Budapest Journals

Best of Budapest

Best of IgoUgo

A January 2004 trip to Budapest by SaraP

Memento Statue Park Photo, Budapest, Hungary More Photos
Quote: Beautiful, intriguing Budapest -- to the visitor, an odd mix of modern Western-style luxury somewhat at odds with more simple traditions of its Eastern European roots and grimmer Soviet past.

Best of Budapest

Best Of IgoUgo

Overview

Parliament across the Danube Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
Freed from their Soviet masters for approaching 15 years now, the Hungarians are trying hard to enjoy their autonomy. The so-called "Paris of Central Europe", Budapest is a buzzing, busy capital city of c2m people, split by the river Danube (not very blue to my eye) into two distinct regions: Buda on the hills to the west and the more commercial Pest, set on a large, sandy plain to the east. Quick Tips: Obvious "sights" to aim for are Castle Hill, with most of the key monuments and museums (and therefore tourists) and a magnificent view of Pest across the Danube including a great shot of the Parliament building, next to the river. The walls of the Castle district contain two ...Read More

Mercure Budapest Nemzeti 3m

Best Of IgoUgo

Hotel | "Mercure Nemzeti"

Quote:
Hotel Mercure Nemzeti is a four-star hotel on the Pest side of the city, on Blaha Lujza square and 30 seconds from BL metro station (on M2, the red line). It's therefore well situated for walking to the Jewish area and St Stephen’s Basilica, and onward on foot to the Parliament and Danube if you’re feeling energetic (or metro to the Buda side if less so -- four stops on M2 metro line to Batthyany ter). Reception is efficient and brisk and offers currency change services, fax and a safe, as well as providing maps and information should you need it – booking rooms by email was also very competently managed. The hotel apparently has 76 air-conditioned rooms, which seemed clean and freshly painted...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 24, 2004

Mercure Budapest Nemzeti 3m
JOZSEF KOERUT 4
Budapest, Hungary 1088
36-36-4772000

Papageno

Restaurant

Quote:
This is a very smart little bistro, nearby to Astoria, but far enough off the main drag to avoid being inundated with tourists. It has only about 10 tables and seems very popular with locals as well as a few visitors. There's a modest (with a choice of probably 6-8 starters and main courses and 4 desserts), but excellent menu plus daily specials chalked on the board. Food is mainly Italian (with a few French influences) in style but with some interesting twists such as carpaccio of salmon with tangerine marmalade (which was very pleasant indeed though the relish was entirely unnecessary) and fettucine with langoustine and basil, which sounded most odd but worked an absolute treat. On arriva...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 2, 2004

Papageno
V Semmelweis u.19
Budapest, Hungary
485 0161

Rivalda

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant | "Rivalda Cafe and Restaurant"

Quote:
Rivalda is up on Castle Hill, right next to the Sandor Palace on the left and the National Dance Theatre on the right and a stone’s throw from the funicular entrance. Unless you’re staying up here, you’re unlikely to come here for dinner, but they do a cracking lunch menu too (in fact, they are open all afternoon for whenever you’re feeling peckish). It bills itself as serving “creative, contemporary cuisine in the casual-chic restaurant or charming centuries-old cobblestone courtyard”. There was snow on the ground and a nip in the air when I ate there so I can’t attest to the latter (though its publicity material shows comfy cushioned chairs under sun-parasols with wicker tables) but certain...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 2, 2004

Rivalda
Szinhaz utca, 5-9
Budapest, Hungary 1014
+36 1 489 0236

Memento Statue Park

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Tonnes of Statues - Szoborpark"

Memento Statue Park Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
Part gallery/part park/part monument - the ultimate slapdown for proud Soviet history - a park housing 42 statues and friezes saved when the Soviet regime fell and now set out in an open-air museum. The exhibits range from a colossus of a muscled sailor striding forth, shirt wide open and red flag clutched in his fist and proudly flying, to a frieze of townspeople including family, little old lady and courting couple, to the usual stern Lenins and Marxes. On arrival you pass through a pseudo-classical gateway to the ticket desk and a bescarfed-woman behind the desk jumps up and switches on some stirring Soviet marching museum to get you in the mood. Then into the park -- past statues ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 25, 2003

