Budapest Favorites

Mar 23rd, 2015, 10:45 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 161
Budapest Favorites

Short visit to Budapest for 4 nights in May. My bf and I will be staying near the Chain Bridge and planning to split our time in both Buda and Pest areas. I have a few things in mind but appreciate all suggestions. We love art, museums, great views, wonderful dining experiences and I've convinced myself to get over my phobia of public pools so I can try the thermal baths.

Thank you!
tessietoes is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2015, 10:52 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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And what would those "few things in mind" be so we're not repeating you? Or could dispossess you of the desire if they're not worth it?

And what days - museums are closed Mondays?

What actual interests other than art and museums - there are plenty of both but if you're a whole-hearted Stalinist, there are a good number of museums you wouldn't want to visit.
BigRuss is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2015, 11:14 AM
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BigRuss, thanks for entertaining my question. The few things in mind to name a few...

Vaci Utca
Hungarian Parliament, crown jewels
Clark Adam Square esp at night
Opera House
central market hall
The city park
St Stephens Cathedral, neo classical/neo renaissance, maybe climb tower to see panoramic view of city
thermal bath - Széchenyi, Gellert?
Buda Castle, furnicular up to castle hill?
Retrock Deluxe - vintage store
Rózsavölgyi Csokoládé - chocolate shop
tessietoes is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2015, 11:16 AM
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 47
Some other suggestions:

Rudas thermal bath (lots of smaller pools in a Turkish-style setting)
Gerloczy Kavehaz for fine dining
mytravelove is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2015, 11:21 AM
Join Date: May 2003
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We were there last November and really enjoyed out time there; it was just before Christmas and the Xmas markets were up and running.

We did 3 walking tours that were excellent -
We did Communism Tours; The Jewish District and the Afternoon tour.

Some helpful links:
DebitNM is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2015, 12:06 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 316

Let me start with a recommendation for the public thermal baths. Several years ago, on our first trip to Budapest, I was absolutely not going to go to the baths. For all the reasons you probably have. The 2nd time we were in Budapest, my husband wore me down, and we went. Well, I'm a convert. It's an other-wordly experience and now one of the reasons we return every year. I really love the "big Kahuna"---the Szechenyi baths. I can't really say enough about this, except you will have the opportunity to divest yourself of all wordly concerns about yourself and others! Do go. Pack'll be glad you did.

My second recommendation is to go to the opera. It is a beaurtiful opera house, and they do a good job. It looks like they are doing Figaro, Abduction from the Seraglio, Faust in May....of course depending on the day(s) you will be there. The Opera House is gorgeous, and it's a great experience. Tickets sell out, and you can get the tickets on-line and print them out.

Regarding restaurants, I'd have to know a bit more about what you are looking for to recommend. High-end? Rustic, casual?

A bit about the weather....I have always found it to be much warmer than I had anticipated. Actually, I've been over-hot! We are there in mid-April, so May will be warm as well. Don't know where you're coming from, but keep an eye on the weather.

Have a wonderful time,

LisaG is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2015, 12:07 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 316
Whoops! Forgot to add the Terror Museum to my list of recommends. It is a very well-done museum about a tough topic. And it is easily consumed in an hour or two.

LisaG is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2015, 04:22 PM
Join Date: Sep 2005
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Tessie...enjoy. The Hotel Gellert baths are an experience without the massive crowds of a tin of sardines. A few restaurant sugestions: Karily on Buda Hill near Hilton Hotel, New York Cafe (may be called Hungaria Cafe now)on Erzabet Korut for sheer, ostentatious art deco ..but good cafe food and a kick to boot. Gerbauds (Vorosmarty)at end of Vaci Utca for selection of Hungarian Pastries.

Also you may want to take a quick local train ride (30 min.) to artsy Szentendre (St. Andrew) on the Danube, and have lunch at the Vendeglo Gorog closest restaurant to the Danube stone wall...see pix. I would avoid the famous Gundels (if it's still open). In my opinion a rip off.

The Jewish Museum next to the Great Synagogue is an excellent museum of both Nazi and Commie occupations, and the Holocaust memorial metal weeping willow in the synagogue courtyard is one of a kind. Believe it or not, a gift from Tony Curtis in his late father's name. The courtyard was fenced in behind which those selected to be "deported" (to a K-camp!) had to wait without adequate food or water, for the next box car train to certain oblivion. The Hungarian Green Arrow brutal thugs were guilty of more atrocities than the occupying Nazis.

