The past year has been difficult for everyone who loves to travel. However, we do not give up hope that 2021 will get better in this regard. The E&M series ‘How To’ looks optimistically into the future and offers plans for the day we can travel again. We have asked people who live, or used to live in Budapest, the capitol of Hungary. This old and beautiful city holds many surprises and hidden treasures, no matter how you travel and how much time you want to spend here.
Best website/app/crystal ball to use when you are looking for a place to live?
- For families: ingatlan.com, and ask around your circle of friends
- For students: Facebook groups
- Note: It makes a huge difference where you live in Budapest, as there are really nice and wealthy parts, but also some poorer districts. Besides,the Pest side is very flat while the Buda side is known for its pretty steep roads and beautiful panoramas.
Which tourist attraction is actually worth visiting?
- If the weather is nice: go sit on the Liberty bridge and enjoy the view on Buda and Pest (see also: tips for flirting).
- Museums are actually worth it, for example the szépművészeti, the természettudományi, and the közlekedési
- Tram rides: take a ride with tram nr. 2 along the Danube, or with the “Fényvillamos” Christmas-lit tram in December.
- The city is great for walks: for example Gellert Hill in the evening, Buda Castle (stop by for a “krémes” at Ruszwurm Konditorei) and the romantic Castle District.
- The ruin bars, the most famous being Szimpla ruin bar – itis crowded, but definitely worth it!
- Special Winter tips: Andrássy street with Christmas lighting in December; Open Air Ice Skating (Műjég) in Winter in Városliget; drinking hot chocolate in Choco Noir/Rengeteg RomCafé, and Christmas markets in general are very beautiful!
- Vajdahunyad Castle and the lake in the city park;
- Budapest is famous for its spas, such as Gellert spa or Széchenyi – the latter being bigger and more ‘Wow!’ than the former.
Tell us about the easiest way to save some money like a true Budapestian?
- Use public transport with a (student) pass, or ride a fancy(!) bicycle.
- The market halls around Budapest offer fresh vegetables, fruits, fish, meat and Hungarian specialties at a much cheaper price than in the supermarkets.
- Eat lunch menus at restaurants on weekdays (quite cheap but quality food).
- Stroll through the city and just enjoy its beautiful sights.
How (and where) to flirt like a Budapestian?
- Go “study” to Szabó Ervin Könyvtár (a specific library)
- Folk dance “parties” (such as Fonó),
- Go “running” on Margareth Island
- The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and this is especially true in Budapest. With plenty of beer gardens and rooftop terraces, Budapest knows how to combine a beautiful view with nice locations, drinks and delicious food.
- Sit on the Liberty bridge (Szabadság híd) with a beer/wine/take away food for dinner, and enjoy the lovely view over the river and the many other young people around.
- Ha ha, nowadays mostly: smile at the delivery boy!
Best place to escape to if the city gets a bit much?
- Curve of Danube (Visegrád).
- Szentendre – a day trip by train or boat to this nice little town that gives you a glimpse on the Hungarian mountains (yes, they exist!).
- Museums – they are often very empty, and give some distraction with their beauty and/or interactivity.
- The Romai beach which you can reach by taxi, boat, or Hév is absolutely worth a visit!
- Fellini bistro (on the Danube bank).
- The lookout tower on Hármashatár hill.
- Go for a picnic at Margaret island.
- Elizabeth tower: it is a nice hike through the forest and up a hill, from where you have an amazing view on both sides of Budapest – and since it is on the Buda-side of the city, it gives you a chance to explore this area which is usually less known for tourists.
Which stereotype about Budapest or its citizens is actually true?
- People mostly have black, or at least non-coloured, coats.
- They are absolute tradition-lovers.
- They love to complain about public transport (BKK, which is actually very good in Budapest).
- Hungarians love to eat and drink palinka.
- They do not show friendliness or make contact with anyone who are not friends or family.
If Budapest were a person, who would it be?
- A really beautiful and interesting person who knows how to enjoy life.
- István Széchenyi (a Hungarian politician and writer).
- A beautiful, loving, modern, easy-going person.
- The Statue of Liberty (in Budapest).
I wish people would have told me… about living in Budapest.
- Public transport is really good, but not too clean. When crossing the street you should watch out even if you have a green light (with any means of transportation or by foot). The bike lane is not always respected, so you must be very aware when riding your bike.
- It rains only a few days, and the sun shines a lot.
- That losing weight is an absolutely impossible thing in Budapest!
- Do not go downtown by car.
- That english is not commonly used.
- To make sure to look for and find the right bakeries (the artisan ones).
How do you handle Covid-19 in Budapest?
- We must wear masks, and most people actually do this, even on the streets. And there are restricted time slots at supermarkets, when only the elderly may go shopping.
- People are very disciplined (compared to usual Hungarian standards) and most of them follow the rules. (Except maybe for masks, which many just wear under their nose when taking public transport).
Cover photo: Bence Balla-Schottner (Unsplash), Unsplash licence