Christmas market by St. Stephens Basilica 2018

We have known the dates for the Christmas market at Vörösmarty square for a long time, but just recently, the dates for the Christmas market in front for the St. Stephen’s Basilica was published as well.

The Christmas market in front of the St. Stephen’s Basilica is getting better and better for every year. In 2017, it didn’t only make the square fantastic, but also Zrinyi utca (the street connecting the Danube and the Chain Bridge with the St. Stephen’s Basilica). It is a fantastic market and every afternoon from 16.30 there will be light shows at the church building every 30 minutes.

The Christmas market will open on November 24th (some places it says November 23rd) and it will remain open until January 1st, 2019. The market is open from 10.00 (or 11.00) until 22.00 in the evening, except for December 24th, on which it will close at 14.00.

christmas market by st stephens basilica
The Christmas market by the St. Stephens Basilica – Source

At the Christmas market, you can find an ice skating rink, a big Christmas tree, and lots of small tree houses where you can buy souvenirs, presents, and lots of hot drinks and traditional food. The ice skating rink is free to use for kids under 14 years, but you need to rent the skates you will actually use on the ice.

This year the Christmas market calls itself an eco-fair. All exhibitors will have to use environmental-friendly packaging, resulting in less garbage and better for the environment.

If you want to read more about the different Christmas markets in Budapest, check this site.

Would you like to enjoy a wine dinner in Budapest during this period, or maybe a river cruise at the Danube River? Make sure to arrange your booking as soon as possible, because it gets crowded and fully booked quite regularly in December!

Egyetem square in Budapest (University square)

Budapest has a lot of hidden treasures, and one of them is the amazing Egyetem square (University square). It can be found between the popular Ferenciek square and Kalvin square, and it is very close to another hidden treasure, the Karolyi garden.

Egyetem tér in Budapest
Egyetem tér in Budapest

The square has been named after the university at the square, the University of Law in Budapest. The University was moved to the location in 1784, and the University of Law has been present here since the start of the 19th century.

The building of the university is really beautiful, and at night it is illuminated, making it even nicer. At the right side of the university (see the picture above), you can see the so-called University Church, also known as the “University Church of St Mary the Virgin.” This is a very special church as it was raised by the only Hungarian Monastic order, the Pauline Fathers (Pálosok). The construction work started at the start of the 18th century, and the first stone of the church was set on the ruins of the destroyed Mosque from the Turkish reign.

By the end of the 18th century, the Pauline Fathers were dissolved by Emperor Joseph II, and the church was given to the university.

The University of Law at Egyetem tér
The University of Law at Egyetem tér

A perfect place for eating

The Egyetem square is a perfect place to grab something to eat. There are many restaurants in the area, and if you want to enjoy a nice wine dinner just next to the square, check this article.

Do not miss out on the square as you walk the streets of Budapest. It for sure deserves a few minutes of your time!

Visiting Diósd outside Budapest? Where to eat?

Diósd is a small village/city, just outside the borders of Budapest. For a long time this was a city with one street going through it, but as Budapest has grown into a bigger and bigger city, the need for people to live near the city has grown. And thus, Diósd has turned into a very popular city for people to live, just outside the borders of Budapest.

Most people will never ever visit Diósd during their stay in Budapest. The nearest you will get to Diosd, is probably when you visit the Statue Park (Communist Park). This park is very near to Diosd.

But, let us imagine that you for some reason end up driving through (and stopping) in Diosd. What are you going to eat?

food in diosd

Eating in Diosd

We have recently visited two restaurants in Diosd, both popular among locals and visitors dropping by. Take a look at the images and read our comments, and maybe you will feel inspired to visit one of these places.

Il Gusto in Diosd

This is a new Italian restaurant in Diosd, that opening the summer of 2018. It serves traditional Italian courses, and if you want to eat pizza in Diosd, then this is the place to go. The rest of the Italian courses are okay, but nothing we would travel to Diosd to eat. But, if you are in the area and want to eat Italian food, this might be the place to go. The pizza was the best of the courses we ate. The rest of the Italian courses didn’t taste too good, and we would rather have ordered more pizza, instead of the other food.

