The Box Donut in Budapest

Yesterday I went out to grab a burger at the Burger House near Nyugati in Budapest. As I walked towards Burger House I noticed The Box Donut, a new donut house just next to it, so I grabbed a box of 6 donuts to test it all.

The Box Donut

The Box Donut is a place for those who want high quality at a quite high price. All donuts cost 390 HUF, which is quite a lot more than a donut in McDonalds, but the quality is also very different. All donuts made in The Box Donut are handmade, they are prepared with the best sort of chocolate, they are fried in nut oil and no conservatives and so are used.

What many people find interesting about The Box Donut is that the donuts do not have the typical round shape, but they are shaped a square. You will find the normal vanilla and chocolate donut here, but there are also much more exotic and cool looking donuts available. What about a donut with vanilla cream, chocolate and Oreo biscuits on the top? Or maybe a Creme Brulee donut? There is also a triple chocolate donut available and several donuts in different colors and with all sorts of fillings and decorations.

I bought six donuts and of course I did not manage to eat all six of them, but I tasted them all and liked every single one of them. I will probably not buy six donuts to eat them myself later, but if I walk in the area and want to eat something sweet and combine it with something to drink, this will work out just as good for me as a coffee house or a confectionery.

The Box Donut
Terez Korut 62

What is the currency of Hungary?

One of the most important subjects a blog can write about is money; everyone is interested in the subject and everyone likes to have money, and most of us like it even more if they have a lot of it. Since Hungary is not the largest and most important country in the world, many people ask themselves questions such as where is Hungary, what is the capital of Hungary and of course, what is the currency of Hungary. In our blog we will from time to time simply answer such normal and typical questions, though not with short answers, but with thorough information helping our readers find exactly the information they want and need.

So, what is the currency of Hungary?

The name of the currency used in Hungary is Hungarian Forint, which has been used since 1946. Before that the currency of Hungary was Adópengő, and before that they used Forint (1867-1892), Korona (1892-1918), Pengő (1919-1926) and then Adópengő (1927-1946) before the Forint finally became the currency of Hungary again in 1946. Currently the Hungarians would like to get the Euro as their local currency, so the end of the HUF might be on the horizon, but they have not yet been allowed to get it due to poor economy. But, if the economy starts rising, the Euro might come to Hungary as well in the future, thus making and end to the epoch of the Hungarian Forint.

The Hungarian Forint is often named only HUF which is the abbreviation for the real name, just like the Great British Pound is often shortened down to GBP. Another sign for the Hungarian Forint is Ft, which you can often see on price tags in both stores and on the internet and elsewhere. Earlier the currency of Hungary had a smaller part named fillér, where one Forint was the same as 100 fillér. The last fillér was withdrawn from usage in 1999. After that the smallest coin was the 1 Forint coin (0,0036 Euro or 0,0045 USD). The 1 and 2 Forint coins remained in circulation until 1998, but since then the 5 Forint coin is the smallest still in circulation.

So if you come to Hungary know you can find 5, 10, 20, 100 and 200 Forint coins and 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10000 and 20000 HUF bills. One piece of advice is if you jump on a taxi on the street or pay with larger bills in strange, hidden shops and at markets, is to make sure that you receive money back in Hungarian Forint. Some people we know have paid taxis with a Hungarian 20,000 bill and received back 10,000 Romanian Lei bill (which is worth nothing at all). This is not very common, but it happens, so it is worth watching out.

USD to HUF

If you would like to change your USD to HUF at the moment you can multiply the amount in USD with 225, and you will get almost the exact amount in HUF. This means that if you would like to change 200 USD to HUF then you will get somewhere around 45,000 HUF. It is not that easy with brain math, but if you remember the trick of multiplying with 225 and use the calculator at your mobile that should be of great help.

EUR to HUF

If you come from a European country with EUR (Euro) as the local currency then 1 Euro is at moment around 280 HUF. That is in fact a quite big difference to some months ago, because then you could in the most drastic times of Hungarian economy get 320 HUF for 1 Euro. Beneath this text you can find a graph showing the movement and changes in the relationship between the Euro and the Hungarian Forint in the last two years.

currency of hungary

GBP to HUF

Budapest is a very popular destination for people coming in from Great Britain and there are quite a lot of pubs packed with Englishmen drinking bear and having fun. But to buy the beer you need to have some of the Hungarian currency, and if you want to change GBP to HUF then you should calculate that 1 GBP gives you about 350 HUF. If you then change 200 GBP you should get about 70,000 HUF.

Be aware!

When reading about the conversion from USD to HUF, from EUR to HUF or from GBP to HUF we have the ideal and current exchange middle rates. If you go to an exchange office at the airport they will have terrible rates compared to this, and even though it is not normal with commission rates at the exchange offices, they still have horrible exchange rates making up for the „no commission” sign. The best way to grab hold of the currency of Hungary, the HUF, is to use an ATM either at the airport or in the city center, or maybe by finding good exchange offices where the difference between the buy and sale price is nothing more than 3-4 Forint. You can read more about it this at the Currency page at Budapest Guide where you can also find an online currency converter.

