Is it safe to visit Budapest and Hungary with the present situation in Ukraine?

Have you been waiting for COVID to disappear so that you could finally come to Budapest (again)? But, as you finally started to plan your trip to Budapest again, the entire conflict between Russia and Ukraine showed up and suddenly you got one more reason to worry. But, do you need to worry about the conflict if you are coming to Budapest and to Hungary?

Hungary has more than 2150km of borders and the biggest part of this is the border shared with Slovakia at a total of more than 650km. The second-largest border is shared with Romania (443km), then followed by Austria with which we share a border of 366km. But, what about Ukraine?

The smallest border part in kilometers is with Slovenia (only 102km), and then comes Ukraine with which Hungary has 133km of common border. And yes, that can be experienced these days as the number of refugees entering Hungary from Ukraine might have reached 500,000 already.

But, it is very important to understand that on the Ukrainian side of the border, there are several cities and villages in which a large part of the population speaks Hungarian. So far, these villages and cities haven’t been attacked at all, meaning that they are still doing good, even though they are a part of Ukraine.

Is it safe to visit Budapest right now?
The Fishermen’s Bastion in Budapest – Source: Pixabay

What is the situation in Hungary?

The Hungarian people have done a wonderful job taking care of the people arriving in the country from Ukraine. Locals have opened up their homes and their wallets, and the government is also working with helping refugees coming to the country. Many of the refugees travel on to elsewhere in Europe from Hungary, while some reside here, hoping to stay here until the situation has calmed down in Ukraine so that they can return to their country once again.

As a tourist in Hungary…

If you come to Hungary as a tourist, you will most likely not notice anything at all. You might hear more of the Ukrainian language than normal, but since you most likely are unable to discern the languages you don’t know, you will not know whether the people you hear speak Hungarian or Ukrainian or any other language that you don’t know.

If you think about security, then there is no need to worry at all. It is considered a negative thing in general that the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Órban has a quite close friendship with Vladimir Putin, but if you think about the security of the country, then that might actually give it a little additional piece of security (if you fear Putin attacking areas outside Ukraine).

What about COVID?

Are you still worried about COVID as well? You might need to use a face mask on the flight carrying you to Budapest and to Hungary, but there is no need to use a face mask elsewhere in Hungary (besides if you have to visit a hospital or medical facility). There are still quite a lot of COVID each and every day and there are still quite some people dying due to COVID daily. However, people mostly live their lives like before COVID and all programs are available as they would normally be.


No matter what, you can come to Hungary without any worries. Get ready for a nice river cruise on the Danube, some tasty Goulash soup, and maybe a sweet sip of some wine from Tokaj?

How can Hungary get to the European Championship in football in 2020?

After their somewhat big success during the European Championship in football in 2016, the Hungarians are hungry for more. The fact that three matches during the European Championship actually will be played in Hungary, makes it even more interesting. But, how can the Hungarians get to the European Championship in football?

The legendary Hungarian footballer Ferenc Puskas has given name to the biggest football stadium in Hungary. It has recently been renovated, making it a fantastic arena for big football matches. And believe us, this will be an arena for awesome matches during the European Championship, with or without the Hungarians. How come?

The group that will play three matches at the Ferenc Puskas stadium consists of three teams so far; France, Portugal, and Germany. The matches in this group will be played in Germany and in Hungary, meaning that there will for sure be a match between France and Portugal at the stadium during the championship. That is gonna be wild! But, is there a chance that we can see the Hungarians at the stadium as well during the European Championship?

How and when can the Hungarians get to Euro 2020?

The Hungarians still have the chance to qualify, because of the new Nations League system. But, they still have two matches left that they need to win, and neither of those should be considered easy matches.

First of all, on March 26th, they need to beat the Bulgarian square in Bulgaria. The match will start at local time 20.45. Even though the Bulgarian team is a good team, this is a task that they might manage, at least if they have a good day.

The first play-off matches for Euro 2020

If the Hungarians win against Bulgaria on March 26th, the final task will be on March 31st against the winner of the match between Romania and Iceland. As we all know, this sounds quite a bit harder, and both the Icelandic squad and the Romanian squad are a couple of levels up from the quality of the Bulgarian players.

But, if we go back four years in time, we also know that the Hungarians are capable of playing very well under pressure (as when they won against Norway in their two play-off matches in order to get to the European Championship in 2016 in France). So, nothing is impossible. But, there will for sure be some tough moments in order for the Hungarians to get that far!

How to watch the Hungarian matches online?

The matches in which Hungary will play, first against Bulgaria, and then hopefully, against the winner of the Romania/Iceland match, can be streamed on M4 in Hungary. This is a free channel in Hungary, but it can also be accessed quite easily from abroad.

If you want to know more about how you can stream the actual European Championship in football online, click the link for more information. Hopefully, that will be a tournament in which the Hungarians will be present and ready to play against France, Germany, and Portugal.

I don’t believe they will have much of a chance if they actually get there, but it would be amazing to see the players present. And as they managed to surprise and win the group in 2016 (which also consisted of Portugal, Iceland, and Austria), they might be able to grab some points in the Euro 2020, even if their opponents will be Portugal, Germany, and France!


Do not forget, we can help you with lots of programs if you come to Hungary to watch the European Championship in football. We can pick you up at the airport, arrange a delicious beer dinner, or maybe let you enjoy a wine tasting program? Look around in our Budapest Guide for even more information!

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.