A travel journal
to Budapest by magyar1
Quote: Following Hungary's accession to the European Union in May 2004, Budapest is growing in popularity as a viable tourist destination. It is one of Central Europe's real gems, with splendid architecture, fine museums, a vibrant nightlife and affordable hotels & restaurants. This journal highlights the best of Budapest!
2. A tour of the Hungarian Parliament.
3. Heroes Square and the surrounding city park. Also nearby are Vidam Park (Amusement Park Hungarian style) and the Zoo and the Szechenyi Baths.
4. Vorosmarty Square (stop for a cake at the Gerbeaud Cafe) and Vaci Utca.
5. The City Market (nagycsarnok) - a real taste of Hungary.
6. Margit Island - in the middle of the Danube and oasis of calm in the heart of the city.
7. Gellert Hill for the Citadel and beautiful floodlit views of Budapest at night.
8. The West End Centre for shopaholics.
9. Take the lift to the gallery at the top of St. Stephens Basillica for panoramic views of the city.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
For a real taste of Hungarian cuisine, visit the Karpatia, Apostolok or (if you have a reasonable budget) Gundel Restaurant. Or for something simple grab a Langos (a speciality bread) at the city market.
Budapest is well known for its outdoor cafes and restaurants along the Duna Korso (Danube Embankment).
Budapest is also a city to stroll in. Avoid driving unless you are familiar with Hungarian drivers!
Hotel | "Taverna"
Buffet breakfast is normally included in the room price and is excellent. To be honest, you can skip lunch after you've tucked into the hot and cold fare on offer.
Service is pretty good and friendly, with a fairly young staff, most of whom speak either English or German.
The hotel is home to one of Hungary's best restaurants, the Gambrinus. Excellent Hungarian food, but a bit pricey (in Hungarian terms) if you have a tight budget. The Zsolnay Cafe (your coffee and cakes are served on the famous porcelain) makes a decent spot for a break. They also do an excellent all you can eat buffet lunch for around HUF 3000.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on March 29, 2002
VACI UTCA 20
36 1 4853100
Hotel | "Hilton West End"
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 1, 2002
Hilton Westend Budapest
VACI UT 1
Don't be put off by the fact the hotel is away from the town centre, as you can travel down each morning on either the Childrens railway (see seperate entry) or the Cogwell railway which is part of the City transport system. The 56 tram stops at the terminus of both railways and will whisk you to Moszkva Ter and its tram/metro connections.
The buffet breakfast that is normally included in the room price is substantial and the hotel also has a good first class restaurant serving Hungarian and international cuisine. The outdoor terrace is a nice place to enjoy dinner and as it gets dark, you can gaze down on the shimmering lights of Budapest.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on April 1, 2002
Rege Utca 21, XII Kerulet
Restaurant | "Karpatia Etterem"
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 29, 2002
Ferenciek tere, 7-8
Budapest, Hungary 1053
+36 (1) 317-3596
Szentharomsag Utca 7
375 52 84
Restaurant | "Regi Voros Postakocsi"
The cuisine here is typically Hungarian with lots of meat dishes, particularly game. However, there are also options for vegetarians too. Menus are multiligual and the waiters understand a bit of English or German. The food here is very well prepared and nicely presented. They obviously have a good brigade in the kitchen at the moment that care about their food.
The wine list is good and will not burn a hole in your wallet. Beer drinkers may wish to try the rather nice local brew Dreher, which is available on draught.
Service here is also genuinely friendly and efficient (sometimes service can be a real let down in Budapest though, thankfully, things are improving), but you are allowed to linger over your coffee and not rushed out at the end of the meal.
Expect to pay around £15-£20 per head $25-$30 for a meal inc. taxes.
If I was asked to recommend a good Hungarian restaurant to people, this one would certainly be on my shortlist.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 7, 2004
Vendeglo a Voros Postakocsihoz
Raday u 15
Budapest, Hungary 1092
+361 217 6756
Attraction | "Central Market Hall"
The Market is a joy to visit, not only to admire the sheer quality and range of food that is available, but also to see a shining example of what a bustling market hall should be. It certainly puts modern supermarkets to shame (visit the Match Szupermarket in the basement to make an instant comparison).
This grand, ornate market hall has been here for over 100 years (when it was first built it was the most advanced market in the world) and was painstakingly restored to its current glory in 1994, after many years of neglect. The range of produce on display is superb, with counter after counter of fresh local vegetables, sausages and other cooked meats, shelves of fiery (and not so fiery) Paprika in decorative tins or presentation packages.
In the basement, you’ll find stalls selling a wide range of pickles and spices (just follow your nose) as well as huge tanks of live freshwater fish. Indeed, when buying your fish, you’ll get a sturdy water-filled polythene bag in which to carry your live purchase home (you can then let the fish spend its last few hours swimming happily in your bath before cooking), ensuring it remains really fresh.
On the gallery level, there are a number of "fast food" stalls offering traditional Hungarian goodies such as Langos (fried dough), Fozelek (vegetable based stews) and Hurka (blood pudding). While these perhaps sounding rather unappetising, they are in fact delicious and very cheap. Langos in particular are fantastic accompanied drizzled in soured cream & cheese or simply rubbed with garlic.
The upstairs galleries are also home to numerous concessions selling various Hungarian handicrafts, including beautiful embroidery, though many items are pretty expensive. Having, you may wish to test your haggling skills to see if you can negotiate a more favourable price.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 5, 2002
Central Market Hall/Great Market Hall
Fovam Ter, Ix Kerulet
Attraction | "Castle Hill"
I would recommend visiting the Castle District early in the morning to avoid the huge numbers of tour groups or a lengthy wait to enter places like the Matyas Templom. It also has to be said that the place is particularly beautiful and atmospheric at night and the Hungarian genius for using flood lights really comes into its own. Coupled with the wrought iron street lamps, the castle district at night is a joy to behold.
Districts II and XII
Budapest, Hungary 1125
For example, a couple of years ago, I was told by one of my cousins that if I had a chance, I should try the weekend buffet in the Budapest Hilton. We visited on the saturday and were soon settling down in the main Hilton resturant, taking in a glorious view of the Parliament across the Danube.
The food was truly excellent, with a selection of around twelve starters (laid out Smorgasbord Style), 6 main courses and a similar selection of desserts including exquisite patisserie. We accompanied this with unlimited quantities of Hungarian sparkling wine (Peszgo) or orange juice. Coffee rounded off the meal. Service, primarily for drinks/coffee was attentive but unobtrusive.
It was particularly nice to notice that it was not just foreign visitors were taking advantage of the weekend buffet as many of the tables were occupied with locals.
We did not book beforehand but in order to bag one of the window tables, you'd be advised to make a reservation a few days in advance.
Details of the Buffets are normally advertised in the "Where in Budapest" monthly magazine, available in most hotels
Many of the new establishments are at the higher end of the scale i.e. 4 and 5 star establishments.
If you are canny, when you research your accommodation, check out the Hotel chain websites as they often have special introductory offers to entice customers (particularly business travellers)to newly opened hotels.
I benefited from this last year when I looked at the introductory offers for the newly opened Hilton West End Center (see accommodation entry). They had a special weekend offer for a 3 night stay (inc. breakfast) that was 50% of the normal rate. Included in this price was a free Budapest travel pass and a complimentary dinner. Things got even better when I arrived as I was given an upgrade to an executive room and a discount voucher book to use in the shopping mall.
I really enjoyed my stay and got exceptional value for money. All this for around 1 hours worth of surfing. So if you are looking for a bargain and a bit of pampring for a good price, take heed!
Horsham, United Kingdom