Danube Cruise with Hungarian Dinner and Live Music – Is it worth the money?

The Danube is beautiful, but if you come to Budapest, it is especially beautiful. While it is only a river flowing through Vienna without making a big impression, it is maybe the most important thing when it comes to the beauty of Budapest. The city is built on both sides of the river and during a river cruise on the Danube, you can enjoy beautiful buildings and it is a stunning experience, no matter how many times you have done it before. Are you considering whether or not you should try the “Danube Cruise with Hungarian Dinner and Live Music” while in Budapest? This program is available for booking on our page about boat trips on the Danube and you can also book it on popular pages such as GetYourGuide. Is it worth the money?

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First of all, many people ask whether they should travel on the Danube in Budapest during daytime or nighttime. That is a valid question to which there is one good answer: “Do both!” If you feel like that is an expensive answer and you need to choose, then a boat trip on the Danube in the evening (when it’s dark outside) is the best experience.

Budapest is a magical city in the evenings with all the buildings illuminated, and the best place to enjoy this is on a boat trip on the Danube. But, if you decide to buy tickets for a river cruise on the Danube in the evening… should you buy a ticket for a cruise with or without food included in the price?

In most cases I would say that food makes everything better. Something good to drink boosts the experience. Not only do you enjoy the experience because of what you see, but at the same time you feel sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and savory on your tongue. At the cruise with Hungarian Dinner, you also listen to Hungarian music, making sure that even more senses receive satisfaction. So, is it worth it?

The trip in itself is amazing!

This trip is normally arranged on a large boat named Grof Széchényi. It starts not far from the Chain Bridge in Budapest, and the trip lasts for two hours in total. During the trip you travel in the area between the Margaret Bridge and the Rákoczi Bridge, meaning you can see famous buildings such as the Castle, the National Theater, the Parliament, the Matthias Church and the Fishermen’s Bastion, the Gellért Hotel, the Palace of Arts, and you also see the Liberty Statue at the top of the Gellért Hill and much more.

But, there are cheaper trips available in which you don’t listen to live music and don’t eat food. Should you rather travel with such a boat, or does this trip give you good value for your money?

What about the food and the music?

As you sit down and the boat starts, so does “An der schönen blauen Donau” by Johan Strauss. The music is played by very good musicians on the boat, and throughout the trip they will play this and many other famous classical songs, sometimes combined with more modern music. During the trip, they sometimes walk through the room offering to play songs by the different tables (if you have any requests), so don’t be surprised if they show up by your table during the trip.

The music isn’t disturbing, which means you can easily have a good conversation by the table without shouting. If you like this type of music led by a violinist, accompanied by a person playing the cimbalom and another on a contrabass, this will for sure increase the satisfaction you experience during such a trip.

The food is served in a buffet, which means you have to stand up and walk to the buffet table to get your food. This might remove some of the focus from the attractions outside the window, but if you wait for a few minutes, then the lines are gone and you can easily grab your food within a few minutes, meaning that you will not miss out on any of the important attractions in Budapest.

The quality of the food is good and you get the chance to taste traditional Hungarian Goulash soup, a typical Hungarian beef stew with homemade dumplings, and various strudels for dessert. Besides this, you get a welcome drink and one more selected drink during your meal.

Are you worried about the quality of the food? If you are in love with Michelin stars, this might not be your place. But, if you are happy to taste traditional Hungarian meals prepared in a tasty way, and like the thought of dining from a buffet, then this shouldn’t disappoint you.

champagne and the parliament

All in all, this is a fantastic experience if you want to see Budapest by night and combine it a dinner-buffet with live music.

Is this article an advertisement for the trip? Not at all! Even though we love boat trips on the Danube, there are some trips we would rather avoid, and if you read other blog posts, you will see that are not afraid to give out warnings when needed.

Would you like to book a river cruise like this in Budapest? You can reserve tickets at our page about boat trips on the Danube in Budapest, or you can use the GetYourGuide widget below and do your booking there.