Budapest in December

After a slow and quiet Budapest in November, December once again comes with life and romantic atmosphere to Budapest. The month first of all has to do with the preparations for Christmas as people come to Budapest to visit the annual Christmas market and to buy Christmas present for their loved ones at home. Others come with the company for a pre-Christnas party with lots of drinking, partying, large meals and lots of pre-arranged programs. In general it can be said that Budapest has a lot to offer its visitors in December, and here we will try to give some information about the best hotels, activities, weather, programs, festivals and similar stuff in Budapest in December.

Weather in December

As you pack your suitcase and prepare for your stay in Budapest in December you should be prepared for temperatures around 0 degrees, maybe warmer and some sunshine during daytime, but still a cold feeling to it all. It is often windy in this period of the year, and when the wind is blowing in Budapset in 0 degrees, it is freezing cold, even for people from Nordic nations who are used to cold temperatures. It might be 0 degrees, but it feels more like -15 because of the wind. Make sure to have some warm shoes and socks in addition to your solid jacket and something to cover your ears with. As always we recommend our visitors to check out the weather forecast one day before departure, to get the latest update on what temperatures and weather can be expceted during the stay.

Because of the cold weather and the win, you might want to live in a hotel which is central, but not necessarily along the Danube where it is blowing more than anywhere else. The best Christmas market is located on the Vörösmarty square, so a hotel not far from this is recommend, for example Kempinski (5 stars), Eurostars Budapest Center (4 stars), Mercure Budapest CityCenter (4 stars) or Hotel Promande (3 stars). These are all central and have quite good prices and normally good reviews from their visitors.

What do do in Budapest in December?

In the cold you will probably look for quite some indoor activities, so we will try to come up with some good suggestions for you for things you can do in Budapest in December. Still, the most important activity in Budapest in this period is the Christmas market(s).

Christmas markets

There are several Christmas markets in Budapest, but the most visited and important market is the one located at the Vörösmarty square. This is the square where you can find the famous Gerbeaud confectionery and every day at 17.00 they open the calender of the day in the windows at Gerbeaud. The market looks especially magical in the evenings with all the lights turned on. Read more about the market at our Christmas market page.

Hot wine and honey festivities

This is something very similar to a Christmas market, but still a bit different. The location is the Vajdahunyad castle in the City Park of Budapest. You will of course get the chance to shop handicrafts here, if you are freezing you will find hot wine and you can of course combine it with some ice skating at the giant ice skating rink just next to the Castle. The program is available from December 1st till December 23rd in 2012, and is open from 10.00-20.00 on weekends and from 12.00-20.00 on weekdays. Entrance is free!

Shopping

Before Christmas people want to go shopping and they look for traditional and untraditional Christmas presents. In Budapest you can find lots of shops in the popular Vaci Utca, but if you want to visit a traditional shopping mall with the most famous stores inside you should visit either WestEnd Citycenter (by Nyugati Pályaudvar) or Arena Plaza (by Keleti Pályaudvar). In these centers you will find popular brands, restaurants, cafees, cinemas and more. If you want more exclusive shopping and want to buy some really expensive stuff to a wife or girlfriend, then go for a walk in Andrassy ut and visit either Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Max Mara, Armani or one of the other exlucsive shops in Budapest. To shop some handmade stuff and quite seldom stuff, a trip to Szentendre could be an option.

Excursion to Vienna

A great idea and cool activity to do before Christmas if you come to Budapest is to go on a day trip ti Vienna. The capital of Austria is only 250 kilometers away, and most drivers do this distance in 2,5 hours. In Vienna you have beautiful attractions such as Schönbrunn, Hofburg and the Stephansdom, but in December you can in addition find some of the nicest Christmas markets in the world here. Vienna is much more expensive than Budapest, so live cheap in Budapest, enjoy the Christmas market in Budapest and then do a day trip to Vienna one day and enjoy the beauties and the romantic Christmas markets of Vienna as well.

Pig slaughter

This might not be the nicest Christmas program, but according to Hungarian traditions a pig needs to be slaughtered in this time. This is a big celebration and during a pig slaughter day you eat lots of pork, drink a lot and fill your freezer with meet for the upcoming year. This is a “hard-to-find” program, but if you look hard on the web, you might find it.

Christmas in Budapest

When writing an article about Budapest in December one of the most important parts is what to do for Christmas in Budapest. Quite a lot of people travel to other cities and nations to celebrate Christmas there, and if you come to Budapest, here are come advices. First of all it is useful to know that most restaurants keep closed on December 24th. While some restaurants open again on December 25th, most restaurants stay closed all the way until December 27th. It is therefore important, especially for December 24th to book a table in an open restaurant beforehand. A new option available on December 24th in 2012 is the traditional Dinner Cruise with live gipsy music which will be arranged from 19.00 on Christmas Eve. If that sounds interesting click here for more information and ticket reservation.

