Budapest is an awesome destination to discover, with many hidden spots to reveal and secrets to disclose. You will have no chance to get bored here, because apart from visiting the historical and cultural sites, you can also have fun in the grungy ruin pubs and lively local clubs. You can go for a stroll in one of its tiny parks, drink a cup of coffee in a terraced café, or wander around plenty of the charming small antique shops. It is a very diverse place, where you can find a lot of things to do, which will make your trip unforgettable!
Drink in Budapest’s ruin pubs!
If you ever plan to visit the capital of Hungary, your trip won’t be complete without visiting the famous ruin pubs of Budapest. These nonconformist places are something out of this world, so be ready for a cultural shock when entering one of them for the first time.
The ruin pubs are a totally new concept of bars in Budapest. Most of them are located in the former buildings of the Jewish quarter named Elizabethtown. Don’t expect anything fancy out here, as the interiors of the abandoned buildings haven’t been renovated at all. On the contrary, they were left intact with all the crumbling masonry, and peeling plaster. Moreover, to make the ambiance “complete” Hungarians added old furniture, car parts, and a bathtub. Also, don’t expect to eat any gourmet food here. People are coming here to drink, chat, dance, feel the unique atmosphere, and simply have a great time.
If I have made you curious enough, let me introduce you to some of the “must-visit” ruin pubs. The first one on the list, is Szimpla Kert (Simple Garden), which is actually the pioneer and trendsetter of the ruin pubs in Budapest. It is the most famous ruin pub in the city, which you just shouldn’t miss! The second one, is Instant, and is actually located in the ’Pest Broadway’, not in the Jewish quarter. This ruin pub is for those who think that nothing can surprise them anymore. In fact, Instant is a club which consists of more than two dozens of rooms, 6 bars, and 2 inner gardens. It is a real labyrinth with totally stunning interiors with retro decor. One more ruin pub is located right on the rooftop of the former Socialist Corvin Supermarket, and is named Corvin Club. Besides the breathtaking view of the city, it is famous for its socialist-style design and electronic music. The last but not the least, is Fogas ház, which claims to be more of a contemporary place, rather than a ruin pub. All sorts of events and activities are regularly organized here, such as contemporary style parties, exhibitions, galleries, and movie showings. Of course, these are just a few to name from the list of all the ruin pubs in Budapest, as there are quite a lot of them here. I suggest that you make a list of the top ruin pubs you would like to visit, and create your own night tour, spending no longer than one hour in each ruin pub.
Visit one of the numerous museums in Budapest!
When talking about Budapest, of course, it is not only the ruin pubs and drinking that we should mention. There are several other things to do here, including a tour of the main museums in the city.
First on the list, is the Hungarian National Museum. The collection was formed at the beginning of the 19th century, while the displayed exhibits reflect the entire period of the formation of Hungary as an independent state. The museum is divided into several thematic rooms: music, art, history, and the literature room. You can visit the museum from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 am till 5 pm. The adult ticket price is 1800 HUF (approximately 6.4 USD), while the student ticket is only 500 HUF (approximately 1.8 USD).
The next museum is the most visited one in the capital - the Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest. Here, you’ll find that many Italian, Spanish, and French paintings are displayed here, and you should pay special attention to the Roman and Greek art, as they are the oldest and most significant collections in Europe. Usually the museum is open to the public from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 am till 7 pm. Unfortunately, for the time being it is closed until spring 2018 due to renovations being made to the building, but you can see a selection of 50 or 60 artworks from the Museum’s collection in the Hungarian National Gallery (in Buda Castle, building C). Since I mentioned it, let me tell you more about the Hungarian National Gallery. The collection of the museum occupies three wings of the Buda Castle, and features more than 100,000 artworks dating from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. The displayed works are paintings of various Hungarian artists, and this is actually one of the main characteristic features of the gallery. It is open to the public from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 am till 5 pm. The adult ticket price is 1800 HUF (approximately 6.4 USD), while for EU students it is half price. One more museum worth visiting is the Ethnographic Museum. The exhibited works cover a huge time period, beginning with the primitive society, and ending with the twentieth century. The museum exhibition is divided into thematic sections: ancient crafts and folk art, culture and the mode of life, along with customs and traditions. You can visit the museum from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 am till 6 pm. The adult ticket price is 1400 HUF (approximately 5 USD), while for students it is half price.
Eat like a Budapestian!
After living such a rich cultural experience, for sure you’ll get hungry, and will be willing to taste the traditional cuisine. If you want to indulge yourself in Hungarian food, there are many places where you can reach the state of nirvana only from a few bites, but I’ll list the ones you must go to. If you’re looking for reasonable prices and diversity, then the Central Market Hall will be an option for you. If you want to eat like a real Budapestian, you should dine in Kádár Étkezde. It is a small cozy self-service restaurant with affordable prices in the old Jewish quarter. You will be served traditional Hungarian dishes, and I suggest that you try the fried tortillas (lángos), Hungarian goulash soup, Hungarian stuffed cabbages, or duck leg with puree. Another étkezde (canteen) named Kisharang Étkezde is located in the center of Budapest. It is very popular among locals, especially students, because the authentic home style food is excellent here, and the daily menu only costs 950 HUF (approximately 5 USD). If you’re more into fancy places, you can try Central Kavehaz. The combination of delicious food and absolutely stunning interior will conquer both your eyes and stomach!
Take photos with one of the sculptures around Budapest!
When walking around Budapest, you’ll surely notice a lot of interesting, and sometimes funny, sculptures of different types, sizes, and forms. All of them have different stories and are important. Many sculptures embody figures of different people: old men, young women, politicians, writers, postmen, and others. One of the many figures spread around Budapest is located not far from the Hungarian Parliament and represents Imre Nagy - who was the Prime Minister of Hungary on two separate occasions. His second term was during the Hungarian revolution in 1956, and it ended when his non-Soviet-backed government was brought down after the revolution failed. He was executed by the Soviet-controlled government, and his name couldn’t be mentioned during Communism, but afterwards he became a symbol of freedom.
Buy a souvenir at a local market!
No trip can be considered complete without buying a souvenir from the place we’ve traveled to, which will remind us of the beautiful moments spent there. Each country has its own representative souvenirs, and for Budapest they are local embroideries, lace, ceramics, and hand-painted porcelain. You can find them in the Central Market Hall or in the souvenir shops on the Buda side on the way from the Matthias Church to the Buda Castle. On your way here, you will also see a market with traditional Hungarian things like leather goods, Hungarian spices, clothes, crockery, and much more.
Live the unforgettable experience!
Discovering Budapest will be a true delight for you, and experiencing all the above described things will only add unique travel memories to your drawer chest with treasures! Diversify your activities during trips, and experience new ways of exploring a destination. This will surely help you to get to know inside out the visited country, and will bring you closer to its culture!
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