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Have you tried this trip yourself? Do you have any questions regarding the trip? Write a comment or a question using the forms below.

Six activities you should try in Budapest in May!

May is one of the best months of the year if you want to explore Budapest. Even though it can be very warm, it doesn’t get extremely hot. In other words, May is perfect for walking up and down the streets of Budapest, shopping, eating outdoor, and staying up until late in the evening without fearing cold temperatures.

But, are there any special activities ideal for tourists coming to Budapest in May? Of course! Some of these activities are suitable during the entire year, but they are even more fantastic in May. Are you ready to be inspired? Bring your notebook, a cup of coffee, and start planning your trip to Budapest today!

Six great activities in Budapest in May.

Let’s get started! Do not forget that you can read more about all sorts of Budapest activities here in our Budapest Guide. You can also find information about the most popular attractions, guided tours, public transportation, and other important topics as you read the different articles.

May is a perfect month for a guided tour on foot.

If this is the first time you are coming to Budapest, you should definitely go on a guided tour. Such trips will help you get an overview of the city, and you can learn much more about the topics you are interested in. Some people are worried that you only learn about boring history on guided tours, but with a private guide you have the flexibility to learn more about the topics you are interested in. If you don’t care about history, then it is still fantastic to walk around the city and learn more about what Hungarians eat (as you visit the Grand Market Hall), get an overview of the city, and at the same time learn more about what makes Budapest such a beautiful city. And once again, you are very likely to experience nice temperatures in May, which makes a guided tour on foot a perfect activity.

guided tour in budapest

Whenever you come to Budapest, a boat trip on the Danube is a fantastic experience!

It doesn’t matter when you come to Budapest… a boat trip on the Danube is fantastic throughout the entire year. The only thing you should take into consideration is what time of the day you do the trip. Budapest is beautiful during daytime, but it is magical with the illuminated buildings in the evening. If you want to enjoy the view of the illuminated buildings in May, you should go on a boat trip starting (or still traveling) around 20.00 in the evening.

Should you buy tickets for a dinner cruise or just a sightseeing cruise? That is entirely your decision. It is something wonderful about eating while looking at the beautiful surroundings, but the food might take some of the focus from the joy of what you see.

Visit a thermal bath early in the morning or late in the evening!

Budapest is well-known for its thermal water. You should bring a swimming suit to Budapest, but if you want to maximize the experience in May, you should visit a thermal bath early in the morning or in the evening. Our favorite place is Szechenyi Furdö (located in the City Park). This is the best place for enjoying the hot springs outside, and the colder it gets, the better it is. And yes, that is why you should go early in the morning or late in the evening. Széchenyi Fürdő is open from 6 in the morning until 22.00 in the evening, and if you come early, you can enjoy the fresh air, combined with outdoor pools with temperatures between 26 and 38 Celsius. If you go in the evening, it gets a little bit more chilled, and you can also enjoy the romantic steam coming up from the pools which gets more visible with the lights turned on around the pools in the evenings.

Another advantage of going early or late is that you avoid the crowds.

Széchenyi in Budapest

Enjoy the Budapest view from one of many viewpoints in the city.

Budapest has lots of fantastic spots for those who want to take good photos or just want to enjoy the view with their own eyes. If you walk downtown, two great spots are Budapest Eye and the dome of the St. Stephen’s Basilica.

View from the Budapest Eye.
View from the Budapest Eye.

If you are located in the City Park, then BalloonFly is a perfect activity. The balloon will take you up 150 meters in the air from which you can get a stunning view of all of Budapest. The ride lasts for about 15 minutes, and it is one of the most exciting ways to see Budapest (unless you fear heights). The balloon is easy to spot as you walk around in the City Park of Budapest. It is only available on days with good weather.

balloonfly budapest
Examples of what you can see during a trip with BalloonFly in Budapest.

If you decide to travel to the Buda-side, then you can get a splendid view from the tower of the Matthias Church (the best in Budapest), or from the dome of the National Gallery (which is a part of the castle).