Shops are open in Budapest on December 24th until 12.00 or 13.00, and then they open again on December 27th. Museums are also closed on December 24th and most of them open again on December 27th. Again, if you plan on visiting someplace special or have a special interested in a museum, check out what opening times they have specifically. The Szechenyi Thermal Bath has nice opening times during Christmas and stay open every day, but it closes earlier on December 24th. This means that if you come to Budapest for Christmas you will meet a lot of closed restaurants and museums, so be prepared for that and take that into consideration as you plan your stay. But, as of December 27th everything goes back into normal life again, only interrupted by:

New Years Eve in Budapest

December 31st is the last day of the year, and on this day you will be able to enjoy open shops, restaurants and museums in Budapest. During the daytime most restaurants run with their normal menus, but starting sometimes between 19.00 and 21.00 almost all restaurants have special new years eve menus, which needs to be booked and often payed for before the program itself starts. It is therefor important to plan where you want to spend your New Years Eve before arrival, as most restaurants are fully booked some days before the big day.

What about January 1st? On the first day in the new year it is time to relax after a late night, so stay in bed for a long time. All shops are closed on this day, but restaurants and shops keep open as normal. Some museums are closed, but the Szechenyi Thermal bath is open, so if you want a swim in the cold weather (which we can warmly recommend), that is a great program for January 1st.

Other programs available in December

In December you can find some programs available, which you could just as well do any other month in Budapest and Hungary. This means that there are daily cruises available on the Danube in all of December, there are folklore performances, some organ concerts, wine tasting opportunities, great private massage treatment opportunities and of course lots of traditional and un-traditional Hungarian restaurants waiting for you to visit them

We wish you at least a good stay in Budapest in December and a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Where to eat breakfast in Budapest?

When you book a hotel in Budapest, you will very often find that your hotel has included a breakfast in the price. For some this is a requirement, and they never book a hotel where the breakfast is not included. Still, some people come to Budapest and have done a booking where the breakfast is not included. That might be a coincidence, which they only get to know about as they get to the hotel, or they might do it on purpose to taste more local cuisine and breakfasts.

I have often met tourists asking for advice concerning where to eat breakfast in Budapest. Some of them have booked room in a hotel without breakfast included, and as they find out that the price for breakfast per person per day often varies between 16-25 Euro (typical in hotels with 4-5 stars) they rather eat somewhere else. In this article I will simply come up with some advices on where to eat in central Budapest. There are lots of other places which could be good in Budapest, but since the general tourist likes to live in the center of Budapest, these places could all fit into that category, and just after breakfast you are ready to go shopping in the Vaci Utca (as all suggestions are located in or very close to that street).

Places for breakfast in Budapest

Gerbeaud

Gerbeaud has probably not got the best breakfast in Budapest, but they have some quite nice menus and they give you the chance to eat breakfast in the most famous confectionery of Budapest. On the menu you can find croissants, brekfast rolls, ham and cheese omelett, cold plate with hams and cheese and other stuff. Most menus have juice or coffee included and they cost between 1300-3500 HUF per person. In Gerbeaud they automatically ad 15% service fee to the bill in the end.

Szamos

On the other side of the Vörösmarty square, only 150 metres from Gerbeaud, Szamos confectionery is located. On their menu you will find continental breakfast (1990 HUF), French breakfast (1450 HUF), Hungarian breakfast (1990 HUF), ham and eggs (1050 HUF) and a wiener breakfast (1450 HUF). If you want to try out some different options, you should and could try a breakfast at Szamos in Budapest as well, but this would not be our first option if we only were to eat breakfast in Budapest once or twice.

Cyrano

If you walk along Vaci utca from Vörösmarty square towards the Grand Market Hall and take the first street to the left, you will find yourself at the Kristóf square. There you can find Cyrano, a nice restaurant with good food, and they also have a nice breakfast selection for those left without breakfast in their hotel or apartment. In Cyrano they do not only have typical breakfast options, but they also have some good cake options and their prices are better than at Szamos and Gerbeaud, meaning that most breakfast options cost between 800-1700 HUF. Drinks are not included in the prices. As you order your breakfast you also get a „free starter” which is some butter and a delicious jam, popular among young and old!

Fruccola

Opposite Cyrano you can find Fruccola, a place known for healthy and tasty breakfasts in Budapest. The place is not only ideal for breakfasts, but they also have a good selection of lunch offers, and some of the best prices in the area. On the menu you can find „Bagel, butter, jam with 0,2l juice” costing 970 HUF, „Muesli, honey, yoghurt, fruit” costing 790 HUF, „Omelet with salmon, cream cheese and chives” costing 990 HUF, English breakfast (990 HUF) and much, much more. If you want nice atmosphere, great prices and healthy stuff, Fruccola is probably the winner… and let us not forget that the location is perfect.

