Lives in Venice, Florida
Since Nov. 2010
35-49 year old female
It is probably the first word you learned.... "LOOK" that is the most important thing for me during travel. I try to take in as much as possible, however, I am usually the one with a map in one hand and our daughter in the other. I would not have it any other way. For us a must is to hang with the locals, not much into touristy spots, First trans-Atlantic flight at age 4, and I have not stopped since. Many, many years later.
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Architectural Buildings, Historic Sites, Sacred & Religious Sites
Points of Interest & Landmarks, Historic Sites
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Historic Sites, Spas, Thermal Spas
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Scenic Walking Areas, Points of Interest & Landmarks, Bars & Clubs
Historic Sites, Monuments & Statues, Points of Interest & Landmarks
Architectural Buildings, Castles
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Coming in from Vienna, via train this is most likely the place you will be arriving. If you opt for the train from Vienna, look on http://www.oebb.at/en/. (Train was under $30 per person, including the Vienna City Card, I know they have a Budapest Card, not sure if you can get with a train ticket) If you opt for the train, take the train thatwould drop you at Keleti pu aka Eastern Rail station. There is a Metro Line right under the train station, Metro 2 (red line)
If you opt to come by car from Vienna, this would be one of safest parking garages. For parking, I suggest Mammut Bevasarlo Kozpont aka Mammut Mall. Located at Budapest, Lövőház St 2, 1024 Hungary. (1024 is like a zip code. The second and third number (02) depict the “district”. Numbers go from 1-23) http://www.mammut.hu/lang/en/ From Mammut, you want to go just across the street (to the right) to Szell Kalman Ter aka Kalman Szell Square. (In HU, the sir name is used first. Ter = Square) If you opt for the train, take the Metro or Tram 4/6 to Szell Kalman Ter .... This is where I will start the itinerary for the day. At either of these Metro Stations, you can buy public transport tickets, aka Jegyek http://www.bkk.hu/en/prices/ YOU WILL NEED THEM, & VALIDATE THEM Fines are hefty, not worth it since the ticket is so cheap, 1650 Huf for the day, about $7.00 Szell Kalman Ter, pka Moszkva Ter. Very typical communist era look to the square. At the far end of the Sq, you will see a set of stairs leading up the side of the hill. Take these stairs and you will see a smaller than regular bus, #16 or 16A. It will also have a picture of a castle on the top of the front. This will take you up to the Castle District, aka Var Busz.
You want to get off at Szentháromság tér aka Holy Trinity Sq. it is the 6th stop. (NOTE**- if there is no one wanting to get off, or no one to get on at a stop, the bus will not stop. So counting is not exact. They are pretty good with letting you know which stop is next)
At Szentháromság tér, is Matyas Templon aka Matthias Church. http://www.budapestbylocals.com/matthias-church.html Walk around the front towards the Danube aka Duna (this river actually divides the City into 2. Buda, being the green side, and Pest, the city side).
At the front of the Church is Halasz Basztya aka Fisherman’s Bastion. This has amazing views of the city. It now costs to go to the top, but only a few bucks. What you see from up there, can also be seen from just under the stairs.The amber glassed building is The Hilton hotel. Great reflection photos there. The Parliament is located right in front, great photo op. In the courtyard between the Church and the Bastion, you will see a statue of a King on a horse.
This is Szent Istvan aka St. Stephen. He was the first king of Hungary, and brought Christianity to the country, hence getting Saint Hood. Once done here, go towards where the bus dropped you. At the street turn left. If you need some munchies, there is a small local grocery on the right side of the street, in summer we would get cheese, bread tomatoes and have a picnic in the park.
On to the Var aka Castle. Keep walking straight up the street, and it will lead you right to the Castle. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buda_Castle Inside is an Art Museum. Walk around the outside again the side facing the river is breath taking.
When you are ready to leave, you can take the Sikló aka funicular to Clark Adam Square. A one-way ticket is 900Huf/550Huf, adult/child. Round trip is 1500Huf/1000Huf adult/child. You can walk down, but the Siklo is a fun alternative.
From there, you can walk the Lanc Hid aka Chain Bridge to the Pest side. Great photo op..(Story goes, when this bridge was built, the guy who built it was so proud, he said that if they found anything wrong with the bridge, he would jump off the bridge and kill himself. Well take a look at the lions. They have no tongues, not sure if he killed himself or not.) Ok, for the Pest side.. First off, straight ahead of the Lanc Hid is the Gersham Palace. It’s now a Four Seasons Hotel, once a family residence. Nice digs.
As you come off the bridge, turn Right. Walk along the river. Again, great photo op of the Castle you just visited. Keep walking and on your Left, you will see the Vigado this is a performing arts hall. Here is Vigado Utca aka Vigado Street when you get here, turn Left. Walk up this road until you get to Vorosmarty Ter .
