10 Oct 5 small and underrated museums in Budapest
When it comes to museums, Budapest has all the usual big hitters – a grandiose national history museum, a fine arts museum that’s stunning inside and out, and the sobering Terror Museum, which documents the horrors of Budapest’s fascist and communist regimes.
The more intrepid explorers amongst you, however, might be seeking smaller or more unusual spots – and we’re happy to report that Budapest has plenty, covering a wide variety of subjects.
In this post, we’ll recommend some of the best:
Located in the ever-charming Óbuda district, this museum is a must-see for anyone who’s interested in op art and one of the genre’s Hungarian founders, Victor Vasarely. Housed in the beautiful and newly-renovated Zichy Palace, it’s a great place to spend an afternoon.
Op art – also known as optical art – makes art out of optical illusions. In his museum, you’ll find some of his best works, as well as insights into the life of a man who remained rather obscure by art-world standards.
Blink as you hurry down Kazinczy Street and you’ll probably miss the entrance to Budapest’s Electrotechnical Museum. That would be a shame though, because if you’re keen to see all manner of old-fashioned machines with lights, wires, and transformers, then this place will scratch your itch.
The fun starts as soon as you enter the courtyard of its Bauhaus building – which is surrounded by old neon signs that are illuminated on special occasions. Inside, it’s interesting enough to just wander the room looking at the exhibits but, depending on when you visit, you might be lucky enough to be treated to a demonstration from a visiting scientist.
Mai Manó House
Also known as the Hungarian House of Photography, this cute museum on Nagymező Street is home to a variety of local, foreign, historical, and contemporary photography exhibits. Anyone with an interest for the lens is sure to find something to indulge in here, and the building also houses a bookshop where you’re free to browse a fantastic collection of photo books.
Or, you could head up to the third floor to the Pécsi József Library of Photography where you’ll find a wealth of photo albums, magazines, lexicons, encyclopedias, and bibliographies- a celebration of the great Hungarian photographers and their international contemporaries.
House of Houdini
Houdini was Budapest-born didn’t you know, and this museum, while small, manages to pack in a whole lot of stuff that will let you know more about the man’s life and work. As well as the expected locks, keys and other devices that formed parts of his mesmerizing illusions, you’ll find some furniture and other bits and pieces from his home.
And, as if gawking at all this cool stuff wasn’t enough of a reason to visit, in the museum’s theatre, at the end of your look around, you’ll be treated to a little show for the in-house illusionist – a nice little touch.
Róth Miksa Museum
Róth Miksa is the man we can thank for decorating most of Budapest’s most beautiful art nouveau houses with stunning stained glass windows and mosaics. And, thankfully, you can today visit his workshop to get some insight into how his masterpieces were lovingly crafted as well as get a look at the humble life he led – 3 of the rooms in his house have been displayed exactly as they would have been during his lifetime.
His house is small, yet beautiful, and located on the peaceful Nefelejcs Street. A visit here is a chance to escape the chaos of the city for a while and enjoy some beauty.