Although maybe not yet as popular in Hungary as in America, expats living in Budapest will still be able to find a great many things to do here for Valentine’s Day. Flower shops and restaurants will be getting out their big guns for the upcoming special occasion.
More likely than not, there will be many shops and stores decorated with red and pink cut-outs and doilies. Valentine’s Day is a day commemorating lovers and on February 14th many couples will be out dining or doing fun activities like ice skating at Vajdahunyad Castle in City Park or getting pampered at a local spa like the Széchenyi thermal bath house.
Valentine’s Day in Hungary has its own charm, different from and not as commercialized as other countries. It is indeed an amazing sight to watch lovers walking hand in hand along the banks of the Danube and sitting at small cozy cafés having their own sweet time together.
Romantic Activities in Budapest #1: Start the day with a romantic breakfast
“To love and to be loved, it is the peak of happiness on Earth”. Caffe Perfetto aims to raise your heart rate if you celebrate St. Valentine’s Day with them. The staff will be more than happy to welcome you over the Valentine’s Weekend on 12th, 13th and 14th February in the heart of Budapest, particularly if you care for a romantic mood in a quiet and cozy location with candle light and Italian music. This newly opened café offers a warm welcome with a glass of champagne or sparkling wine or non-alcoholic welcome drink and with the taste of Italian gastronomy, featuring a meat or vegetarian antipasti, a wide variety of delicious cocktails, Italian and Hungarian wines, homemade pastries from Sicily and with a selection of the best Italian coffee and hot chocolate. Friendly service and a romantic atmosphere are guaranteed.
Romantic Activities in Budapest #2: Budapest Cruise
Enjoy a sunset cruise (if the sun happens to be shining that day) or a late night Danube cruise when the city’s riverside attractions are beautifully illuminated, offering a breathtaking backdrop for a candle-lit dinner or just for drinks.
Romantic Activities in Budapest #3: A Stroll along Fisherman’s Bastion
The Fisherman’s Bastion in the Castle Quarter of Budapest is one of the city’s loveliest sights, and one of the best places to enjoy the romantic views of the city. It is, in fact, a roofed lookout tower, which means a good shelter on rainy days. It is open all day, as it is an open structure, so there are no obstacles to a strolling couple. Near the Bastion are also other interesting things to do, such as visiting the Matthias Church, eating some lovely cakes in the 18th century Cafe Ruszwurm or doing a wine tasting in the fun Faust Wine Cellar.
Romantic Activities in Budapest #4: Dinner in a Great Restaurant in Budapest
Romantic dinners are best spent away from the river Danube, where the restaurants are adequate, but not as excellent as in the nearby side streets. From fine dining restaurants and French style bistros (Cafe Gerloczy, Cafe Bouchon, Chez Daniel) to cozy places to eat, you will definitely love a dinner for two at one of Budapest’s superb restaurants.
Extra-special luxuries for your extra-special someone can also include a private romantic dinner at the Intercontinental Hotel Budapest or one of the city’s Michelin-star restaurants: Borkonyha, Onyx, Costes or Tanti (best to book in advance). Two of the best Italian restaurants to choose from are: Fausto’s and Pomodoro, or if you are looking for something more elegant and formal, try the KOLLÁZS Brasserie & Bar at the Four Seasons Hotel. For a perfect steak dinner go to Mészársteak.
Romantic Activities in Budapest #5: Walks by the Danube
There is simply no way to get tired of the river views in Budapest, especially considering this area has been selected as a UNESCO World Heritage site for its historical and natural beauty. You can take walks on both sides of the river Danube, but probably the best part is between the Chain Bridge and Margaret Bridge, with several cozy pubs and restaurants along the riverfront on the Buda side.
The Pest side with its Danube Promenade is also very nice, but slightly more touristy and less intimate. Nevertheless, the views of the bridges, the Buda Castle atop Castle Hill and Gellért Hill are fascinating. There are also many little bars and restaurants along this promenade.
Romantic Activities in Budapest #6: Off the Beaten Path Activities
Involved with a partner who marches to that different drummer? Consider something out of the ordinary, like a whirl around a Go-Kart track or some quality time at a local Shooting Range to get the blood stirred up.
Romantic Activities in Budapest #7: Thermal Baths and a Pampering Massage
Both the Gellért Baths and the Széchenyi Baths are special adventures, as these two have premier facilities and wonderful architecture. Of course, recent renovations to Budapest’s other baths, like Rudas and Lukács, also make for a relaxing visit. The baths offer a range of massages and other spa and wellness treatments to make you feel invigorated on a cold winter day.
Romantic Activities in Budapest #8: Day Spas for Special Indulging
You can also splurge on a day spa if you prefer more privacy to the clatter of public baths. Day spas in the city center offer a wide variety of massage and beauty treatments (Western and Oriental), steam baths, Turkish baths, exotic showers, saunas, and various cosmetic treatments. Most of them have special offers for couples, which is ideal for a romantic program on Valentine’s Day.
The Isis Day Spa at Üllői út 14 offers an ancient Roman and Turkish bath culture. This day spa has bath treatments such as the Kleopatra Bath, Wine Bath, Green Tea and Ginger Bath. They also offer aromatherapy oil-baths, salt baths, steam bath and Finnish sauna.
The Magnolia Day Spa at Zoltán utca 3 in the Fifth District, has a Rituals for Couples romantic package, which includes a 20-minute bath and a 45-60-minute massage. An additional series of exotic treatments are also offered for total physical and mental rejuvenation
The Mandala Day Spa at Ipoly utca 8 in District XIII is Budapest’s first day spa to offer 20 types of body massages and 30 types of facial and other beauty treatments. Also available is a light lunch or dinner accompanied with a glass of fine wine or champagne; an ideal program to pamper your date on Valentine’s Day.
Photo: Mandala Day Spa
Romantic Activities in Budapest #9: Train Journey with Candlelight Dinner
A special luxury train departs from Nyugati Train Station at 19.00 on 14th February 2016 and will take you to the charming little nearby town of Gödöllő, where live music will welcome and entertain you in the Royal Train Station. Along the way, dinner will be served in the train’s beautiful dining car. You can choose from two three-course menu options (meat-lovers’ and vegetarian versions). Both are accompanied by delicious wines, served by a sommelier who will match the wines to your selections. This candlelight dinner in a vintage railroad car will provide a Valentine’s Day program you and your special someone will cherish for years to come.
Romantic Activities in Budapest #10: Great Value Hotels in Budapest
Budapest is a fabulously romantic city, where budget is no barrier to love, even when it comes to romantic hotels. This exciting city, often mentioned as the Paris of the East (and who does not think of Paris as the place to go for a romantic break?), is the perfect setting for a romantic night or weekend. Love is eternal, and needs to be cherished, so surprise your Better Half and enjoy an unforgettable Valentine’s Day evening or weekend in Budapest.
Below are some of the hottest romantic hotel deals:
Art’otel Budapest is one of the best reasonably-priced hotels in Budapest, with a great location on the Buda side of the Danube. It offers many rooms with stunning panoramic views over the city. The hotel is in a lovely old neighborhood, perfect for romantic walks on the Danube Promenade, and it also offers special Valentine’s Day packages.
Mamaison Hotel Andrássy on Andrássy Avenue is in a stunning neighborhood with a range of villas along the UNESCO World Heritage site of Andrássy Avenue. The hotel is located slightly off the city center on foot, but has excellent public transport connections.