Budapest, Hungary

Posted on May 25, 2010

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Budapest is a wonderful city with so much to do. I first went a couple of years ago for a conference and then stayed on with some friends. We had a fabulous time.

The baths are a must. I went to both the famous Gellert baths, and the outdoor Szechenyi baths in the park. Both are fantastic and the outside bathing was a wonderful experience, especially in march when it was cold outside.

At night, the skyline of the buildings on the river is spectacular, nothing rivals it  (ok, except maybe Prague). There are several companies that do boat cruises with dinner and although a touch cheesy, with a group of friends it’s fun and a nice way to see the city at night.

Two things to watch are the dodgy exchange rates as you get off the train (check what it should be before you go) and taxis that rip you off (there are a lot). If you come in on the train, go to the tourist information where they will book a taxi for you and show you the best places to get a decent exchange rate for your money.

Food in Hungary is heavy. One Hungarian friend told me ‘you have to put on a little weight whilst you are here, it’s just the way it is’.

Here are a few restaurants that I would recommend:

Gundel is an upmarket restaurant in the park. It is old-fashioned and delightful. We had the tasting menu with wine which was spectacular and well worth splashing out on. I heard it was the best restaurant in Budapest but that was a couple fo years ago and things change.

Café kor is relatively central and fills up quickly, try to book ahead if you can. It has a mix of traditional Hungarian and other foods – all dishes are hearty. Try the poppyseed noodles or pancake for dessert, a Hungarian speciality that is difficult to get elsewhere and is delicious.

I was taken to the old journalist hangout, Firkaszetterem which didn’t disappoint either. Food is similar to Cafe Kor and they have a good range of non Hungarian dishes too.

I stayed at Hotel President (Hold u. 3-5, 05, Budapest 1054) which I really liked. The rooms were spacious and well equipped. They also had a nice swimming pool Jacuzzi and sauna.

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Posted in: Hungary