The front of Il Gusto in Diosd
The front of Il Gusto in Diosd
Eating pizza in Il Gusto
Eating pizza in Il Gusto

Next to the Il Gusto restaurant, you will another restaurant which is praised by both locals and visitors. The name of the restaurant is Johnny’s Bistro.

Johnny’s Bistro in Diosd

We hadn’t heard anything about Il Gusto in Diosd before we visited the place. But, we had heard a lot about Johnny’s Bistro, meaning that we had higher expectations as we visited this restaurant. And to be honest, we weren’t disappointed. In Johnny’s Bistro, you can order a mixture of American and Mexican food. We ordered a hamburger, a taco tortilla, some fries, some chicken, and some onion rings.

Visiting Johnny's Bistro in Diosd
Visiting Johnny’s Bistro in Diosd
Eating hamburger in Johnny's Bistro
Eating hamburger in Johnny’s Bistro
Eating a taco-tortilla
Eating a taco-tortilla

We were really satisfied with the food we were served in Johnny’s Bistro. We have probably eaten even better food, but this was more than good enough for a nice restaurant experience in the middle of nowhere (at least that is the feeling a tourist might have if they end up eating in Diosd).

Based on these experiences, we can warmly recommend a visit to Johnny’s Bistro if you want to dine in Diosd outside Budapest. If you are crazy about pizza and Italian food, Il Gusto might work out, but all in all, the food is much better in Johnny’s Bistro.

Want to read more about restaurants in Budapest? Want to experience a nice dinner with lots of wine instead? Read about the wine dinners in Budapest.

 

Grillmania in Budapest – Worth a visit?

Grillmania is a restaurant located near the Gellert hotel in Budapest. It is a grill restaurant in which you can eat traditional Balkan meals. Is it worth a visit?

If you come to Budapest, you are for sure eager to eat traditional Hungarian Goulash soup, to drink Hungarian wine, and to enjoy everything that Hungary has to offer. But, what if you would rather eat something not so traditional Hungarian food? Maybe you want to taste some of the traditional courses from some of Hungary’s neighboring nations (to the south)? Grillmania is the restaurant for you!

The location of Grillmania is ideal as it is located along the busy Bartok Bela ut. You can sit outside and enjoy your meal from early spring until late autumn (but, it is possible to sit indoors as well). This isn’t a typical restaurant, it is more a mixture of a fast food and a normal restaurant. It doesn’t mean that you get to food quickly, but it has more to do with the style of it all.

Eating Cevapi at Grillmania in Budapest
Eating Cevapi at Grillmania in Budapest

What can you eat at Grillmania in Budapest?

You will find lots of traditional meals from countries such as Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, and Bulgaria. On the menu, you can find Pljeskavica. This is one of the national meals of Serbia. It is a piece of meat, but the meat is a mixture of pork, lamb, and beef. It looks like a hamburger and has a very enjoyable taste. It is often stuffed with cheese.

Another traditional meal at Grillmania is the Ćevapi (often referred to as Cevapcici). There are small meat sausages made of minced meat, and they are served with fries, and often with ajvar. This is a national meal in both Serbia and Bosnia, but the people of Croatia and Slovenia consider this one of their national meals as well.

Besides these, you will also find Shashlik, Ustipak, hamburgers, burritos, and other tasty food on the menu.

A grill-plate for two at Grillmania Budapest
A grill-plate for two at Grillmania Budapest

Is Grillmania worth a visit?

Maybe you are considering a visit to Grillmania in Budapest. Is it worth the money and the visit? First of all, the price level of the restaurant is fairly good. The grill-plate for two seen on the picture above costs less than 5000 HUF (appx 15 Euro), and it is more than enough for two persons. The normal single course meals cost less than 3000 HUF (less than 10 Euro), making them easy to digest (especially for tourists).

The quality of the food is good. The hamburger we ate was tasty, the grill-plate was ideal, and the cevapi was just fine. We had a hard time understanding how they could serve the Cevapi without ajvar (as it is such an important part of the meal), but if you want that, you will have to order it as an extra.

The atmosphere of the place is good, especially on a warm evening when you can sit outside and enjoy the fresh air, the people walking by, and just eat a large plate of food on the street.

Grillmania Budapest conclusion

If you want an easy grill-meal in Budapest with traditional courses from the Balkans, this is probably one of the best places to go in Budapest. It is very close to the heart of the city, making it easy to approach.

