Money Exchange and Budget in Budapest

In Hungary the local currency is Hungarian Forint (HUF). It’s recommended to have some with you as some places (eg. stallholders on markets or smaller restaurants) only accept cash.

EURO Cash

In some bigger supermarkets the Euro is accepted as well. Look for the Euro sign at the cashiers, as sometimes only certain cashiers will take it. If you do pay with Euros in a supermarket you certainly won’t get a good deal. It is best to use a card or Forints.

Changing Cash

Never change money at train stations, Budapest airport, in banks or hotels as they use unfavorable rates.

Choose change shops in the center of the city and change preferably during daytime when all the change shops are open and they have to compete to get customers.
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Change shops are mushrooming in Váci utca (main pedestrian and shopping street in the very heart of the city, one corner away from Katona Apartments) and its surroundings, eg. Petőfi Sándor utca.

As they all have similar rates, I suggest to check 2­ – 3 shops and choose the most favorable one. Usually there is not much of a difference between them.

If you want to change EUR to HUF, and want to get a good deal, you should aim to change when there is just 1­ – 3 HUF difference between the ‘buy’ and ‘sell’ rate.
EUR_HUF
According to our experiences one of the best change shops is at Blaha Lujza tér, especially if you have to change a bigger amount, but it’s probably not worth going there unless you want to see a sight close to it. Eg. New York Café.

Cards

Bank card and credit card acceptance is widely spread in Budapest. Visa, Maestro, AMEX and Diners Club are the most common ones. Always check the stickers or other signs at the entrance of the shop or restaurant to make sure your card will be accepted.

ATMs

Look for an ATM that belongs to a bank chain. The blue ATMs that are spread all around in the city are not operated by banks, and withdrawing money from these blue ATMs will cost you more.
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Some ATMs are in the lobbies of the banks that are accessible 24 hours a day and you use your bank card to get in.

Hungarian Notes

Watch out! You may be confused by the Hungarian notes. It’s easy to mix up 1,000 and 10,000, 2,000 and 20,000 bank notes.
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One day budget in Budapest

How much money will you need for one day? Difficult to say, but I would estimate: 12,000 ­- 25,000 HUF (38 – ­80 EUR) / person / day excluding accommodation fee.

Those who are on a low budget can easily spend less than this and those who are willing to spend more will find many places to splurge.

Contact us: http://katonaapartments.hu/

info@katonaapartments.hu

These topics may also interest you:

Arriving at Budapest Airport -­ How to Exchange Money and Where to Buy Bus Tickets

What to Order in Restaurants in BudapestFacts about the quality of Budapest’s tap water

Looking Back: Four Years of Wonderful Guests at Katona Apartments

Hungarian Local Food Products

 

About the authors: Virág and János

Virág, a native of Budapest, and János, who’s been living in the city since 1997 are real fans of the capital of Hungary and try to awake the enthusiasm of others. They are dedicated to helping tourists to make most out of their stay.

Here you can read more about them: http://katonaapartments.hu/

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Your Shoes Were Made for Walking: Jewels of Budapest by Foot

I’m always eager to know what our guests experience during their stay with us, good or bad, and I’m glad to get constructive criticism as that’s the best way for us to improve.

This is what our previous guests, Vivian and Daniel from the US wrote to me after the holiday they had spent in our Apartment D in March 2016:

‘In terms of improvement, we only think that the website could include more information about the location of the apartment, for example, how much time it takes to walk to major attractions. When we initially found the apartment, we had no idea that its location was so outstanding. We think this would be very attractive for potential visitors to know!’

Indeed, Vivian and Daniel are right. So here I have included more details about major attractions near the apartments which previously were not on the website.

For each destination below the estimated walking times and the distance from our apartments are indicated in brackets.

Végleges-Bp

2. Chain Bridge (14 minutes, 1.1 km = 0.68 miles)

The oldest and one of the nicest permanent bridges in Hungary linking Buda and Pest dating back to 1849. If you head from Pest to Buda, you will be facing the tunnel leading through the Castle Hill and the funicular railway, that takes you up the hill.

From Buda to Pest you will overlook the Gresham Palace, a gem of Art-Nouveau (Secessio) Style.

Take a walk over the Danube day or night to take in some of these views. I recommend starting on the Pest side as the views of Buda are awesome.

Chain Bridge with Rainbow and Parliament, Photo: my cousin, Mészöly Nóra

Chain Bridge with Rainbow and Parliament, Photo: my cousin, Mészöly Nóra

On Pest Side (Right from the River Danube):

3. Basilica of Saint Stephen (12 minutes, 1 km = 0.62 miles)

It’s the largest temple in Budapest. Take the lift or the stairs, if you’re feeling fit, up to the dome of this Roman Catholic church for 360 degree views of the city.

