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/

 

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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.
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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.
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Baby Annika with her parents in Hungary

 

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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.

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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.

Mauro

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: http://katonaapartments.hu/

Budapest Weather During the Seasons

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Budapest has a continental climate with distinguished seasons. All the seasons have their own beauty so anytime throughout the year is a good time to visit.

Extremities are not common but can occur for example in August 2002 there was a huge flood on the river Danube endangering Budapest. However, the flood soon became a tourist attraction for a while.
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Flood on the river Danube in 2013 – Chain Bridge and the Royal Castle Photo: my friend, Bús Mónika

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Flood and tourists  in 2013 – building of Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Photo: my friend, Bús Mónika

Drought can also be an issue like it was in September 2015. In fact, there is a famous rock in the Danube at Gellért hill which usually can’t be seen. When there is a period of drought the level of water decreases and the rock becomes visible and will be above the water level. When this happens it is said to bring famine on Budapest.
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Rock of famine next to Liberty Bridge, photo: Wikipedia

Throughout the year the two wet and two dry periods alternate. The two wettest periods being early summer and late autumn and the two driest periods being the middle of winter to spring and early autumn. We can expect the least rainfall in February and March and the most rainfall in May and June.

SPRING

Probably the best time to visit Budapest as the weather is mild and appropriate for long walks. Margaret Island, City Park, Gellért Hill and all parks are glorious at this time of year. The terraces of the cafés, restaurants and bars are alive with locals, as the crowd of tourists have not arrived yet. There are many festivals going on in the city, like the Pálinka (traditional Hungarian spirit) Festival, Budapest Dance festival and the long-standing Budapest Spring Festival.
In March and April you may still need a few layers of clothes as it can still be a little chilly. May is much warmer, most of the time a T-shirt and shorts are enough during the daytime.
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Lilac on Margaret Island, photo: my friend, Bús Mónika

SUMMER

June is usually pleasant but July and August are very hot. Each year there is a short period of about a week when the temperature may rise to 35 degree Celsius (95 degree Fahrenheit) or sometimes even more. In the summer months short and heavy rain falls occur which can refresh and cool the air temporarily. At this time of the year an apartment with air conditioning may feel like a salvation.

Budapest is full with tourists in the summer and in the city centre you can seldom hear Hungarian.
I would recommend bringing comfortable sandals with you rather than flip-flops to keep your feet cool as the best way to discover Budapest is on foot. Flip flops are not very suitable for this and may cause blisters.
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Colours, photo: my friend, Bús Mónika

AUTUMN

September usually brings an Indian summer, with warm sunny days and moderate temperatures, which favour tourists. The temperature may reach 20 degree Celsius (68 degree Fahrenheit) during this time but come October and November the weather soon starts to get colder and rainier. The end of November may bring snow but it usually melts quickly. A pullover or even a warmer coat is needed and waterproof shoes may come in handy.
Some annual festivals are held at this time of the year, like the Budapest International Wine Festival and the Café Budapest Contemporary Arts Festival. Also, outdoor Christmas markets open at the end of November.
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Plane tree dressed in red on Margaret Island, photo: my friend, Bús Mónika

WINTER

Winter days are short and cold. All Hungarians wear warm hats, gloves and scarves. In the last few decades snow has not been too frequent so you need some good luck to be able to stroll in a romantic snow fall. In December, the outdoor Christmas markets are a must visit where you can tune yourself into the festivities. The smell of mulled wine and the festive delicacies will surely seduce you.

Don’t forget to bring your winter boots and winter coat.

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Terrace of a café – Winter arrived too early, Photo: my friend, Bús Mónika

 

If you have any questions, please contact us.  All feedback is welcome.

http://www.katonaapartments.hu

info@katonaapartments.hu

These posts may also interest you:
A natural formation transformed into a hospital
Arriving at Budapest Airport -­ How to Exchange Money and Where to Buy Bus Tickets
Art Nouveau Buildings in Budapest
Your Shoes Were Made for Walking: Jewels of Budapest by Foot


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/

What (not) to bring with you for your Budapest stay

As Budapest is a metropolis and we are located in the city center, everything can be bought in the vicinity of our apartments, that a European city can offer you. So don’t worry if you leave anything at home.