Have you been to Grillmania? Did you enjoy your meal? Please share your thoughts in the comment field beneath.

 

 

The Károlyi garden in the heart of Budapest

Few tourists have ever seen or visited the Károlyi garden, but if you want a breath of fresh air and a green lounge in the midst of your shopping time in Budapest, this is a garden worth visiting.

The Károlyi garden is located close to Váci utca, the shopping street in Budapest, but still hidden away. It is found in somewhere in the middle between famous spots such as Ferenciek tére, Astoria, and Kalvin tér. The park is one of the oldest parks of its kind in Hungary, and it has a rich and a long history.

The beautiful Karolyi garden in the heart of Budapest.
The beautiful Karolyi garden in the heart of Budapest.

It had its “prime-time” in the 19th century when it had lots of exotic flowers, its own tennis court, and other nice elements. The Károlyi family (the owners of the park) planned on selling the park at the start of the 20th century. However, it ended up in the hands of the state. Unfortunately, the park was heavily damaged during the Second World War, but after the war, it was quite quickly restored. But, during the 1970’s the park was closed down for almost ten years due to the construction of metro line three (the blue line). As a result, most flowers and green areas in the park died, and this had to be fixed over again as the construction work was finished.

Today it is a beautiful park. It doesn’t have the exotic flowers anymore, but it is still a peaceful lung in the heart of Budapest. There are two playgrounds in the park, there is a fountain, and there are several places where you can sit down to relax and gain new strength before discovering more hidden parts of Budapest.

The park is located next to the Karolyi palace, a beautiful building finished in 1830. Inside the palace, you can find the Petöfi Literature Museum, and you can also find the Karolyi restaurant, the location for one of our popular wine dinners in Budapest.

A visit to Lucky 7 Burgers in Budapest

According to TripAdvisor, there are more than 2500 restaurants in Budapest. Ranked as the eight best of them all at the moment is Lucky 7 Burgers in Budapest, so we decided to pay the place a visit.

When you come to a city like Budapest, many people want to eat “serious” food and visit traditional restaurants. Such people would never ever visit a hamburger restaurant like Lucky 7 Burgers. But, then there are all the rest of us who love a tasty hamburger, and who would skip all the “serious” restaurants in the world to taste a nice hamburger.

Lucky 7 Burgers in Budapest from the outside
Lucky 7 Burgers in Budapest from the outside

Sometimes hamburgers have been thrown into the “fast-food” category, and thus hamburger is per definition low-quality food. But, it doesn’t have to be, and since Lucky 7 Burgers is ranked eight among all the restaurants in Budapest based on more than 3000 votes, there has got to be some sort of quality behind it.

Visiting Lucky 7 Burgers in Budapest

The restaurant has a fantastic location, only 100 meters from the Vaci utca, the main shopping street of Budapest. It is easy to find, and we were warmly welcomed as we entered the restaurant. It was a Friday evening and we arrived around 18.45. We were lucky to get a free table because 15 minutes later a sign was placed out in front of the restaurant telling it was full and that they could receive no more guests.

There are not many tables on the inside, so our estimate is that they can receive somewhere between 20-25 guests indoor at the same time. Luckily for them, they are really quick at preparing and serving the food, meaning the fluctuation of guests is high, and they can still serve lots of guests throughout the day.

We visited two different hamburgers with onion rings and with fries. Since we visited Lucky 7 Burgers, we had to order the burger carrying the name of the restaurant. This is what the hamburger looked like.

Doesn't this look tasty, or what?
Doesn’t this look tasty, or what?

We have been to quite a lot of hamburger restaurants in Budapest, and we have to say that the price level of Lucky 7 Burgers is higher than most other hamburger restaurants. But, there are no other restaurants with such a good location as this one. And, the service was fantastic. We got our food in less than 10 minutes (it felt more like 5 minutes), and not only did it look fantastic, it tasted fantastic. The onion rings were made of real onion (that isn’t always obvious), the fries were nice, and the burgers were really tasty. I am not a big fan of mustard in my burger, but even the mustard couldn’t destroy the taste of my Lucky 7 Burger.

