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Edward from London asked

Going to Budapest this weekend, staying on the West side, central near the river. Any good recommendations for restaurants , bars and things to do? Thanks

Budapest (Hungary)

2 Answers
answered by
Samantha from Walnut Creek
  1. The currency: It’s call the forint. (four-ent) it looks huge like the coins are 100, 200 etc. and then the bills start at 500 and go up 10,000. Blame inflation. Anyways the way you figure out how much each is worth is you take off the last two zeros off and divide by two. So 10,000-take off two zeros is 100- then divide by two is $50 dollars. That’s just an estimation but the exchange rate doesn’t really change all that much so it’s a pretty good way to calculate. 
  2. People in Hungary are really cynical and customer service is not really a priority. So if people are rude to you don’t take it personally. That is just how they are. Blame communism.
  3. You don’t really need to tip. I usually just leave my extra change at a restaurant like 400 forint ($2 or so). Tipping isn’t really as big as it is in America.
  4. The public transportation in Budapest is really great and pretty easy to get around in. I suggest the subway (underground) and the trolley (the above ground red cable cars). Do not try and ride without a stamped ticket because ticket collectors will jump on the train randomly and demand that you show your ticket. If you don’t have it and you’re American they will yell and cause a big scene and threaten to throw you in jail. They really have no authority but if you don’t speak Hungarian it can be pretty flustering.
  5. Tickets: the transportation tickets are small orange rectangles. You can buy a book of them at pretty much any subway station (the one in front of the parliament I know you can for sure). Make sure that you punch the ticket every time you ride the subway or the trolley (they each use the same ticket) that is how they know you “paid” for that ride. In the subway the puncher things are right in front before you take the escalators and in the trolleys they are on the railings spread out through the train. Punching means that a tiny hole or square was made in your ticket and also the date or whatever is stamped on in red.
  6. The country code for Hungary is 36 and the city code for Budapest is 1. Remember that if you need to call someplace . if you are using a local line there is no need to use either code, just the phone number but if you are using your cell you will need to dial 36-1-then the number.
  7. Budapest is divided into districts. I don’t think you will need to know this but just in case a cab driver asks which district?- don’t get confused. For instance my apartment is in the 5th district (same as the parliament)
  8. Cab drivers: I don’t recommend you take a cab. They are pricey and cab drivers there are notorious for ripping Americans off. If at all possible do not take a cab. If you have to take one from the airport it should be about $25 dollars or so. (50,000 forint) around depending on traffic etc.
  9. Food: while you are there you need to try paprikas csirke (chicken paprika) porkolt (don’t know what it is called in English but it’s like noodle dumplings with meat and sauce= sooo good!) palascinta ( Hungarian version of crepes) froccs ( wine spritzer (wine and sparkling water. So good in the summer when it’s hot. They give you a huge glass of it. My favorite is white wine with cherry syrup) goulash (the beef stew- sooo good) kovacs pickles (pickles that only eastern Europeans can make right) retes (Hungarian strudel) palinka (Hungarian liquor- its strong so watch out. My favorite is the apricot or the plum flavor) and langos (large fried bread and it tastes good with cheese on top).. Hungarians also love their ice cream and if you get a chance/ find a place that sells it try the poppy seed flavor. Its super good!
  10. Also don’t forget to drink a lot of wine- Hungarians are known for their wine. Any definitely try Tokaji at least the 5 puttonyos (5 point) (a sweet desert wine that Hungary is best known for)
  11. You can pretty much find all of the tourist places to go in a guide book but the places I recommend are Nagycsarnok (the big shopping market). You can get fruits and food there but also upstairs they have a bunch of traditional Hungarian food like all of the stuff I recommended above for cheap. It is where a lot of locals (and tourists) go to eat. Definetely go to the Citadel at night. It is the big lady statue that is on Buda Hills. At night it has the most amazing views of the city. Try and get a tour of the Parlament It is an amazing building that we spend way too much money on but it really is awesome. Also don’t forget to go to Buda Hill and the palace and the Buda Castle/ Fisherman's Bastion. This is the old part of the city and it looks like a cool old cobblestone town and has great views of the city. And the if you want to brave it go to the thermal baths ( Széchenyi Thermal Bath) is the prettiest. Built during the roman times it a an awesome building. Beware of the fat hairy old men in speedos. They have no shame. Also near there is (Hosok tere)   Heroes' Square it has cool statues and it pretty important place in Hungarian History.
  12. There are also small boat tours that go along the water and under the Summer on the Chain Bridge (the huge bridge with the lions). You can bring your own alcohol and just sit and see the city. I recommend doing this at night.
  13. As for bars: I really like Szimpla Kert. It’s a cool bar with a ton of foreigners and they have a bunch of stuff hanging from the ceiling like a VW bug and street signs. Otherwise there are pretty much bars on every corner (Hungarians like to drink) as well as some cool clubs on the water like A38 (on a boat but I’ve never been to it) and others scattered along the water.

