The Amazing Metro Line 1 in Budapest is 120 Years Old

The Oldest Engine-Powered Metro

Did you know that it is the oldest engine-powered metro line in the world? The line and the vehicle fleet were well ahead of their time in terms of technical quality.

 Reconstruction in 1895

The tunnel was dug out, not drilled, using the cut and cover method and was built just below the surface to prevent any problems that the groundwater could have caused. The metro cars were also designed to adjust for the low headroom.

Andrássy út, a Millenniumi földalatti Dózsa György (Aréna) úti állomásának építése, 1895.Fortepan

Construction of the station at the crossing of Andrássy and Dózsa György út (formerly Aréna út), 1895. Photo: Fortepan

It was Franz Joseph, emperor of Austria-Hungary, who inaugurated the underground railway on 2nd May 1896 as part of the Millennium Exhibition the same year.

Back then the greatest possible speed was 40 kilometres / hour (25 miles / hour) and today it is 50 km / h (31 miles / h). Not a major progress, right? But there have been plenty of other changes since then.

All the stops used to have ornate entrance pavilions but unfortunately these were removed in the beginning of the 20th century due to being too fancy.

 Changes in the Line in 1955

Due to the construction of Metro Line 2 in 1955, the Deák tér underground station was rebuilt and the M1 stop was shifted to Engels square (now Erzsébet square) because of this a stretch of the tunnel became redundant.
Millenniumi Földalatti Vasút a Deák Ferenc téri állomás áthelyezésekor.1955Fortepan

Shifting the stop in 1955 Photo: Fortepan

It is now used as the Underground Museum which is a permanent exhibition that is part of the Transportation Museum. The entrance costs the price of a metro ticket.

 Changes in the Line in 1973

Have you ever been in City Park and wondered what the meaning behind the bridge that doesn’t seem to cross anything is? It’s close to Restaurant Gundel and the Museum of Fine Arts, just next to the lake.


The Bridge in the City Park Leading to Nowhere, Photo: my friend Bús Mónika

Well, the underground line used to emerge to the surface after leaving Heroes Square and continue its way towards Széchenyi Bath and thus the bridge used to be a pedestrian bridge above the line.
However, in 1973 the line was extended and was made to be completely underground, the surface section was buried, and the line now runs under the city park lake.

Millenniumi földalatti az Állatkert felől tart a Hősök tere alá (baloldali közlekedés)1954Fortepan

Underground Line Emerging to the Surface after Leaving Heroes Square, 1954 Photo: Fortepan

As the pedestrian bridge was the first reinforced concrete bridge of Hungary, it was not destroyed unlike all other retained elements.


Metro line 1 became a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2002 as well as Andássy út (the avenue) that runs above it.


Metro no. 1 at Oktogon Stop, Photo: Virag

Suggested Route with Metro Line 1

Hop on at the terminal Vörösmarty tér (5 minute walk from Katona Apartments) and after 8 stops hop off at Hősök tere (Heroes Square).

Sights to see there:

Millennium Monument
Kunsthalle Museum (Műcsarnok)
Vajdahunyad Castle

City Park

On your way back don’t miss the House of Terror Museum at 60, Andrássy út (Vörösmarty utca stop), the Hungarian Opera House at 22, Andrássy út (Opera stop), and Book Café at 39, Andrássy út (Opera stop).
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A natural formation transformed into a hospital

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:

What to Order in Restaurants in Budapest

What about a rooster testicle stew, toast with marrow, or fish milt and eggs with your fish soup?

Are you brave enough to taste them?

If you look for something traditionally Hungarian, run through this list, not all the dishes are that extreme, I promise.


Halászlé (hɒlaːsleː) = Fish Soup Made with Fresh Water Fish

It is a popular Christmas dish but also year-round, served with slices of fresh white bread and add as much hot paprika as you can take. For the daring ones I suggest to ask for fish milt and eggs to add to the soup.

Usually it is served either in a cup (small portion as a starter) or in a bowl or a cauldron (big portion as a main course).

