September 2017

5 Markets Not to Miss while in Budapest

Posted By : gullyver/ 87 0

Like any big city, Budapest has a wide array of food sources to turn to. But is there a better way to buy your foodstuffs from a stall at a market if you have the time? Also, if you are like me and love to check out marketplaces wherever you travel, just to have a feel of the place, see the culture and how everyday people live this is the post for you. Let me show you my favourite places.

1. The Essential: Vásárcsarnok (Great Market Hall)

Source: Photopium.hu – Péter Bratincsák

Vásárcsarnok is the number one reference point for central Budapest locals, tourists or seekers of specialities. It was elected as Europe’s best, loveliest, etc. markets several times. It’s also one of Budapest’s oldest market halls, located on Fővám tér on the bank of the Danube, by Szabadság híd, accessible via metro or tram.

Upon entering the hall, the height and the pure scale are the first to take your breath away. Then you’re immediately immersed in the colourful variety of food and drinks offered on the ground floor. Many vendors have had their shops here all their lives, while some very new and trendy shops have opened here recently too, such as one that offers wild mushroom. On the first floor there are eateries as well, and the gallery offers a nice view. Go downstairs for fish and specialties. The shoppers are just as colourful as the goods here. Tourists, local old ladies, students from the nearby universities can be found here.

The construction of this beauty started in 1894, when the Hungarian economy was in an upswing and the leadership of the city intended to push open-air markets into indoors market halls. The two-storey building is truly a gem of the square with a flabbergasting front and beautiful steel structure inside.

Also a good place to start your walk towards Váci utca after a nice breakfast of black pudding or sausage here with mustard and pickles, just like locals. Or, have a good old lángos, a piece of fried flat savoury dough with garlic, sour cream and grated cheese on top for the local original.

2. For Foodies: Hold utcai piac/Belvárosi Piac (Downtown market hall)

Source: Photopium.hu – Péter Bratincsák

After London’s Borough Market, Vienna’s Naschmarkt or Lisbon’s TimeOut Market, Budapest decided to join the bandwagon and set up its very own downtown market-eatery for foodies and gourmets. In the capital city’s fifth district, renowned as a financial and administration center, the former Hold Street Market Hall, newly called Belvárosi Piac now hosts a galore of fine restaurant outlets ready to feed the hungry.

This isn’t a real market in a sense that there aren’t many food stalls on the ground floor, although it was commissioned for the same reason as the Great Market Hall. The lofty 1891 building gradually lost its traditional shoppers by the turn of the millennium as the district turned into a financial center. A few years ago the upper floor started to turn into a street-food gastro-walkway in the wake of an ongoing gastro-revolution in Budapest. Even today there number of diners are rising here, although the place closes early so lunchtime would be a good time to visit.

Séf Utcája was one of the first, shoulder to shoulder with gourmet fish restaurant Vörös Homár. The latest additions include Hungary’s Bocuse D’Or contestant Michelin-star chef Tamás Széll’s Stand 25, a good place to try Hungarian cuisine in a slightly posh but relatively inexpensive way. There’s a colorful variety: one may try a wide variety from Vietnamese pho to Russian solyanka, Hungarian sausage to Italian pasta.

A good place for lunch before or after visiting the Bazilika and its neighbourhood.

There aren’t only market halls in Budapest, though. Let me show you two of my favourite temporary markets.

3. The Vintage: Szimpla Piac every Sunday

Source: Photopium.hu – Péter Bratincsák

Szimpla has become a benchmark in Budapest’s nightlife. It was one of the first “ruin-pubs” of Budapest that became so popular among locals and tourists alike. The place was unused Sunday mornings, however, so the management launched a small producer market with children’s concerts and all-you- can-eat breakfast with the artisan product that can be bought from the producers here.

Not only breakfast but lunch is also available here, prepared by a different charity organisation every weekend. The money raised with the lunch supports the charity. The very friendly atmosphere, the truly small-scale but high-quality goods and the smiling people make this place one of its kind. Come with a lot of money, you won’t be able to leave without serious bundles of sausages, home-made marmalades, trifle products, fresh vegetables, some nice bread, honey and well, you name it.

A good place to start your Sunday before visiting the Great Synagogue or amid a walk in the former ghetto.

4. A Lovely Garden: Czakó Piacz – Czakó Kert every Saturday

Source: czakokert.hu

A small but adorable market in Buda’s first district. An outdoors event between 8:00-14:00 every Saturday, and finally a place where dogs are also allowed. Artisan goods, flowers, freshly brewed small brewery beer and small but lovely stalls here, a good place to slow down a little bit and talk to fellow shoppers and vendors. Great for buying souvenirs too, if you’d like your loved ones back home to have a taste of new-wave Hungarian food.

A good place to visit before a Buda Castle tour.

5. For an Alternative: Pancs Producer’s Market every Sunday

The yard of this popular pub (presenting beers from small Hungarian breweries in the evenings) turns into a producer’s market every Sunday. A great way to start your sightseeing day with the café that’s also open.
The managers hand-pick the sellers since there’s a very limited space but the selection is therefore very high-quality. Prices compared to an ordinary market are therefore higher but the products are definitely worth it. Bio fruits and veggies, homemade marmalades and honey, duck sausages, mushrooms, a wide variety of lovely cheese, vegan cakes and one of the greatest bakery in town are in themselves a great experience. Talking to these people or fellow shoppers–visitors are often students or alter-moms with kiddos in slings–is also a good opportunity to getting to know the city. A good starting point for a boat trip for its proximity to Boráros tér and its pier on the River Danube.

