Budapest Journals

A Magyar Experience

A May 2005 trip to Budapest by Webgoddess

Castle District Photo, Budapest, Hungary More Photos
Quote: Undoubtedly the brightest jewel on the Danube, Budapest is located on the Danube River and is home to one-fifth of the country's 2 million inhabitants. Budapest was created in 1873 from the separate towns of Buda, Pest, and Obuda. Nine quaint bridges connect the two sides.

A Magyar Experience

Overview

Pest Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
A trip to Budapest is not complete without a visit to the Buda Castle, the Royal Palace, the Castle District, the Fishermen’s Bastion, and the Matthias Church. Use the Funicular to descend from the hill to Chain Bridge (Lánchíd, or save yourself the walk uphill and take it on the way up). It costs about each way. Walk over the Chain Bridge to the other side of the Danube – you are now in Pest. The Vaci Utca is a charming shopping district in the Pest side of the city, and definitely worth the visit. Quick Tips: Beware of unscrupulous waiters anywhere there is a tourist menu, as they often inflate the bill.Best Way To Get Around: Mass transit tickets are valid ...Read More

Ibis Budapest Vaci Ut

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Hotel | "Ibis Vaci Ut"

Quote:
This hotel was formerly known as the Volga. It's located in the business district on the Pest side of the city, and only a short ride on the underground to the Vaci Utca shopping area. I wish we had stayed somewhere else. The accommodations were sparsely furnished but adequate. The beds, though, were very small and extremely hard, and the air-conditioning was turned completely off every time we left the room. The advertised 7/24 food service was a misrepresentation, as the kitchen closed at midnight (and only the most meager snacks were available at the bar up until midnight). There was no room service. The hotel's only restaurant was really a cafeteria, and the food was not very good. ...Read More

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on August 3, 2005

Ibis Budapest Vaci Ut
DOSZA GY UT 65
Budapest, Hungary
36-36-3290200

Karpatia

Restaurant

Karpatia Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
The atmosphere is traditional Hungarian, complete with gypsy musicians. Different rooms have handpainted walls, fantastic gold coverings, and Gothic arches. The inner rooms are painted with depictions of battles and knights in the Romantic style. In the brasserie, there are beautiful stained glass windows.

This restaurant offers Transylvanian and Hungarian cuisine with dishes such as crisp roast goose leg and a range of soups and stews.

We found the food to be overpriced and ordinary, compared to comparable restaraunts in the city, but the atmosphere almost makes up for it. Dinner for two with a bottle of wine is $150.

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on July 13, 2005

Karpatia
Ferenciek tere, 7-8
Budapest, Hungary 1053
+36 (1) 317-3596

Belcanto Etterem

Restaurant | "Belcanto"

Quote:
Situated just across the way from the Opera House, the main feature of this restaurant is the fact that every evening at 8pm, the waiters put down their plates and napkins and burst into song. The repertoire is classical music from the last century. A very high-ceilinged room allows space for a balcony from where the view is not as good as from down below, but you will at least be able to converse over the background of opera tunes. The coffee cream walls and white linen tablecloths are elegant and understated. The dishes have themed titles such as Tournedos à la Rossini, Opera steak and Belcanto salad. I enjoyed the Tournedos à la Rossini, which was a wonderfully tender filet topped...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 13, 2005

Belcanto Etterem
Dalszinhaz Street 8
Budapest, Hungary 1061
+36 1 269 3101

Fatal

Restaurant

Quote:
Tucked away amidst the Vaci Utca shopping district is a wonderful place to enjo lunch, especially if you've worked up a healthy appetite. With no knowledge of Hungarian, the name 'Fatal' on a restaurant's door might make you think the chef was poisoning the soup. Fatal actually means 'wooden plate', on which many of the dishes are served. Portions are extremely generous and reasonably priced. Pork knuckle and a sliced beef dish named after Brassov in Romania costs HUF 1080. Cabbage stuffed with minced meat and rice is a traditional Hungarian dish, while fried cheese keeps the veggies quiet. Traditional fish soup from Szeged costs HUF 1190, and trout is HUF 1690. Half a ro...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 13, 2005

Fatal
Vaci utca, 67
Budapest, Hungary 1052
+36 1 266 2607

Fresco Café és Restaurant

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Restaurant

Fresco Café és Restaurant Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
Our first meal after unpacking and zipping downtown on the Metro was at a lovely restaurant overlooking the Danube River named Fresco. The restaurant is located in one of Budapest’s most beautiful squares, near to the Pest Concert Hall. The place is extended with an exceptional terrace from May to October. The menu includes Hungarian specialities, international cuisine, and Japanese sushi as well. Who ever heard of sushi in landlocked Budapest? Although I was a bit leery, it was very fresh and totally wonderful. After a very filling meal made up of sushi appetizers and a Hungarian dinner for each of us, we lingered over a delicious apple strudel and cappuccino. The goulash with spaetz...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 26, 2005