The grandma of a friend of mine revealed to me once confidentially that fishermen at the Tisza River always added some mashed potato to the soup to get it thicker. This ingredient was a well-kept secret.

Fish Soup in a Cup, Photo: Restaurant Gundel

Gulyás Leves (gujaːʃlɛvɛʃ)

The soup on all of the tourist menus, made of beef and vegetables. Originally it was cooked by herdsman (gulyás) in the open air in a cauldron, a big pot over a fire.


Hideg Gyümölcs Leves (hidɛɟːʏmølʧlɛvɛʃ) = Cold Fruit Soup

The most common version is made of sour cherries. This sourish chilled soup is ideal in the warmer months.

Warm Starters

Velős pirítós (vɛløːʃpiɾiːtoːʃ) = Toast with Marrow

Some love it, some find it disgusting. If you are experimenting type, give it a go.

Hortobágyi Palacsinta (hoɾtobaːɟipɒlɒʧintɒ)

You may find it a bit weird that a crêpe is filled with minced meat and served with a paprika – sour crème sauce. This is one of my favourites and it’s quite common in all types of restaurants and eateries.

Main Courses

Pörkölt (pøɾkølt) = Stew

This dish is made of chicken, beef, veal, pork, catfish or offal, like gizzard, is served in many restaurants.

If you’re looking for something extraordinary, look for an eatery where they have rooster testicle stew = kakashere pörkölt (kɒkɒʃhɛɾɛpøɾkølt) on the menu.

As a side dish choose nokedli (its synonim is galuska) which are small cooked dumplings.
Rooster Testicles Stew

Töltött Káposzta (tøltøtkaːpostɒ)

This is cabbage leaves filled with a mixture of minced meat and rice, and are cooked.
We also add sour cream to the top. It’s quite heavy dish and mainly eaten in colder seasons.


Gundel Palacsinta (gundɛlpɒlɒʧintɒ)

It’s a crepe with filling made from walnut, raisins, rum and lemon zest drizzled with chocolate sauce. At some posh places it is served flambéed.
The most authentic place to taste it is in the famous Restaurant Gundel close to Heroes Square. For my taste it’s a bit too sweet there but worth a try.

Gundel Pancake, Photo: Restaurant Gundel

Mákos Rétes (maːkoʃɾeːtɛʃ)= Poppyseed Strudel

Any dessert with poppy seed may be authentic to Hungary. Try plain poppy seed or poppy seed with sour cherry strudel.

The strudel is a frequent dessert of Hungary, Austria and Serbia. Presumably it has a Turkish origin (baklava). The dough is stretched by hand very thinly and then most commonly it’s filled with poppy seed, cottage cheese, apple, plum, apricot, nuts, etc. The number of variations is endless.

Mákosguba (maːkoʒgubɒ)

It’s a simple dish (main ingredients: rolls, milk, sugar or honey, ground poppy seed, lemon zest) usually served in smaller and not too fancy home style restaurants.

Originaly it’s a dish served at Christmas. Poppy was supposed to bring luck and wealth in the New Year. Nowadays we prepare this inexpensive and filling dessert throughout the year.


Túrógombóc (tuːɾoːgomboːʦ)

These cottage cheese balls are favourite of all. We consider it to be very Hungarian but the origin is not clear. It is common in the surrounding countries as well, but in each region it’s prepared a bit differently.

In Hungary usually it’s served with bread crumbs, sour cream and sugar or honey. Some prefer it with fruit or berry sauce. It is said that the texture should wobble.

Somlói Galuska (ʃomloːigɒluʃkɒ)

This is definitely not a sophisticated dessert but a very common one flavoured with rum.

Three types of sponge cakes (basic, with walnut and with cacao) are sprinkled with vanilla and chocolate sauce and then whipped cream is added to the top.

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This is just a short list where I included mainly my favourite dishes. The Hungarian cuisine is rich and diverse and includes many other courses.

Bon apétit. Let us know if you liked them.

