Only in Budapest

Unique experiences in Hungary’s capital!

Budapest Marco Polo Guide

Iconic Bridge
The best end to a romantic evening, according to the people of Budapest, is walking home across the Chain Bridge. And indeed the bridge, which is lit up at night, is a wonderful spot to take in the magical atmosphere of the city on the water.

Place to be
When it comes to lifestyle and nightlife, Liszt Ferenc tér, ‘Franz Liszt Square’, sets the tone. Here, not far from the elegant boulevard, Andrássy út, you will find one hip café next to another.

Incredible Ambience
The New York Kávéház is brilliant! You should see this café at least once, for it is the most breathtaking representative of the Budapest café tradition: other cafés may be cosier, but here visitors can feast their eyes on the overwhelming décor.

Heroes’ Square
Budapest’s skateboarders enjoy themselves under the eyes of Archangel Gabriel on Heroes’ Square. History has been set in stone here: from the top of the two columned arches Hungarian rulers and statesmen look down at the hustle and bustle on the city‘s largest square.

The Queen of Desserts
The name Gundel put Budapest and the whole of Hungary on the culinary map. As a result, Gundel palacsinta, a pancake with walnuts and chocolate sauce, is both a tasty treat and a piece of cultural heritage. These pancakes can be tasted in Centrál Kávéház, for example.

Remembrance and Experience
The Moorish-Byzantine onion domes of the Dohány Street Synagogue are the landmark of an urban cosmos that is unique in Europe: a once again very lively Jewish Quarter. The synagogue is a very handsome building, but it’s also a memorial to all those who suffered and perished during the Holocaust.

 

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Budapest Marco Polo Guide

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Low Budget Budapest

Explore Budapest’s culture and exceptional beauty on a budget with Marco Polo’s top money saving tips:

 Budapest Marco Polo Guide

 

Sightseeing

EU citizens can visit the Hungarian Parliament Building for free. The enormous structure is very aesthetically pleasing and says a lot about the state of the Hungarian national pride at the time it was built. The building, which took over 100 years to build, compromises of 27 gates, 29 staircases and almost 700 rooms. The architecture is of a gothic revival style and was partly inspired by the Houses of Parliament in London. Tickets from ticket offices | V, Kossuth Lajos tér | Tel. 1 4 41 49 04 | Underground 2: Kossuth Lajos tér | Tram 2

The car-free Margaret Island is a leisure space in the middle of the Danube in central Budapest that costs precisely nothing to visit. The island, which is 2.5km long by less than 500m across, is the city’s most popular recreational space. It is a lovely place to have a picnic and the paths and gardens are perfect for extended walks. Some pretty destinations in the northern part of the island are the water tower and the Japanese garden. It is worth lingering by the fountain to see the water show accompanied by classical music, which takes place every quarter of an hour. Music can also be heard at the fountain in the northern Japanese garden (every hour on the hour). Trams 4, 6 (Margaret Bridge) | Buses 26, 34, 106 (Árpád Bridge)

Fisherman’s Bastion: Situated high up above the Danube on Castle Hill, this famous terrace provides a magnificent view of the city that can enjoyed for free. The neo-romanesque complex with its walkways, archways and towers, was built at the end of the 19th century. The name ‘Fisherman’s Bastion’ is a reminder of the fact that there were once defensive walls here that were secured and defended by the guild of fishermen. I, Szentháromság tér | Bus 16 (Castle bus/Várbusz)

 

Eating Out

In the Great Market Hall (1st floor) you can buy delicious savoury or sweet langós for €2 (flat bread made from a yeast-potato dough.) IX, Vámház körút 1–3 | Trams 2, 47, 49

Only a stone’s throw from Liszt Ferenc tér is Kiadó. It has a nice pub atmosphere and offers tasty dishes for between €3 and €6. Daily from 9am | VI, Jókai tér 3 | Tel. 1 3 31 19 55 | Underground 1: Oktogon

Menza is a restaurant that merges downtown sophistication with the relaxed atmosphere of a 1960s coffee bar. The diverse menu lists many soups and salads and offers many main dishes including: penne, lángos (deep fried flat bread), duck and goose liver. There are also many inexpensive daily specials. Open daily | VI, Liszt Ferenc tér 2 | Tel. 1 4 13 14 82 | Underground 1: Oktogon

 

Shopping

Lovers of crystals will find them for reasonable prices at Ajka Kristály.

