Budapest Itinerary--Comments please

Jun 5th, 2007, 12:12 PM
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Budapest Itinerary--Comments please

My 13yo daughter and I will be in Budapest for 3-1/2 days. I have worked out an itinerary which looks a little full and I'm seeking input from those who have been to Budapest on how workable it is. All comments and critiques are welcome. Thanks.

Wednesday, July 11—Arrival
Plane arrives 3PM
Check in at hotel 5PM
Dinner and walk around area of hotel (Buda)
Early night

Thursday, July 12—Castle District
Funicular to the top of hill
Hungarian National Gallery and Budapest History Museum (open 10-6)
Matyas Church (open 9-5)
Batthyany Square
Fisherman’s Bastion
Budapest Summer Festival—Flamenco Dancer at 8:30 (Hilton Dominican Courtyard) ($52.70)

Friday, July 13—Parliament Area
Parliament tour—10:00AM (2 hours)
Lunch on the go
St. Stephen’s Basilica (open 9-5)
State Opera House tour (tours at 3:00 and 4:00)
Museum of Applied Arts (open 10-6)
Folkart Centrum (10-7)
Dinner and crash

Saturday, July 14—Around Varosliget (and shopping)
Central Market Hall (open 6-6)
Flea Market (open 7-2)
Museum of Fine Arts (open 10-5:30)
Walk down Andrassy Street
Franz Liszt Museum (open 9-5)
Shop down Vaci Utca
Chain Bridge?

Sunday, July 15
Breakfast/packed up
Great Synagogue (10-2) (is this doable—I really want to see the Synagogue, but can’t go on Saturday for obvious reasons)
Train to Novi Sad (leaves at 1:15—next one isn’t until close to midnight)
Kellye is offline  
Jun 5th, 2007, 12:42 PM
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Hi Kelly

I just got back from Budapest a week ago and we had a great time. It was really hot when we were there so check the temps, it may have cooled down by now.

I don't know whether you've been before but it looks like you've done a lot of research. Although I'd pass on the $53 Flamenco dancer at the Hilton, I think everything else is a possible goal. You may not get to all of it but just start down the list and see what you get done. The easiest way we found to get around where we wanted to go was a hop-on-hop-off bus we picked up at a hotel near the river on the Pest side.

If your 13 yo is at all sophisticated dining wise, you have to go to a restaurant called Tom George right behind the 4 Seasons hotel. The meal was memorable and the place had a very cool interior. We also ate dinner one night at the 4 Seasons and it wasn't as good as Tom George so you can imagine. A real plus is that the Hungarian wines are also very good.

If you want to see pictures or get more info, you can e-mail me at [email protected].
Pugsly is offline  
Jun 5th, 2007, 01:21 PM
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I think it is more-or-less achievable, and I also think it is a bad idea. Too busy, too programmed, no room for serendipity, no scope to react to the mood of the moment. What if it's perfect outdoor weather? There is Gellert Hill to climb, the City Park to stroll, Margaret Island to explore. What about the children's railway, winding through the Buda Hills? I bet a typical 13 year old would prefer that to the Museum of Applied Arts (which I found dull, and I generally like museums).

I suggest you tear up the programme (or even program), jot down a list of ideas, play it by ear, and have more fun.

Make sure you travel on metro line 1 -- it's lovely. Use the trams and get an overview of the city.
Padraig is offline  
Jun 5th, 2007, 01:27 PM
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hi, again, kellye-#

I've also replied to you on your london thread, so forgive me joining in this one too.

from what I gather, your 13 year old DD is quite sophisticated - in which case she might enjoy an actual opera rather than just the tour. It's not that expensive - try - they have an english option, but it sometimes reverts to hungarian which is exciting!

and although I wouldn't say tear up the itinerary, I'm sure you'll be prepared to improvise so that you are not too regimented.

regards, ann

annhig is offline  
Jun 5th, 2007, 01:37 PM
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Hi Kellye,
You have a lot on your schedule, but it does look doable to me. However, I'm not sure if you have time for the Dahony St. Synagogue, though if your train leaves at 1:15. Perhaps you can skip the State Opera tour on Friday, visit the synagogue instead and get opera tickets for that night.

Hope you have a great time!
lucy_d is offline  
Jun 6th, 2007, 05:42 AM
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Thank you for the suggestions. I'm open to skipping some things (or even just stopping in but not spending considerable time if we decide it isn't what we are interested in). I don't know that I'm describe by 13yo as sophisticated, but we are a fine-arts family which is not typical in Alabama. We are headed to Europe for a ballet workshop, after all. I would love to see the opera or the ballet, but neither is in "season" during our visit, thus the flamenco dance as a cultural option in Budapest. I'll consider again and re-post. Thanks.
Kellye is offline  
Jun 6th, 2007, 06:05 AM
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Matyas Church and Fisherman's Bastion are in the same place - so don't split them up as far as going to one early in the day and the other later on.

The Great Synagogue is pretty elaborate - very different from most synagogues which are, ingeneral, much more modest. Reason - the architect was Catholic and only knew how to build Catholic churches, so this synagogue is quite something as far as interior decoration is concerned. Also - there is a graveyard right next to the synagogue - this is normally a no-no. But Jews that died during in the Jewish ghetto, could not be buried anywhere else, so they had to do this. (We learned this on the synagogue tour - which I suggest you take.)

Enjoy Budapest - we loved it. A city very much in transition - beautiful buildings and one's that really need to be restored.