 

Sergey melkonov - Flickr Bazilika2.jpg

Basilica, Photo: Sergey Melkonov (Flickr)

 

4. Opera House (15 minutes, 1.2 km = 0.75 miles)

What a glorious building! One of its most admired features is the grand staircase as well as the auditorium. They will surely provide you a breathtaking experience with their unusual beauty.
Opera

Opera House, Photo: my cousin, Mészöly Nóra

5. Great Synagogue (7 minutes, 550 m = 0.34 miles)

This house of worship is the second largest Synagogue in the world, more than 150 years old and was built in an Oriental-Byzantine (Moorish) style. Major events and concerts take place here as well as accommodating the Jewish Museum.

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Photo: Sergey Melkonov, Flickr

6. New York Café (18 minutes, 1.8 km = 1.1 miles)

 

Built in eclectic Italian Renaissance-style and opened in 1894, the New York Café won the title of “the most beautiful café in the World”.

 

New York Café, Photo: my cousin, Mészöly Nóra

New York Café, Photo: my cousin, Mészöly Nóra

7. National Museum (11 minutes, 900 m = 0.56 miles)

This neoclassical building houses permanent exhibitions about the history of Hungary and a collection of Hungarian scientific achievements and inventions. A priceless treasure exhibited is a coronation mantle which was stitched for the first Hungarian king, Stephen in 1031.
NemzetiMuzeum

National Museum, Photo: Virág

8. Great Market Hall (12 minutes, 1,2 km = 0,75 miles)

The oldest and biggest market in Budapest where locals and tourists mingle. Buy fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, spices, local products, etc on the ground floor and in the basement.
For souvenirs and eateries visit the second floor. You can have a hearty Hungarian style breakfast or a lunch here.

Great Market Hall Interior, Photo: Virág

9. House of Terror Museum (24 minutes, 1.9 km = 1.2 miles)

The building used to be the headquarters of the dreaded Communist Political Police during the cold war times. Interrogation, torture and murder were rife here behind the walls. Now it’s a museum dedicated to two terror regimes, Fascism and Communism.

10. Parliament (21 minutes, 1.8 km = 1.1 miles)

It is Hungary’s largest and probably finest building that lies on the bank of the Danube. Take a guided tour and admire the magnificent interior and you will be amazed by its grace. Its stunning exterior can be viewed from a cruise boat or simply a stroll along the river, especially at night when it’s bathed in light.
Parliament, Photo: Virág

Parliament, Photo: Virág

11. Shoes at the Danube Memorial (19 minutes, 1.6 km = 1 miles)

A touching, thoughtful and an extremely moving monument dedicated to the Jewish people who were murdered at the shore of the river Danube in WW2 in 1944. I would suggested having a quick read about it before you go there.
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Shoes at the Danube Memorial, Photo: Virag

On Buda Side (Left from the River Danube):

12. Rudas Baths (16 minutes, 1.1km = 0,68 miles)

Rudas Thermal Bath was built in the 16th century in the time of the Ottoman Empire, more recently a modern part was added to it. There is a variety of pools now as well as saunas and steam baths.
It is a delightful and relaxing place where you can unwind and watch the sunset over the Danube, from the rooftop pool, after a tiring day of sightseeing. The view of the city is spectacular from here.

13. Gellért Bath and Swimming Pool (19 minutes, 1.5 km = 0,9 miles)

The thermal bath is located in a splendid hotel building which opened in 1918.  It has a magnificent Art Nouveau style interior specific to the beginning of the 20th century in Hungary.

Inside and outside swimming pools, thermal pools, saunas, an ice bath, steam rooms and an outside wave pool are all sure to repose you.

14. Gellért Hill and Citadel (24 minutes, 1.6 km = 1.0 miles)

A hike on a lovely walkway uphill with a fair number of stairs and breathtaking views over the city await you. You can also choose the lazy option by taking a bus instead. It is best to do this when the weather is clear so you can really admire the views once you reach the top.

Gellért Hill and Citadel as seen from Liberty Bridge, Photo: Virág

15. Royal Castle (29 minutes, 2.3 km = 1.4 miles)

It’s either a steep climb up or  you can use the Funicular Railway that’s leaving from the Buda side of the Chain Bridge to get here. The architectural beauty of the Castle is scenic and gorgeous offering a glimpse into the city’s imperial past. You will find the view amazing and unforgettable.

Royal Castle, Photo: my friend, Bús Mónika

 

16. Matthias Church (29 minutes, 2.3 km = 1.4 miles)

The architecture is prodigious and the ceramic roof tiles are picturesque and you will be blown away by the interior as well. A combination of patterns and colours on the walls and columns are one of a kind and the stained glass windows are very pleasing to the eye. It is a great opportunity to get the chance to attend one of the many concerts here.