Another Fruccola is located in Arany Janos utca 32, making that the place to visit for people living in the area near the Hungarian Parliament (Hotel President, Iberostar, Hotel Parlament and lots of other hotels).

Gerloczy

This place is a bit hidden away, but it is located near Ferenciek Tere, and the exact address is Gerlóczy utca 1 (1052 Budapest). This place have croissants, ham and eggs, omelets, some more traditional Hungarian breakfast options and of course menus including your breakfast and some drink to it. The price of the menus vary between 1000-2500 HUF, while the single meals without drinks cost between 250-1500 HUF. Do not forget that Gerloczy is a nice place to return to later, so if you like the breakfast, you might even want to dry a lunch or dinner there later.

Other places for breakfast in Budapest

All places mentioned so far in this article are located very central in Budapest. Most tourists will not travel a long way with bus, metro, trams and so on to get to eat some breakfast. Still, if you want to eat in some other places, specially known for their superb breakfast in Budapest, we can recommend some of the following places:

Villa Bagatelle, Németvölgyi út 17, 1126 Budapest

Villa Bagatelle is located not far from the Deli railway station (southern). In the place they produce amazing bread and they have some real good brekfast offers. Not to many tourists located in this area, but if you stay in this area, check out this one!

Sarki Fűszeres, Pozsonyi út 53-55, 1137 Budapest

The 13th district in Budapest is getting more and more popular, and in this area you can find quite a lot of apartments, nice hotels and tourists walking around. One croissant in Sarki Füszeres cost 380 HUF, while a traditional English breakfast cost 1900 HUF.

Deryne Bistro, Krisztina tér 3, 1013 Budapest

To get to Deryne Bistro you simply need to walk through the tunnel opening from Clark Adam square (this is where the funicular is located). The prices are average, but they have a wide specter of food on the menu, so everyone should be able to find something to eat for breakfast.

Bock Bistro, Erzsébet körút 43-49, 1073 Budapest

This was a good place for a while, but they no longer serve breakfast, so if you are in this area, visit Szamos located 150 meters away from Bock Bistro instead. We not long ago visited Szamos instead of Bock (as Bock did no longer serve breakfast) and here you can read about our breakfast visit to Szamos.

Some last words
If you think the price of a breakfast in Budapest is expensive, then you should not forget to compare the prices with the actual prices you would have to pay for a breakfast in your hotel in Budapest. As I mentioned in the start many hotels charge 16-25 Euro for a breakfast. 16 Euro is at the moment 4560 HUF, meaning that at all the places mentioned you will get a large and tasty breakfast for the same price. Therefore our advice is to skip the breakfast in the hotel, and check out everything that Budapest has to offer, also when it comes to tasty, interesting and creative breakfasts.

Good luck, good appetite and jóétvágyat (as we would say in Hungary)!

LaciPecsenye review

LaciPecsenye is one of the very cool and modern restaurant in Budapest in these days and after 1 ½ year located in Hegedus Gyula utca (13th district in Budapest) it recently moved into its new localities at a much better location, on the square in front of St Stephens Basilica. In this article you can find more information about LaciPecsenye, about the food and of course our thoughts on the restaurant.

Not long ago I spoke with my friend named Laci and I asked him about his favorite restaurants in Budapest. The result of the conversation turned into an article named Great restaurants near the St Stephens Basilica and there he referred to LaciKonyha (LaciPecsenye) as one of his great favorites. Since then I have been looking forward to visit the restaurant and recently I also got the chance.

As I have read about the restaurant on the net most reviews deal with things that happened in its former location in Hegedus Gyula street. The restaurant was supposed to move from there to CET (the glass whale building behind the Grand Market Hall), but since that building never seem to open, they have moved to Szent Istvan square in front of the basilica instead. Not a bad choice!

I went to LaciPecsenye with my family to eat a lunch. I ended up ordering a pumpkin soup followed by Pork belly with a small side dish, and for dessert I had a cheese cake. My friends ordered neck of veal, home made Hungarian sausage and chicken breast. I of course tasted the meals of my friends as well, so as I went home I had tasted quite a wide specter of the food available in the restaurant. It is worth knowing that the menu changes all the time, so next time I drop by I will probably not be able to get any of these dishes anymore.

Starter in LaciKonyha (LaciPecsenye) – home made Hungarian sausage

The starters came first (what a surprise) and the soup smiled at me, and I smiled back. The sausage did not smile, but it was really tasty – and more than enough considering it a starter. The three main courses were all interesting and my favorite was the chicken breast which was truly enjoyable, tasty and not at all dry and boring (as it can be in many restaurants around). The neck of veal was juicy and the pork belly I ordered myself was perfectly spiced and grilled. The side dishes were just as good, and just like in MAK Bistro some weeks ago I took what was left of bread at the table and took leftover sauce from the meat and rolled my bread in it, and ate it afterwards. For dessert I had a simple cheese cake, and there were no mistakes with this. It was tasty, just like cheese cakes around in most other places, so no big plus, and no big minus.