Fresco Café és Restaurant
Vigadó tér 3
Budapest, Hungary
+36 (1) 266 20 10

Castle District

Attraction | "The Castle District"

Castle District Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
The Castle District is one of the most romantic pedestrian sections in Budapest. A medieval little town with atmospheric streets, picturesque houses, gas lamps, and beautiful monuments. The main street of the district--Tárnok Street--ranges from Dísz Square to today's district centre, Matthias Church. Colourful little houses border the square and the neighbouring streets. The medieval street network remains unaltered and although most of the buildings have been thoroughly restored (the war damage was severe) many retain their original features. You will be able to see the remains of the Dominican monastery; the Plague monument outside Matthias Church (Mátyás Templom); walk ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 13, 2005

Castle District
Castle Hill
Budapest, Hungary 1014

Royal Palace (Buda Castle)

Attraction | "The Royal Palace"

Royal Palace (Buda Castle) Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
The Royal Palace is situated on the southern part of Castle Hill. The medieval palace that stood here was destroyed during the battles against Turkish invaders, leaving only the fortified walls as a memento. The site was then filled in to lay the foundations of the new grandiose Baroque palace started by Maria-Theresa and expanded on Hungarian initiative in the 19th century.

The Palace itself was gutted during the Second World War. Today, it hosts several distinguished institutions: the Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest History Museum, National Széchényi Library and the Ludwig Museum.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 13, 2005

Royal Palace (Buda Castle)
Castle Hill
Budapest, Hungary 1014

Hungarian Parliament Building

Attraction | "Parliament"

Hungarian Parliament Building Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
The Parliament is largest building in the country and sits on the Pest side of the Danube and was constructed between 1884-1902. It has 691 rooms, is 268m long, and its cupola rises 96m into the air. The inspiration for this building is said to have been the Palace of Westminster in London. The staircase is embellished with fine frescoes by Károly Lotz and sculptures by György Kiss. Since 2000, the general public has been able to view the Hungarian coronation regalia here: St. Stephen's Crown, the sceptre, orb, and Renaissance sword. Like so much along the Pest bank of the Danube, the best views are actually from across the river (especially from Batthyany ter). Guided tours are avai...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 13, 2005

Hungarian Parliament Building
Kossuth Lajos Ter, 1-3 District V
Budapest, Hungary 1055
+36 1 441 4904

Hungarian State Opera House

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Attraction | "An Evening at the Opera"

Hungarian State Opera House Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
Hungarians are a cultured bunch who have not yet succumbed to the Western ideal that going to the opera is a "fairly extravagant" thing to do. A royal box in the majestic State Opera House, for instance, costs the princely sum of $40, while the cheapest seats start at only $5. With an impressive number of decent venues, chances are that whatever time of year you travel to Budapest, it won't be difficult to plan a great evening out. The main season here runs from September to mid-June and includes over 50 major productions, many of which are familiar to opera lovers abroad. For tickets, it's advisable to book a couple of weeks in advance, though cheaper seats are often available at the ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 14, 2005

Hungarian State Opera House
Andrassy Ut, 22, District Vi
Budapest, Hungary 1061
+36 (1) 353 0170

Vaci utca

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Attraction | "Shopping on the Vaci Utca"

Vaci utca Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
The pedestrianised Vaci utca is the main shopping street of Budapest. It is filled with shops, cafés, and restaurants. Moreover, there are a few nice Art-Nouveau buildings in the street. For instance, no. 9 used to be an inn (it was rebuilt in 1840 by József Hild), in the banquet hall of which the 11-year-old Ferenc Liszt once gave a concert. Today it houses the Pest Theater. The façade of no.11 is covered with Zsolnay ceramics. Kristóf tér leads to Martinelli tér, where the Art-Nouveau ornaments on the house at no. 5 strike the eye, and behind the baroque façade of the Serviette Church, we can see the beautiful baroque building of the Town Hall (9-11 Városház utca, V). It was built between 172...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 14, 2005

Vaci utca
Vaci utca (from Vamhaz korut to Vorosmarty ter)
Budapest, Hungary 1052

City Park

Attraction | "Varosliget - City Park"