Although here are some suggestions that you should not forget about.

What to bring

Swimsuits  Budapest is the city of thermal baths. It would be a big mistake not to visit at least one because of lack of swim suits. In case you forget them at home, you can buy them in a clothes store. The closest ones are about 5-8 blocks away from our apartments.

In winter time a bathrobe may come handy if you visit Széchenyi Bath, as it has outside pools as well operating all year round. It’s real fun to walk in the snow bare feet and then soak in the hot thermal water. With a bathrobe the chilled ones will feel more comfortable.

To avoid blisters on your feet, bring sneakers with you. Our former guest, Rachael from UK and many others can confirm, that flip flops are not the best choice for those who come to explore Budapest on foot. Avoid blisters!

If you are a student, bring your international student card with you. You get discounts on hop on hop off sightseeing buses, museums and other sights.

For European Union citizens above the age of 65 public transport is free. Don’t forget to bring your ID card or passport with you. The controllers will ask for it on trams, buses and metro.

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Tram 49 crossing the river Danube on Liberty Bridge, Photo: Virág

What not to bring

We provide all these items to you during your stay:
shower gel, liquid soap, washing powder and softener, towel (one for each), coffee, tea, salt, sugar, map of the city center, Lonely Planet Budapest guide book, wall outlet adapters for our guests arriving from overseas.

For families with little children we offer free items but please inform us in advance if you need any of these: cot, baby bath, high chair, plastic plates, spoons and cups, tiny night light, toys and books.

Enjoy your stay in our awesome city.

Contact us:

http://katonaapartments.hu/

info@katonaapartments.hu

 

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/

18 Suggestions for What to Do in Budapest in Rainy Weather

Budapest offers a lot of programs even in bad weather. Here are some of our suggestions for what to do and see in case you visit our beautiful city on a rainy day.

Photo: my friend, Bús Mónika

Photo: my friend, Bús Mónika

 

 

Activities

 

1. Caves under Budapest

 

There’s not just the Cave Church at the foot of Gellért Hill (on Buda side of the Szabadság híd / Liberty Bridge) and the Labyrinth under the Castle District (entrance: Úri utca 9). You can also visit Szemlő-hegyi Cave and Pálvölgyi-Cave.

To visit Pál-völgyi stalactite cave, walk to Astoria metro stop, take bus number 9 to Kolosy ter (10 stops) and change to bus no. 65 to Pál-völgyi cseppkőbarlang stop.

If you have small kids with strollers I recommend Szemlő-hegyi cave. To get there take metro 2 from Astoria to Batthyány tér stop and then change to bus number 11 and get off at Vend utca stop. Within a short walk you are at the cave.

Some parts of the cave systems can be visited without previous caving experience, as they have a concrete path and are lit by artificial light.

See also my previous post about the Hospital in the Rock museum that is located under the Castle District area in Lovas utca.

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Under the Castle district, Photo: my friend, Bús Mónika

 

 

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Feet up, Photo: my friend Bús Mónika

 

2. Hungarian Folk Dance Houses

These events can be joined without any dance experience. Most of them are not organised with foreigners in mind, but you can take part without speaking our language.

They are held every Wednesday and Thursday at two different venues.

at Fonó Budai Zeneház Sztregova u. 3. . From Astoria, take 10 stops with tram no. 47 in the direction of Városház tér and get off at Kalotaszeg utca.

Every Thursday evening at Marczibányi Community Center Marczibányi tér 5/ A. From Ferenciek tere, take 9 stops with bus number 5 in the direction of Pasaréti tér and get off at Nyúl utca. From there, it’s a short walk to Marczibányi Community Centre.

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Folk dancers, Photo: my friend Bús Mónika

 

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Folk dancers, Photo: my friend Bús Mónika

 

3. Aquaworld Waterpark

The waterpark features 11 slides, adding up to a total length of almost 1 km, and lots of attractions including indoor and outdoor adventure pools, a wave pool, kids pool, Jacuzzi, plunge pool as well as a huge playhouse that offers slides, a climbing wall, a ball court and an obstacle course to entertain the youngsters.