The interior of Lucky 7 Burgers in Budapest
The interior of Lucky 7 Burgers in Budapest

The interior of the restaurant is kind of sports-style. This isn’t the place for fine dining (try our new wine dinner if you want that), but it is a perfect place for a really fine hamburger! I believe families with kids will enjoy this restaurant a lot (and they also have special effects and gifts making the experience nice for children), men in love with meat, and everyone else who enjoys a good hamburger.

Will we return to Lucky 7 Burgers?

Of course, we will! When you find something you like as much as this, you return. And during our stay, we overheard a waiter welcoming a returning customer to the restaurant by saying: “Welcome back. I guess that means we have to do something right.” That is true. A returning customer is the proof of a nice experience, and I believe Lucky 7 Burgers will have lots of returning customers, something that can be seen by the fantastic reviews of the place on TripAdvisor as well.

Have you been to Lucky 7 Burgers? How did you enjoy the experience?

A fantastic wine-dinner in Budapest

We have just extended our list of wine tasting opportunities in Budapest with a magnificent wine dinner. It is a three-course dinner that is served together with three fantastic wines in the Károlyi restaurant, in the heart of Budapest.

The first thing that comes to your mind as you enjoy this wine dinner, is the incredible location of the restaurant. It is in the heart of Budapest, but it is still very quiet and in a very peaceful environment. From early spring till late autumn it is a perfect place to enjoy an outdoor wine dinner, as you sit in a quiet garden, next to a green park.

While enjoying the wine dinner outdoors, we could still hear the pianist playing the piano nicely on the inside. But, what did we actually eat at this wine dinner?

On a nice evening it is delightful to enjoy the wine dinner outdoors.
On a nice evening it is delightful to enjoy the wine dinner outdoors.

The first course – Goose liver brulée

The first course gave the entire experience a flying start. This was goose liver like never before. It was served on a tasty sweet bread, with caramelized brown sugar on the top. All of us enjoying the meat would gladly have stopped the experience right here, just to eat this alone over and over again. It was served together with a very nice dry white wine from the vulcanic Badacsony region.

starter wine dinner
What a start with this goose liver brulée – You just have to try it!

The second course – Veal goulash in a potato pancake

After the fantastic starter, we were ready for some heavier food. We were served a traditional Hungarian course, the Veal goulash, but with an uncommon side dish, a potato pancake. It was a tasty experience and served together with a red wine from the Szekszárd region, made by Vida Péter (the most famous winemaker in the region), this was a perfect main course for our wine dinner.

veal goulash with pancake
Veal goulash inside a potato pancake – eat it all, and you will for sure not leave the restaurant hungry!

The third course – Lime cake with fruits

The final of the wine dinner was a lime cake with fruits. It was an absolutely worthy finish of the meal, especially as it was accompanied by one of the most traditional sweet white wines from Tokaj, a Tokaji Szamorodni. The cake itself wasn’t very sweet (it didn’t contain any sugar, not gluten), but it was a perfect combination together with the sweet Tokaj wine.

The lime cake was a perfect dessert combination together with the sweet Tokaj wine
The lime cake was a perfect dessert combination together with the sweet Tokaj wine.

As we finished up our meal, we so much enjoyed our evening, that we sat outside in the fresh air for some more hours just chatting and enjoying the atmosphere. We had enjoyed all three courses, but we all agreed, that the starter was the most surprising (very positively speaking) course to all of us.

The wines accompanying the courses just made the experience even better.

wine dinner in budapest
If you like wine and good food, this wine dinner is for you!

Doesn’t this sound like a great way to spend an evening in Budapest? Would you like to try the wine dinner yourself? Read more about our wine tasting experiences in Budapest and send a reservation request at our wine tasting page.

If you have got a question, or want to share your thoughts, please use the comment field beneath.

 

Chimney Cake Festival 2018 in Budapest

Are you a fan of sweet pastry? Have you ever tasted a cinnamon roll and loved it? Still haven’t tasted the fantastic Chimney Cake (Kürtöskalacs?) Check out this festival in Budapest!