Contact us:

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Fast Food in Budapest

Shopping in Budapest

Hungarian Local Food Products

Four Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making 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:

Shopping in Budapest

There are so many things that Budapest is worth visiting for but shopping is NOT one of them.

Why is that?

Well, the value added tax (VAT) in Hungary is the highest within the European Union. It is 27 percent with just a few exceptions, like dairy products, pork, flour, cereals, bakery items, medicines and books.

Before discouraging you to do any shopping in Budapest, I have some suggestions for some unique shops, stores and places where you can browse for local or special products.

Hungarian Food Products

Fruits and vegetables in the markets are usually superior to what is sold in the supermarkets and at groceries.

I suggest you to visit the Great Central Market on the Pest side of Szabadság-híd (Liberty Bridge) or look in to Belvárosi Piac Market (13, Hold utca). You can enter it from Vadász utca as well. Belvárosi Piac is not a huge market but it’s location is favorable as it is close to the Parliament building. You could pop in on your way there.


Market in Hold utca, Photo: Virag

For local Hungarian supermarket food products check my previous post:  Hungarian Local Food Products


If you are looking for a huge shopping mall full with different stores (clothes, shoes, books, electronics, souvenir, toys, jewelry, cosmetics, furnishing, home-decor, hairdresser, fastfood,…) go to Westend City Center which is at Nyugati tér metro station on the M3 metro line. From Katona Apartments take metro line M3 from Ferenciek tere, it is the 3rd stop in the direction Újpest-Központ.

West End City Center Shopping Mall, Photo: Virag


Head north from the building of the Parliament and look for the street Falk Miksa. This charming street is full with antique shops and you’re sure to find what you are looking for be it a china figurine, a cuckoo clock or vinyl records with Hungarian hits from the 70’s.


Shop Window in Falk Miksa utca, Photo: Virag

Also, there are many flee markets your can visit which tend to pop up occasionally at the local markets.


In Gozsdu Udvar on a Sunday Morning, Photo: Virag

However, the biggest and most well known flee market in Budapest (Ecseri piac) is in the outskirts (156, Nagykőrösi út) Take metro 3 from Ferenciek tere stop until Határ út. There change to the bus No. 194 or 194B or 199. Get off at Hofherr Albert utca stop (10 stops).
Opening hours: Monday – Friday 8-16, Saturday 6-15, Sunday 9-13


Kill two birds with one stone in this book store. After picking books you can pamper yourselves with a coffee and a cake in a former ballroom with a luxurious interiour. Alexandra Book Café (1st floor, 39, Andrássy út) is located almost at the Opera house on the other side of the road.

For used books check the antiquariats, between Kálvin tér and Astoria on Múzeum körút, there are at least ten of them located next to each other.

Many Hungarian novels and children books have English translations. Some of my favourite writers are:

Jókai Mór – 19th century novelist in the boarder of realism and romanticism. The most striking feature of his art are the quirky, unexpected surprises that he weaves into his fascinating tales. Three of his pieces were voted among the best Hungarian novels at the Hungarian version of Big Read. The Heartless Man’s Sons, The Man with the Golden Touch, A Hungarian Nabob)


Szabó Magda – 20th century female novelist. She also wrote dramas, essays, studies, memoirs and poetry. Her novel, Abigél was chosen as the sixth most popular novel at the Hungarian version of Big Read.

Her three other novels which were in the top 100 are Für Elise, An Old-fashioned Story and The Door.

For Hungarian children book writers I suggest Janikovszky Éva and Bartos Erika. The former one was my favourite writer in my childhood, and the latter one is the favourite of my 3 year old daughter.

Designer Products

For those interested in up-to- date design and fashion stores in Budapest, here is a list that my designer friend, Daniella, suggests. She knows a lot about fashion and knows the places that are worth a visit.


Earrings designed by my friend, Daniella

1. WAMP Design Fair is held on Erzsébet square (5 minute walk heading north from Katona Apartments) from April till September once a month. It’s a special event where you can meet the designers personally, as it’s them who showcase their products (fashion, souvenir, home decor, etc.). Opening hours: 11 am – 7 pm and the entry is free.