LaciPecsenye judgment

As I wrote about MAK Bistro I introduced myself as a guy not really into the gourmet dining. I just like to eat, and often a lot. In LaciPecsenye you get to eat great food, tasty and interesting, but not the large portions you will get in the traditional Hungarian restaurants. But maybe that is an advantage, because you are able to walk home by yourself and you do not need to button up your jeans to make space for your stomach while eating. We ordered what I mentioned earlier in the text and we all had one drink and the final bill (to which they automatically added the service fee) was a bit above 20,000 HUF. That is not a very high price for top gastronomy in Budapest, especially not if you are a tourist with lots of money in your pocket. We can warmly recommend LaciPecsenye when you come to Budapest, maybe after a visit to the St Stephens Basilica.

Open kitchen in LaciPecsenye

LaciPecsenye information

Address: 1051 Budapest, Sas utca 11
Tlf: +36-70 370-7474
Opening times: 12.00-24.00

LaciPecsenye – about themselves

The waiters in LaciPecsenye are mostly guys, all in their best age and quite cool in their style. They all have LaciPecsenye t-shirts, and on those you can for example read: „Real men eat meat” and our favorite „Vegetarian is a person who only eat side dishes.” The guys at LaciPecsenye describe their own restaurant as a refined contemporary bistro with food based on local traditions with dishes prepared on the grill with menu changing daily. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it?

LaciPecsenye pictures

We made quite some pictures during our visit to the restaurant, so if you want to see more pictures than the ones published in this article, go visit our picture gallery from LaciPecsenye.

What others have written about LaciPecsenye

A very trendy place with designer graffiti and one of Hungary’s best equipped kitchen… Long forgotten recipes and raw materials are restored to their former glory, and even foreign dishes are cooked with understanding.„ Gault&Millau 2012

With the latest technology and creative innovation, you are sure to find something quite different here every day.” Dining Guide 2012

Good books about Budapest

There are lots of good books about Budapest out on the market, but it is not always so easy to find them. If you are a tourist you will probably find yourself looking for a travel guide with maps and useful information on the inside. If you are an expat living in Budapest you might be looking for historical books which will give you deeper insight in the culture, and if you love a good novel you might be looking for a good book which has a story that takes place in Budapest.

If you fit into any of the categories mentioned we have recommendations and some titles we believe might be interesting to you. You will not find all of these books in bookstores in Budapest, so therefore we add links to where you can order all the books online from Amazon.com. And do not forget to buy yourself a bottle of wine suitable to the book, because that will make the feeling even more authentic. Don’t get it? In Alexandra Bookstore in Budapest on Andrassy avenue they have a beautiful bookstore, a nice confectionery and a wine store. In the wine store they have a small booklet where they recommend wines to the different books mentioned in the booklet. So when you buy a book, you also get a bottle of wine and enjoy the two of them together. If you read this article somewhere outside Hungary it will be hard for you to get hold of Hungarian wine, but then you can either buy some local wine instead, or maybe just a good cup of coffee or some hot chocolate. Most important; enjoy your reading and enjoy the book!

Budapest Noir is a great book about Budapest
Budapest Noir is a great book about Budapest

Seven good books about Budapest

Rick Steves’ Budapest
In this travel guide you will find the thoughts of the author on Budapest and its attractions, restaurants, activities spiced up with maps, practical advices and some excursion information. There are lots of pictures added to the texts, and if you want to walk with a book in your hands as you get to know Budapest on your own, this might very well be it!

Order the book from Amazon.com: Rick Steves’ Budapest

Budapest Noir: A Novel
This is a novel written by the Hungarian writer Vilmos Kondor, born in 1954. He has studied in Paris (at Sorbonne) and after that returned to Hungary. Budapest Noir is his first novel which has been praised by both Hungarian and foreigners. In this book you will get to know Zsigmond Gordon who feels like both Clark Kent and Sherlock Holmes at the same time. The story is set to the mid 1930s, and it „offers a haunting social and political critique, empowering us not to forget the emergence of one of history’s darkest moments: the rise of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany.”

Order the book from Amazon.com: Budapest Noir: A Novel

The Siege of Budapest: One Hundred Days in World War II
Maybe you have read many books about the Second World War, but very few of them focus on Hungary and on the battles taking place in Budapest. In this book written by Krisztian Ungvary you will get much more insight in the battle which describes one of the fiercest battles of World War II; the siege of Budapest. Both Stalin and Hitler demanded victory at all costs, and the cost was extreme: 80,000 Soviet troops, 38,000 German and Hungarian soldiers, and 38,000 Hungarian civilians perished. The book provides the first full account of this shocking battle.