The Margaret Island is fantastic in May!

In the middle of the Danube, between the Margaret-bridge and the Árpád-bridge, you can find the peaceful island named after a lady named Margaret who lived on the island in the 13th century. She lived in a monastery at the island, and you can still see ruins of it as you walk around the island today.

With the fantastic weather waiting for you in Budapest in May, you should definitely put on some good shoes and walk around the island. There are lots of things you can do on the island, and for more suggestions, look at our article describing ten awesome Margaret Island activities.

If the weather is very nice, you should bring a blanket and something to eat and drink, and just spend some time in quietness and peace, and charge your inner batteries (instead of your cell-phone batteries).

Eat your dinner at a restaurant with outdoor seating!

You need to eat, and you need to drink. Why not enjoy a warm (but not too hot) May evening in Budapest by eating a dinner outside? There are lots of restaurants with outdoor seating available in May, giving you the chance to drink a glass of Hungarian wine accompanied by a tasty Goulash soup in a beautiful environment. There are several restaurants by the Danube that will give you such opportunities, but you can also look for sky-bars where you can drink and eat outdoor with a marvelous view of Budapest from the top of a building.

wine in budapest

Come, come, come!

Budapest is waiting for you. These are only a few of many fantastic activities waiting for you in Budapest in May and throughout the year. If there should be some ugly clouds, you should either take a coffee break, visit a museum or find your swimming-suit and visit Széchényi Fürdő! Would you like to find out if there are any concerts, exhibitions, or festivals coming up in May? Look at our Budapest calendar to find out more.

If you have any comments or questions regarding what to do in Budapest in May, use the comment field below!

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)!

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!

5 activities you must try while in Budapest

There are lots of compilations about what tourists have to see while in the capital of Hungary, Budapest. This article would like to give advices about what you should do, try or taste in the most amazing city of Eastern Europe.

1. Hungarian gastronomy / Langos

GastronomyFirst of all we would like to mention the Hungarian kitchen. I am sure everyone has heard about the Goulash soup. But you need to know that the Hungarian kitchen is not only about Goulash, there are better and better soups, main courses, desserts and snacks too. What you definitely should try is ‘lángos’. This traditional meal is the Hungarian pizza. Originally it is a circle shaped dough made in plenty of oil, they put garlic, sour cream and/or cheese on it. Nowadays there are lots of versions; you can get pizza lángos, gyros lángos, bacon lángos and more. If you are in Budapest and run into a buffet where they sell lángos, do not miss it, taste this delicious meal.

2. Danube Cruise

Another activity that will let you see the most basic sights of Budapest in a delightful way is a boat trip on the Danube. In Budapest there are a lot of fantastic attractions, and these are mostly located at the two sides of the Danube. Tourists can watch these walking on either the Buda side or on the Pest side, but there is a way that is much better, a Danube Cruise. You can read more about it on this website if you click here. From the famous international river there is fantastic view to both side of Budapest. The best time for this program is at the evening, when the sun goes down and Budapest’s light are on.

Like this article? Read about the Top five attractions in Budapest or read about five hidden treasures in Budapest.

3. Taste Hungarian drinks

Hungarian beerOur third recommendation relates to gastronomy enjoyments again. As most people know, Hungary is famous for its drinking culture. The Hungarian beers, wines and short drinks have worldwide fame. Dutch young people usually come to Budapest from the home of Heineken, because they enjoy the Hungarian beers more than their own. Nowadays several pubs make their own home made beers, which are very delicious and not too expensive: you can buy half liter for a price between 200 Forint and 1000 Forint (check out our Brewery Tour if this sounds cool). We need to talk about Hungarian wines too. The closest wine area to Budapest is Etyek, and this is the youngest wine region too, moreover the home to the grapes behind the most famous Hungarian champagne, Törley. Those who like strong drinks, have to try the Hungarian national drink, pálinka. This short drink made from every fruit what you can imagine, Hungarian people usually used to say: “If you can make jam from a fruit, you can make pálinka too.”. Consume it with responsibility, because it is a strong drink.