17. Fisherman’s Bastion (29 minutes, 2,3 km = 1.4 miles)

A magical place day and night  with a breathtaking view of the city and the river Danube. It is a very romantic spot for couples but can sometimes be a bit crowded but it’s worth it. Don’t forget to bring your camera.
sunset from Fisherman's Bastion

Sunset from Fisherman’s Bastion, Photo: my cousin, Mészöly Nóra

18. Cave Church (19 minutes, 1,6 km = 1.0 miles)

It’s an utterly unique Roman Catholic church in the Gellért hill that consists of a natural cave and an artificially created rock cavern system. During the Socialist times the state power closed the entrance with a 2 meter thick concrete wall and the cross on the top was removed. Since the political changes it can be visited again. Services are regularly held here.

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Entrance of the Cave Church, Photo: Virág

There are many places to stay in Budapest, but our location is one of the best in the city. In addition to the nearby attractions listed above, we are also within walking distance from these two UNESCO heritage sites:

1. The view of both banks of the river Danube, the Castle District of Buda, and the area stretching from Petőfi Bridge, past Gellért Hill and Tabán, to Castle Hill and the Water Town on the Buda side.

2. Andrássy út and its immediate surroundings, like the Millennium Underground Railway Line and Memorial in Heroes’ Square.

When you stay with us, the whole city is yours to explore.

Please contact us for further information. We will be glad to help:

info@katonaapartments.hu

 

These topics may also interest you:

Art Nouveau Buildings in Budapest

Day trip from Budapest to Szentendre

A natural formation transformed into a hospital

Arriving at Budapest Airport -­ How to Exchange Money and Where to Buy Bus Tickets

About the authors: Virág and János

Virág, a native of Budapest, and János, who’s been living in the city since 1997 are real fans of the capital of Hungary and try to awake the enthusiasm of others. They are dedicated to helping tourists to make most out of their stay.

Here you can read more about them: http://katonaapartments.hu/

Day trip from Budapest to Szentendre

Although Szentendre is just 20 kilometers (13 miles) away from Budapest, I have only visited it a few times.

Whenever I was there, it was always a memorable experience. An excursion with my classmates to the open air museum in primary school, a summer camp at Szentendre island with some buddies as a teen, an open air theater performance with great friends on the main square of the town and a date with my husband at the very beginning of our relationship. No wonder, I am very fond of this pictoresque settlement.

Charming stairs, Photo: my friend, Bús Mónika

Charming Stairs, Photo: my friend, Bús Mónika

Terrace of a Café, Photo: my cousin Mészöly Nóra

Terrace of a Café, Photo: my cousin Mészöly Nóra

In Szentendre it’s easy to imagine how life used to be in the small Hungarian towns centuries ago. As if time had stopped in the center.
Main Square (Fő tér), Photo: my cousin, Mészöly Nóra

Main Square (Fő tér), Photo: my cousin, Mészöly Nóra

It’s a relatively small town and it’s easily walkable. It gets packed with day trippers mainly at weekends during the summer.

It’s a paradise for those who are into folk arts, artisanal crafts and ceramics as the town is packed with small museums and galleries. Many artists have lived here and some still do: graphic designers, painters, sculptors, singers, architects, etc.

According to my experience 3-4 hours (excluding travel time) should be enough time to see what this town has to offer and get a feel for its friendly athosphere. If you want to visit the Skanzen (open air agricultural museum) on the outskirts, allow an extra 3 hours. There you get a real idea of what peasant life was like in the time of our great grandparents.

I would suggest visiting Szentendre to those who have already visited all of the sights in Budapest that they had planed, and feel like switching concrete for cobble stones.

Cobble Stones in Sunset, Photo: my cousin, Mészöly Nóra

Cobble Stones in Sunset, Photo: my cousin, Mészöly Nóra

 

What you shouldn’t miss:

Szentendre-map

 

 

Historic Center

Have a confortable stroll in the center of the city with its mediterranean atmosphere and admire the main square with its baroque buildings. In the middle of the square stands the cross of the Serbian Trade Association, which was erected in 1763 in gratitude that the town escaped the plague.

Main Square and Cross, Photo: Leanne White

Main Square and Cross, Photo: Leanne White

MicroArt Exhibition

Don’t miss this tiny exhibition (15 pieces to view) which shows art that you can only see through a microscope.  It is amazing to see tiny sculptures and paintings like a chess board and chess set placed on a pinhead or a pyramid and four camels in the eye of a needle. Unbelievable unless you see it for yourself.
The entrance is in the main square, next to a restaurant. Look for the poster advertising it.
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The Needle and the Microscope, Photo: Leanne White

a pyramid with 4 camels composition placed in the eye of an needle, Photo: Leanne White

A Pyramid with 4 Camels Placed in the Eye of a Needle Seen through a Microscope, Photo: Leanne White

A Hungarian Speciality, lángos

Try Hungarian fried dough called lángos, you can find it at the end of an alley leading from the main square just opposite the church.
Hidden Alley from the Main Square, Photo: my friend, Bús Mónika

Hidden Alley from the Main Square, Photo: my friend, Bús Mónika

It’s a legendary place in the garden of a private house where they sell lángos with ham, sausage, cabbage, etc. You can even taste one with marmelade, but it is just the most adventurous Hungarians who try that out.

