08 Oct 5 tips to spend autumn time in Budapest like a local
As the nights draw in and chill winds replace sweltering heat, the need for a vacation to escaping the daily grind grows ever more urgent. And, you’ll be pleased to know that Budapest is a city capable of delighting you all year round.
If you’re wondering what an autumn trip to Budapest has in store, then let us paint you a picture.
Rent a bike and visit a forgotten island
Filip underground bar and vintage shop. Photo: facebook.com/zsiliputcakilenc
Budapest’s downtown is busy and vibrant, and most people looking to escape head to Margit Island, a well-manicured retreat on the Danube that’s great for a visit – if a little overcrowded.
If you fancy something a little different then your destination should be Népsziget – another of the Danube islands further north from the city. It’s a peaceful place, run down and overgrown, but with a certain sense of charm, particularly if you want to enjoy a little slice of nature and a quiet place to enjoy a cycle.
Kabin, if it’s open, is a little bar along the river right next to the island and provides a nice spot to grab a drink and reflect. Or there’s Wasser with its own little strip of ‘beach’ and brightly colored deck chairs to unwind on or try Filip the underground bar and vintage shop.
Explore smaller parks
Back in the city, another thing that Budapest has in abundance is small, tranquil parks – little oases that should most definitely be on your city seeing intinerary. Pack a little picnic and prepare yourself for an afternoon spent relaxing.
Füvészkert – botanical gardens carefully maintained by ELTE university – are a place that even most locals don’t know about, assumed to be closed to the public. This isn’t the case, though, and a walk around to admire the wide variety of flowers species here is a definite must for budding gardeners.
Károlyi kert likewise has the feel of a calm back garden, which is amazing because it sits in the middle of one of the busiest parts of town. Lounge on the grass, admire the surrounding buildings, and be sure to stop for a drink at Csendes Cafe with has tables cutely arranged next to the entrance of the park.
Kerepesi Cemetery, on the other hand, will appeal to history buffs. It’s the city’s largest cemetery and is the final resting place of many of the country’s historical greats. And, finally, if you’re looking for the perfect view and don’t mind a little trek up the hill, the Garden of Philosophy offers sweeping views of the Danube Bend and Buda Castle.
Find the culture others don’t
The guidebooks will point you in the direction of plenty of big museums and buzzing bars, but if you’re looking for something cozier, let us recommend you start by a visit to Kiscelli Múzeum where you will gain an insight into how Hungarians lived in Budapest between the 18th and 21st centuries.
Follow this with a drink at the very cozy Lámpás – a basement bar in the heart of the Jewish Quarter with live music almost every night – or head over to Budapest Jazz Club or Jederman Café which also boast great live acts.
Finally, if you happen to fancy a nightcap, head over the Kisüzem – an underground cultural bar that happens to attract some an unusually cool clientele – and boosts its hipster creds by hosting silent movie nights on Sundays.
Escape the city to Szentendre
Of course, no one said you have to stay in the city. Hungary is overflowing with cute towns that often get overlooked by tourists. Szentendre is the closest and can be reached in about 40 minutes from the city center via regional rail.
What’s waiting for you? Well, it’s an artists town, so expect shops and boutiques overflowing with creative vibes as well as an overall bohemian atmosphere. And with great restaurants and bars nestled in among the town’s winding cobbled streets – there is plenty to keep you entertained for a full day trip.
Explore Budapest’s vibrant coffee culture
Coffee culture in Budapest comes in all different shades – from old and opulent to utterly new wave. Of course, many spots have been overrun by tourists of digital nomads, so you’ve got to know where to look if you want a little peace and quiet while you sip on your coffee.
Likewise, on the new wave end of the scale Madal, Espresso Embassy, Tamp and Pull are all chic little cafes – started and run by locals with a passion for brewing – that all promise smart, airy decor and, of course – great coffee!