4. Visit a ruin pub

If you want to find the best place for the third point, the fourth point can help a lot. In Budapest there is a special pub type, the ruin pub. The point is that they made safe night clubs from little bit ruined, old buildings, but they left the abandoned feeling of them. These are perfect places for a drink, a good chat with friends or maybe to meet up with new people. Most ruin pubs can be found in the seventh district of Budapest, close to the Synagogue (Zsinagóga). Moreover, you can read about some of them in our website, if you click here.

Ruin pub in Budapest
Picture from RomKert in Budapest, one of the famous ruin pubs

5. Do a wine trip to Etyek

The fifth and last recommendation, what you should try while in Budapest is wine tasting in Etyek. As we mentioned in third point, Hungarian wines are famous in the entire whole world and Etyek is a very upcoming region. If you contact us, you could have an unforgettable wine tasting experience in Etyek. On such an excursion you will meet a local wine maker, see the production area, get to know how it all started and the challenges they face in the every day life, and of course – taste the best wines from their production. Etyek is first of all a white wine area, so you will mostly taste whites, but do not be surprised if a rose or a red wine should be presented as well!

We hope you liked our compilation presenting five activities you must try while in Budapest. If you don’t want to spend your whole vacation in museums, choose one or more from the list and you won’t be disappointed! Have a great time!

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Five secret attractions in Budapest worth visiting

Of course, these places aren’t secret, but not everybody knows about them. This means that they are not crowded, so you and your family can walk in peace without being bothered by crowds of people. If you like visiting such attractions, but don’t want to go far from the center of Budapest, then you should read this article about these five secret attractions in Budapest worth visiting.

1. Philosopher’s Garden

Philosopher’s GardenThe first on our list is the Philosopher’s Garden. This attraction is closer than you think; it is located on the other, not too-visited side of the Gellért Hill. The approach is easier than it sounds like, you just need to go to Pest bridgehead of the Elisabeth Bridge, where you can find a bus stop (8,112) and go one station with it to Sánc Street. From here you need to walk a little on the street with the same name as the bus stop and the Philosopher’s Garden is immediately on the left side. The little green place got its name from the statue group, which image the world’s most famous philosophers in one circle. Visitor could meet with the statue of Jesus, Buddha, Mohamed, and Gandhi too. Besides this we can’t forget the fantastic panorama which shows the whole capital.

2. Normafa

The second is the Normafa, which is a huge and beautiful place on the Buda side. The approach is not complicated neither, you just need to go with the bus 21 or 21A from Széll Kálmán Square, exactly from Várfok Street. Be careful, the 21’s bus final station is not the destination that you are looking for, check the station list. From the Normafa station it is just half minute and you suddenly see the panorama of the capital from Buda perspective. There is everything here: buffet, strudel, kindergarten, nature and peace.

Do not forget to read our article about the top five attractions in Budapest.

3. Feneketlen tó

The third on the list is the Feneketlen Lake. This artificial lake located a little bit out of the center, but it is still easy to get here, because it is just five minute walk or one stop with tram 61 from Móricz Zsigmond Square. You can walk around the little lake, lie down on the grass, there are duck food machines and the most important: green is around you. Moreover there is a great restaurant near to the Feneketlen Lake, the Hemingway Restaurant. Besides this there is a fantastic kindergarten next to Feneketlen Lake.

4. János Hill Lookout Tower

 János Hill Lookout TowerThe fourth is the János Hill Viewpoint. We firstly recommend this place for those who like hiking. The easiest way to reach the János Hill Viewpoint is from Normafa by foot with the help of hiking signs; you can read about these more on the external tables. If you reach the little bit sweaty but beautiful trip’s destination, you just need to climb stairs to see the breathtaking view. You can see everything from this place! Of course there is a buffet here too, so you can have a little rest and a drink after the “mountaineering”. The most special and easiest runoff from the hill is with the Libegő (Chairlift). Underway the whole city unfold in front of you.

