15 Nov One day itinerary in the Jewish Quarter of Budapest
Budapest’s Jewish Quarter tends to be the one that leaves the biggest impression on visitors to the city, with its unique blend of history, culture, nightlife and creative energy. Synagogues sit next to street art, while old Jewish bakeries play happy neighbors with hip design and buzzing ruin pubs.
If you’d like to immerse yourself in this creative hotspot, here are our suggestions for one day spent exploring Budapest’s Jewish district.
1. Breakfast at Szimply
Once regarded mainly for its nightlife, the Jewish district is now gaining a reputation as an awesome place to hang out in the day as well – thanks in part to a whole host of great breakfast and brunch places popping up all over the neighborhood.
Hidden in Rőser Passage is a beautiful little place called Szimply. The concept is, well, simple. Low key interior design and a menu featuring hearty and healthy basics, like omelette, fruit and porridge, quiches, frittatas and cakes. Oh, and coffee, they have really good coffee as well.
2. Street art in the Jewish District
Street art in the Jewis quarther – photo: budapestflow.com
In recent years, vibrant murals have popped up all over the city’s Jewish Quarter. Starting off as local artists taking advantage of the sheer amount of empty space on the crumbling walls.
In recent years, the Színes Város Art Festival has brought more attention to the scene and given the chance for both local and foreign artists to contribute work and breathed new life into the neighborhood and given it the feel of a living art gallery. While some paint pretty scenes or psychedelic fantasies, other murals depict important points in Hungary’s history.
3. Find something stylish at a design shop
Printa design shop – photo: budapestflow.com
If you want to avoid the typical tourist tat and buy something meaningful to take home, then it’s definitely worth stopping by one of the several cool design boutiques that call the Jewish district their home.
Printa, one of the most popular, sells a wide range of eco friendly products – unique posters, notebooks, t-shirts, tote-bags, postcards and more – and doubles as a concept shop, gallery, studio and a café.
Rododendron, another popular spot, has cool art prints and design supplies and is set up like a gallery so you can just stop in and browse if you want, while the newest kid on the block, Szimpla Design Shop, is next to the the city’s coolest ruinpub. The aesthetic here is very much ‘junk shop’, but it’s full of quirky design items if you’re willing to rummage.
4. Tuck into the daily lunch menu at Kőleves restaurant
When it comes to eating on holiday, great value for money and popular with locals is the winning combination. Luckily, Hungarian’s are all about the daily menus – 2 or 3 courses of fresh-made goodness, sold for just a few Euros and available in most restaurants. So popular are they, that most locals will forgo a packed lunch at work and head to their nearest
eatery come midday.
One of our favorites is Kőleves restaurant, which is located in the heart of Jewish neighborhood and has a spacious and trendy indoor dining room and bar, and a courtyard that comes alive in the summer months. Their menu changes daily, always starts with a delicious soup, and have both veggie and meat options available – all classic Hungarian dishes.
5. Learn about the history of the Jewish quarter
Dohány Street Synagogue – photo: bzsh.hu
While you’re here, it’s well worth taking a dive into the area’s history. The most obvious way is to pay a visit to the Dohány Street Synagogue, which also has a graveyard, memorial garden and information center. But, if you don’t fancy the crowds then the Kazinczy Street Orthodox Synagogue is equally as beautiful and open to explore.
Keen explorers can also trace the outline of the Budapest Ghetto walls. The last part of the wall located at 15 Király Street was demolished in 2006, but it was reconstructed using some pieces of the original wall and can be accessed via the backyard of the building – some walking tours include it on their itinerary. More prominently there is also a Ghetto Memorial Wall located on Dohány Street.
6. Check out some local culture spots
Inda Gallery – photo: facebook.com/inda.galeria/
We’re big art fans, and if you are too, there are three places we want to recommend. Inda Galéria has the feel of a modern exhibition space, and indeed features contemporary pieces from local and international artists spanning media: painting, drawing, sculpture, installation, video, and photography.
Living Gallery, also a host to contemporary exhibits, has a more homey feel, while Chimera-Project Gallery is a newer space, opened in 2013 and features neo-avantgarde to recent conceptually grounded pieces.
7. Drink a craft beer at Szimpla ruinbar
Szimpla kert ruin bar – photo: budapestflow.com
Szimpla is one of the most famous bars in the city and the original ruin pub – a style of bar typified by mismatched ‘junk’ furniture and vibrant installation art inside formerly disused buildings.
While originally a retreat for young locals, today Szimpla and it’s brothers attract tourists from all over the world and offer a great atmosphere both day and night. More recently, Szimpla has also started offering a great selection of craft beers and it’s these we recommend trying.
It’s also worth to check out on Sunday morning their famous farmer’s market. You can pick up some produce and stay around to listen to performances from local musicians.
8. Enjoy some Jewish food at Mazel Tov
Why not end a great day with some proper Jewish food. Blending ruin pub chic with authentic cuisine is Mazel Tov. The menu is inspired by modern Mediterranean and Israeli trends and the atmosphere inside is warm an open. If you’re feeling hungry, we recommend getting some shakshuka, hummus or grilled meat.