It is a large open Square, during the Christmas holidays, there is a Christmas Market going on. Cool little stalls selling lots of stuff. You should try the Forolt Bor aka Boiled Wine (with cinnamon and spices). Sult Kolbasz aka cooked sausage. Definitely try the Kurtos Kalacs aka Chimney Cakes, they have to be made fresh and hot. Also look to try some Langos aka fried dough, get it with cheese, sour cream garlic. Yum. In the summer it is a fun place to people watch and get some ice cream.
There is also the Gerbeaud Café to very left of the Sq. It’s ok, not the best cakes in town, that is yet to come. But definitely worth a look inside.
From here, walk up Vaci utca aka Street, pedestrian only. Kind of like the 5th Ave. of Budapest. There is a Hard Rock Café just at the beginning of the street, if you are craving some American food. But more restaurants are coming. There are lots of gift shops along the way, but Don’t do it… better prices yet to come.
Keep walking up Vaci utca, you will come to a main rd. Kossuth Lajos Utca to your right will be Erzsebet Hid aka Elizabeth Bridge. Just cross the street, and the Vaci utca continues on the other side.
Lunch time … along this side of Vaci utca, you will find many restaurants. There is a good one, about ¾ way down, called Fatal, aka Fa= Wood, Tal=plate, Wooden Plate, not fatal. Authentic HU cooking, HUGE portions, severed on a large wooden plate. If you are not up for this much food. Keep walking.
You will come to another main road, Vamhaz Krt. To the right again, the river, this bridge is the Szabadsag Hid aka Liberty/Freedom Bridge.
On the other side of the bridge is Szt. Gellert Ter and St.Gellert Hotel. To the right of the hotel is Szt. Gellert Hegy aka Saint Gellert Hill. (This hotel has one of the many many thermal baths in HU. If interested, entrance is up the little road between the Hill and the Hotel.) The marble statue is that of St. Stephen like up at the Castle. Legend has it, the hill was named after St. Gellert. He was, I believe a priest, who tried to bring Christianity to the people. They did not want anything to do with him, they put him in a barrel than pounded nails into the outside of it, and rolled him down the hill. Dying a horrible death, the hill was than named after him. Gotta love my people.
If time permits in your trip, you should partake in at least one thermal endeavor in Budapest. You will leave feeling ready and refreshed.
Pretty cool little church called Szikla Templon aka Rock Church, it is built into the side of the hill. Was used as a bomb shelter during WWII.
Ok, back as if we skipped the hill. At the end of Vaci utca is Nagycsarnok aka Great Market Hall. The Hall is very busy especially first thing in the morning, when everyone is doing their shopping. But it is a definite must see. Some cool market stalls set up on the main floor. Here you can have some HU Strudel. As you enter the front of the building, it is located down the Main center aisle. It is called RETES aka Strudel. The best is barackos turos aka apricot with cottage cheese. Trust me on this one. In the basement area, they sell fish usually sold live, and you take it home and do what you will with it, also pickled items. On the top floor, good place to have lunch. Most are Talponalo aka “Stand on your feet” little lunch counter. Again, try the Sult Kolbasz aka sausage, perhaps the Ranttot Hus Szandvich aka breaded cutlet sandwich, usually pretty large. On this floor is where you want to get your gifts. Look around and barter. If you want to get some HU paprika, that is on the main floor. FYI ***The prices of stuff get cheaper the further back into the market hall you go. If you still not had anything for lunch, a few blocks up the road, there is a Leves Bar, aka Soup Bar, think Seinfeld Soup Nazi type place not far from here. If you exit out the front of the market hall, turn Right, and across the street. It is up about 2 or 3 blocks, usually has a line of people waiting to get in. If you opt to skip the soup bar, head out the front door of the Market hall and take either the #47 or #49 tram, towards Deak Ter.(opposite the river) 1st stop is Kalvin Ter, Small, old Kalvinist Church is the corner of the Sq. Not much to see here.
Between Kalvin Ter and the next stop, on your Right, you will see a huge building with lots of stairs, this is the National Museum. Lots to see in there, with a nice little gift shop in the front of the Museum, selling unique gifts.
Next stop is Astoria, if you did not have lunch, and feel like Mid-Eastern food, this is the place. If you get off the 47 or 49 tram, cross the tracks and turn R it should be right ahead of you across the main road. (You might have to do this via underground crosswalk), I can’t remember if it is above or below crosswalk.
