When you book an apartment, we’ll send you our own curated Insider’s Guide to the Neighborhood so you can check out all of the nearby sights and our favorite places. Until then, here are a few of our favorite things to whet your appetite (all of these places are marked on the google map below).
• Despite the excellent public transport options, we recommend doing as much walking as possible, and this is a great neighborhood for it! If you love to walk (like we do), we highly recommend getting over to the Pest side by walking across the bridges (the Chain Bridge is the closest to both apartments). Crossing these bridges on foot (especially if it’s a beautiful evening) is an unforgettable Budapest experience. Taking a stroll along the Danube bank is also a great way to take in the city.
• At least half a day (but much more if you have time) can be allotted for exploring the Castle District, which is just uphill from the apartment. The neighborhood is full of hidden narrow staircases leading up there, or you can take the dramatic main staircase underneath the Fisherman’s Bastion. To save your feet, there’s also a funicular at the foot of the Chain Bridge, which takes you up to the Royal Palace (where the National Gallery of Art and other museums are located). There’s a lot to see up here, and plenty of good restaurants where you can stop and reboot between bouts of sightseeing. Taste Hungary’s Castle Walk explores this area. The newly restored Várkert Bazar, a neo-Renaissance building complex underneath the castle, has recently re-opened and has added another dimension to the neighborhood. The gorgeous place (originally built between 1875 and 1883) starts on the hill underneath the castle at the Buda riverfront, and goes up to the Royal Palace. It holds many gorgeous gardens, places to get great views of Pest, and cultural exhibitions. An elevator leads up to the Royal Palace.
• We love that the Danube River, which divides the city into two distinct halves, is so close to our apartments. The river, which runs through the center of Budapest, is lined with beautiful 19th and 20th century buildings and is really the soul of the city. The apartments are in a great location for taking quick (or long) strolls along the river promenade. Note the markers pointing out how high the river has flooded in the past. In fact, walking along the Danube is something that we love so much, that we usually skip the metro altogether and get to the Pest side on foot across the bridges. There’s also a city bike rental program, with a location at Batthyány ter, if you’d prefer to bike it.
• Margit Island’s close proximity is another thing that makes this neighborhood a great place to live. This Danube Island lies between Margit Bridge and Árpád Bridge, and is a beautiful park where cars are prohibited. You could spend a whole day here and not run out of things to do. There’s a padded 5 kilometer jogging path encircling the island, on which joggers sometimes encounter exotic birds who hopped the fence of the island’s small zoo. There are two large swimming pool complexes here—Palatinus is better for lounging and children, while lap swimmers will want to head to the Alfréd Halós pool, where you may run into Hungarian Olympic swimmers in the next lane. There are many secluded places on the island which are perfect to relax with a picnic lunch, and the musical fountain near the entrance is a big hit. During the summer there’s an open-air theater, and new open-air bars are always popping up. Another highlight of the island (for both children and adults) is the bringóhintó (multi-person bicycle) rentals which are found near the island’s entrance.
• Visiting a thermal bathhouse is a must! There are several in central Buda, within walking distance of the apartments, each with its own unique character. The city’s best Turkish bathhouses, which are more than 400 years old, are the Király Baths (a very short walk from the Furmint Apartment) and the Rudas Baths (about a 20-minute walk from the Kadarka Apartment). The Lukács Baths are also nearby, and have a very different character. These places all have several saunas, steam rooms, and pools of varying temperatures (from ice cold to very hot). We recommend trying a few bathhouses … they are great places for quiet meditation and fascinating people-watching!
• Quiet Várfok utca is where some of the first private art galleries opened after the fall of Communism. There are a handful of nice galleries here, which have played important roles in the modern contemporary art scene over the past nearly three decades.
• Batthyány tér is the center of the neighborhood, and is also the closest metro stop. The square is located next to the Danube, and offers the most perfect view of the massive Parliament building directly on the opposite side of the river. The lovely St. Anna’s Church is here, and is worth taking a look at. Notice that some of the buildings on the square sit below street level
• There are numerous good restaurants and cafés in the area, ranging from cozy cafés where the neighborhood locals go for espresso to simple lunch rooms where you can get home-style Hungarian food, to modern Hungarian restaurants which show the creative side of the Hungarian kitchen and international restaurants. When you book the apartment, we’ll send you a detailed list of the neighborhood’s best! Taste Hungary’s Buda Food Walk thoroughly explores the delicious food scene in Buda.
• The Tomb of Gul Baba, located near the Lukács Baths, is the northernmost Islamic holy place. Gul Baba was a Turkish holy man who came to Budapest during the Turkish invasion in the 16th century and was known as the “father of the roses.”
• The Fény utca Market, located at Széna tér, is where we love to do our shopping. It’s one of the city’s best markets, and is worth the walk. You’ll find super-fresh seasonal produce (look especially at the vendors in the middle section), excellent fresh and meat, plenty of charcuterie (look out for the products made from Mangalica pork, a local heritage breed), local handmade cheese and dairy products, and lots more. There are lots of nice cafés and bakeries nearby. While here, do not miss a chance to have coffee and dessert at the Auguszt Cukrászda, the oldest family-run pastry shop in Budapest, which is across the street. Taste Hungary’s Buda Food Walk includes a tasting tour of this market.