Memento Statue Park
Bathori utca, 22
Budapest, Hungary 1054
+36 1 424 7500

Orszaghaz

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Orszaghaz - the Gothic Parliament building"

Orszaghaz Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
Semi-reminiscent of London's Palace of Westminster, this is another of Budapest's must-sees. It's enormous (spreading for 268m along the eastern, Pest bank of the Danube) and very attractive indeed from the outside; inside is a warren of corridors and chambers, mosaics and marble. As you'll see from the photo at the overview entry above, it's a flat-fronted symmetrical brown building with what seems like hundreds of spires and spikes. In niches all around the edges are 88 statues of Hungarian leaders; the dome on top of the building is 96m tall -- construction began in c1885 and the whole affair is supposed to have the country back 38m gold forints. Not long after it was finished, the conc...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 14, 2003

Orszaghaz
Kossuth Lajos ter
Budapest, Hungary

Gellert Baths

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Warming through at the Gellert Baths"

Gellert Baths Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
The Gellert Baths at the Danubius Hotel Gellert (in the Gellert-Hegy area, opposite the market place and Szabadsag, raven-topped bridge) are a must. Probably Budapest's most famous and almost certainly the most beautiful and elegant, they comprise indoor pools, thermal baths, an outdoor wave pool (summer months only) and all kinds of treatments (mudpacks, massages, facials, pedicures, etc.). Budapest has been a spa town since the Turkish occupation, its waters valued for their medicinal qualities. Medicinal or not, one of my favourite memories will always be sitting in the warm thermal waters whilst gazing up at the stained glass ceiling with a flow of warm water beating on my shoulders and swimming...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 23, 2004

Gellert Baths
Kelenhegyi ut, 4-6
Budapest, Hungary 1118
+36 1 466 6616

Museum of Applied Arts

Attraction | "Iparmuveseti Muzeum (Museum of Applied Arts)"

Museum of Applied Arts Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
If for no other reason, you need to wander past this museum for the absolutely fantastic exterior (see photo below) with the classic coloured tiling and golden topping. (By the by, thinking along the same architectural lines, just a couple of streets away on the river is the Great Market Hall – giving over to splendid views across the Szabadsag bridge to the Gellert Spa Hotel and the Liberation monument up on the Gellert-Hegy Hill, which also has a magnificent funky tiled roof and is worth a nip inside for the wrought ironwork fruit and vegetables and meat stalls inside, some of which are strung with red chillies and chains of garlic.) The Applied Arts Museum is somewhat off the main drag, but...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 3, 2004

Museum of Applied Arts
Ulloi ut 33-37
Budapest, Hungary 1091
+36 1 217 5222

Castle District on Castle Hill

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

St Stephen with Fishermen Bastion backdrop Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
If you only have one afternoon in Budapest, it should be spent in the Castle District on Castle Hill. Most of the key monuments and museums (and therefore unfortunately tourists) are here, alongside a quite magnificent view of Pest across the Danube to the Parliament and beyond (see photo below). The District is contained within walls and is split into two fairly distinct areas, namely the Old Town and the Royal Palace. The Old Town is charming -- painted houses, decorative churches (chief of which is St Matthias or Matyas) and the Fishermen's Bastion (again, great for views although there is an additional charge to go up there and the view is not so very much improved -- you may be better sp...Read More
The magnificent Dohany Utca Synagogue  Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
This area is mainly residential but it's worth exploring both for the fine 19th century buildings and also the rich (and often chilling) history of what was not so long ago the Jewish ghetto. The area's resurgence is thanks to the 80,000 strong Jewish population of Budapest and the ties it has formed with international Jewry and organisations such as the Emmanuel Foundation fronted by Tony Curtis who was born of 1920s Hungarian emigrants to the US. There are kosher restaurants where orthodox Jews meet and Yiddish is spoken, and food shops with interesting produce if you're in the market for a picnic -- look in particular for the cakeshop "Frolich" at Dob utca and the butcher's shop at no 41. ...Read More