Comments (3)

Hi. Thanks for all the great info!

Sorry, but a few corrections... 1. " and then the bills start at 500 and go up 10,000. " - actually the biggest note is 20.000 now. 2. " You don’t really need to tip. " - if you were satisfied with the service, by all means, DO tip. Around 10% of the price is normal. Also, if you liked the food, put your used napkin on your plate after you finished, to show your appreciation to the chef. 3. " Tickets: the transportation tickets are small orange rectangles." - or any other color, like white or purple. 4. " If you have to take one from the airport it should be about $25 dollars or so. (50,000 forint) around depending on traffic etc." - its 5,000, not 50,000!!! And negotiate the price BEFORE getting into the cab. If they want to rip you off still, offer to call the police. 5. "Otherwise there are pretty much bars on every corner (Hungarians like to drink) " - yeah, but in most "bars" you will find hardcore old working class alcos. I recommend you stay in the touristy areas for drinks.

thank you for a great answer

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Buda Hills (attraction)
  2. Parlament (attraction)
  3. Buda Castle (attraction)
  4. Fisherman's Bastion (attraction)
  5. Széchenyi Thermal Bath (attraction)
  6. Heroes' Square (attraction)
  7. Summer on the Chain Bridge (attraction)
  8. Szimpla Kert (attraction)
comments (3)
likes (2) thanks
answered first by
Gabriella from Netherlands

Hi Edward,

The most popular ruin pubs and places are on the Pest side (East of the river). Look for Király utca and generally that area (Jewish quarter). Szimpla Kert and Gozsdu Udvar are particularly popular amongst the international youth. The party boat A38 Hajó was voted the best nightclub (?) by Lonely Planet readers.

Don't worry if your accomodation seems to be far away from these places, public transport is frequent and runs until late.

There is plenty to see and do in Budapest and an infinite number of great places to eat! Most recently I had a very nice healthy home made breafast at Cserpes Tejivó near Deák Ferenc tér metro stop.

For things to do - it really depends on what you are into! I recommend trying one of the famous spas ( Széchenyi Thermal Bath in Városliget(city park), Gellért or Cserpes Tejivó). There is also a wealth of great museums. For nice views go up to the Gellérthegy or Budai Vár | Buda Castle. If you have time, you can take a boat trip on the Danube (boats run by BKV are integrated into the public transpost system with tickets for less than €3), or for something 'different' visit Memento Park Budapest or the Sziklakórház (Hospital in the Rock).

Comments (1)

Hi. Thanks for all the great info!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Király utca (attraction)
  2. Szimpla Kert (attraction)
  3. Gozsdu Udvar (attraction)
  4. A38 Hajó (attraction)
  5. Cserpes Tejivó (restaurant)
  6. Deák Ferenc tér (attraction)
  7. Széchenyi Thermal Bath (attraction)
  8. Városliget (attraction)
  9. Gellért (attraction)
  10. Cserpes Tejivó (restaurant)
  11. Gellérthegy (attraction)
  12. Budai Vár | Buda Castle (attraction)
  13. Memento Park Budapest (attraction)
  14. Sziklakórház (attraction)
comments (1)
likes (2) thanks

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