5. Szent Istvan Park

Our fifth and last hidden attraction in Budapest what you need to talk about is the Szent István Park. This hidden place is perfect especially for families. The Park has two parts: a smaller with kindergarten and a bigger one, which is a beautiful garden with fountains and amazing flowers. The approach of this place is not complicated, you just need to go to Jászai Mari Square and it is just five minute walk on the street next to McDonald’s, the Pozsonyi Street, at the end of the walk you straightly run into the Szent István Park. Next to the Park there is a lovely restaurant, the Duna Park, here you can have an ice cream, a coffee or anything what you want. Otherwise the whole area is family friend and safe. There are lots of restaurants, pastry shops, café shop and lovely little shops in the district. Advantage for dog keepers; next to the Park there is a safely fenced and well equipped dog running too.

We hope, you like our list presenting five hidden attractions in  Budapest. This is a little bit different, a little bit more peaceful, than the crowd center city, but it could be an unforgettable experience for those, who visit one of the places.

Top five Budapest attractions

Coming to Budapest and wonder what are the most important attractions to see when in town? We have created a list telling you what are the top five Budapest attractions.

The attractions on this list are things to see, which means that we have not included activities and programs. These are buildings and landmarks that you simple need to see, because they are stunning and because if you do not see them, you can not return home claiming to have seen the most important sights in Budapest. So here we go, our top five Budapest attractions.

Top five Budapest attractions

St. Stephens Basilica
We have always been big fans of the St. Stephens Basilica. It has a beautiful exterior and interior. From the square outside the church it is possible to make magnificent pictures, from the dome you can enjoy the best view available on the Pest side, and inside you can enjoy the mixture of prayer, organ music and beautiful paintings, sculptures and much more!

St. Stephens Basilica in Budapest
St. Stephens Basilica is in our eyes the most beautiful church in all of Budapest! Majestic both on the inside and the outside.

Parliament
The Hungarian Parliament might be the most impressive of all buildings in Budapest. It is located by the Danube and it reminds quite a lot about the Parliament in London. As you watch the building from the outside you will be extremely impressed, but do not make the mistake to think that you have seen it once your bus or taxi has driven next to it during daytime. It is when the lights are turned on in the evening it turns into one of the most beautiful buildings Europe has to offer.

The Hungarian Parliament
One of the nicest Parliament buildings in the world can be found in Budapest

Heroes Square
If you want an introduction to the history of Hungary, bring a guide book or a guide with you to the Heroes Square. The square is beautiful both during daytime and nighttime, but be aware of the fact that in the hottest months it is hard to be out on the square for more than 5-10 minutes. The monuments and the statues at the square are delightful, and the two wonderful museums at both sides of the square just gives a plus to it all.

Heroes Square in Budapest
The best place to get an introduction to the history of Hungary, the Heroes Square

Chain Bridge
If you buy a postcard from Budapest, it is very possible that the Chain Bridge is the landmark you will see on it. The bridge is first of all a favorite object to photograph when it is illuminated in the evening, and it is also the oldest bridge connecting Pest with Buda. Beautiful, and almost impossible to miss out on when in Budapest.

Top Five Budapest attractions
The Chain Bridge is one of the most beautiful attractions in Budapest

Castle Hill
The fifth and last attraction on our list of the Top five Budapest attractions is the Castle Hill. We realize that the Castle Hill in fact is a hill and not one attraction, so it is kind of tricky. However, as we write the Castle Hill as an attraction it includes the castle building itself, but also the Matthias Church and the Fishermens Bastion.

Matthias Church in Budapest
The Matthias Church is beautiful, and its location next to the Fishermens Bastion is perfect.

The best route to see these five attractions

If you decide to see all these five attraction on one and the same little trip on your own, then we recommend the following route.

