Budapest for Extended Vacationers and Second Timers

Kertem open air bar in Dsitrict VI

Budapest for Extended Vacationers and Second Timers

Budapest—this radiant, bustling city that straddles the Danube boasts stunning art nouveau architecture, vibrant nightlife, delicious cuisine and a rich history. So it’s no wonder that many visitors decide to hunker down in the “Pearl of the Danube” for an extended vacation or return once more to continue their love affair with the city.

No matter whether it was the glittering lights of the city at nightfall or the cocktail-slinging merriment of the famous ruin pubs that drew you here, we’re glad you’ve decided to stay with us a bit longer. Your reward is an even more immersive and intimate experience into the heart, mind and excitement of Budapest. Follow us down the rabbit hole, won’t you?

Explore More Local Haunts

You’ve explored the street art and the ruin bars in the Jewish district. You’ve been to Parliament and you’ve taken a spin on the Budapest Eye. You’ve checked off all those standard to-dos and now it’s time to get a real look into what makes this city tick with these charming areas.

Explore the hidden gems in District VI

Kertem open air bar in Dsitrict VI

Kertem open air bar in District VI. Photo: facebook.com/kertemfesztival

Even in the tourist-heavy area of District VI you can still find some hidden gems that welcome more locals than tourists. If you’ve worked up an appetite while walking around the city, head to City Park where the string of twinkle lights will welcome you to Kertem, an outdoor bar and eatery just perfect for grabbing a beer and a delicious sandwich, and enjoying the gorgeous summer weather.

In the same park just near the zoo you’ll also find Pántlika, which serves up traditional Hungarian specialties like goulash as well as a fried egg burger. Don’t forget to wash it all down with a cherry beer.

Art and culture buffs alike can also enjoy the array of contemporary art galleries such as Acb Gallery and Deák Erika GalleryVisiting these galleries is the perfect way to spend a rainy or snowy day in the city.

Go off the beathen path in District VIII

Mikszáth tér

Mikszáth square in District VIII. Photo: owl.hu

This up-and-coming neighborhood is home to hip, creative and bohemian galleries, museums, restaurants and cafes. There are the two faces of District VIII: inside the Grand Boulevard, the Palace District captures the district’s former grandeur with palatial apartments.

It got the nickname “Palace District” because in the 19th century many of the country’s wealthy built towering mansions there (some of which can still be found behind the National Museum). If you’d like to see inside one of these old homes then visit Szabó Ervin Library—this mansion turned library—where they still keep some original furnishings on the fourth floor.

Beyond the boulevard, flaking apartment blocks mingle with alternative arts hubs, diverse communities and non-touristy bars.

Explore Buda’s upcoming neighbourhood: Bartók Béla Avenue

Szatyor Bar and Gallery

Szatyor Bar and Gallery – a local hangout at Bartók Béla Avenue. Photo: facebook.com/szatyorbar

Bartók Béla Avenue named after the famous 20th century Hungarian composer, this avenue on the Buda side is a nice respite from the hustle and bustle of Pest. Here you’ll find a lovely little artistic epicenter with loft-style cafes and beautiful galleries. Grab a glass of Hungarian wine or a refreshing fröccs at Palack Borbár, which offers up to 100 different wines from small wineries.

When dinner calls, check out the popular Hadik Café, a legendary haunt for many local writers and journalists during the early 20th century. Exposed brick, elegant chandeliers and huge windows provide a welcome environment to enjoy Hungarian dumplings with cheese and bacon, or pork tenderloin in paprika sauce.

Visit the Tomb of Gül Baba

Tomb of Gul Baba

Tomb of Gül Baba. Photo: wikipedia.org

On the Buda side near Margaret Island you’ll find Mecset Street, which is the final home of Gül Baba, a Muslim dervish who was involved in the capture of Buda in the 16th century. During the warmer months the tomb is decorated with beautiful rose gardens (after all, Baba was known as the “Father of Roses”), making it a lovely spot to enjoy a beautiful spring, summer or fall day in Budapest.

The tomb is also a pilgrimage spot for Muslims, so remember to take off your shoes before entering the tomb.

Get Your Caffeine Fix at a Retro Cafe

Bambi Presso Budapest

Bambi retro coffee shop. Photo: offbeatbudapest.com

While the word “Communism” certainly doesn’t conjure up fond or friendly memories for many, there is a sense of nostalgia for these times that whisper throughout the walls and decorations of the city’s cafes, bars and streets. Take a walk down memory lane with us to these echoes of the city’s past.