It’s a bit outside of the city but a free shuttle bus runs between Heroes Square and Aquaworld 4 times a day: 9:30, 13:30, 17:30 and 19:30

Opening hours: every day from 6am to 10pm

Aquaworld

Aquaworld Waterpark, Photo: Aquaworld

 

4. Tropicarium

Tropicarium awaits visitors with animals from all around the world such as lazy alligators, exotic reptiles, small monkeys, free flying birds, sharks and thousands of colourful fish species. The stingray petting pool is one of the highlights as well as a shark feeding once a week.

To get to Tropicarium, take bus 133 from Ferenciek tere in the direction of Nagytétény, Erdélyi utca and get off at at 11th stop, Lépcsős utca.

Close to the Tropicarium you can also visit the Palace of Wonders.

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Under Water, Photo: Tropicarium

 

5. Palace of Wonders

An interactive scientific playhouse, where you can try out over hundred exhibits each showcasing physical phenomena. All exhibited games are interactive installations, so you are not only allowed, but also encouraged to touch, feel and try all of them. Live physics shows are held daily.

As it is located in the same place as Campona Entertainment and Shopping Centre, and Tropicarium. Take bus 133 from Ferenciek tere in the direction of Nagytétény, Erdélyi utca and get off at at 11th stop Lépcsős utca.

Close to the Palace of Wonders you can also visit the Tropicarium.

Physics Show

Palace of Wonders, Photo: Tamás Péter

 

6. Shooting Club

7. Yoga classes

There is a yoga centrum (5 minute walk) that was tried out by our previous guests.

Address: Károly körút 1, near Astoria metro stop

Sightseeing with Public Transport

8. Take a ride with a public boat on the Danube.

Closest stop is Petőfi tér (Erzsébet híd) a 5 minute walk away from the apartments. Here is the timetable of the boats leaving from Petőfi tér (Erzsébet híd) stop on working days.

These boats take you quite far down the river and go pass all the nice buildings on the riverfront including the parliament building. You can sit inside or outside and there is also a small bar on board so you can have a few drinks during the journey.

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Boat ride on river Danube, Photo: my friend Bús Mónika

 

9. Take a ride on tramline number 2

It was voted the nicest tramline in Europe. The closest stop to our apartments is Március 15. tér (5 minute walk from the apartments). Take the tramline number 2 in the direction of Jászai Mari tér.

Try to get a seat on the left hand side so you can better see the river Danube, the Buda side including the Castle district area with the Royal Castle, the Matthias Church, the Fisherman Bastion, the Funicular railway and the bridges that connect Buda and Pest. Later on the tram will also pass along the Parliament building.

 

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Window of a tram, Photo: my friend, Bús Mónika

 

Visiting Buildings

10. Parliament

Inside parliament you will be guided through the most beautiful rooms of this magnificent building. The tours take approximately 50 minutes.

I highly recommend that you buy your ticket online in advance, as the tickets, mainly the English language tours, are usually sold out weeks before. However, you can take a chance and buy tickets on the day and hope that there are some left. (10 minute ride with tram no. 2. or a 15-20 minute walk)

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Parliament, Photo: my friend, Bús Mónika

 

11. Opera House

This gorgeous neo-renaissance palace is one of Hungary’s most impressive 19th century buildings. There are guided tours organised each day at 15:00 and 16:00 in English, German, Spanish, Italian and French.

Address: Andrássy út 22. (15 minute walk or take the metro line 1)

As an introduction check out their virtual tour here.

Other sights close to Opera House: Lotz Café, Miniversum, Saint Stephen’s Basilica

Opera

Hungarian State Opera, Photo: my cousin Mészöly Nóra

 

12. The House of Hungarian Art Nouveau

This stunning collection is a gem to any fanatic art lover. What you should expect: As the building is packed with furniture, statues, paintings and household like items, pottery and art nouveau style clothing, it’s more like a warehouse than an exhibition. Unfortunately there are no descriptions of the items in English, but if you are a fan of this style you’ll absolutely love the collection. Read also: Art Nouveau Buildings in Budapest

The building itself is great from the outside too.

Have a drink and a homemade cake in the cosy café downstairs. The café is accessible without paying the entrance fee to the collection.

Address: Honvéd utca 3. It’s 20-minute walk from the apartments or take metro no. 3 from Ferenciek tere in the direction of Újpest-Központ. Get off at Arany János utca stop and with a short walk across Liberty Square (Szabadság tér) you will reach the House of Hungarian Art Nouveau.

