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Busapest in 3 days: Is it worth it to take a tour of Parliament

I was planning on taking a tour of Parliament on my second, but as I've read through all the Budapest posts here, I haven't seen anyone mention it. Perhaps I shouldn't bother? It seems like I have to get there early in the morning, then wait for a tour. I have tickets for a ballet at the opera house. I plan to visit Castle Hill, of course. I plan to go to the Great Market I want to go to one of the baths. I'd like to check out the synagogue, especially since it's close to where I'm staying (above the Grozny Cafe)
And I'd like to see Memento Park, too. Am I too ambitious? Should I forget about touring Parliament? Has anyone been?

Posted by
11266 posts

I enjoyed my tour of Parliament, and recommend it. But, I missed seeing it my first day, as the tickets were all gone. So, yes, you should get there early to snag a ticket, then be prepared to kill time waiting for your guided tour. (I remember some tourists who were OUTRAGED that they would have to wait, and that the time THEY wanted was sold out! They actually seemed to think this was some kind of discrimination. I mean, the nerve of some countries. Don't you know who I am???) Your schedule is busy, but not overly crazy; just be prepared to something if you get tied up. Memento Park is outside the center, so it takes time to get there and back (I liked it and think it's worthwhile, but just be prepared for the "commute" time). I wasn't thrilled with Castle Hill, except for the views. But I'd go back to see the underground hospital, which I didn't know about when I took my trip and sounds fascinating. If you actually have extra time, I'd go to the House of Terror - as "pleasant" as its name, but very interesting and thought-provoking.

Posted by
12550 posts

If you want to see a working market indicative to those of the region then the Great Market is good. The best parts in that context are the first floor and the basement fish market. The second floor is 75% tourist goods and 25% pretty typical and authentic Hungarian lunch food. I always enjoy the market. My favorite way to see the Parliament from the water is to take the H5 HEV Commuter train from Batthyany ter (which is served by the M2 metro) to Szentendre (about 30 minutes) http://www.bkv.hu/en/suburban_railway_schedules , then take the water taxi back to Budapest. This way you get to see the lovely tourist community of Szentendre and Budapest from the river. There is always something special about entering Budapest by the water. The water taxi is cheaper than most of the tour boats. The water taxi also tends to be more comfortable as the tour boats with all their glass can turn into steam baths when it's warm outside. On the river taxi you can simply sit on the deck as you drift in. They do a little multi language narrative along the way as well. http://www.hajoallomas.hu/webset32.cgi?MAHART@@EN@@115@@500590616 All together the trip may set you back about 4,500 ft or something less than $25.00.

Posted by
12550 posts

Castle Hill has one of the oldest Coffee Houses in town, the president's palace complete with a sort of low key changing of the guards, some pretty spectacular views, see the old abbey ruins in the Hilton is always interesting as is the courtyard market in the building across the street from the Hilton main entrance, maybe you can get a peek into the US Marine Barracks building, or if it interests you the Hospital in the Rock. Then there are the old wine cellars, the occasional man with an eagle or a hawk, the crafts market, the funicular and the walk down all those great stairs: which by the way could lead you to Batthyany ter where you could hop on the HEV to ...... The Synagogue is well worth the visit and the tour isn't half bad. Listen carefully as she has a heavy accent. The Rumbach street synagogue is just as interesting in a lot of ways. Someone mentioned the House of Terror. This is one of the best museums of its type I have seen. Forget the name, it was an unfortunate choice; even if accurate. And if you do the Synagogue and the house of terror and you are still interested go see the shoes on the Danube and Glass House. With regards to Memento Park I haven't been there, if I did I would take a taxi instead of the bus. The taxi fare from the great synagogue would be something less than 3,500 ft or maybe about $20.00 each way with a tip. They advertise the bus at 4,500 ft, so unless it's a round trip price I don't see why you would ride it. If there are two of you the taxi is actually cheaper no matter what. i've been to Budapest dozens of times and have yet to make it out there. The idea of seeing a lot of statues out of context doesn't excite me.

Posted by
27 posts

Thank you, James, James and Harold for taking the time to reply. A lot of good ideas. I am amazed at the thoughtfulness of people on this site. That five-day itinerary is fantastic info. I think I will stick to my plan and try to do the Parliament tour. And I probably can skip Memento Park.

Posted by
516 posts

We enjoyed the tour of the Parliment. I would buy tickets in advance at their site. Lines were really long to get tickets. Outside is best viewed from a boat.

Posted by
2140 posts

We went to the art museum on castle hill, which has some pretty interesting stuff - probably worth 1 hr. It does have a lot of carved alters from churches.

Posted by
2140 posts

SKip Memento Park? Are you nuts? It's GREAT! It's FUN!! It's STUFFED WITH COMMIE Kitch!! And the House of Terror is 100% must see.

Posted by
2140 posts

Also, if you like Commie kitch, Marxim Pizza Restaurant (look for them on web - google Marxim budapest) has great pizza, reasonable beer, and a funny menu.

Posted by
1068 posts

Agree that "House of Terror" is great. Several of us took a taxi from castle hill to Memento Park. The driver offer to wait (or come back) after an hour then took us back near our hotel. He didn't take any money until he let us off on the return trip. It was about $15 each (with tip.) Public transportation takes longer and is not particularly convenient (my friend did it that way.) I vaguely remember a special shuttle/bus that went to the park I think twice a day. But it involved at least one transfer to get there and (for us) the times didn't work out nearly as well as the taxi....not sure where we looked at this shuttle (if it was a tour book or handout or ????) I enjoyed the park. We did not tour Parliament, but did wander past the front (nice views, scars on building from the Hungarian revolution were across the street etc.) and took a night boat ride on the Danube... which was spectacular.