If you can’t imagine getting your day started without a cup o’ Joe (and let’s be honest, who can?), Budapest is a veritable smorgasbord of cafes, both new and old. If you’re staying on the Buda side, kick start your day at Bambi Eszpressó, which still contains that bygone charm of its Socialist past with red leather booths and round marble tables decorated with white lace table runners. The interior of this Hungarian presszó (where you can also order food, a beer or even a shot) has stayed the same since it opened its doors in 1962. Just don’t be surprised to see that the place is more a hotspot for local hipsters, artists and dating couples nowadays.

Ibolya Presszó is another 20th century Communist-era café found right in the heart of the city center near Ferenciek Square. Of course, the colorful bar, and red and yellow decor evoke more of a 70s or 80s style that looks more like a movie set from Back to the Future. Saddle up to the bar for a drink or a hearty espresso, or sit near the window overlooking the street for some most-enjoyable people watching.

Grab a Drink at Marxim Pub: from the very beginning you will notice the red star greetings you at the entrance where it has been welcoming guests for more than 20 years. Barbed wire, old Communist posters, white plastic benches and tables carved with visitor’s initials decorate this underground bunker of a bar (don’t worry; you don’t need a gas mask to enter). Grab a pint or try one of their homemade pizzas. During the warmer months, escape the bunker and enjoy your beer on their outside terrace.

Visit the Hungarian Electrotechnical Museum

Neon signs at Electrotechnical Museum

Neon signs at the courtyard of the Electrotechnical Museum. Photo: neonvadaszat.blogspot.com

With the vibrant ruin bars and nightlife of Kazinczy Street it’s possible to miss the towering black doors of the Bauhaus-style Hungarian Electrotechnical Museum if you aren’t looking for it. This museum, with eight different exhibitions, offers an in-depth and intimate look into the electrical industry, from advancements in lighting to railway technology.

For one-day only in June, special wristband holders can visit some of Budapest’s museums (including this museum) late at night. During this event, known as the Night of the Museums, all these vintage lights and displays are brought to life, offering an illuminating spectacle that shouldn’t be missed.

Stroll Down Memory Lane at Memento Park

Memento Park

Statues at Memento Park. Photo: tourinform.hu

You may think the ghost of Communism’s most prominent figures are wandering this park but it’s just the final resting place for more than 40 communist statues dedicated to the world of socialism between the years 1945 and 1989. All of these statues, which used to be displayed around the city as socialist propaganda, now make up this fascinating communist graveyard on the outskirts of the city.

At this park you can also hop behind the wheel of a Trabant 601, pick up an old rotary phone and listen to speeches given by Lenin and Stalin or watch a documentary about the training methods of the secret police. Those wanting to visit Memento Park may choose to hop on a direct bus from Deák Square, which runs daily at 11am.

Rent a Bike and Discover these Less-Charted Areas

On a warm, sunny day there is nothing more freeing than dusting off your bike and riding around this beautiful city, and with the city’s numerous bike rental options even visitors can enjoy peddling around these less visited but still worthwhile areas of the city.

Népsziget

Kabin open air bar at Népsziget

Kabin open air bar at Népsziget. Photo: facebook.com/kabinpart

If you’re looking for a place that’s surrounded by nature but still offers spots to grab a bite or a refreshing drink then head to Népsziget. Relax by the Danube, visit the goat farm or riding stables, or grab a drink at popular “beach” bars such as Kabin and Wasser, which come alive every summer to offer up grilled eats, cocktails, live music and movie screenings.

For visitors looking to do a bit of shopping, visit Filip. This eclectic workshop of carpenters offers beautiful wall paintings, stunning furnishings and handcrafted decorations. Escape the fast-paced life of the city and cross the bridge to peaceful Népsziget.

Római part

Fellini open air bar Budapest

Fellini open air bar. Photo: facebook.com/Fellini-Római-Kultúrbisztró

If the idea of a perfect vacation involves noshing on fried fish with a cold beer in hand then it’s time to grab your bike and head to Római Part (the “Roman Embankment”) on the northern shores of Buda. From runners and cyclists to rowers and beach-goers, this peaceful respite is a popular spot for many city dwellers during the summertime due to its easily accessible location right on the banks of the Danube. Bop along to relaxing lounge music with a drink in hand while reclining in a deck chair on the riverfront at Nap bácsi (“Uncle Sun”). We swear you’ll forget all of your troubles.

