If you don’t want to shove your guests onto a good but impersonal bus tour of the city, sit back, sip on your favorite summer cocktail and take careful note of the following list of Where to Take First Time Visitors to Budapest.
Chain Bridge and the Monument of Shoes
We took the tram across the river to Buda again and walked back across the Chain Bridge. Then it was another tram to Parliament and a short walk down to the Danube bank to the Monument of Shoes, commemorating the Jews murdered here by the Hungarian Arrow Cross Party (Hungarian Nazis) during WWII.
Városliget (City Park)
Continuing our busy schedule, we caught another bus to Heroes Square, at the end of Andrassy Avenue, and explored the Square, city park and the Vaydahunyad Castle. We also checked out the Szechényi Baths, although we didn’t have time to do them this go-round. But we did have a nice outdoor lunch at Nyereg restaurant in the park.
Dinner was a light meal at the Karavan Food Court on Kazinczy utca, after which we walked back to Gozsdu Udvar and the Blue Bird Café’s private karaoke rooms. The family and I and 15-20 friends of mine stayed in our private room until 11 PM, singing and dancing and having a great time. Another fantastic, fun-filled night.
Brunch at Alessio
We joined my doctor for brunch at Alessio’s, one of the best Italian restaurant in Budapest. It’s an easy bus ride into one of the classier neighborhoods of Buda, so we all hopped on the Number 5 bus, crossed the Danube, and spent several hours talking and laughing and enjoying the great food. At the end of our brunch, my doctor gave my daughter and her husband a bottle of palinka to take home. A great afternoon.
On Wednesday we took the HEV (intercity train) to Szentendre, a lovely little town about 30 kilometers up the Danube. We strolled the banks and streets, checked out the folk art and tourist tat, had a nice lunch at a terrace in the town square and generally took it easy. Szentendre is one of those quaint little towns that simply oozes charm and begs to have its tiny side streets explored. I had planned to take the boat back to Budapest as a treat for everyone, but, lo and behold, the river boats for this journey were not running in 2018.
That evening we explored more of the southern part of Budapest’s 5th District. We stopped in at the Zoo Café for some quality animal time. The Zoo Café goes the Cat Café one better, in that it has, in addition to its humungous cats, a coterie of rabbits, lizards (actually, I think they were chameleons), snakes, birds (including toucans) and other exotic creatures. All of these animals can be taken out of their enclosures and handled, fondled, played with, petted, etc. Just no feeding, please.
We had a light and late dinner at Bubba’s seafood place on Egyetem Tér, enjoying the night, the fountains and the cool weather.
Shopping on Váci utca and Vásárcsarnok
For our last day together, I made time for shopping, to search for gifts for friends and family. We began early in the center of the city at Vörösmarty Tér, but within an hour or so the rain started. We scurried from shop to shop, then settled in for a light and early lunch at Il Cucina restaurant. The rain finally stopped and we got on with our wander down Váci utca to the other end at the big indoor market, Vásárcsarnok. More successful shopping for folk arts and crafts.
For Sale Restaurant and Pub
An iconic tourist venue, also loved by locals, For Sale is just across from the Vásárcsarnok. The specialty of the house is the Jokai Bableves, which I always have, but everything on their huge menu is wonderful. All of For Sale’s walls are covered with business cards and other mementos from visitors from all over the world, and the family left their marks.
And so, faithful readers, if you want to show first-time visitors the big and little of our amazing capital city, you couldn’t do much better than to follow the above plans. But book your tickets to tour Parliament online and be sure and leave time for a visit to the thermal baths.