda, if that. There's really just so much more of interest in Pest. For 3 days, I'd skip the Statue Park and spend a morning at the House of Terror instead. It's done quite well. From there, it's not a very far walk to Szechenyi baths, which is the better of the two large ones. Gellert is nice if you are close to it. Please do take the guided tour of the Great Synagogue and stick around the Jewish Quarter for some excellent kosher cooking afterwards. I never knew what cholent was or that I liked it until I had Hanna's Kosher Kitchen's version of it.
I like most of the restaurants on Raday utca (near Kalvin ter) and Liszt ter (near Andrassy ut) as well. Easily the best native Central European cooking.

Posted by James
Frisco
1766 posts

If you have a sports coat and you enjoy music then get away from the tourists and go for the best seats you can afford. They will range from 500 forints to about 15000 forints (roughly from $2.30 to $70.00) depending on the day, time, show, etc. http://www.opera.hu/en Another good choice is the Operett Theater http://www.operettszinhaz.hu which has a had full of performances that are subtitled in English. Finally, if you like music check out what is playing at the Palace of Art http://mupa.hu/ and if you are in town on a Friday evening you might enjoy the Klezmer Band at Spinoza's http://www.spinozahaz.hu/szinhaz.php?lang=en Yes, Monday most of the museums are closed. Also if you are in town on the 15th it's a major holiday and some things will be closed but the street entertainment will more than make up for it. Head towards the river and the chain bridge but stay away from red and white stripped flags. For a three day visit do get a three day metro pass, but do not get a Budapest Card. They aren't terrible but unless you go to an awful lot of museums and buy an awful lot of souvenirs in the right stores they just don't seem to be a great deal. But don't spend too much time in the subway, Budapest is a great walking town. Use the pass more for the trams which are great hop-on/hop-off tourist busses (of sorts).

Posted by Paul
Sioux Falls, SD, USA
214 posts

We attended the opera. We bought our tickets at 5:30, and they were the box reserved for the manager - directly facing the stage. $15/seat. We shared our box with a charming fellow doing a solo Europe tour, and with the dumbest couple in the world. They texted during the opera. Fortunately, I was not carrying. The opera was MacBeth, in Italian with Hungarian subtitles. Still, the story of MacBeth is well known, and the sets were great. I really enjoyed it. The opening is wonderful. If you like opera, and don't mind not knowing all the words (or speak the language of the opera or Hungarian), you will really enjoy it.

Posted by Paul
Sioux Falls, SD, USA
214 posts

We did the bath, which was fun but I think Rick is really a little overmuch in his praise. The central market was really great. The House of Terror is a must see - we were there on PRECISELY the 20th anniversary of the Soviet pullout. The restaurants in Liszt Ferenc Park are super. We may go back next summer.

Posted by James
Frisco
1766 posts

If you are interested in the Opera I wouldnt count on being lucky enough to get a decent last minute seat. Here is an example of what is left for the performances through January: http://www.jegymester.hu/eng/PlaceInfo/3/Hungarian-State-Opera-House Generally tickets go on sale 3 months prior to the performance date, keep checkig back and buy as early as possible. Of course, dont even know what you might be interested in. As for the language isssue at the opera buy a act by act summary on Amazon and read up before you leave. House of Terror A+++++++ despite the kitsch name The Great Market A++++++ and if you like that there are a half dozen really great smaller ones with no tourists. Here are a couple of off the wall sort of things to do and see: Hospital in the Rock http://www.sziklakorhaz.eu/en Caving http://location.caving.hu/ Rent a Trabant http://www.rentatrabant.com
The Juice of District 8 http://beyondbudapest.hu/english/tour_juice.html

Posted by jack
Sheboygan, Wisc., USA
927 posts

There are two theatres that have Hungarian a Folk show. We went to the one in Buda and it was outstanding. Id highly reccommend it. Also we bought a 3 day transit pass and used it a lot. Just hop on or off at anytime.

Posted by James
Frisco
1766 posts

No problem Todd. Texans should stick together. Actually I put most of this stuff together to help our rental guests, so its at my finger tips. Feel free to contact me if you need anything.