City Park Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
The City Park (Varosliget) is on the Pest side, and is a wonderful place for families and lovers alike to spend an afternoon or evening. You can row a boat out onto the large lake, take a thermal bath, visit the zoo, or the museums. It's home to Heroes Square (Hosok tere), with its monument to the 1956 Uprising and the Millenary Monument that depicts the Angel Gabriel offering Stephen the crown to the Kingdom of Hungary, surrounded by statues of the seven leaders of the original Magyar tribes. The City Park also contains the Museum of Fine Arts, the Palace of Art, the City Zoo, the Szechyeni Bath, and the Municipal Great Circus. Also in the park is the Vajdahunyad Castle, located on an...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 14, 2005

City Park
Hosok tere
Budapest, Hungary 1146

Fisherman's Bastion

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Attraction | "Fisherman's Bastion (Halaszbastya)"

Fisherman's Bastion Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
One of the most identifiable landmarks in the city, the Fishermans Bastion is a relatively new structure. Construction started in 1895 on the designs of Frigyes Schulek. It is situated on the site of the medieval fish market, and the walls are protected by the guild of fishermen that once stood here, hence the name. A Disney-like tower dominates this stone wall with seven turrets representing the Magyar tribes who once populated the country. A majestic statue of Saint Stephen marks the entrance near Matyas Church. This is a lively area both day and night since the area surrounding Bastion boasts gypsy music, a restaurant, wine cellar, and bar and disco. It's a very popular place with ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 3, 2005

Fisherman's Bastion
Castle District
Budapest, Hungary 1014

Central Market Hall/Great Market Hall

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Attraction | "Central Market Hall"

Central Market Hall/Great Market Hall Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
This is an extremely large, indoor, two-story market that houses everything from fresh fish to hand-embroidered linens. Its convenient location near the Chain Bridge on the Pest side makes it a great place to shop when the weather keeps you from venturing outside to Castle Hill or Vaci Utca. It's colorful, noisy, and full of both wares and people. The many sights, sounds, and smells can be a little overwhelming. The local merchants sell their wares from brightly colored stalls and expect you to bicker over the price. You can buy anything from a handmade chess set (personally engraved on the spot), hand-tatted lace, and embroidered linens to a sampler of Hungarian paprika and sausages...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on August 3, 2005

Central Market Hall/Great Market Hall
Fovam Ter, Ix Kerulet
Budapest, Hungary

Mary Magdelene Tower

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Attraction | "Mary Magdelene Tower (Mária Magdolna Torony)"

Mary Magdelene Tower Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
The Magdalen Tower is situated in the heart of Buda and is all that’s left of a Gothic church destroyed here during the allied bombing of the Second World War. Although the existing tower itself is mostly a post-war reconstruction (completed in 1997), the building has a very rich history. A garden of ruins behind the tower portrays the history of the church, beginning in the 13th century. During the Turkish occupation, it continued to hold Christian services for multiple denominations, with the Catholics using the chancel and the Protestants using the nave. Then, like other places of worship in the city, it too was converted into a mosque until the Turks were expelled in 1686, when ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on August 3, 2005

Mary Magdelene Tower
Kapisztrán tér
Budapest, Hungary

Chain Bridge

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Attraction

Chain Bridge Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
Chainbridge (Lánchíd) was the first permanent span across the Danube and was constructed between 1842 and 1849. Ten years earlier, in 1832, Count István Széchenyi began to organize its construction. While visiting London, he became personally acquainted with William and Adam Clark, the builders of the bridge over the River Thames. Completion of the bridge sparked the economic revival that led to the Golden Century for Hungary. It was also a prominent factor that allowed the provincial towns of Pest and Budato combine into a fast-growing metropolis. In 1989, people demonstrated on the chain bridge for freedom and independence. It has since rightly become a symbol of both Budapest and H...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on August 3, 2005

Chain Bridge
Spans River Danube
Budapest, Hungary 1013

Holy Trinity Square

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Attraction | "Holy Trinity Monument (Szentháromság Szobor)"

Holy Trinity Square Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
The Holy Trinity Column, which sits in the center of Szentháromság Square, is the focal point of the Buda Old Town. It sits directly across from Matyas Church. Although it attracts a lot of attention, most tourists stop and sit at the base to rest their weary feet, or take snapshots of the monument without realizing its solemn meaning. I would not have had any idea myself if I had not been within earshot of a group tour whose guide spoke English. What I heard stunned me. This striking alabaster column was erected by Buda's Council in 1713 to serve as a lasting memorial to those who died in the devastating plague of 1691. There were not one, but four outbreaks, and so many people peri...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 3, 2005

Holy Trinity Square
Szentharomsag ter
Budapest, Hungary 1014