Fast Food in Budapest

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Please, no! I beg you not to look for a fast food restaurant in Budapest when you start feeling hungry.

Even if you only have a minute to choose and grab your sandwich and coke so you can quickly continue your sightseeing tour and have more time to admire this wonderful city. Hungarian cuisine is so varied and delicious with rich flavours and unique character,…

… Oh, you want to go to the McDonald’s at Nyugati Train Station? That’s a splendid idea.

Go ahead.

The contrast will shock you. This fast food restaurant is not what you might expect.

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Interior of the Mc Donald’s at Nyugati Train Station, Photo: Virag

Classical bourgeois atmosphere blends with the present day requirements of the franchise. In any case, I recommend you take a look at this interesting mixture of styles.

The fast food restaurant is in a side building of the Nyugati Train Station that opens from the big ringroad. (address: Teréz körút 55). Both Nyugati Train Station and the building of the recent McDonald’s were designed and built by Gustave Eiffel’s company (constructed between 1874-77). Gustave Eiffel is the man who went on to design the Eiffel Tower in Paris about 10 years later (constructed in 1889).

 

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1877 before finishing the ring road, Source: Fortepan / Budapest Főváros Levéltára, Levéltári jelzet: HU.BFL.XV. 19.d.1.05.201

 

 

 

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The same building in 2016, Photo: Virag

Although the food and beverage selection is the usual menu and the service is the same as any other McDonald’s restaurant in the world, here you can fly back in time while sipping your coffee and munching on your hamburger.

The interior is beautiful and unusual with a staged setting. The service area is split into two levels with a McCafé upstairs, and the normal fastfood restaurant below.

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Interior of the Mc Donald’s at Nyugati Train Station, Photo: Virag

The dining area is spacious and elegant with huge windows, decorated walls with reliefs and a high curved ceiling.

From spring till autumn the restaurant has a lovely outside area as well, looking out at a green space.
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Outside area, Photo: Virag

 

It’s one of the busiest fast food units in Hungary and surely one of the nicest ones in the world.

These posts may also interest you:


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 us: http://katonaapartments.hu/

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

Tourists traveling to Hungary for the first time may be a bit confused about currency issues and the public transport system. Here are some suggestions to help things go smoothly.

Exchange at the Airport

Be aware! If it’s not completely necessary, don’t change cash at the airport. The exchange rates there are ludicrously unfavourable. Unfavourable for you, not for them.

Don’t go for their “No Commission” offer.

In other parts of the city including the city center you can find fair exchange rates.

It’s a much better option to get Hungarian Forints (HUF) cash from the ATMs at the airport.

Read more about currency issues here.

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ATMs at the airport

Where to buy tickets for the bus and metro

Both on Terminal A and B there are BKK (Centre for Budapest Transport) offices and newspaper stands where you can buy your public transport tickets. This is the cheapest way to get to the city center, but it is also the slowest and most challenging.

Read more about the suggested route here.

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Newspaper stand at the airport

The BKK Ticket Office is open from 8 till 22 (10PM) on Terminal A, and from 9 till 21 (9 PM) on Terminal B. The newspaper stand on Terminal A is open from 8.30 till midnight. The terminals are a 3 minute walk from each other. Both the ticket offices and the newspaper stands accept bankcards and HUF cash, but no EUR cash.

The second option is to buy tickets is from the ticket vending machines that are installed in the bus stop of bus 200 E between Terminal A and B. They feature touchscreens in multiple languages and they are easy to use. Bankcards and HUF cash are accepted but they don’t accept banknotes with a higher denomination than 2000 HUF. The machines are accessible 24 hours a day .

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Ticket vending machine at the airport in the bus stop

The third option is to buy a ticket from the bus driver on spot. Instead of 350 HUF it will cost you 450. Buying a ticket from the driver is not an option on all buses in Budapest but it is possible on the airport bus.

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Bus stop 200E at the airport

Your whole trip to the city center with public transport will cost you 700 HUF (one ticket to the bus 200 E, and another to the metro 3. Each costs 350 HUF) but it may vary from the exact place you go. It’s cheaper with a transfer ticket (costs 530 HUF).