On the banks of the Danube (Pesht side) there is a very poignant reminder of the 100's of Jews and other undesirables who were drowned in the Danube..and the several sculptured pairs of shoes thereon represents those maniacal acts of inhumanity.

The opera house as you've been told, is certainly worth a looksee and attend an opera if on the schedule.
tower is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2015, 04:45 PM
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(above)better known as The Arrow Cross (or Green Arrow Cross)
tower is offline  
Mar 25th, 2015, 10:55 AM
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Posts: 161
Thank you so much for the awesome suggestions on baths, tours, restaurants, operas and museums! Just what I needed

We would like to see an opera and debating whether to see one in Budapest or in Vienna where we're training to next. Either way, planning to visiting both opera house. Do you highly recommend buying the train ticket online now or wait till we get to the train station? It will be in May so not sure if that stuff gets booked up or more expensive as I wait.

As far as restaurants, we are partial to places with some kind of scenery - garden, city views, water views, etc. Lisa, it could be high end, rustic, casual, our budget is open. It doesn't necessarily mean expensive but one that is memorable with really really good food. We won't be spending much time in the room and will be out exploring but most likely spending sunset having cocktails in our hotel room which I specifically booked for the views then go out to dinner.
tessietoes is offline  
Mar 26th, 2015, 01:04 PM
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It's generally less expensive if you book ahead, and booking for Budapest to Vienna opens 60 days ahead of time. Apparently the less expensive seats available on line do see out.

Man in seat 61 offers good information and links on his website:
GinnyJo is offline  
Mar 26th, 2015, 04:00 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 161
Thanks GinnyJo and for attaching the link too. I think I'll book our tix online before we leave - one less thing to worry about.
tessietoes is offline  
Mar 26th, 2015, 09:37 PM
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We were in Budapest in December and enjoyed our tour of the Hospital in the Rock.
fourfortravel is offline  
Apr 17th, 2015, 12:11 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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So sorry for the delay.....our own travel has gotten in the way!

We are in Budapest now as it happens. Just arrived yesterday from Bratislava. Spent the day at the Szechenyi baths and now feel fully re-booted!

My follow-up for restaurant recommendations are as follows:

1) Cafe Kor
located near the Cathedral
Their website says they take only cash, but they will take AmEx. They will also take Euros, and the bill will show the total in both HUF's and Euros. If it's warm, sit outside (and request that in your reservation). Reservations a must.

2) Menza
located on a pedestrian street that is all restaurants (fairly close to the Opera; a good choice if you are attending a performance)

3) Mazel Tov
located in the Jewish quarter. This is one of the best examples of a "ruin restaurant". Great food; stylish and good for drinks.

Enjoy! Let me know if you'd like any other recommendations!

LisaG is offline  
Apr 17th, 2015, 02:34 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 7,165
We a train trip on the Children's Railway on the outskirts of Budapest and really enjoyed it. We took a tram to one endpoint of the train, and from the other took a cog railway and tram back to town.
Florida1 is offline  
Apr 17th, 2015, 05:23 AM
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Thanks so much, LisaG. Will look these up. Glad to hear you love the baths a lot...I'm looking forward to it.

That looks like a fun ride, Florida1. Thank you!
tessietoes is offline  
Apr 17th, 2015, 06:23 AM
Join Date: Jun 2007
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Bookmarking, as we will be in Budapest next month, too.
scdreamer is offline  
Apr 17th, 2015, 06:39 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 316
tessietoes and scdreamer,

You may want to look at my Trip Report of the trip that we are currently on. My husband is writing a blog with pics, and the next posting will be of Bratislava and Budapest.

I'll add the Brat/Bud section to the bottom when he's done, which should be in the next few days. You can check back (or you can actually scroll back through his blog to other trips to Budapest since we've been here several times).

Happy travels!

LisaG is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2015, 10:27 AM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 119
Forget about the Gellért and Széchenyi altogether
There is a much better option visiting the recently refurbished RUDAS bath.

You can enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime view of the city and the Danube from a rooftop pool, soaking in 36°C (97 F) hot water.
The only setback is that the old (500 years) Turkish bath can be visited coed only on weekends. Otherwise it's Mon, Wed, Thur, Fri men only. Tuesday women's day.
However the new section with 4 pools accessible for both sexes, all week long. There is also a Friday and Saturday night bathing as well. Definitely less sardine can feeling of the Szécheny (especially on weekends and evenings) and a Snobbery kindish of the Gellért.
okszi is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2015, 10:29 AM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 119
The Rudas is less than a mile walk from the Chain Bridge area.
okszi is offline  

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