Budapest, Hungary

Budapest, Hungary | HOLE STORIES .com

I now have a new addition to my top favorite cities: Budapest!

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Beyond Expectations


Budapest is not how I imagined it at all.  I’m not sure why, but I was expecting a city with only small hole-in-the-wall places, where the locals sit and eat cheap dinner and watch an old TV in the corner of the room… A city where no one speaks English and finding anything familiar would be a challenge.

Honestly, this thought is why I wanted to go.  Surprisingly, Budapest couldn’t be further from my original thoughts.

Budapest is riddled with hip bars, modern restaurants, quaint little pubs with inexpensive imported beers, fun bars and dance clubs, and pretty places to stay.  There are a million great places, and they are all right next to each other!  Literally, one right after another… after another… I remember walking and thinking “Wow, that’s the cutest bar I’ve ever seen! I’ll come back to that later!” And then literally the place next door made me have the exact same thought.

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The City & Where to Stay


Budapest was actually two separate towns (Buda and Pest) with the Danube River as a divider.  The two towns joined into one city and became Budapest (interesting, right?)!  Buda is located to the west of the river, and Pest, on the east-side.

Personally, I loved Pest, but wasn’t really a fan of Buda.  I would definitely recommend staying on the Pest-side!  Pest simply has a million things within walking distance – you’ll never get bored over there (that’s for sure).  Even sights to see, there’s only a few things on the Buda side (check out the map).

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What to See


Buda-Side (West)

Buda Castle

Fisherman’s Bastion.  One of the coolest castles I’ve seen!  I think I spent about 5 hours there just taking pictures!

Pest-Side (East)

St. Stephen’s Basilica

Hungarian Parliament Building

Shoes on the Danube Bank

Great Market Hall.  Originally opened in 1897!  This is where you can buy all your Budapest souvenirs.  Open from 6am-6pm.

Ruin Pubs. Exactly what it says: old ruins turned into awesome local watering-holes.

Dohány Street Synagogue.  The biggest Synagogue in Europe, and one of the biggest in the world.

Heroes’ Square

Széchenyi Thermal Bath.  Budapest has held the title of “City of Spas” since 1934 and the Széchenyi Baths are one of the largest bathing complexes in all Europe.  The water is warm even on a freezing winter night (about 38°C or 100°F).  Price is ~US$15

Recommendations


London Stone Pub – Cozy little pub with inexpensive interesting imported beers (try saying that 10 times fast).  Choose from Double Chocolate Stout, Stick Toffee Pudding, or Banana Bread beers.  Yum.  I was here 4 nights in a row and tried just about everything on the menu!

Szimpla Kert.  I can’t really describe this place – you’ll just have to go and see it for yourself!  It’s a huge ruin pub that has something for everyone: a dance area, an outside hang out, a lounge area, a wine bar, a stage for live music, etc.  The place is huge (two floors) and really fun!  Def a must-see!

Wokzilla – Cheap sushi.  28 pieces costs about US$9

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Getting There (and back)


Buy a ticket for the bus and train (one ticket it valid for both) that costs about US$2.  Validate your ticket at any orange machine.

Airport to city center:

Go to bus 200E… get off at stop “Köbánya” (ask the bus driver for “metro line 3” and he’ll let you know the correct stop)

At Köbánya, take metro line 3 to Ferenciek Square

City center to airport:

Take metro line 3 towards “Köbánya-Kispest”

Take this to the very last stop (easy enough)

Transfer to bus 200E all the way to airport

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Hole Stories Travel Troll in Budapest!


 

This little guy sure is a traveler!  Click here to see where else he’s been!

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http://www.holestories.com/?p=10565

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8 comments

  • The Book Cafe (“Lotz Terem”) on Andrassy Avenue is a beautiful art deco building. This is a modern bookstore – take the escalator to the top. Have a coffee in their Venetian Palace Cafe. For the toilettes, ask a waiter for a card or you’ll have to pay.

  • Not many people know that the historic Millenium Underground is over 100 years old and one of the oldest metros in the world. It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take a ride!

  • Avoid tourist traps on Vaci Street – high prices and food not good. Restaurants on banks of the Danube for tourists only – high prices and low quality.

  • With 118 springs and boreholes and over 15 million gallons of water a day, Budapest is truly “the City of Spas”. Try one!

  • The Central Kavehaz has been an elegant cafe since 1887, with high ceilings, brass fixtures and huge windows. Bring a book, order a coffee and “cseresznyes joghurtos pistoka”, a famous tart cherry yogurt spongecake. Writers still flock here, as in the past. Don’t be surprised if you see someone famous!

  • The first Budapest ruin bar started in 2001 when some young men wanted a cheap place to drink. They took over an abandoned auto repair shop, brought in some old furniture and artwork and a movement was born! Today these bars are all over Budapest in old buildings and outdoors as well. A pint is less than $2. The original bar is SZIMPLA KERT at Kazinczy utca 14 where they host a farmers’ market, live music, films, and sometimes even Hungarian lessons. Give it a try.

    • Don’t be afraid to try the weird flavors of beer here. So many are delicious. I’m not a big beer drinker (prefer wine instead) but the pumpkin beer tastes like pumpkin pie.

  • Photos are awesome and so is the info. Thanks for sharing. Can’t wait to go!

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