For a more confortable transfer take a taxi that will cost you roughly 7800 – 8800 HUF depending on the actual traffic. Send us an email to info@katonaapartments.hu if you’d like us to book one for you.


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/

Art Nouveau Buildings in Budapest

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Do you have a favourite style of visual arts? Mine is Art Nouveau.

 

This is an art movement that was most popular during the turn of the 20th century – also known as Secession or Jugendstil style. Artists who followed this style wanted to separate themselves from contemporary academic art.

The architects, painters, sculptors and handicraftsmen often used floral or geometric patterns, undulating building ornamentation, bright colours and gold in their work. They also preferred soft, round shapes instead of right angles.

 

For art and architecture lovers I have collected a list of some of the awesome Art Nouveau buildings in the center of Budapest.

This is definitely not a complete list of all the Art Nouveau in in the city but I have included just a few of my absolute favourites.

 
 
 
 
 
 

ArtNouveau

 

1. Residential Building – Deák Ferenc utca 17.

 

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Late Art Nouveau Building – Déák Ferenc utca, Photo: Virág

 

One of my favourite buildings is opposite the Kempinski Hotel. It is a late Art Nouveau building with huge metal and glass surfaces on the facade; this is specific to the department stores built at the beginning of 20th century, and its cupolas have characteristics of the baroque style.

2. Residential building – Aranykéz utca 2.

 

Undoubtedly one of the most striking elements of the building is the tower with arabesque motifs on the corner of Aranykéz and Régiposta streets.

I was lucky enough to get into this residential building and was able to admire the fancy doorway, look up to the painted vault, wall tiles and columns, and look down upon the patterned floor.

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Lobby of Aranykéz utca 2, Photo: Virág

 

3. Thonet House, Residential Building – Váci utca 11/A.

 

The uniquely designed early Art Nouveau facade (1888-1890) is covered with tiles decorated with pyrogranite (a type of ornamental ceramic). The wrought iron balconies, the original wooden portals and the statues make this building distinctive.

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Tiles on the Building of Váci utca 11/A, Photo: Virág

 

4. Török-bankház: Szervita tér 3.

 

Its prodigious ornament can hardly be seen as it is high up on the top.

In the center piece sits Virgin Mary, the patron of Hungary with the Hungarian holly crown on her head and the sword of the first Hungarian king, Saint Stephen, in her hand.

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Facade at Szervita tér 3, Photo: Virág

On her left and right there are two angels standing and in the background the nobility and the common people are marching. The golden colour dominates in this masterpiece.

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Detail of the Facade, Szervita tér 3, Photo: Virág

 

 

 

5. Four Seasons Gresham Palace – Széchenyi István tér 5-6

 

This is another wonderful masterpiece of Art Nouveau, on the Pest side of the Chain Bridge, facing Castle Hill and the Tunnel on Buda side.

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Exterior of Gresham Palace, Photo: Rita Picareta

I find some parts of the building ethereal. Here you can visit the lobby, the lounge area, the bar and the restaurant.

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Lobby of Grasham Palace, Photo: Philcalvert

 

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Interior Detail of Gresham Palace, Photo: Steve Silverman

 

6. Bedő-ház, The House of Hungarian Art Nouveau – Honvéd u. 3.

 

Although quite small, this collection is a paradise for enthusiasts of this style.

What you should expect: As the building is a collection of furniture, statues, paintings and objects like household items, pottery and clothing of art nouveau style on three floors, it’s rather like a warehouse, not an exhibition. Unfortunately there are no descriptions of items, but if you are a fan of this style you’ll absolutely love it.

The exterior of the building is nicely restored and is one of the most stunning examples of the era. http://www.magyarszecessziohaza.hu/mainen.php

 

 

7. Postatakarékpénztár Postal Savings Bank – Hold utca 4.

 

What a splendid building from the beginning of the Art Nouveau period. It used to be the headquarters of the Hungarian Royal Savings Bank, now it serves as the Hungarian State Treasury. Look for the bees and the beehives on the frontage, they symbolize frugality.