  • Start your tour at the Heroes Square
  • Take the yellow metro or walk your way down the Andrassy avenue to the St. Stephens Basilica
  • Continue towards the Chain Bridge and walk across it
  • Walk on foot or use the funicular to get to the Castle Hill
  • Walk from the Castle towards the Trinity square (Szentharomsag ter)
  • Enjoy the view of the Matthias Church and the Fishermens Bastion
  • Walk to the top of one of the viewing points at the Fishermens Bastion and see the beautiful Parliament from there.

Enjoy your trip and if you have further thoughts and advices, just write a comment!

11 nice December activities in Budapest

11 December activities in Budapest
11 December activities in Budapest

December can be a very cold month in Budapest and in Hungary, but there are plenty of good and nice programs in this period as well. Check out our list beneath for pieces of advice and recommendations.

– Visit the popular Christmas markets in Budapest
– Go ice skating in the City Park
– Enjoy the 5 course Hungarian winedinner in the centre of Budapest
Visit Szentendre for winetasting, shopping, Christmas market and more fun
– Do a daytrip to the Christmas markets in Vienna
– Enjoy a thai massage in Lian Thai Massage
– Visit the Alexandra BookCafe in Andrassy Út
– Check out a performance in the Hungarian State Opera
– Eat a newly baked Chimney cake (kürtöskalács). Eat it while drinking some hot wine.
– Learn how to make Hungarian food at a nice coooking school
– Taste Hungarian beer at our brewery tour

We wish everyone a wonderful December, a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Best restaurants in Budapest in 2010

Maybe you ask why someone would write a blog post about the best restaurants in Budapest in 2010 when the current year is 2012, and the month is September, meaning that 2013 is approaching. I will not try to come up with some smart reason, except from the fact that some days ago I found a book in my bookshelf named „Alexandra étteremkalauz 2010.” Alexandra is one of the major bookstores in Hungary with lots of shops around, and every year they write about about the best restaurants of the year. I bought such a book in 2010, but somehow I just placed it in my bookshelf, and never even took the plastic of the book. Now I found it, and I thought it could be interesting just to share some of their thoughts about restaurants in Budapest in 2010. Some of the restaurants said to be the best back then are still going strong, while some of them have faded away since then.

Here comes the list presenting the five best restaurants in Budapest/Hungary then in 2010.

Number 5: Babel Delicate Restaurant

Babel is a delicate restaurant, which back in 2010 was located in the Vaci Utca, shopping street of Budapest, and they were known for interesting food with three styles in focus; Hungarian, International and Vegetarian. Of the traditional Hungarian courses they were all prepared with some new moves to them, making the traditional Fish soup quite different from the way Hungarians normally know it.

Babel closed down in 2011 and has since then written that they would close down their restaurant in Vaci Utca to move into new and better localities at the Marcius 15. tér. We are still waiting for the restaurant to open, who knows if it ever will?

Number 4: Onyx restaurant

Onyx restaurant

Onyx is located at the Vörösmarty square and has since 2010 when the book listed is as the fourth best restaurant in Budapest, turned even better. Thus the restaurant was given one Michelin star back in 2011, and now in 2012 this is the restaurant listed as the number one restaurant in Budapest by most critics, including the Dining Guide, Gault&Millau and quite some others. The chef Tamás Szell has received lots of awards for the way he cooks and runs the kitchen, and if you want to taste the upper class in Hungarian food in a modern and fusion way, visit the Onyx restaurant.

Number 3: Csalogány 26

Csalogány 26 is a restaurant easy to find, because if you know the name of the restaurant, you also know the address. The restaurant has a clean and puritan design, and for lunch time they have good offer, and if you come for dinner you will be able to taste top-class gastronomy. The head chef back then was Balazs Pethő, and he is still controlling the kitchen, making Csalogany 26 still one of the best restaurants in Budapest. The service is efficient, the wine menu is small (but good)and the prices are easy to digest. (these thoughts reflect what the reviewer wrote about the restaurant in the book).