Anyway, you want to get off at Astoria. Walk a few blocks in the same direction as the tram was going, this is the Dohany Utcai Zsinagoga aka Dohany Street Synagogue aka Great Synagogue, it will be on your Right. Not that you could really miss it. http://www.budapestbylocals.com/budapest-great-synagogue.html This place is amazing. Well worth purchasing the guided tour. I have never been to any other Synagogue, but the tour I took stated that this is above and beyond what most look like. I do know that when it was built, it was built to outdo the one in Vienna. If you walk around back of the Synagogue, you will see the Tree of Life. Each leaf represents a HU person who was killed in the Holocaust.
There is a street to the Left of the tree, Rumbach Sebestyen utca. Take this street. Stay on the Left side of the road, about ½ way down, on the Right side is the Rumbach Sebestyen Synagogue. If you walk next to it, you could miss it, but it is one of my favorite buildings in the whole city. Touch the outside of the building. The work on it is amazing. I have never had the opportunity to see the inside, it has been under renovation for many many years. It is strange how it just blends into the homes on both sides. This area is also the Old Jewish Ghetto from WWII. I love to stroll here, and actually touch the buildings. If they could only talk.
Continue on Rumbach, S. utca to Madach Imre utca, turn Right. There you will find Gozsdu Udvar aka Gozsdu Yard/Court. Quaint little shops and things to see in there, it is a bit of maze-like in there. Look for Kiraly Utca aka Kings Rd. This has been revamped into a really eclectic little area. Stroll around it is really quaint. From here, you want to head over to Deak Ter. This is as city central as you can get. All 3 Metro lines converge here, just up the street is Vorosmarty Ter/ Vaci Utca, where you started. You will have to cross the main road. There is a small grocery on the corner, and then around the corner there is store that sells postcards and things. This is another good inexpensive place to pick up a few gifts. The Metro can be reached from any entrance to the underground.
From Deak Ter, take Metro 1 (yellow line). This is actually the first subway on the European Continent, parts of it have been restored to original. You want to be heading in the direction of Mexikoi ut, you will get off at Hosok Ter aka Heroes Sq. Wow right… This amazing square has been used in many movie sets ie. Evita with Madonna, the uprising seen was filmed here. The monument itself is very cool. The Horseman statue in the center, Arpad, the guy in the front, he was the leader of the original 7 Hungarian tribes. The other 6 guys are the Chieftains of their tribes. If you look closely, they all have names listed. They settled in the Carpathian Basin around 896 AD. To Arpad’s left are Elod, Huba, and Tas. To his right are Kond, Ond, and Tetenyi. The column in the center is the Archangel Gabriel, holding the crown of St. Stephen. http://www.budapestbylocals.com/heroes-square.html#history On the right and left side of the Sq. are museums, usually rotating art exhibitions.
Go through the Sq and continue walking. Careful, the crosswalk is strange. On your right, you will see what in winter time turns into an ice rink and in the summer you can rent row boats. The castle behind it is called Vajdahyunad Var. This is a replication of a castle located Transylvania (which before the Treaty of Trianon belonged to HU) It depicts different styles of architecture. On the grounds of the castle, is a statue titled Anonymous, very easy to find. It is a nice place to stroll, since you have not walked enough yet.
Opposite the Var is Szechenyi Furdo aka Szechenyi Baths another very famous thermal bath in HU. If you guys do one of the baths, make sure you have flip flop, towel, suits, in that order. They state mandatory bathing caps, but that is not true. Just put your hair up.
From here, you want to take Metro 1 (yellow) back towards Vorosmarty Ter, that is the end stop. However, there is a really unique place I would suggest a stop. It is called Terror Haz aka Terror House. If you decide to stop here, take the Metro 1 (yellow) get off at Vorosmarty Utca aka Street, not the Square, but the street. It is the third stop. The building is located on the same side of the street as you exit, not sure if up or down from the stop. This building was once the HQ for the Nazi’s and also the fascists, aka Arrow Cross, at a separate times. It was used for torturing prisoners. It has almost a ghostly feel to it. I would recommend seeing this. http://www.terrorhaza.hu/en/index_2.html
**Ok, on to happier things… The road you are on Andrassy Utca is considered to be the Champs Elysees of the East. Actually Budapest is used in many movie sets when they are looking to reproduce Paris in the 1920-30’s. During the communist era, most of the roads and Sq. had communist names. Also the city was dotted with many communist era statues, Lenin, Stalin etc. Most of the ones the people did not destroy in 1989, were moved to a park on the outskirts of the city, called Memento Park or Szobor Park aka Statue Park. There is nothing there but the statues it is quite out of the way. http://www.mementopark.hu/ But like I said it is only the statues, and whole site takes about 30 minutes, but about 1hour to get there.** This end of Andrassy ut now houses many Embassy’s. In the olden days, it was home to the aristocrats and wealthy. With most of these building being single family homes back in the day.