Order the book from Amazon.com: The Siege of Budapest: One Hundred Days in World War II

Culinaria Hungary
In this book you will find 320 pages filled with information about the Hungarian gastronomy. You will get to know more about local traditions in different parts of Hungary and of course specialties and various details. But, the book does not only contain dry information. It also includes beautiful pictures and of course good recipes. If you are interested in the Hungarian cuisine, this is probably the book you are looking for. The book is written by Aniko Gergely.

Order this book from Amazon.com: Culinaria Hungary

Prague: A Novel
No, it is not a mistake. Even though the cover photo of the book feature the Charles Bridge in Prague, and the title is Prague: A Novel, the story of the book takes place in Budapest. The story is about five expats who come to Budapest in the 1990s to seek their fortune, and also get an answer to their suspicion that Prague is a bit better. This book written by Arthur Phillips is not a personal favorite, but if this sounds like something you would like to read, then why not!

Order the book from Amazon.com: Prague: A Novel

Twelve Days: The Story of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution
October 23rd and the following days shook the world in 1956. The Hungarians stood up against the Communist rulers and impacted the world. In this book you will get to know the story of the Hungarian revolution, get to know what happened when, and also get to know the parts of the city where the most important events took place. You can say it like this that “Twelve Days adds immeasurably to our understanding of this historic event and reminds us of the unquenchable human desire for freedom.”

Order this book from Amazon.com: Twelve Days: The Story of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution (Vintage)

The Will to Survive: A History of Hungary
There are lots of books about the history of Hungary on the market, and most of them are written by Hungarians. This book is not written by a Hungarian. While some people judge the book because of that, others claim that the greatness of this book is exactly the fact that it is not written by a Hungarian. John Lukacs writes the following: “There are occasions when the sympathetic and interested eye of a foreigner may penetrate the jungle of confusing events and complicated sentiments with a clarity of vision amounting to something more than the antiseptic desideratum of “objectivity”. Such is the case with The Will to Survive. Many professional historians, including Hungarians, could learn from the judgments of this former guest in their midst.” If you want to know the Hungarian history in details that will make your tourist guide look at you with big eyes and maybe start asking you questions instead, this book might be it!

Order this book from Amazon.com: The Will to Survive: A History of Hungary (Columbia/Hurst)

Prime Steakhouse Budapest review

My wife took me out for dinner by a surprise last Tuesday and she wanted to take me to a restaurant where I had not been before. That is how we ended up in Prime Steakhouse. I had seen promotion for the restaurant on Facebook earlier and hear a lot of good feedback, but I was curious whether I would enjoy the place myself, or not.

It was a day with icy roads and some snow falling from the sky so I was very happy as we arrived safely to the area, found a parking lot and got inside the restaurant. The interior is very modern and elegant with a bar area in the middle where you can sit and have a drink before, after or during your meal, or maybe instead of a meal. We sat down and the waiters were ready to serve us from the first moment on.

My wife ordered a 180g filet mignon from New Zealand while I ordered a classic hamburger. My wife likes the steak well done, but in most places the steak turns hard as iron as they prepare it. She asked the waiter what he recommended and explained that she had to have her steak well done. The waiter recommended the filet mignon from New Zealand. Next to the steak she ordered grilled vegetables and green pepper sauce.

Juicy hamburger in Prime Steakhouse

Before our main course arrived they served us some fresh bread with special butter and some sort of patee. It was so delicious that I said that if we just get some more bread, butter and patee we can skip the steak and hamburger. After a while the steak and the burger came and we ate our first bites. Did my wife enjoy her well done steak? Absolutely! She is already looking forward to her next chance to eat it again! The hamburger? Enormous and tasty. I was completely satisfied and after eating all of  it – extremely full. However I do enjoy a good dessert and so does my wife. We therefore ordered a chocolate souffle and a cottage cheese cake. The chocolate souffle was amazing and the cottage cheese cake was nice (though nothing I will remember for a long time).

Prime Steakhouse judgment

I have been a frequent visitor of Pampas Steakhouse and I have also been to La Pampa a couple of times. I enjoy both the places, but it might be that Prime Steakhouse has become my new favorite. If my wallet was to decide I would probably go for Pampas or La Pampa as they are a bit cheaper. But, if you want high quality and you are willing to pay for it, then Prime Steakhouse is the play to go as you are guaranteed great service, brilliant food in an elegant environment.

I almost forgot, but in Prime Steakhouse they introduce their desserts in a great way. They have a special plate with real life models of the desserts on the menu. In that way you can see what the potential desserts look like and listen as the waiter promote the different options. We were supposed to only have one dessert (together), but after looking at the desserts available we ordered two instead!

All in all we paid 15,000 HUF for the steak (180g), hamburger (250g) with potatoes, grilled vegetables, green pepper sauce, chocolate souffle, cottage cheese cake and drinks (one ginger ale, some water and a lemonade). The 12% service fee is included in the bill as you pay.