The original lángos is seasoned very simply with garlic or is topped with sour cream (tejföl). It’s also common to add grated cheese on top of the sour cream.

It’s easy to miss this place as it’s well hidden but just look for the board on the main square with the sign LÁNGOS on it.

Caution! Lángos is greasy, but worth a try.

Alley to lángos, Photo: Leanne White

Alley to Lángos, Photo: Leanne White

Church Hill (Templom tér)

If you follow the alley that leads from the main square, soon you will get to the top of a small hill. From there you can admire the view of the rooftops and the churches near by.
View from Church Hill (Templom tér), Photo: my cousin, Mészöly Nóra

View from Church Hill (Templom tér), Photo: my cousin, Mészöly Nóra

Danube Promenade

Have a stroll on the pebbled bank of the river Danube, admire the nature, feed the greedy ducks and have an ice cream.
Promenade

Danube Promenade, Photo: Leanne White

Marzipan Museum

Get an insight into the world of making masterpieces with pastries and marzipan, and be amazed by the artistically decorated delicacies. In the patisserie next door you can treat yourself with tasty cakes and ice cream in warmer weather.
Address: Dumtsa Jenő utca 12.
Patissery on the Left, Photo: my couisin Mészöly Nóra

Patissery on the Left, Photo: my couisin Mészöly Nóra

Kovács Margit Museum

This exhibition installed in a historic building shows the life work of the famous Hungarian female ceramist and sculptor, Kovács Margit. Next to the ornamental ceramic articles some other artistic objects are displayed, like beautiful pots, candle holders and even a dazzling wedding stove.
Address: Vastagh György u. 1.

Open Air Museum (Skanzen) in the outskirts

Hungary’s biggest open air museum shows what life of our ancestors used to be like living in the countryside 100-200 years ago. It’s not just the architecture, but also how they lived and what sort of lifestyle they had that we can have a glance at. More than 300 buildings and many objects are displayed here based on different areas.
Flowers in the window, Photo: my friend, Bús Mónika

Flowers in the Window, Photo: my friend, Bús Mónika

Thatch in Outdoor Museum, Photo: my friend, Bús Mónika

Thatch in Outdoor Museum, Photo: my friend, Bús Mónika

In the premises there is an industrial museum train running that was designed back in 1927. It was renovated receintly and now is accessible even for those using wheelchairs and for families with prams.

To get to the museum go back to the train station (HÉV) and take the local bus to Skanzen from stop No. 7. This bus leaves once or twice every two hours so I suggest you check the timetable in advance.

Thatch in the Outdoor Museum, Photo: my friend, Bús Mónika

Thatch in the Outdoor Museum, Photo: my friend, Bús Mónika

How to Get from Budapest to Szentendre

H5 Suburban Railway

Most locals would probably choose this as it’s the easiest: There are H5 suburban railway trains (HÉV in Hungarian) running from Batthyány tér metro stop (M2) every 15-30 minutes during the day.

Boat

A more romantic way is to take a boat. From the end of April till the end of September there are excursion boats leaving from Budapest, Vigadó tér (10 minute walk from the apartments) daily at 10 am except Mondays. It arrives to Szentendre downtown at 11.30 am. You have 5 and half hours there, as the boat returning to Budapest leaves at 5 pm. The tour back takes just an hour as it’s quicker downstream.

Bike

For you sporty people you can rent a bike in Budapest and if you are a fast cyclist the journey will only take about an hour. For slower cyclists you should allow a travel time of 1.5 – 2 hours. For the return journey, if you don’t feel like cycling, you can transport your bikes on the train (HÉV) if you buy an extra ticket in addition to yours.
On the platforms of the trainstation a painted pictogram will show you where can you get on the train with your bike.

Please contact us for further information. We will be glad to help:

info@katonaapartments.hu

These topics may interest you:

Art Nouveau Buildings in Budapest

Which Bath to Choose in Budapest?

Money Exchange and Budget in Budapest

7 Curiosities about the Chain Bridge in Budapest


About the authors: Virág and János

Virág, a native of Budapest, and János, who’s been living in the city since 1997 are real fans of the capital of Hungary and try to awake the enthusiasm of others. They are dedicated to helping tourists to make most out of their stay.

Here you can read more about them: http://katonaapartments.hu/