Other sights close to the House of Hungarian Art Nouveau: The Parliament Building and also you can look at the on Szabadság tér the only Socialist statue left from those times.

With Children

13. Playhouses

There are some huge, great ones not so far from the city center. I suggest you to visit Minipolisz, a unique interactive exhibition for children aged 3-12 where they get inside the heads of the adults in a city of their size. For a few hours they can try being merchants, cashiers, doctors, mechanics, stars, etc.

Address: Király utca 8, about 10 blocks away from Katona Apartments

Opening hours: Wednesday – Sunday 10-19

Other sights close to Minipolisz: Lotz Café, Opera House, Miniversum, Saint Stephen’s Basilica

14. Miniversum

An enormous, beautifully detailed and elaborately decorated model of the city including many sights and landscapes from Budapest and Hungary and even a bit of Austria and Germany.

For detailed information read my previous post about Miniversum.

To get there is just a 15 minute walk from the apartment or take metro no. 1  from Vörösmarty square and get off at Opera stop.

Other sights close to Miniversium: Lotz Café, Opera House, Minipolisz Play House, and Saint Stephen’s Basilica

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Miniversum model train exhibition, Photo: Virág

 

Chilling down

15. Classical music concerts

Concerts are held in many churches around the city. Eg. Saint Stephen’s Basilica (10 minute walk) / and Matthias Church (30 minute walk or take bus no. 16)

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Musicians, Photo: my cousin, Mészöly Nóra

 

16. Thermal bathes

Hungary is a land of thermal springs. In Budapest we have lots of baths where you can relax, take a dip, and enjoy a unique spa experience.

Our suggestions:

Rudas Bath is a traditional Turkish bath with some modern parts including the roof top terrace overlooking the river Danube (10 minute walk from Ferenciek tere or one bus stop with bus no. 7)

– Art Nouveau style Gellért Bath (20 minute walk or 2 bus stops from Ferenciek tere with bus no. 7.) Read more about Art Nouveau architecture in the city.

-neo-baroque Széchenyi Bath with inside and outside pools (15 minute ride with metro 1 from Vörösmarty tér to Széchenyi bath stop)

Here you can read more: Which Bath to Choose During Your Stay in Budapest

 

17. Café Houses

Most of the cafés were opened at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries so they are very unique and never-to- be-forgotten. Our suggestions:

New York Café The café is built in eclectic Italian Renaissance-style and was opened in 1894, its not the cheapest option in Budapest, but probably the most beautiful one. The dishes recall the multicultural cuisine of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy.

How to get there: 20 minute walk or from Ferenciek tere or take bus no. 5 to Blaha Lujza tér (3 stops) in the direction of Rákospalota, Kossuth utca or take bus no. 7 (3 stops) in the direction of Újpalota, Nyírpalota út.

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New York Café, Photo: my cousin, Mészöly Nóra

 

Gerbeaud (since 1858) The interior decoration of the café were completed in a few years after 1910 using fine woods, marble and bronze. The ceilings are decorated with rococo plasterwork in Louis XV style; the chandeliers and wall lamps were created in Maria Theresa Style.

Gerbeaud Café has greeted many famous people. A few impressive names are: Empress Elizabeth of the Austro-Hungarian Empire; Franz Liszt: King George of Great Britain; Edward, Prince of Wales; Josephine Baker, Princess Diana, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, Queen Elizabeth II, Madonna, Ralph Fiennes, Melanie Griffith, Antonio Banderas and Brad Pitt http://www.gerbeaud.hu/

Suggestions from a friend of mine who used to work in Gerbeaud:

– The traditional Gerbeaud pastry is prepared according to the original recipe. Sweet-pastry is filled with apricot jam and a mixture of confectioner’s sugar and ground walnuts, topped with chocolate icing.

– Esterházy slice is a traditional walnut cake filled with vanilla cream and topped with fondant.

– Royal Chocolate is a crispy caramel wafer, hazelnut praline and white Valrhona chocolate on a chocolate sponge base, crowned with a topping of bitter chocolate mousse.

Address: Vörösmarty tér 7-8.