Prime Steakhouse has a modern and elegant interior

Prime Steakhouse information

Tlf: + 36 70 331 86 66
Address: 1051 Budapest Sas utca 18.
Opening times: 12.00-00.00 (closed on Sundays)

My top 3 Budapest winter hotels

It’s January and it’s cold outside. The wind is blowing and even though the thermometer shows a temperature of 4 Celsius, it feels like minus 10 and I dream of a hot chocolate and some warm goulash soup. When life is like that and its winter, where should I stay in Budapest?

The following three hotels are great throughout the entire year, but I believe that during the winter these will work exceptionally well.

Marriott

The five star hotel located by the Danube most be an ideal place to live during winter time in Budapest. The hotel has great indoor opportunities, so you can for example visit the gym and be healthy while watching the beautiful panorama. The hotel also has SPA area where you can get treatments, relax in a sauna and take a swim. Inside the hotel you can find the great Peppers! restaurant and I do not need to say that the location is perfect. All windows look towards the Danube and as always with Marriott, this hotel also provide excellence and quality!

Homepage: http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/budhu-budapest-marriott-hotel/
Book a room: booking.com

Marriott Budapest

Corinthia Grand Hotel Royal

The hotel has several years in a row been voted to be the most luxurious of all Budapest hotels. From the first minute you enter the hotel you will feel surrounded by luxury and great service. The Royal SPA will treat you as a royal guest and you might even bump into a celebrity or two if you are lucky. Inside the building you will find Szamos, a nice place for some traditional Hungarian cakes and a cup of coffee or hot chocolate, and you will also find an upper class Hungarian restaurant, Bock Bistro. Guaranteed luxury and if you need help with transportation from the hotel to anywhere in the city they have great service provided by taxi drivers you can trust.

Homepage: http://www.corinthia.com/en/Budapest/home/
Book a room: booking.com

Corinthia Grand Hotel Royal

Eurostars Budapest Center

The two hotels first mentioned both have five stars. In the winter time five star hotels in Budapest can get quite cheap, but if you would like a cheaper stay then Eurostars Budapest Center is a great option. It is central, modern and good breakfast. As you leave the building you will only have to walk for 4 minutes and you will find yourself surrounded by fashion stores in the shopping street Váci utca. This hotel has not got the luxury of Marriott or Corinthia Grand Hotel Royal, but it is perfect for those on a lower budget who only require a hotel with nice breakfast, nice rooms and a good location!

Homepage: http://www.eurostarsbudapestcenter.com/EN/hotel.html
Book a room: booking.com

Eurostars Budapest Center

The hardest choice was whether I should pick La Prima Fashion Hotel or Eurostars Budapest Center as the one four star hotel to be featured. I ended up with Eurostars Budapest Center, but if you want to live a bit more expensive just next to the shopping street in a modern and new four star hotel, choose La Prima Fashion Hotel instead.

Have you got any favorite hotel in Budapest? Please share your thoughts and experiences!

Why (unemployed) Hungarians need to get busy blogging!

Hungary is a nation where many people have problem finding jobs and once they find a job, the salaries are not the way you want them to be. Based on these two facts I believe that Hungarians need to get busy blogging.

For most people a blog will not bring an awesome income within seconds and minutes, but if you anyway look for a job, spend an hour or two a day to work on a blog. I will not get into every little detail on how this can be done (I will rather refer to other sites with information on those subjects), but here are some things that should be considered. Before you start I must say that English skills are absolutely preferred, because English speaking blogs have a greater potential both when it comes to audience and money, but if the Hungarian language is all you’ve got, go for it in Hungarian.

Why should I start blogging?

If you are a Hungarian and you believe that some extra money would come handy, then a blog might help you to do so. Not long ago I read an article named „7 reasons why unemployed should start blogging.” If you are out there looking for a job you have spare time left (while the other people work). Instead of hanging out at the local bar drinking, spend some hours a day writing a blog. To write a blog you need knowledge, so as you dig for information on articles you are to write, you will keep your brain going and grow your knowledge (instead of your stomach in the local pub). An unemployed person will often feel lack of motivation, but a blog can give you a reason to wake up in the morning again. As you go looking for a jobs it can have a positive effect that you can refer to a blog you are writing, because it proofs that you are talented and that you can get things going (employees like that).

It will take time, but in some months a blog can start to give you some income. This of course depends on the quality of your blog and amount of visitors, but if you get things going, there is for sure potential in blogging. If you consider the fact that many Hungarians earn about 300 Euro per month, with some talent and hard work you can start earning similar money with time. But patience is important. It is very easy to give up, but again – if you are unemployed and have spare time, then you have time to blog and if not for the money, then at least to keep yourself going!

What can I write about?