The Kürtőskalács Fesztivál (Chimney Cake Festival) has turned into an annual tradition in Budapest. In 2018, it will be arranged for the sixth time. It has been held at several locations, but it will be arranged at the same spot in 2018 as in 2017, that is, the Gesztenyes Kert (Chestnut Garden). This is located a bit outside the heart of Budapest, but that is only to its advantage. This is a peaceful area, but it will be full of life during the time of the festival.

Sekler Cake Festival 2018 in Budapest
Time to taste some Sekler Cake – Source

Sekler Cake Festival dates 2018 (Chimney Cake festival)

They have started calling the Kürtőskalács Sekler Cake instead of Chimney Cake, but it isn’t the title, but the taste that matters. In 2018, the festival will be arranged from October 12th till October 14th.

How to get to the Gesztenyes garden?

  • Tram number 61 to Csörsz street.
  • Tram number 59 or bus number 105 to Apor Vilmos square.
  • Bus 110 or 112 to Sirály street.
  • Bus 212 from Alkotás street.
  • Bus 139 from the South Railway Station (Metro 2).

These are some of the options. You might have to walk a couple of hundred meters from the stops to the actual festival area, but that shouldn’t cause much trouble. The area is very close to the shopping mall Mom Park.

There is no entrance fee, meaning that everyone can come and go in the festival area whenever they want.

What’s going on in the festival area?

There will be daily competitions taking place, there will be interactive stories told to the children, and there will be quite a lot of concerts. On the Saturday evening at 20:00 Kati Wolf will sing. She is most famous for representing Hungary in the Eurovision Song Contest with this song back in 2011 with this song.

Kati Wolf will sing at the Chimney Cake festival in 2018
Kati Wolf will sing at the Chimney Cake festival in 2018

Does this sound like a cool program to visit? Mark the dates, October 12th, October 13th and October 14th in 2018.

You can read more about other programs and events in Budapest right here.

We hope you will have a fantastic stay in Budapest. If you have any comments or questions related to this event or something else, please write it beneath this text. We would love to hear from you.

A fantastic tram-ride in Budapest

You can buy tickets to hop-on-hop-off buses in Budapest. You can pay a private guide to show you around. Or, you can buy a single ticket for the public transportation and enjoy a ride with tram 2 in Budapest.

tram 2 budapest
The route of tram 2 in Budapest

Let us get started right away. The best way to start the tour is by heading for the Margaret Bridge. The bridge is located a bit north of the Hungarian Parliament. You can, of course, start by jumping on the tram from the Rakoczi Bridge (or the Petöfi Bridge, or the Liberty bridge instead), but as you join us on this trip, we will start from the Margaret Bridge (name of the stop is Jaszai Mari tér).

Let’s get started with the panoramic tram ride in Budapest

As you board tram line 2 in Budapest, do not forget to validate your ticket first. The people inspecting tickets are not known to be tourist-friendly. As a consequence, lots of people have ended up paying unnecessary fines, even if they didn’t intend to do anything wrong at all. Again, validate your ticket. You can not buy a ticket on the tram, so you need to bring a ticket with you (you can buy from vending machines, from small kiosks, and in all metro stations).

Tram line 2 in Budapest - Source: Pixabay
Tram line 2 in Budapest – Source: Pixabay

You do not need to travel for a long time with tram 2 before you see this magnificent building ahead of you! The Hungarian Parliament is the building, and it is one of the most beautiful of them all in Budapest.

Hungarian Parliament
The Hungarian Parliament

Depending on who tells you about the building, you will hear that it was constructed sometime between 1884 and 1903, and it was designed by Imre Steindl. It is very inspired by the British Parliament building, but it ended up even nicer than its source of inspiration!

There has been a lot of construction work on the Hungarian Parliament building, but it is now mostly finished. As a result, it is shining on all sides (earlier it has been almost black due to dirt). The building is fantastic all times of the day, but it is at its most amazing after sunset with the big lights turned on!

As the tram drives next to the Parliament you will see two other beautiful buildings. These were all part of a design competition at the end of the 19th century, but they both lost the competition to the present Parliament building. Instead of throwing away the drawings, they decided to build both the buildings as well. The first building you see is the home of the Ethnographic museum while the second building belongs to the Ministry of Agriculture.