A few blocks straight ahead is Oktogon. So named for its shape. When you get to this intersection, to the right is the Nyugati PU aka Western Rail Station. The building was designed by Eiffel, yes the same guy as the Tower. If you want to take a look at it, just hop on the # 4 or 6 tram go 1 stop. It is on your right side. If you want pics, go across the street from it, there is a mall, it has a platform upstairs, good place for photo op.
The tour continues… back to the Oktogon. You want to continue walking on Andrassy Ut the same direction you were headed after leaving the Terror Haz. But you want to be on the Left side of the street. About 3 or maybe 4 blocks up, you will see Parisi Nagy Aruhaz aka Paris Big Store, located at Andrassy Ut #39. This is the place for coffee and cakes. It is called Lotz Café. It looks like nothing from the outside. As you enter, take the escalator up, this is where the bookstore is. They also have a wine shop This also another good place for some gift shopping. The bookstore is also really quite quaint. Selling some unique items. Ok, ok, keep going to up. This is it, the Coffee House. I accidently happened upon this one day while roaming around. It became one of our favorite places. Cakes are delicious, coffee amazing, service not to bad either. The building is what amazes me. The ceiling, the walls, Wow, it is breathtaking. Puts every Starbucks I have ever been in to shame. But even if you don’t have something here, just stop to take a look. http://digitalcosmonaut.com/2013/budapest-alexandra-bookcafe-lotz-terem/
Ok, refreshed and ready to continue on…..as you exit the building go Left. Continue walking, on the opposite side of the road will be the Opera Haz aka Opera House, take a peek inside. Just across from it is the National Ballet. Not as glorious, but still beautifully done. The Opera house has tours you can take. http://www.opera.hu/en/operalatogatas Tour or no tour, we continue on the same direction. If you want, take the Metro 1,(yellow line) right in front of the Opera house, 1 stop to Bajcsy–Zsilinszky út aka um yah, not. Or you can also walk it is only 1 stop. From here you will be at a large intersection, you want to turn Right. Don’t cross the road just yet, so you can get some good pictures.
As you come out of the Opera House, turn right. Continue on and as you come to the end of Andrassy Ut, on the other side of the street, you will see Hachapuri Georgian Restaurant. Good food, good service, (which can be rare in the country) good prices. Can't ask for more than that.
On your left about 1 or 2 blocks up is Szt. Istvan Bazilika aka St. Stephen’s Basilica. This is also worth a look inside. http://www.budapestbylocals.com/st-stephen-s-basilica.html Also take walk around the building. The other side of the building has a large Sq. that you should not miss, great photo op. After visiting here, you can take the Metro 3 Blue line, from the stop near the Basilica, Arany Janos or you can walk back to Deak Ter, it is only 1 stop.
I am thinking that by now, it is pretty close to being dark. In the winter, the sun usually set about 4pm ish. In the summer you will have to wait until close to 9pm. DO NOT leave my city before seeing it all lit up at night. It is breathtaking at night. It is hard to describe in words, and the photos do not do it justice. From Deak Ter, keep walking toward Vorosmarty Ter, where the tour started, keep walking towards the river. Next to the river runs Tram #2. Take this you want to go towards Jaszai Mari Ter, or walk a bit along the river side. When you get to the river, go Right. (same way the tram you need runs). You can pick the tram up at any stop along the river. This is where you will get the most amazing pictures.
If you take the tram, get off at Kossuth Lajos Ter aka Louis Kossuth Sq. This is where the Parliament is located. I think the tram drops you on the back side of the building. Walk towards the river.
This is where the Parliament is located. I think the tram drops you on the back side of the building. Walk towards the river.
As you face the river, off towards the Left is a very unique, touching memorial the Shoe Memorial, it consists of bronze shoes lined along the river. This represents all the people, young and old whom the Nazi’s executed and whose bodies were thrown into the river. It is a somber memorial. There is plaque for it, but it is farther back, and hard to see.
From here, you can either walk to the next bridge, Margit Hid aka Margit Bridge or take tram #2 to Jaszai Mari Ter. Once you get there, you can either walk the bridge or take the #4 or 6 tram over the bridge. However from the center of the bridge, you can get some WOW pics of the Parliament. The tram actually stops in the center of the bridge. Off to Right of the bridge is Margit Sziget aka Margit Island. It is the place to hang in the summer, kind of like the Central Park of Budapest. If you have the energy or time, it is still nice in winter, but pretty cold with the winds from the river. Well guys, this is where we end the tour. However you arrived in Budapest, tram #4 or 6 will work. Either way, you want to continue on over the bridge with the tram. If you parked at Mammut, the tram will stop right in front of Mammut 2. Get off there, and drive safe. If you arrived via train, take the tram to the end, Szell Kalman Ter, and take Metro 2 red line back to Keleti PU, and travel safe. I hope that it was amazing, and that one day you will be back.