Second time in Budapest? Longer stay or just bored with “must sees” and want to get out of the crowd?
Here is my top 10 insider tip to explore Budapest in a bit different way:
1. Children’ s Railway + Libegő
Fun way to explore the Buda Hills is to get a ride on Children’s Railway (Gyermekvasút) from Hűvösvölgy. The railway is run by children since 1947 under the supervision of adult employees. Children do various types of jobs, from selling tickets to traffic management. I suggest you to combine or close this tour with the ‘Libegő’ (chairlift) which will bring you down from the hills while you can enjoy the marvelous view of the city.
Best time to visit: Children’s Railway operates all year but my favorite timing is late September and October with the beautiful colors of the autumn in the forest.
For recent timetable and prices please visit this webpage: http://www.gyermekvasut.hu/english_eng
2. Eat the best strudel (rétes) in the City
I know Hungary is not the ‘home of the strudel’ but believe me, if you find the right place to eat it, the experience will be unforgettable. I was keep trying the different places for years but none of them gave me the wow effect until once somebody showed me a little pastry shop in District XIII. It is a family business up and running since 1926 and I guarantee that they have the best apple and sweet cottage cheese strudel in the city. These are my favorites but you can select at least from 15 different tastes. Ready for the best rétes of your life? Visit to Rétesbolt and you won’t regret it!
Best time to visit: Anytime just make sure you are hungry enough 🙂
3. Open air cinema on the top
Electronic music fans might already heard about Corvin Club situated in an iconic retro building from Soviet times situated on Blaha Lujza tér. But did you know that there is something cool up on the terrace? A rooftop cinema with large variety of movies. Perfect for dates, movie night with friends or even alone. Check out their Facebook page for the next events: https://www.facebook.com/budapestrooftopcinema/
Best time to visit: From begin of May until mid October.
4. Get out from District VII !!!
Yes, I know… buzzy nightlife, ruin pubs, street food, clubs and beerbike. You can have it all in District VII. (hétker) walking distance from your hostel or Airbnb apartment. But come on, Budapest has much more than that! Buy a 72 hour travel card (13 EUR) and visit District IX. for a great breakfast in Butter Brothers or large selection of best craft beers in Élesztő. District XI. is full with hidden treasures one of them is Kelet Café which is great choice for a good coffee with your friends or alone (with your favorite book). For awesome desserts you should visit Pozsonyi utca in District XIII. Édesmindegy and La Delizia are my favorites when it comes to the sweet moments. Special occasion? Book a table in Madragóra (District II.) for exceptional dinner experience.
Best time to visit: Anytime when you get enough from noisy-dirty-party district.
5. Margaret Island Open-Air Stage (Margitszigeti Szabadtéri Színpad)
We all know about one of the newest attractions of Budapest the Musical Fountain on Margaret Island but did you hear about the Open-Air Stage hidden in the middle of the island? Impressive theater and musical events during the summer as one of the main stage of Budapest Summer Festival. What about a picnic under the shadow of old plane trees followed by a great musical show? Sounds like a perfect Sunday evening program! For more information and event calendar check the webpage of the festival: http://eng.szabadter.hu/margaret-island-open-air-stage.html
Best time to visit: Margaret island is an awesome place in any season. For the theater you should visit during the Summer Festival.
6. Local market and Lángos
In order to taste the real local food when you visit somewhere markets are the best choice. I know Central Market (Nagy Vásárcsarnok) is beautiful and famous and full with souvenirs but hey! are you shopping in such a market when you are in your city? I don’t think so. Have you tried lángos before? Did you like it? Then listen to me. Visit Lehel piac in the morning (District XIII. Lehel tér metro station) and walk into the middle of the building. You will find a buffet called Lángos Centrum on your left. Ask for sajtos tejfölös lángos and say yes (igen) for garlic (fokhagyma). Ah and the tea! Don’t forget to ask for a glass of tea. Enjoy the best lángos in the city and get some seasonal fresh fruit from the old ladies. No they do not speak English but much better shopping experience than Central Market is guaranteed.
Best time to visit: Anytime actually but as you know lángos is quite heavy and oily so I do not recommend on hot summer days.
7. Római part (Roman Riverbank)
What about a cold fröccs or beer out of the noisy city right next to the river? Awesome place to get rid of the stress after work or take a long walk in the weekend. Cycling or running? With family or friends? Or a few hours to be alone? Hungry or thirsty? Actually doesn’t matter, Római part is the right place for you. My personal favorite is Fellini where you can catch one of the movie evenings if you are lucky. Get there easily by Szentendrei HÉV.
Best time to visit: From mid April until mid October
8. Join to Budapest Bike Maffia – Radical Acts of Kindness
“Budapest Bike Maffia is one of the most developing Hungarian non-profit organization. It was established on Christmas Eve 2011 by a group of young bikers. Their goal is selfless assistance to help those who are in need, in collaboration with already proven professional organizations. They put the focus on emphatic behavior to make a livable world.” (source: http://bbm.hu/en/)
Open minded, cheerful, friendly and helpful charity group. Unique and passionate team of people who sacrifice their free time and energy to give a hand for people who lost their hope in a ‘better tomorrow’. I am proud to be a member of this organization. New volunteers are always welcome, you can join anytime for the ongoing projects. For the beginning I recommend ‘Vitamin commando’ event where you can help to prepare sandwiches and distribute them among homeless people. It is organized two times a week, for more information visit this page: https://www.facebook.com/vitaminkommando/
Best time to visit: Anytime you want, however during winter they might need a bit more help.
9. The OTHER Xmas Market
Yes OK.. all your friends have a selfie in the Christmas market at Vörösmarty square or the one in front of the Basilica. I know it’s great and awesome and trendy and all those things. But frankly speaking it became too crowded for me and paying thousands of forint for mulled wine and Kürtős kalács make no sense. If you are ready with your Instagram post from Vörösmarty and want something less touristic, visit to smaller markets out of the centre. All district has it”s own Christmas market, my favorite is in Óbuda, District II. Little but has everything you need: Christmas tree, mulled wine, kürtős kalács, sausage, music and yes ice skating too for reasonable price. Enjoy!
Best time to visit: Seasonal program from beginning of Dec to January. During the weekend you can enjoy some concerts too.
10. Lupa lake
Seaside beach feeling, sand, sun, volleyball, music, clear water, cold beer and wake board. Got confused if you are still reading about the Budapest? Good news: YES! Hot summer weekends? Best thing that you can do is to visit Lupa lake which has something entertaining for everybody. Get your towel and sun cream and enjoy the outstanding beach experience right next to Budapest.
Best time to visit: from May until October.