I have no clue, but hopefully you have a clue. What are you interested in? Write about food, write about recipes, write about public transportation, write about shopping, write about what you do as you wait for the train in the morning, write inspirational texts, write an unemployment blog… whatever! There are subjects you can write about which are worth more money than others if you consider it from a Google ad point of view (see: Earn money with your blog), but the most important is that you write about something you are interested in.

It is one thing to create a blog, but the hard work really starts once you get it going. Blogging is not easy money, so if you thought so, forget about it! Once your blog is online you need to spread the word about it and you need to keep it fresh and updated. Building relationships and networking with other bloggers might in fact require more time in the start than creation of content, but to reach success you need a mixture of both. A great place to start is with your friends on Facebook. Invite them all to check out your blog and inspire them all to regularly check out what’s going on and to share your content with their friends again. If what you write about is good it can easily spread as fire as people start sharing your content with their friends and on their social networks!

Blogging as a hobby

I have so far only mentioned blogging as a great activity for unemployed. However blogging can be a great hobby for people with good jobs as well. Blogging can be a way of doing further research on subjects you are interested in and it can be a great way of sharing your heart and thoughts with the rest of the world. Maybe in the future the blog you are about to create will make you earn more money than what your normal job does today. Who knows?

This recommendation about creating a blog is first of all there for the unemployed Hungarians. Get your buts out of the chair and start doing something, and a blog is a great way to start.

Budapest in February

After January comes February and with February comes another month not listed as a favorite month among those working with tourists. And that is why February can be such a great month to visit Budapest – you will be a treasured guest in this period of the year!

First of all Budapest welcomes you with great hotel prices in February. I just checked some prices writing this article and if I would look for a five star hotel in Budapest in February I could get 4 nights in Corinthia Grand Hotel Royal Budapest (often said to be the most luxurious five star hotel in Budapest) for only 280 Euro. This is a special price, because normally other five star hotels cost about 110 Euro per night in this period, but still; you can get some amazing prices on Budapest hotels if you come in February.

Programs in Budapest in February

As you arrive to Budapest in February you should not expect loads of programs to wait for you. The traditional folklore performances have still not really started, so if you want to see some traditional Hungarian folklore you better visit a restaurant with folklore shows. An example of such a restaurant is Matyas Pince as they have folklore shows every Wednesday and Thursday. The restaurant is not at all my favorite restaurant, but if you want traditional food combined with gipsy music and folklore, it works.

There are river cruises on the Danube every day in February. If you stroll along the Danube you will find different offers. If you are going on such a cruise, make sure to do it in the evening, that is when you get the ultimate Budapest by night experience.

SPA and shopping

February is a cold month with an average temperature of 0 Celsius, so if you are freezing and want some hours with 100% relaxation, then a SPA treatment could do you well. If you book a cheap five star hotel know that you can find much cheaper treatments around than inside your hotel. You could for example consider a visit to Szechenyi Furdo to enjoy hot springs and a massage there, or you can visit one of the private SPAs around in Budapest. The city has thai massage, traditional massage and lots of beauty saloons around, so there are plenty to choose from.

February is a great month to visit one of the many shopping malls in Budapest. Inside these you can spend hour upon hour just looking around, especially if you are a girl/lady. The biggest center is Arena Plaza and here you can also grab some nice food, drink a coffee in Starbucks, buy groceries in Tesco and why not see a new film in the VIP cinema where you can eat as much popcorn and drink as much as you want, it’s included in the price. That is a perfect February activity!

Mangalica festival

Mangalitsa, mangalitza, mangalica or curly-hair hog, call it and write it whatever way you feel like, but if you want to get to know a part of Hungarian gastronomy that is important, the mangalica festival is a great place to go in February. At the festival you can of course eat a lot of mangalica sausage, salami and ham, drink a lot of Palinka and other Hungarians goodies and get to meet with other locals and tourists. The festival is arranged at the Szabadsag square (not far from the Hungarian Parliament) from February 8th – 10th in 2013. The entrance is free, so you should absolutely check it out, because this is the only large festival and event like this arranged in Budapest in February.

A good advice in general is to use the opportunity as you visit Budapest in February to eat in a lot of restaurants and to taste a whole lot of Hungarian specialties. Why not go to a wine tasting or Palinka tasting? Another trendy activity are cooking schools. There are quite a lot of them around in Budapest as of know and in these you get to prepare Hungarian food together with an experienced cook. As the food is prepared you can of course eat it together with your friends.

Maybe you have a secret wish to know more about how the Hungarians live and what they eat? If so I just noticed a great program named family visit.” The family invite you to their home where they prepare traditional food for you, chat with you (as best as they can) and you can see what a normal Hungarian home looks like.

Thoughts on the weather in February

It can be very cold, but if you are lucky you can catch days with 5-10 Celsius. Check out the weather forecast before your arrival, and a good advice is to have a warm jacket in your suitcase. If it gets cold, it can get really cold!