During the colder season (October – April) the event is held indoors at Millenáris. Take metro M2 from Astoria or Deák tér (in the direction of Déli pályaudvar) and stop at Széll Kálmán tér. Address: Kis Rókus u. 16-20.

2. Printa (Rumbach Sebestyén utca 10 – five blocks away from the apartments) what you will find here is characteristic graphic design, up cycling fashion and objects, accessories and great souvenirs.

3. Rododendron (Semmelweis utca 19 – two blocks away from the apartments) it offers products of young local designers and holds small exhibitions.


4. MONO art and design (Kossuth Lajos u. 12 – two blocks away from the apartments) minimal and hipster design, lifestyle retail, gallery and events space concept

Special Markets and Fairs

Outdoor festivals are held almost each weekend from spring till autumn with diverse themes, like gourmet food, wine, rosé and sparkling wine, pálinka (special Hungarian fruit spirit) and beer, including one that promotes small Hungarian breweries.

The magical atmosphere of the Budapest Christmas market is a truly unforgettable experience. It is held on Vörösmarty square and the surrounding streets each year from the end of November till the end of December. The aroma of special culinary delights will surely whet your appetite. Enjoy the holiday mood and keep yourself warm while lingering among the festively decorated wooden market stands.


Christmas Market, Photo: my friend, Bús Mónika

How to Pay

In most shops you can pay with a card. Visa, Maestro, AMEX and Diners Club are widespread.

Hungarian Forint is accepted everywhere. In bigger shops they accept EUR cash as well but the exchange rate is not too favourable.

In the fairs they usually accept just cash or they may require you to use their rechargeable festival cards. It’s easy to use them; you just have to pay a deposit, put money on your card and then use it to pay for things.

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

You may also be interested in these topics:

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

Money Exchange and Budget in Budapest

Which Bath to Choose in Budapest?

What to Order in Restaurants 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:

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.


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.

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.
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.


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.


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.

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.

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:

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:

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.


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 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.


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.

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.

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.


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:


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:

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:




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.

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.

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.


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.


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:

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:


Looking Back: Four Years of Wonderful Guests at Katona Apartments


We began running Katona Apartments in May 2012 and since then we have hosted several hundred guests, all with different cultures  and backgrounds, and we feel so lucky to be able to meet so many different people. We will start our fifth season soon, so I thought it was time to look back at our experiences and memories of the past four years.

I asked my husband, János about his most interesting guest experiences.

Do you remember who the first guests of Katona Apartments were just after the opening back in May 2012?

I remember it like it was yesterday. Our first guests were a very kind young Indonesian couple.

The husband, Budi, works in Finland and comes to Budapest now and then for business trips and his wife, Hanny, accompanies him each time.

I remember myself being tense. My hands were almost shaking. I wasn’t sure if they would be satisfied or if we had forgot anything that would be essential for a few days stay. We put in a lot of effort to have the apartments ready but hadn’t had any feedback yet. The Indonesian couple were very comforting and we had a nice chat. A few months later they came back again for another stay.

What type of guests book the apartments?

All sorts of people turn up at our place. We have already greeted actors, actresses (e.g. from the film called November Man), sportsmen, teachers, doctors, most of which are families and friends who travel together.

Once we even accommodated a female Buddhist priest.

Most of our guests are tourists but a small percentage are on business trips.

What countries do your guests arrive from?

I have greeted guests from all over the world. From Russia to New Zealand, from Canada to Argentina and from Norway to South Africa.
Right now a nice family from Paraguay are staying in our One Room Apartment E, a couple from the US are in Studio Apartment C and a circle of friends from Singapore are in the Two Room Apartment D.

Who were your most admirable guests?

We had many admirable guests but I just have to mention Dinah and Win from Australia.