If you enjoy shopping for handicrafts and embroidered pieces such as tablecloths, you will find them at the Folkart Centrum for less.

Haggle for food and souvenirs at the Great Market Hall, which has a huge variety of stalls and offers competitive prices. IX, Vámház körút 1–3 | Trams 2, 47, 49

 

Entertainment

You can get tickets for the Opera House for between €3.20 to €4.40 if you’re willing to sit up in “the gods”.

There are cheap tickets available for the operetta theatre with prices ranging from €3.60 to €10 euros, depending on the performance. You can’t see the entire stage from these seats, however there is still a good view.

There is a big firework display over the Citadel on the evening of August the 20th. On this day the whole of Budapest is transformed into one big party.

 

Accommodation 

The good location and special discounts make Hotel Medosz a popular place to stay. Students up to the age of 18, accompanying parents and pensioners get a 10% discount. With the 10% discount it costs approximately €54-60 euros for a double room, which includes a buffet breakfast. 70 rooms | VI, Jókai tér | Tel. 1 3 74 30 00 | Trams 4, 6 | Underground 1: Oktogon

Ibis Centrum: The service and the entire ambience of this hotel in the Ráday utca pedestrian zone is very friendly. It’s also excellent value for money. 126 rooms | IX, Ráday utca 6 | Tel. 1 4 56 41 00 | Underground 3: Kálvin tér

 

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Budapest Marco Polo Guide

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Top 10 things to do in Budapest

For perfect days in Budapest, here is Marco Polo’s list of the top 10 things not to be missed! Our best recommendations – from the top down – help you to plan your tour of Budapest’s most important sights. 

Budapest Marco Polo Spiral Guide

1. MÁTYÁS-TEMPLOM 

The beautifully renovated Matthias Church dominates the largest square on Buda’s Castle Hill, a focal point offering great views over the whole of Budapest.

2. ORSZÁGHÁZ 

No panoramic view of Budapest would be complete without the monumental Parliament building. (Image above.) It’s also worth a visit!

3. ANDRÁSSY ÚT & ÁLLAMI OPERAHÁZ 

The boulevard and its surrounding area offer art nouveau architecture and buzzing nightlife. The highlight is the Opera House, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

4. SZENT ISTVÁN BAZILIKA

The mighty St Stephen’s Basilica is one of Europe’s top churches. It’s sacred to Hungarians thanks to the relic of King Stephen. At nearly 100m high, the dome boasts a stunning panoramic view.

5. VÁROSLIGET

The City Park was built in 1896 to celebrate Hungary’s 1,000th anniversary. You can soak your cares away next to the park at the magnificent Széchenyi Baths.

6. MARGIT-SZIGET 

Margaret Island in the Danube is a tranquil recreational oasis at the heart of the city. Only the huge Sziget Festival in August disturbs the island’s peace.

7. ZSIDÓ NEGYED

With its restaurants, a cemetery, a museum and two large Synagogues, the city’s Jewish quarter will grant you a fascinating glimpse into the rich past of this once-great Budapest community.

8. VÖRÖSMARTY TÉR & VÁCI UTCA

The city’s hottest square and chicest street for shopping and strolling around. Some of the coffee houses are also fantastic spots to see and be seen.

9. GELLÉRT-HEGY 

Climb right to the top of Gellért Hill to enjoy a wonderful panoramic view. The hill boasts the Independence Monument at its summit and the famous Gellért Baths at its feet.

10. HŐSÖK TERE

Heroes’ Square and the Millenary Monument make up the ultimate symbol of Hungarian national pride. They’re flanked by the Palace of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts.

 

Content taken from the Budapest Marco Polo Spiral Guide

Budapest Marco Polo Spiral Guide

Buy the Budapest Marco Polo Spiral Guide