I'll be in Budapest for a day and a half. Been there before, but only time enough for a quick city tour and about an hour in Buda. I want to spend my time wisely. I'd like to go back to Buda, but also want to see other things. What do you recommend? Also, any good restaurants? Thank you!
The link is missing James!
That's a real challenge only a day and a half. What time of year are you going? The first thing I would do is check the website of the StateOpera House and the Liszt Music Academy to see if there's any performance on. Both of these halls are beautiful the Opera House is especially sumptuous, but I've a special place in my heart for the Liszt and its mosaicked lobby and the energy of the music students suffusing the space and Hungarian musicianship is second to none. In a day and a half, you need to stay really central. I would: Take the #2 tram along the waterfront visit the great market hall walk Andrassy up to Heroes' Square, with a stop at the Muvesz cafe in the block immediately north of the Opera House. visit the Museum of Applied Arts both for the beautiful architecture of its building (outside covered with Zsolnay rules, inside, a Moorish court some fencing scenes in the English Patient were filmed here, so it will look familiar even though it's exotic! it's far as restaurants, Liszt Square or Raday Utca are fun; it's been a few years since I've been, so you'll need a more up-to-date source for recommendations. #1 priority: spend some time along the embankment in Pest when the Chain Bridge and Castle are illuminated at night. It's one of the most beautiful sights in Europe, I think! Have a great time.
Lynn Only one day and a half? Come early, stay late, enjoy life! Okay, you win. Here is a link to a 5 day plan for Budapest. You could choose one and a half days out of the plan. Also on the right is an excel file with a list of the most notable restaurants in town. Budapest has excellent food. Then there is a PDF on the right called "The Guide" which has some more restaurants including those with various forms of entertainment. Go to the Opperet or the Opera if you get the opportunity. Budapest is about the music as well as the food. The same page has a link to a very good guide if you want to go in that direction. Finally be sure to buy Rick's book. Very well done! http://budapestflat.shutterfly.com/fivedaysinbudapest
Thank you KIM Oh, and in June the Liszt Music Academy was still closed for renovations. I'll be back in a couple of weeks and check again. I like the Operett Theater. A lot of the performances are subtitled in English or sometimes German. The performance are first rate. The theater is lovely and if you purchase a box seat they have a reception for the box seat holders at the intermission. Like most of the theaters in Budapest 75%+ of the guests will be locals from every age and economic group. They all get dressed up in their finest and make a night of it. Its a great event to be a part of. I prefer this a thousand times more than Prague or Vienna where most of the performances are filled with nothing but tourists. Unfortunately this trip everything at the Operett we have already seen (we've been a lot). My two favorite productions so far have been The Wedding Dance and Mozart! but we havent seen a bad production. Well, Ms Siagon was a little racey and i had my daughter with us...., but it was still good. This trip we are going to the Opera to see Carmen. After the theater I like Callas Cafe next to the Opera House. Its not the absolute best food in town but it is very, very good and its close, easy and carries the theme of elegance from the theater. If the weather is good we sit outside on Andrassy ut and watch the people go by. Oh, and they have live music; and Budapest is all about the music. If you make a reservation just tell them you will come after the performance and they will know to wait for you. That same website has links to a lot of the major venues in town.
Thermal baths (Szechenyi) were the best highlight of my recent visit to Budapest. Get a cabin, stash your stuff, and soak your cares away. It's open early and also into the evening - would be amazing experience at night looking at the stars. The House of Terror was a great museum, but do yourself a favor and get the audio guide (I did not and wished I had). Ride the metro, especially the yellow line out to Szechenyi). Also, check the Opera website for cheap nosebleed seats (worth $5 to see the production, even if you leave at intermission). I enjoyed a fine meal at Menza (Liszt Ferenc ter 2, District VII) near the opera. Ask the waiters about their shoes, they model the latest styles from a popular Hungarian shoemaker.
Actually there are usually 500 ft tickets which is about $2.25. Box seats are about $60. One of the worlds great bargains.