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Budapest in June


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Hello,

 

We will be going on our first river cruise in June on the Amalyra from Budapest to Luxembourg. We will have almost 4 days in Budapest and would like any advice on what we should make sure to see and any restaurant suggestions you might have. Cafe Kor has been recommended so we will definitely have a meal there.

 

I tried posting this on the river ports thread but got only 1 response. Thanks for any suggestions.

 

Jane

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Hello,

 

We will be going on our first river cruise in June on the Amalyra from Budapest to Luxembourg. We will have almost 4 days in Budapest and would like any advice on what we should make sure to see and any restaurant suggestions you might have. Cafe Kor has been recommended so we will definitely have a meal there.

 

I tried posting this on the river ports thread but got only 1 response. Thanks for any suggestions.

 

Jane

 

Hi Jane, you are going to one of my favorite cities and it will be nice to have 4 days there instead of the usual 1 or 2. Not to be missed: Mattias' Church and Fisherman's Bastion; Cave Church; funicular; St. Stephen's Cathedral; Parliament (you have to buy tickets to go inside and you have to get them on line and in advance); the baths; the opera house; the Jewish Quarter; the zoo and the market. There's much more....buy Frommer's or Fodor's or any other travel guide that's about Budapest and if you're going on your own, buy one of the streetguide maps (plastic coated ones about the size of a business envelope, Barnes & Noble has them). Budapest is like NYC, Chi, SF, there's so many restaurants to choose from. Getting around is fairly easy and I think if you look on the ports page for Budapest you'll be able to get a recommendation for a local guide for hire. I know I've seen many posts here from people who have used them and been satisfied. Be aware though, unless specially licensed, a local guide can bring you to the Parliament but cannot do a tour.

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I would suggest The Shoes on the Danube Memorial, and the House of Terror if you and/or your travel companion are interested in the history of the area.

 

There is also Statue (Memento) Park - although it is a bit further out. We did that the last time we were there... finally made it on our 3rd trip to Budapest. We booked the Dicta Tour of Communism - and were picked up at our hotel in a Trabant (my husband was very excited about that....).

 

The Hospital in the Rock is interesting - and the views from Gellert Hill are amazing.

 

Fran

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I would suggest The Shoes on the Danube Memorial, and the House of Terror if you and/or your travel companion are interested in the history of the area.

 

There is also Statue (Memento) Park - although it is a bit further out. We did that the last time we were there... finally made it on our 3rd trip to Budapest. We booked the Dicta Tour of Communism - and were picked up at our hotel in a Trabant (my husband was very excited about that....).

 

The Hospital in the Rock is interesting - and the views from Gellert Hill are amazing.

 

Fran

 

We didn't get to the Statue PArk, but I saw your pictures, and it's number one on our list for our next time in Budapest! I was a little put off by the House of Terror... I made the mistake of going down to the dungeon at Warwick Castle when we were living in London Fran, and had nightmares for days!!! It was horrifying and very disturbing. My husband was very excited about Trabant too...it's amazing how many of them are still around.

Edited by Hydrokitty
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this is such a great city,have been there 2 times for 3 days ea.and barely scratched the surface. I go a Rick Steves,Fodors,etc.guide from library and found what looked good for ME. Also, go to travel site for city for more info.

We usually take the inc.tour and then go back on own to sites we like. There is also a HOHO bus,which gives hi lites for orient you.Also, pedicab ride at river is nice to see off beaten track sites.

We always ask concierge,hotel staff,etc.for great rest.THEY like,within walking distance(if possible)and seem to find off the beaten great ones.Prefer NOT to go to places tourist frequent,but do occ.have lunch on river for view(not food).

Just realize you ll see SOME of sites,needs more than 1 trip.PS we went last June and weather was warm,little rain,

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Hi Jane, you are going to one of my favorite cities and it will be nice to have 4 days there instead of the usual 1 or 2. Not to be missed: Mattias' Church and Fisherman's Bastion; Cave Church; funicular; St. Stephen's Cathedral; Parliament (you have to buy tickets to go inside and you have to get them on line and in advance); the baths; the opera house; the Jewish Quarter; the zoo and the market. There's much more....buy Frommer's or Fodor's or any other travel guide that's about Budapest and if you're going on your own, buy one of the streetguide maps (plastic coated ones about the size of a business envelope, Barnes & Noble has them). Budapest is like NYC, Chi, SF, there's so many restaurants to choose from. Getting around is fairly easy and I think if you look on the ports page for Budapest you'll be able to get a recommendation for a local guide for hire. I know I've seen many posts here from people who have used them and been satisfied. Be aware though, unless specially licensed, a local guide can bring you to the Parliament but cannot do a tour.

 

Wow Hydrokitty,

I must say you certainly have so much information regarding the cities of Buda and Pest.

We are Lisa and Gary LoneStarCruisinCouple from Sugar Land,Texas.

Yes we are Newbies we are getting ready to do our first European River Cruise Jewels of Europe on The New Scenic Opal September 2,2015. Amsterdam to Budapest.

I have us booked into The Four Seasons Gresham Palace Hotel so fairly centrally located and so looking forward as to trying to take in all of those places that you have talked about.

Have a question to ask as you had made mention of buying tickets online for The Parliament Building but you had also said something about your tour guide being licensed as to give you the tour. I guess that this means that you still have to buy tickets but that your guide can be the one as to take you in and give you the Tour. Correct?

I am pretty much leaving most of the planning to the Concierge at the hotel as I have just given them some ideas as that we would certainly like to do a walking tour but also already have a Car and a Driver and a Tour Guide for one day, would certainly like to take in a True Hungarian restaurant with maybe some Live Entertainment possibly some Gypsy Music and also do a private Wine River cruise one evening as to take in The Lights from The Water of these two magnificent cities.

Is there maybe a couple of specific things that you as a seasoned traveler would possibly recommend to us. I think you had made mention of some sort of Hill that the view was just something not to be missed. Any and all ideas would greatly be appreciated.

 

Looking forward to our River Cruise as we have a Royal Panorama Suite on The New Opal and with The New and innovative ideas that they have added. Found out that they now have 475 Sq Ft so looking forward to Loungin" Laughin" and enjoying all Those Tasty Libations in Style.

 

Thanks Once Again

Lisa and Gary

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Wow Hydrokitty,

I must say you certainly have so much information regarding the cities of Buda and Pest.

We are Lisa and Gary LoneStarCruisinCouple from Sugar Land,Texas.

 

Have a question to ask as you had made mention of buying tickets online for The Parliament Building but you had also said something about your tour guide being licensed as to give you the tour. I guess that this means that you still have to buy tickets but that your guide can be the one as to take you in and give you the Tour. Correct?

 

I am pretty much leaving most of the planning to the Concierge at the hotel as I have just given them some ideas as that we would certainly like to do a walking tour but also already have a Car and a Driver and a Tour Guide for one day, would certainly like to take in a True Hungarian restaurant with maybe some Live Entertainment possibly some Gypsy Music and also do a private Wine River cruise one evening as to take in The Lights from The Water of these two magnificent cities.

Is there maybe a couple of specific things that you as a seasoned traveler would possibly recommend to us. I think you had made mention of some sort of Hill that the view was just something not to be missed. Any and all ideas would greatly be appreciated.

 

Thanks Once Again

Lisa and Gary

 

Hi Lisa and Gary...I have a cousin Gary who also lives in Sugar Land!!! Small world. I'll try to give you as much info as I can.

 

Parliament: I bought my tickets from http://www.jegymester.hu/eng

I just checked their web site this morning and there are a few changes since I went last August: Web site is excellent by the way for info and rules of touring Parliament, which is magnificent. First, English tours are given at 10 a.m. 12-1-2 and 3 p.m.

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and more can be added if needed. Tour lasts about 90 minutes and tickets cost around $28 US per person. Web site doesn't mention private guides, but when I bought our tickets the policy was that only Parliament guides could lead the tour. Bring your passport with you when you do the tour because they MAY ask to see it. What's different now from then is that now you can buy tickets on site (tourist office was closed for renovation last Aug.) which gives you more freedom to pick a date and time but runs the risk of being sold out. This tour is very popular! You can also call Viator, 888-651-9785 in Las Vegas as they run tours to Parliament with pick up and return hotel service, but I would ask them if their guide does the tour or turns you over to Parliament guide. Hungarian gov't is very sensitive about letting people into Parliament....there have been some demonstrations from people not happy with current gov't. (Kind of like here). Since you're using a concierge and private guide I would try to find out if they can get your tickets ahead of time.

 

Hills: There are two hills with spectacular views: Gellert and Castle. Both of are UNESCO World Heritage Sites and of course both are in Buda. Gellert is where the Cave Church and Citadel are and there is a huge statue of Liberty at the top, which can be seen from everywhere! If you have any difficulty walking that could be a problem. Castle Hill is where Mattias' Church and Fisherman's Bastion are. If I were only able to do one, I would choose Castle Hill. You can take the funicular from just after crossing the Chain Bridge to Castle Hill and walk past some wonderful shops on the way to Mattias' Church and the Bastion, which is where the absolutely fantastic views are. And it's free...except for the shops of course!! :D

 

As for the restaurants, I would ask your concierge or guide for a referral since I am not familiar with any that offer local entertainment. We're not foodies but we've never had a bad meal in Budapest. It's like NYC or Houston....bad restaurants don't last long! With respect to the nighttime cruise to see the city lit up, which is one of the most beautiful I've ever seen. There's a good chance your cruise company will do one so check with them before you pay for something you don't need to. I sail with Vantage and I know they and several others do a "repositioning" cruise after dinner that includes a tour of the river from dusk to darkness and includes the lighting of the buildings. Budapest at night is one of the reasons it's one of my favorite cities. :)

 

Hope this helps. If you have specific questions you can e-mail me at chydro564@yahoo.com.

Edited by Hydrokitty
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When joining a discussion about Budapest, I always put a plug in for the Thermal Baths. You can soak in the outdoor pools in any weather. Watching a bunch of local guys in a heated chess match while luxuriating in the SZECHENYI Thermal Baths was one of the highlights of our trip...

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We didn't get to the Statue PArk, but I saw your pictures, and it's number one on our list for our next time in Budapest! I was a little put off by the House of Terror... I made the mistake of going down to the dungeon at Warwick Castle when we were living in London Fran, and had nightmares for days!!! It was horrifying and very disturbing. My husband was very excited about Trabant too...it's amazing how many of them are still around.

 

The House of Terror is quite sobering - but am glad we went. We didn't pay for the English guide - there is enough English along the way to get the gist of it - and probably spared us some of the more disturbing scenarios.

 

We visited Warwick Castle this last year - and it wasn't pretty. But, the dungeons in Chateau de Chillon (Geneva, Switzerland) somehow have been the most upsetting to me. These places all make me realize how blessed we are to live in a more "civilized" space and time.

 

Haven't been able to talk my husband into going to any of the concentration camps.... that is where he draws the line. Haven't really pushed - as I am sure that they would be upsetting. But - at times, having to face the atrocities of this world, does increase our appreciation of our current living arrangements, and makes me realize we cannot let this happen again.

 

We are planning on doing the Trabi Safari in Berlin this year... yet another opportunity to drive a Trabant!! That is the "treat" for my DH --> I booked "A Taste of Prague" for my treat...

 

Fran

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The House of Terror is quite sobering - but am glad we went. We didn't pay for the English guide - there is enough English along the way to get the gist of it - and probably spared us some of the more disturbing scenarios.

 

We visited Warwick Castle this last year - and it wasn't pretty. But, the dungeons in Chateau de Chillon (Geneva, Switzerland) somehow have been the most upsetting to me. These places all make me realize how blessed we are to live in a more "civilized" space and time.

 

Haven't been able to talk my husband into going to any of the concentration camps.... that is where he draws the line. Haven't really pushed - as I am sure that they would be upsetting. But - at times, having to face the atrocities of this world, does increase our appreciation of our current living arrangements, and makes me realize we cannot let this happen again.

 

We are planning on doing the Trabi Safari in Berlin this year... yet another opportunity to drive a Trabant!! That is the "treat" for my DH --> I booked "A Taste of Prague" for my treat...

 

Fran

 

I haven't been able to do the concentration camps either....it took me 20 years to visit the Vietnam Memorial in DC..too many of my classmates are on it...and I still haven't been to the 9/11 Memorial and I live in NY....I agree we have to face the atrocities and make sure they never happen again, but I don't need visual sight of man's inhumanity, I just can't bear it. I hear Taste of Prague is really fantastic. These "Taste of" tours are showing up everywhere. I may do one in Amsterdam next time I'm there.

Trabi Safari sounds like fun.

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When joining a discussion about Budapest, I always put a plug in for the Thermal Baths. You can soak in the outdoor pools in any weather. Watching a bunch of local guys in a heated chess match while luxuriating in the SZECHENYI Thermal Baths was one of the highlights of our trip...

 

And even if you don't want to go into the pool itself, the building is gorgeous.

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Thank you all so much, I hope we have enough time to see most of these can't miss places.

 

I took your advice and arranged for a private guide and car for a day. I also booked tickets to see the inside of Parliament (our guide cannot do the inside tour). Our cruise does have an evening departure so we will see the lights of Budapest as we depart but also decided to do an evening segway tour on our first night there.

 

I am writing down all the places everyone has suggested and will try to get to as many as possible and love the idea of getting the maps at Barnes & Noble.

 

Jane

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Thank you all so much, I hope we have enough time to see most of these can't miss places.

 

I took your advice and arranged for a private guide and car for a day. I also booked tickets to see the inside of Parliament (our guide cannot do the inside tour). Our cruise does have an evening departure so we will see the lights of Budapest as we depart but also decided to do an evening segway tour on our first night there.

 

I am writing down all the places everyone has suggested and will try to get to as many as possible and love the idea of getting the maps at Barnes & Noble.

 

Jane

 

Segway tour looks like a ton of fun!!

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When joining a discussion about Budapest, I always put a plug in for the Thermal Baths. You can soak in the outdoor pools in any weather. Watching a bunch of local guys in a heated chess match while luxuriating in the SZECHENYI Thermal Baths was one of the highlights of our trip...

 

Where are the thermal baths? Do you need to make a reservation? Is there any protocol I need to know. This will be my first!

 

Thanks

Jane

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Where are the thermal baths? Do you need to make a reservation? Is there any protocol I need to know. This will be my first!

 

Thanks

Jane

 

Hi Jane....The two most famous are Gellert Baths (in the Gellert Hotel on Gellert Hill) and the Szechenyi Baths (near Heroes Square and the zoo) For spectacular beauty, I would choose the Gellert, but Szechenyi is beautiful too. There are several others, if interested Google baths in Budapest and you'll find info on updated hours and prices. All of them require you to wear bathing suit since the baths are now co-ed! You can bring your own or buy plain tank suits that flatter nobody and towels at the baths. They do not rent bathing suits or towels (like at the Blue Lagoon in Iceland). You should also bring flip-flops or rubber beach slippers, sunscreen in the summer for outdoor baths and bottled water. I did not go in the baths. I've been to Blue Lagoon, loved it, don't have to bath with hundreds ever again! But it's worth going just to see the buildings, they are really beautiful...but only if you have time to spare.

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Rick Steves has a whole chapter devoted to the thermal baths in Budapest. It is extremely helpful and also hysterical! Between reading that and your concierge, your should be more than prepared. We were afraid to bring our cameras in for fear of getting them wet, but regret to this day not having photos of us at the baths. So, I recommend purchasing a waterproof cheap disposable camera before you leave home (too expensive there) if you plan on going!

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We were afraid to bring our cameras in for fear of getting them wet, but regret to this day not having photos of us at the baths. So, I recommend purchasing a waterproof cheap disposable camera before you leave home (too expensive there) if you plan on going!

 

Good advice...I brought a $10 Kodak waterproof camera on a rafting trip many years ago and got some of the most amazing pictures I've ever taken. Don't leave home without it if you're going anyplace with a boat ride or swimming or lake.....they don't need to be underwater to work....rain and splashing make them just as useful.

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We will be on a Uniworld Christmas Market cruise Dec 1-8 from Budapest to Passau. I've posted this question under River Ports but thought I would ask here if anyone has been to the Hungarian Opera House for the Nutcracker? IF so, how was the experience and what did you wear? Finally, is the opera house in walking distance from where the cruise ships are?

 

We will be arriving by sleeper train from Munich about 9 am the morning of the 1st. Our intentions are to drop off our luggage and tour Budapest on our own until we can check in to our suite to rest and clean up for the evening. So I'm guessing back on the ship about 3. How much time is needed to tour the Parliament building and the market?

 

Thanks for your help

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We will be on a Uniworld Christmas Market cruise Dec 1-8 from Budapest to Passau. I've posted this question under River Ports but thought I would ask here if anyone has been to the Hungarian Opera House for the Nutcracker? IF so, how was the experience and what did you wear? Finally, is the opera house in walking distance from where the cruise ships are?

 

We will be arriving by sleeper train from Munich about 9 am the morning of the 1st. Our intentions are to drop off our luggage and tour Budapest on our own until we can check in to our suite to rest and clean up for the evening. So I'm guessing back on the ship about 3. How much time is needed to tour the Parliament building and the market?

 

Thanks for your help

Can't help with Nutcracker but I can tell you Parliament tour takes about 90 minutes. Market is hard to say...it depends on how easily distracted you are...seriously...you could walk through probably in an hour if you didn't stop or you could spend half a day or more if you stop and sample and eat ...

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Papa, I can help you with the Hungarian Opera House. Do not miss the opportunity to see ANY production there. It is one of the most spectacular opera houses in the world. The tours usually drive by it but do not go in and you really need to see the interior. You will see Tchaikovsky performed in an Eastern European city! They take it seriously over there. It's the real deal! It would be a long walk from the dock especially if you're docked across the river, but you can do it. Also know that if you really want to get adventurous, you can take the metro to the OPERA stop. But if you are all dressed up, why not take a cab (the front desk can call one for you and it won't be that expensive, since it is located not too far up Andrassy Avenue (Utca).

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