04 Oct Peek into Budapest’s Hidden Courtyards
When you wander Budapest’s streets you’re only touching the tip of the iceberg. Behind closed doors, hidden away from public view, you’ll find courtyards with arches, crawling ivy, and even stained glass windows all across the city. From private residences open by invitation only to courtyards enclosing a café or a workshop, accessible only to those in the know, Budapest is full of these secret “gardens”.
While Gozsdu Court is the most famous, this series of interconnecting courtyards suffers from a wave of incoming crowds never seems to recede and is hardly hidden anymore. So if you want to explore beyond the coach tours, escape behind the scenes in Budapest with these tucked-away courtyards on your next excursion.
Just off Kossuth Lajos street, you might want to take a peek in at number 14-16. Inside, a winged staircase opens between the arches carrying you to a network of design shops where you can find goods crafted by local, Hungarian designers. What makes the Paloma collective so interesting, is the chance to chat to the designers in person, or simply peruse the unique selection of jewellery, bags, clothes, and shoes on display. It’s not only a wonderful chance to check out a beautiful courtyard, but also offers the chance to bring some unique souvenirs home.
Location: Paloma, V district, Kossuth Lajos street 14-16.
Hidden just opposite the Dohány street synagogue, this small enclosure comes with a treasure trove of gastronomy and design all in one compact little spot. You’ll find Szimply tucked away here, a trendy and tiny designer brunch place where you can get tasty, seasonal breakfast food such as avocado toast or gourmet granola freshly made under its copper coloured geometric lights. Opposite, Kontakt Coffee Shop brews up some of the best new wave coffees in the city. Try its own Roket coffee, a cold-brewed nitro draft coffee, or sip on an aeropress and Chemex filter coffee made from single origin beans. If you want to throw some shopping into the mix, then head across the courtyard to Rododendron Design for more modern Hungarian design.
Location: Röser Courtyard, V district, Károly körút 22.
Courtyards on Múzeum Körút
Take a walk along the Múzeum Körút and you may spot a few hidden courtyards here. The main one is the Fekete coffee shop, a trendy new wave café that spills out to occupy the courtyard when the weather is good. It’s a popular place for coffee nuts, which alongside Kontakt and other new wave cafés, offers great brewed and filter coffees. Nearby, the aptly named Könyvudvar, which translates as Book Courtyard, is a home to an eclectic selection of books. The courtyard itself is a beautiful example of a grand Budapest courtyard, so worth stopping by.
Location: Fekete Coffee Shop, V district, Múzeum körút 5.
Food Truck Courtyard
With the gates closed it looks like private property, but this yard tucked off Üllöi is home to a gastronomic quarter of food trucks serving up delicious snacks from fresh gnocchi to BBQ meat, and even a craft beer stand. The whole set up of trucks dominate the courtyard, but if you still want your street food and want somewhere indoors to sit down, you can go inside the small seating area indoor to enjoy your snacks in any weather.
Location: Food Truck Courtyard, IX district, Üllői street 51.