Number 2: Costes

Costes was the first restaurant in Budapest to get a Michelin star, and it is not without reason that was listed as the second best restaurant in Budapest by the reviewers in the restaurant guide from Alexandra in 2010. They wrote back then that „the head chef is Argentinean whose culinary creations have French roots, Hungarian inspirations and exceptional ingredients.” The restaurant changed their chef later, and even though the food has changed a bit since then, the quality is still great and in 2012 this is listed as the best restaurant in Budapest together with Onyx in most serious books about restaurants in Budapest. The name of the chef back then was Nicolas Rafael Delgado, while the present day chef is Miguel Rocha Vieira. The restaurant is a bit more expensive than Onyx, but if you go here you better check out one of their larger menus where you give the chef liberty to help you choose what to eat!

Number 1: Chateau Visz

Chateau Visz

Oh man… this is a mistake. The best restaurant of them all in the book is not at all located in Budapest, but in Visz, 10 kilometers from Balatonlelle, which is 140km from Budapest. Just checking it all again I noticed that the book is about Hungary in general, and even though most restaurants are located in Budapest, the winner of the best restaurant of the year in Hungary in 2012 is located in Visz. This should for sure give you an excuse to go on a day excursion to the Balaton area and then of course make a stop when you come to Chateau Visz.

Back in 2010 the chef of the restaurant was Erik Schröter,. Since then they have a new guy running the kitchen and his name is Klaus Deutschmann. The restaurant is not to big, with space for all in all 50-60 guests at the most – but, the price list is high and for a 3-7 course menu you should prepare on paying something between 15,000-25,000 HUF.

Chateu Visz is a luxury hotel housing one of the best restaurants of the country. The place is elegantly decorated with antique furniture, marble fireplace, crystal chandelier, and a private collection of paintings from 19th-20th century Hungarian artists. Dishes are light and use fresh herbs and local ingredients like lamb, buffalo and catfish.” (quotation from the book)

Sounds good, doesn’t it? So if you are heading of for a day trip to Balaton while in Budapest, do not miss out on a visit to the Chateau Visz if you want to taste some of the best gastronomy available in all of Hungary.

We will come back with some more articles later with lists presenting the best restaurants in Budapest (and Hungary) in 2012, but until then, you will probably find some good suggestions for a nice dinner reading the list made back in 2010. Good appetite!

Ten spring activities in Budapest

Szechenyi Thermal Bath
Szechenyi Thermal Bath

The sun is shining, it’s 15-20 degrees and you are in Budapest. It is a normal spring day in the capital of Hungary. Here follows some advices on how to spend such a day in Budapest. This might be a real top 10 list of activities, but rather a list with ideas for different nice activities that can be done on a sunny spring day in Budapest.

Ten nice spring activities in Budapest

1) Cross the Elisabeth Bridge and walk to the top of the Gellert Hill. Make some marvelous pictures!

2) Go to Raday Utca or Liszt Ferenc Tér and buy something to drink in one of the outdoor cafes/restaurants

3)  Budapest Zoo! Great place to be when the sun is shining.

4) Travel with the Libegő (chairlift) between Zugliget and John Hill (János hegy). Get there using bus 291 from Nyugati Pályaudvar. Afterwards enjoy the fresh air and the view from the Elisabeth tower.

5) Buy some sun lotion and swim in the outdoor pools of the Szechényi Thermal Bath

6) Do a half-day trip to Szentendre with shopping, wine, marcipan and food

7) See Budapest from the Danube while on a dinner cruise

8) Sit down somewhere and try to learn some useful Hungarian phrases. Below you can find some suggestions.

9) Get more knowledge about the different special drinks from Hungary in our „Drinks of Hungary” program

10) Smile to the people around you, simply because life is good and Budapest is beautiful!

Some useful and some useless Hungarian phrases:
–         Süt a nap (the sun is shining)
–         Kérek egy hosszú kávét (a long coffee please)
–         Hol van McDonalds? (where is McDonalds)
–         A nevem Bill Clinton (my name is Bill Clinton)
–         Nagyon szépek a jegesmedvek (the polar bears are really nice)