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Bees and a Beehive, Photo: Virág

We can discover Hungarian folk art, as well as Asian elements, as seen in the Museum of Applied Arts (Iparművészeti Múzeum).

 

8. Museum of Applied Arts:  Üllői út 33-37.

 

The Museum of Applied Arts is a masterpiece of Hungarian Art Nouveau. It has many specialities like its enormous dome and its interior, evoking oriental splendour. Observe the tiles with Hungarian ornamentation on the exterior and interior walls as well as the colourful tiles on the roof.

 

9. Palace Hotel, today Hotel Novotel Budapest Centrum  Rákóczi út 43-45 

 

The ceramic ornaments and the very fitting “Palace Hotel” lettering on the facade of this building give a unique appearance.

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“Palace Hotel” Lettering, Photo: Steve Silverman

On the top part of the facade a wooden porch can be seen that references Transylvanian architecture.

The most beautiful part of the interior is the restaurant on the ground floor and you can partially visit other areas of the building too.

 

10. Liszt Ferenc Music Academy – Liszt Ferenc tér 8.

The exterior is lavishly decorated with frescos, painted glasses and mosaics. Its concert hall is a wonder. After a few years of renovation this Art Nouveau building from 1907 reopened in 2013.

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Music Academy, Photo: my cousin Mészöly Nóra

 

11. Párizsi Nagyáruház / Divat Csarnok: Andrássy út 39.

 

The city’s first significant department store was opened in 1910 in a late Art Nouveau style.

 

Recently the building operates as a bookstore and on the first floor there is a wonderful café that used to be a ball room. Every local and tourist should admire its splendour.

In its time it was famous for its astounding sized hall, four floors in height with marble pillars, the gilded staircases and its elevators with glass windows.

Visit its roof top bar. The view is fantastic there.

 

12. Hungária Fürdő, today Continental Hotel Zara – Dohány utca 42-44.

 

This awesome building was built in 1908 and 1909 as a multifunctional premise: swimming pool, steam bath, club, office and apartment building. The swimming pool was altered to a cinema already in the 20’s.

After a few decades the building deteriorated so much that there were plans to tear it down leaving behind only the facade. Fortunately, the interior was saved from destruction and now we can admire some parts of the building as it was altered to a hotel.

Pop in to see the Art Nouveau lobby with the prodigious turnstile made of copper and the admirable Zsolnay tiles.

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Lobby of the Hotel, Photo: Virág

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Turnstile Made of Copper, Photo: Virág

 

13. Glücksmann House, Residential Building – Dob utca 8.

 

Built in 1913, this residential building with glazed ceramic tiles (yellow tulip motifs) needs a renovation. It is easy to imagine how beautiful this building once was.

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Dob utca 8, Photo: Virág

 

14. Gellért Hotel and Bath –  Szent Gellért tér 1.

 

Completed in 1918, Gellért Bath was the capital’s first luxury facility; it was considered the most modern thermal bath of its time. Back then a small hospital with 30 beds belonged to it.

The arched entrance of the bath opens from the Gellért hill side and the statues there symbolize healing. Inside, the two big thermal pool divisions are richly decorated and the walls are covered with colourful tiles.

 

From the lobby, which is paved with colourful mosaics, we get to the central hall. Look up and you will see the gallery and the coloured glass windows and when the sun shines in, the cheerful beams of light will appear.

Read more about the bathes.

 

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

Which Bath to Choose in Budapest?

The Amazing Metro Line 1 in Budapest is 120 Years Old

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

Day trip from Budapest to Szentendre

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/

 

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.

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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.
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West End City Center Shopping Mall, Photo: Virag

Antiques

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.

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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.

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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

Books

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)

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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.

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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.
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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.

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Earrings designed by my friend, Daniella http://koodform.com/

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.

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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.

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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:

info@katonaapartments.hu

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: http://katonaapartments.hu/

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.
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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/

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.

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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.

 

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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.
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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.
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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/