Museum of Ethnography and Ministry of Agriculture in Budapest
Museum of Ethnography and Ministry of Agriculture in Budapest – Source: Pixabay

Once you leave the Parliament and the other buildings behind you, the tram will take you along the River Danube again. You will be met by a stunning view in all directions as the tram moves on towards the Chain Bridge, the most famous of all bridges in Budapest. But, before we pass by the Chain Bridge, let us take a look across the Danube to enjoy the view of several beauties.

A nice Danube Panorama to the right

As we look to the right we will see four different structures that should be highlighted. Take a look at the picture beneath to see which those buildings are.

Panorama towards the Buda side from tram line 2 - Source: Pixabay
Panorama towards the Buda side from tram line 2 – Source: Pixabay

Down by the Danube on the Buda side you can see the Szilágyi Dezső Square Reformed Church. It was built between 1893 and 1895, and it is well known for its special shape, and the beautiful Zsolnay tiles on the roof.

As you look further up you can see three interesting structures next to one another. The one marked as number two on the picture is the Fishermen’s Bastion. This was built at the start of the 20th century, designed by the Miklos Ybl. While working on the Fishermen’s Bastion, he was also leading the work of renovating the Matthias Church (number 3), a church that was originally built in the 13th century. This church is the favorite church of many who visit Budapest, not only because of its interior, but because of the fantastic Zsolnay tiles on the roof, and that you can visit the tower and enjoy one of the best views in Budapest from the top.

The Matthias Church seen up-front.
The Matthias Church from up-front. The Hilton Hotel is to the left of the church.

Number four on the picture is the Hilton Hotel. This is a debated building, as many feel as if it shouldn’t be there. It is, however, a very special building due to the fact that it was constructed onto the remains of a Dominican monastery from the 15th century. As you enter the hotel, you can still see the ruins of the original building, making this one of the most special Hilton hotels in the world.

The beautiful Chain Bridge and the Castle

The tram ride from the Parliament to the Chain Bridge doesn’t take more than 1-2 minutes, so you will not have a long time to study the buildings we have just described. Soon you will get into a little tunnel taking you to the other side of the Chain Bridge. But, do not forget to take a closer look at the bridge before you drive beneath it. This was the first permanent bridge constructed between Buda and Pest. It was finished in 1849, and it has been one of the most famous landmarks in Budapest ever since. It was destroyed in 1945 (Second World War), but was quickly fixed and was ready for use again in 1949.

Chain Bridge and the Castle
The Chain Bridge and the Castle – Source: Pixabay

Now it is time to look to the Buda side again. On the top of the hill on the other side, you can see the Buda Castle. It was originally constructed in the 13th century. It has served several kings and flourished especially during the reign of King Matthias in the 15th century. During the Second World War, it was heavily damaged, but most of the damages were fixed during the Communist reign. Today the Castle is the home of the National Gallery, Budapest Historical Museum, and the National Library. In addition, it is a very popular venue for festivals and other popular events.

The Elisabeth Bridge and the Gellert Hill

In front of us, we can now see a white bridge, better known as the Elisabeth bridge. It was originally constructed in 1903, and it was the largest suspension bridge in the world as it was finished.  Just like the Chain Bridge, it was destroyed during the Second World War. The citizens of Budapest had to wait for more than 20 years for this bridge to be reconstructed.

On the Buda side of the bridge, we can see a statue portraying Bishop Gellert. He was on his way to Jerusalem as a pilgrim in the 11th century, when Hungary’s first king (Stephan), convinced him to stay. Gellert stayed in Hungary, but after the death of King Stephen, he was taken captive by rebellions trying to get rid of Christianity, and he was thrown down the hill in a barrel (and died).

On the top of the hill, you can see the Citadel and the liberty statue. This hill has been used for thousands of years, but the citadel (fortress) was built between 1850-1854. The statue portraying a lady with a palm branch in her hands was built after the Second World War in honor of the Communist soldiers who liberated Budapest (the construction was ordered by the Soviets, so the Hungarian didn’t have the chance of saying no to the job). The Gellert Hill is maybe the nicest place in Budapest if you want to take stunning panorama shots of the city, both during daytime and by night.

The Liberty Statue at the Gellért hill
The Liberty Statue at the Gellért hill

You will now quickly reach the green bridge, the Liberty Bridge. This was the third bridge built between Buda and Pest and it was finished by the end of the 19th century. Since the tram will drive into a tunnel to get beneath the bridge you cannot actually see the building, but on the Pest side next to the tram line, you can now find the famous Market Hall, a must-see place while in Budapest.