Prior to their arrival Dinah informed us that they were coming to Budapest with a group of roller skaters and bike riders. Beforehand they had skated and cycled from Linz (Austria) to Budapest. That is a distance of 430 kilometres (267 miles).

What an unexpected surprise! Both of them were above 70 and very sporty. We had a nice chat and they explained that they are members of an international group of active skaters and bikers and they organize a tour twice each year, during which they visit different parts of the world.

Dinah and Win

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Dinah and Win

Who was your youngest guest ever?

Our youngest guest visited us in summer 2015. She was a 2 month old baby Annika who came from the UK with her parents, Vicky and Malcolm. They stayed with us in Apartment B following a family wedding in the countryside. We provided a cot for Annika to be able to have a safe sleep.

Baby Annika with her parents in Hungary



Baby Annika in pram in front of the Royal Castle in Budapest

Have you ever encountered any language barriers?

It does happen sometimes if our guests don’t speak English, German, French or Hungarian, then we are only able to communicate with them  using mimics and gestures. Sometimes we use online translators, but unfortunately communication still flows slowly at times.

Last summer we received a reservation from two Italian ladies through the internet. As they arrived it turned out that they only spoke Italian. As we don’t speak their language, we were in trouble. They were just talking and talking to me endlessly, but I hardly understood a word. They had reserved one of our apartments for one night for the day they arrived and for another night three days later. From what I understood they would visit Pécs, a South Hungarian town, and they would return a few days later to stay with us again.

I was wondering what they would do in Pécs without any knowledge of the language. Did they come to visit their friends? Did they come for a special concert or event? There was no answer.

Next day their apartment was reserved for different guests so we had to clean the apartment after the ladies left. When I entered, I was astonished as I found their clothes unpacked all over the apartment. What I did was ask a friend of mine who speaks fluent Italian to call them. It turned out that they were already on a train on their way to Pécs.

It came to light that, as the ladies don’t use the internet, it was an agent in an Italian travel agency who made their booking to our apartment and the agent didn’t inform them that he booked just one night for them and they would have to take their luggage with them to Pécs.

The ladies asked me to pack their luggage and store them until their return. To my surprise they arrived from Pécs with 3 cute puppies. It was only then that I found out the aim of their journey to Hungary.

They invited me for a tasty Italian pasta that they prepared in our kitchen just to say sorry about the confusion caused by the language barrier.

At the time it was quite stressful trying to resolve the situation, but now it’s just a funny memory and we will probably never forget the chatty Italian ladies with the puppies.

What were the longest and the shortest stay in the apartments?

The shortest stay was just a few minutes, I checked in a Hungarian young sportsman who came to Budapest to party with his friends. He just left his bag in the apartment and went out to meet his mates and was going to leave the following morning.

The party was so sensational that he ended up not sleeping at all and it was only his bag that stayed in the apartment during the night.

In the morning he rushed back to grab his bag and hurried to catch his train.

The longest stay was for more than two years. The guest was a very kind German-Turkish medical student, Betül, who started her studies at the Medical University in Budapest. She chose our Studio Apartment C for her stay. At the beginning she planned to stay for just a few months but then she decided to settle down for a longer period.


Betül in Budapest

Also we had an Italian guest, Mauro, who came to Budapest for a stop-over. It turned out, that he came to have a job interview at the Budapest airport. His dream was to become a pilot and he wanted to start his career as a flight attendant. His job interview was successful and as he felt comfortable in our apartment, he decided to keep it as his long term base in Budapest. His dream did come true and now he works as a pilot.

We are proud that we could be a part of his success.


Our captain, Mauro


Do you have any long term plans regarding the apatments?

As I’m a big fan of Budapest, I always feel pleasure when I can greet new guests and have the possibility of introducing them to the city, so we will definitely continue this venture. In the future we hope to expand and open new apartments for our guests.

These posts may also interest you:

Arriving at Budapest Airport -­ How to Exchange Money and Where to Buy Bus Tickets
Which Bath to Choose in Budapest?
Hungarian Local Food Products
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: