The Central Market Hall

 The Central Market Hall is affectionately known as Budapest’s pantry, and is a wonderful place to meander.

A hive of activity, it buzzes with Hungarian housewives gathering the ingredients that will grace the dinner table that evening. An intoxicating blend of smells, sights and sounds, it’s the best place to stock up on all that is quintessentially Hungarian in the grub department. From the staple fruit, vegetables and meats, to spices (particularly paprika), breads, pastries, wines and the popular goose liver pate, you’ll find it here at a good price. Chocaholics note: you can buy chocolates here by the kg.

Open: 6am-5pm Mondays, 6am-6pm Tuesday to Friday, 6am-3pm Saturdays, Closed Sunday & Holidays

If you’d rather have someone else do the hard work, the Fakanal Restaurant above the market dishes up what it likes to call a ‘gastronomical event’ daily for breakfast, lunch, dinner — and snacks in between.


Bath time

A legacy of Ottoman rule, Budapest has many Turkish bath houses but the city’s bathing traditions actually date back to Roman times. Two public baths stand out.

At the foot of Géllert Hill in Buda, the Géllert Baths and Spa (belonging to the hotel of the same name) are ideal for photo opportunities, thanks to their exquisite Art Nouveau decorations. For the classic bathing experience, though, head to Pest’s popular Széchenyi Baths in the City Park where some say the customer service is better.

Géllert Baths and Spa

Open: 6am-8pm seven days a week

Tickets: 4,900HUF Adult ticket with locker weekdays, 5,300HUF Adult ticket with cabin weekdays, 5,100HUF Adult ticket with locker weekends, 5,500HUF Adult ticket with cabin weekends

Széchenyi baths

Open: Outdoor Pools 6am-10pm seven days a week, Indoor Thermal Pools: 6am-7pm seven days a week, Steam Cabins & Saunas 6am-7pm seven days a week

Tickets: Full day with locker 4,500HUF weekdays, Full day with locker 4,700HUF weekends, Full day with cabin 5,000HUF weekdays, Full day with cabin 5,200HUF weekends, After 5pm with locker 4,200HUF weekdays, After 5pm with locker 4,400HUF weekends, After 5pm with cabin 4,700HUF weekdays, After 5pm with cabin 4,900HUF weekends


Memento Park

Much of the communist past has disappeared in Budapest but a visit to Memento Park will provide you with a feeling of how things were for much of the twentieth century. When communist rule came to an end across much of Eastern Europe, citizens destroyed many of the propaganda sculptures which had dotted the landscape. But at Memento Park (also called Statue Park) you can see 40 of the massive sculptures, including ones of Lenin and Marx, which were saved.

Open: 10am-’til dusk seven days a week

Tickets: Adult 1,500HUF, Student (with card) 1,000HUF

There is also a museum at the park which provides visitors with an idea of what life was like in Budapest under communist rule. The museum plays a video on loop which shows videos on how communist spies and informers were trained to keep an eye on fellow citizens.

If you’ve plenty of time in Budapest you can make your way to Memento Park via public transport but it is quite a long and complicated journey. Much easier is to catch the direct bus which leaves from Deak Square, just outside the metro stop Deák tér (look for the Momento Park logo and timetable). Return tickets are 4,500HUF for Adults and 3,500HUF for students (or 3,950HUF if you have a Budapest Card) and includes return transport and entry to the park. The entire visit is 2.5 hours, half an hour to get there, an hour and a half to look around and half an hour back. The Direct bus leaves every day at 11am September to June and 11am & 3pm July & August.


House of Terror (Terror Háza)

For a more jarring reminder of life under communism, a visit to the House of Terror in Budapest is a must. The building was once the headquarters of the secret police and is now filled with stories of the atrocities committed by the state against it’s own people. 

Open: 10am-6pm Tuesday to Sunday

Closed: Mondays

Tickets: Adult 2,000HUF, Reduced admission 1,000HUF


Take in the view

 Head up to Castle Hill which has brilliant views across the Danube and Pest. Along with the view there are three churches and five museums to take a look at. To get up the hill you can catch the funicular at the end of the Chain Bridge, but it’s a simple five minute walk up the hill if you have a bit more energy.

Open: 7.30am-10pm seven days a week

Tickets: Adult One Way 1,100HUF, Adult Return 1,700HUF