You cannot see it from the tram, but it is there - The Great Market Hall.
You cannot see it from the tram, but it is there – The Great Market Hall.

As the tram moves on, you can see the Gellert hotel on the Buda side, and almost next to it, the Technical University. But, just as interesting is the building on the Pest side built in the shape of a whale. This is often referred to by locals as the whale (Bálna), and it is a cultural center with some nice shops, and several restaurants and bars. It is a nice place to sit down and have something to eat and drink while enjoying the view of the Danube and the city.

The Whale shaped building in Budapest
Here you can see the whale-shaped building, the Bálna – Source: Pixabay

The end of the tram ride is approaching, but there are still a few more things worth noticing. First, we will pass beneath the Petőfi bridge (named after a famous Hungarian poet who lived in the 19th century). On the Pest side, you can now see a whole lot of newly built buildings. It is a modern area with new flats and quite a lot of offices. But, do not be fooled, and do not leave the tram yet. You will soon reach the final stop, and Budapest has some goodies left for you, just take a look at the picture.

The National Theater in Budapest and the Palace of Arts
The National Theater and the Palace of Arts – Source: Pixabay

As the tram ride ends, you will end up next to the Palace of Arts (to the right) and the National Theater (to the left). These are some magnificent buildings that were built quite recently (between 2000 and 2005). They are extraordinary buildings, but most people would say that they are most impressive by night, just look at the picture above again.

Now that the tram ride has ended

The tram ride has now ended, and you have just enjoyed a very cheap panoramic tour of Budapest. But, you are far away from the city center by now, so you should probably just remain on the tram and enjoy the ride back to the city center. You will then have one more chance to pick up on those attractions you didn’t really have the time to see during the first ride.

Do not forget that this is a ride you should do both during daytime and nighttime. As you can see, lots of the pictures are portraying Budapest by night, and the city is even more beautiful then. If you want to save even more money, you could do this tram ride instead of a River Cruise on the Danube. Most cruises travel between the Margaret Bridge (where the tram ride started) and the Rakoczi Bridge (where the tram trip ended), so you will see exactly the same. It might be better and easier to spot everything from the Danube, but if you are on a budget, this is a fantastic tram ride that will let you discover Budapest on your own without spending more than 1 Euro.

Doesn’t this sound like a treat when you come to Budapest? Have you tried it? Have you got any questions? We would love to hear your comments, thoughts, and questions.

The most popular “Hungarian” fish!

It is summer, and in the summer Hungarians escape Budapest and visit Lake Balaton instead. And what do they eat there? The most popular “Hungarian” fish!

You should be warned, some people will not agree on calling this the most popular “Hungarian” fish. There are some other popular fish types in Hungary, for example, carp, catfish, perch, and pike. But, when the Hungarians travel to Lake Balaton, they eat something completely different, namely the “Merluccius Merluccius“, better known as the European hake (in Hungarian “Hekk“). The funny thing is that this fish doesn’t origin from Hungary, and not even from Europe, but from the coasts of Argentina.

A picture of the popular "Hungarian" fish
A picture of the popular “Hungarian” fish – Source

According to this article, the fish is captured in Argentina and transported to Hungary, where it is almost served as a “national” fish. According to Wikipedia, it is a popular fish to catch also in Europe, but the one we are eating in Hungary is supposed to origin from Argentina. It is, however, due to the popularity of the fish in Hungary that it is often considered a fish of the Hungarians, and thus it should origin from Hungary, at least in the minds of the people.

How do Hungarians eat the fish?

If you buy this fish by Lake Balaton, or somewhere else, it will most likely look something like this.

The Hungarian fish

It is normally fried in oil and server together with white bread. It is very easy to eat as the meat can easily be removed from the fish-bones (which are so big that it is no trouble at all getting rid of them).

So, the next time you want to eat a fish course in Hungary, consider the European Hake, better known as “hekk” in Hungary. But, be warned – you will not find it in normal restaurants, only by Lake Balaton, along with the “Romai part” (in Budapest), and other places with beach-like circumstances.