Agree with Museum of Applied Arts comment - a gorgeous building but not necessarily one that you may want to spend much time in as far as exhitibts are concerned.
kenav is offline  
Jun 6th, 2007, 06:07 AM
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Please forgive some of my typos.

kenav is offline  
Jun 6th, 2007, 06:27 AM
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I was in Budapest for a few days in April with my husband and we enjoyed our visit a lot. I have just a couple of suggestions:

Twice in your schedule (first and second days) you seem to indicate that you'll be having an early dinner. I think you will have difficulty finding a decent meal in an interesting restaurant at an early hour. If you're jet lagged (as you likely will be on your first day if you've just come from North America), you might find that you're better off checking in, having a nap and then going out later for dinner (e.g. 8 pm or later). Likewise, on day 2, I doubt you'll be able to find a decent meal in a restaurant so that you can have dinner before an 8:30 show.

Vaci Utca might once have been the main commercial/shopping street, but now it has been overrun by tacky chain stores, shops selling tourist tat and forgettable (overpriced) restaurants. We had better luck on nearby Raday street when it came to finding an interesting cafe and a decent meal.
Kate_W is offline  
Jun 6th, 2007, 07:09 AM
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I last visited Budapest during one of my research trips (I needed 1904 information on the makeup of both sides of the city) which was my fourth visit to the city and country. Do get a look at the interior of the Great Synagogue, and it's museum on the second floor of an adjoijning building. Do not miss the exceptionally unique holocaust memorial in the courtyard...a metallic weeping willow tree, donated by Tony Curtis in memory of his father Emmanuel Schwartz. He also set up a fund for the continued upkeep of the building. The courtyard was boarded up in the last years of the war and served as a holding pen for Jews "awaiting transport" to the death camps.
The last battle for Budapest was fought in winter of '45 between the rapidly advancing Red Army and the Germans who were holding Castle Hill until their final retreat.
Raoul Wallenberg, the young Swedish diplomat who was singularly responsible for heroically saving thousands of Budapest's Jews, was taken by the triumphant Soviets, never to be seen again. Through a unique system of "safe houses" flying the Swedish flags, and by skillful negotiation with Eichman's local staff, he as able to save many more from that dreaded final transport.

There are several very good restaurants on Castle Hill...are you staying at The Hilton? As for Budapest pastry, try the famous Gerbaud's at the north end of Vaci Utca.

Stu T.
tower is offline  
Jun 6th, 2007, 09:08 AM
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Love that history, Stu. Thanks!

So, I'm distilling that I definitely need to go to the synagogue and skip the Museum of Applied Arts. Having dinner late will definitely be an adjustment for us--we usually eat in the 6PM range.

How are these changes:

Switch Dinner and Fisherman's Bastion--maybe a rest at the hotel before the Flamenco program. I had placed Fisherman's Bastion when I did because I was told the view was breathtaking and I thought it would be neat to see it as the sun was lower in the sky.

Keep parliament tour since it is arranged--then go to Synagogue since it is only open until 2 on Fridays, then St. Stephen's Basilica.

Maybe the Opera House is open for a tour on Saturday--I'll have to check. Either skip Vaci utca or lower any expectations of it.

For those concerned that I have too much crammed in--I will drop things from the itinerary if we are tired or overloaded. I've saved shopping for Saturday since that is our last day in Budapest and I know we will want to shop.

Sunday morning sounds like it should be reserved for a bit of a lie-in, breakfast and straight to the train station for our trip to Novi Sad.

Additional comments are still welcome if you think things should be tweaked further. I'm open to the ideas of those with greater experience than I have!
Kellye is offline  
Jun 6th, 2007, 09:43 AM
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Padraig, I'm too much of a planner by nature so I can't tear up the itinerary, but I promise to be open to fatigue, serendipity and the demands of my 13yo! StuT. and Kenav, how long should I allot for the Great Synagogue, memorial and museum? If it matters for timing reasons, etc., we are staying at the art'otel. I've made some changes based on suggestions so open to others!
Kellye is offline  
Jun 6th, 2007, 11:32 AM
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When you visit St. Stephen's Basilica, after you have seen the interior, take the elevator (just outside the front entrance on your left when exiting) up into the dome. Just a few steps will take you outside, where you can walk about the dome and enjoy beautiful views of Budapest. Some of the colorful tile roofs are visible from here that we would have otherwise missed.
Giovanna is offline  
Jun 6th, 2007, 11:43 AM
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About 2 hours for the Synagogue.

Agree that Vaci Utca is a waste of time (to me, anyway).
kenav is offline  
Jun 6th, 2007, 01:46 PM
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Kellye wrote: "Padraig, I'm too much of a planner by nature so I can't tear up the itinerary, but I promise to be open to fatigue, serendipity and the demands of my 13yo!"

Your trip; your choice. I'm not going to get offended!

Let me return to what I suggested earlier, the outdoor stuff. Budapest is a great city for its outdoor life, and I suggest you try to get plenty of it into your visit.

The view from Gellert Hill is great.

There is some good shopping on the Grand Boulevard. After your visit to the Synagogue, walk the Grand Boulevard to Octogon (the intersection with Andrassy ut) and you can check out the shops than many locals use, then down Andrassy ut by the Opera (check times for visits/tours) to Vorosmartry ter and thence to Saint Stephen's.
Padraig is offline  
Jun 6th, 2007, 03:16 PM
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I agree with Kenav...2 hours will do for the Great Synagogue...including the museum attached.

Stu T.
tower is offline  
Jun 6th, 2007, 07:25 PM
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Thanks for the feedback. Budapest is pencilled in, London is pencilled in, now for Serbia (for which there is a dearth of good info--which is why I researched the others first of course!).
Kellye is offline  

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