If you visit on the weekends, don’t be surprised to see some DJs mixing tunes on the shore. If you’ve found the sea of vibrantly striped beach chairs then you’re at Fellini, a cultural bistro offering weekly cinema showings, concerts and even a mobile library. This family-friendly spot dishes up barbeque, children’s menus, gelato and Belgian beers. Who says you have to escape to the islands in order to truly relax?

Kopaszi gát

Kopaszi gát

Kopaszi gát. Photo: likealocalguide.com

This region near the Lágymányosi Bay, which had long gone ignored, has quickly transformed Cinderella-like into a lush 10-acre park and recreational hotspot near Rákoczi Bridge on the Buda side. Now it’s a popular spot for picnickers, couples on a dating, and families with small children and yoga lovers.

This scenic park with its lush lawn and paved running paths is ideal for a jog, enjoying a homemade lunch or basking lizard-like in the sun. The park is also lined with restaurants and terraced cafes, just perfect for grabbing a bite or an afternoon libation. It’s an easy bike ride from the city center but you can also choose to take a BKK boat or tram there, as well.

Escape the City and Wander the Danube Bend

Danube bend

Danube Bend. Photo: ilovedunakanyar.hu

Along the bend of the Danube, approximately a one-hour drive outside of Budapest, you’ll find the bucolic towns of Zebégeny, Nagymaros and Visegrád. These regions offer pristine nature and lush hiking trails up to Julian Lookout, where you’ll experience incredible views of the Börzsöny and Visegrád Mountains.

In Nagymaros you’ll find a beautiful 14th century gothic-style Catholic church and the Kittenberger Kálman Memorial House. If you stay in Zebegény you’ll have direct access to the area’s most stunning hiking and biking trails (the ideal spot for runners, nature lovers and athletes).

Visegrád has quickly become the most popular region for tourists and you’ll soon discover why with its beautiful medieval citadel jutting out of the hillside and the remains of King Matthias Corvinus’ summer palace. With farmers’ markets, quaint restaurants and cozy cafes you’ll also find everything you need to satiate your appetite or your need for a cold (and perhaps stiff) drink.

Along the bend of the Danube, approximately a one-hour drive outside of Budapest, you’ll find the bucolic towns of Zebégeny, Nagymaros and Visegrád. These regions offer pristine nature and lush hiking trails up to Julian Lookout, where you’ll experience incredible views of the Börzsöny and Visegrád Mountains.

In Nagymaros you’ll find a beautiful 14th century gothic-style Catholic church and the Kittenberger Kálman Memorial House. If you stay in Zebegény you’ll have direct access to the area’s most stunning hiking and biking trails (the ideal spot for runners, nature lovers and athletes).

Visegrád has quickly become the most popular region for tourists and you’ll soon discover why with its beautiful medieval citadel jutting out of the hillside and the remains of King Matthias Corvinus’ summer palace. With farmers’ markets, quaint restaurants and cozy cafes you’ll also find everything you need to satiate your appetite or your need for a cold (and perhaps stiff) drink.

Nomád Bár

Momad Bar

Nomád Bár. Photo: facebook.com/nomadbar

If you’re planning a day trip to the pastel-colored town of Szentendre (and you should; after all, it’s only a one-hour boat ride from downtown Budapest), on the opposite side of the river lies the casual, island-style Nomád Bár, where being barefoot is just the “island” way. The sea of old lawn chairs is the first clue you’ve made it.

Enjoy casual eats and drinks with friends while relaxing near the Danube. Believe it or not, Nomád Bar is also a popular wedding venue for people looking to say, “I do” in a more casual outdoor setting. This is certainly the chill vibe you need after days of city sightseeing.

have an insider experience of country side life

Matyo embroidery

Matyó embroidery. Photo: matyadesigntours.com

Spend an day in Matyo-land, part of UNESCO World Heritage, home of tradition, folk art with Matyodesign Tours. Matyodesign is an authentic Hungarian brand with local craftsmen designers: it was created to help local masters selling their knowledge and continue their craft. And now Matyodesign is opening its doors for visitors as well.

Matyodesign tour’s main goal is to give introspection into this social entrepreneurship, and to show the every day life of a village. Visit the small hungarian village of Tard to have an insider experience of country side life. Enjoy
the local culture, food and learn the secret of their people: matyó embroidery.

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