Lotz Café used to be a ballroom of a casino before WW2 (15 minute walk from the apartments or take metro line 1  from Vörösmarty tér to Opera stop)

Address: Andrássy út 39 Look for the Alexandra Bookstore and take the escalator up to the first floor.

– Additionally we recommend a confectionery called Ruszwurm in the Castle District. It’s a tiny place and it’s usually packed, but it is worth a visit. They have a nice selection of home made cakes in a 19th century interior. (30 minute walk from the apartments or take bus no. 16. from Erzsébet tér and get off at Szentháromság tér stop)

Address: Szentháromság utca 7.

What’s close: Hospital in the Rock, Matthias Church, Fisherman’s Bastion, Royal Castle

18. Museums

Last but not least, there are more than 200 museums in Budapest.

A few smaller museums out of many:

Pharmacy Museum (30 minute walk, cross Erzsébet híd (Elisabeth Bridge and head north, direction of the Royal Castle)

Ferenc Hopp Museum of Asiatic Arts  (take the metro no. 1 until bajza utca stop)

Hungarian Jewish Museum (5 minute walk)

Lutheran Museum (5 minute walk to Deák tér 4.)

Underground Museum (5 minute walk)

Kossuth Museum Ship (10 minute walk to the Chain Bridge)

Ambulance Museum (20 minute walk or metro no. 3)

Liszt Ferenc Memorial Museum (25 minute walk or metro no. 1 to Vörösmarty utca)

Police Historical Museum (take bus no.7)

Museum of Medical History (take bus no. 16 to the Castle district or walk)

Stamp Museum (take metro no. 2 from Astoria stop to Blaha Lujza tér or walk)

Visitor Center of the National Bank (10 minute walk direction north to Szabadság tér)

If there is a specific topic that interests you, let us know and we will try to find you a museum about it. Send us a message to info@katonaapartments.hu we will be more than happy to help.

 

About the authors: Virág and János

Virág, a native of Budapest, and János, who’s been living in the city since 1999 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/

Four Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making in Budapest

Here are some of the tourist traps that foreigners should avoid during their stay in Budapest:

 

Don’t change money at the airport and at the train stations

You will find much favorable exchange rates at the changers in the city center. Also it is usually a better solution to draw money out of an ATM.

 

Never take a taxi at the train stations

The taxi drivers at the train stations have bad reputation. In case you’d like to take a taxi at one of the train stations, I suggest you to call one of the taxi companies and order the taxi on phone or ask us to order one for you.

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Taxi in the city center

Prices in the restaurants and tipping

I suggest you to check the prices first before you enter. Usually the menu is displayed at the entrance of the restaurants, so you can see the prices in advance and the selection they offer.

Hungarian law allows restaurant owners and managers to add the tip to the bill automatically. It must be indicated on the menu, but it may slip your attention. Before you pay, check on the bill, if the tip is added or not.

In Hungary the suggested amount of tipping is 10 p.c., if it’s not included in the bill. In case you are not satisfied, leave less or don’t leave any.

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Menu in front of a restaurant

 

Count the change

If you pay with cash, count the change attentively. It’s easy to mix up 1.000 and 10.000 HUF notes just as 2.000 and 20.000 HUF notes.

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Bank notes, Photo: Virág

 

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Bank notes, Photo: Virág

 

Contact us:

http://katonaapartments.hu/

info@katonaapartments.hu

 

About the authors: Virág and János

Virág, a native of Budapest, and János, who’s been living in the city since 1999 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/

Don’t Waste Time Queuing for Your Ticket While on Holiday in Budapest

I made the same mistake a couple of times and would like to warn you not to do it: Don’t try buying your international train ticket at Keleti train station. You usually wait there for hours. Today there were 103 (hundred and three) travellers in front of me in the line. Unbelievable.

If you are already at Keleti, take the trolley bus no. 76 till Ferdinánd híd (Izabella utca) (7th stops) then take a short walk to Nyugati train station.

At Nyugati there is usually hardly anyone waiting at the international ticket office.

Nyugati_pályaudvar,_Budapest

 

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Detail of Nyugati Train Station, Photo: my cousin Mészöly Nóra

contact us:

http://katonaapartments.hu/

info@katonaapartments.hu

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/