Runs not to miss in Hungary in 2017

Posted By : gullyver/ 150 0

Hungary is the aspiring to become the new running capital of Europe, according to runinbudapest.com. The English version of the long-time run organising sports club has a very fancy list of runs on offer for travellers who prefer getting acquainted with the city the faster way.

This year there are still plenty of opportunities to run half marathons or marathons in Budapest. The date is approaching for the WizzAir Budapest Half Marathon. On September 10 runners may participate in the biggest half marathon in Central Europe. They claim this is “essentially a running sightseeing tour” of Budapest, since the course leads through the city centre, down the Andrassy boulevard and across the Lánchíd bridge, while runners may also admire the view of the Buda Castle from the embankment of the river Danube. The 21 kilometres may be ran individually or with friends in a team of two or three. Last year there were more than 2200 foreign runners from 77 countries. Most runners came from Britain, Slovakia and Poland, but there were also participants from remote countries such as Chile, Indonesia, or Singapore.

The highlight of the Budapest runs each year is the SPAR Marathon, where alternative distances such as a 30-kilometre run are also available. The two-day running festival on October 14-15 isn’t only about the famous 42 kilometres, but also about family and friends, including all sorts of events related to running or just moving outdoors. This run also leads through the city and 6000 people out of the 27000 participants enjoyed the sights at the marathon distance. The organisers are quick to reassure that these runs won’t be overcrowded since the starts take place in several waves.

Source: Flickr – ChadBriggs

Nearing the end of the year, runners may once again take over the Lake Balaton and complete another marathon between November 25-26 at the K&H mozdulj! Balaton Marathon. The runs start from Siófok, the most touristy city of the lake that’s just an hour’s drive from the capital city. Last year there were about 5500 participants at this spectacular run, where half marathon and other distances are also available.

Closing the year a superfun run in Budapest is a real must-go. The Rossmann Mikulásfutás or Santa Run takes place on December 3. and each year attracts a happy crowd unafraid to move outdoors in the winter. And in fancy dresses, too: the participants are expected to dress up as Santa Nicolaus, the Hungarian version of Santa Claus who brings small gifts to children on December 6. The short run is paired with charity each year, with an option for participants to help children in need.

Luckily, all of these runs are organised each year so no worries if you can’t be there this time, there will be plenty of occasions to participate in these and plenty of other runs in the capital city or other locations across the country next year.

Budapest spa guide – from the touristy to the forgotten

Posted By : gullyver/ 292 0

Budapest is the only capital city in the world with over 118 natural springs full of mineral rich hot water. No wonder the city is sometimes referred to as “the city of baths”. Bathing has been part of the culture in Budapest since the Celtic times in the 4th century BC, then continued by Romans in the 1st century AD, then further deepened by the Turks in the 16th century.

Upon visiting Budapest you’ll probably experience a great hype around thermal baths and spas. This guide here is to help you choose the one that suits you the most if you don’t have time for all of them, find your type of place for a relaxing dip.

The Posh

Source: Flickr – Sergey Melkonov

Gellért Fürdő is one of Hungary’s oldest thermal baths, located in a historical monument and linked to a huge landmark hotel. On the Buda side, this beauty sits next to Gellért hegy, a hill named after a saint who died as a martyr long ago.

The bath is breathtaking, once you arrive at the actual swimming pools. The thermal water is lovely hot and the air is so hot and humid it’s an instant cure to any sore throat. The architecture is also breathtaking, both inside and outdoors, where you’ll find the huge pool with artificial waves plus further small ones with hot water.

The bath has two parts divided by sex, to allow naked bathing for those who prefer to do so. However, there are parts available for both sexes if you prefer to be with your partner of the other sex.

Although the bath is sometimes crowded and the entry is not cheap by local standards, it is definitely worth a visit.

The One with the Chess Tables

Széchenyi gyógyfürdő [III]

Source: Flickr – dadiolli

Széchenyi Fürdő, or Szecska by its local nickname is situated in one of Budapest’s nicest parks called Városliget. A huge yellow building with two hot pools and a swimming pool outdoors and a couple of inside pools and a sauna. If you’ve ever seen an image video of Budapest, this spa was featured for sure with old people playing chess while soaking.

Entry is expensive by local standards, but very inclusive: the ticket includes entry to the gym and even classes. The place is huge with countless smaller pools inside, some of them hotter than the others. Easy to get lost and to spend a day here. To find your locker, keep your eyes open or ask for help especially if you rent a small changing room of your own.

The outdoors spa is a great experience in the winter when you’re sitting in the warm water while it’s snowing. Since it opens quite early, it’s a great way to start your day in Budapest or to arrive to after a party night. It is great to arrive shortly before sunset and leave in daylight. This way you can check the place out in sunlight and in romantic lighting.

Young people may also find the Sparties an exciting means of visiting the place, check out their website for the dates.

The Romantic


Rudas Gyógyfürdő is also located on the Buda side, on the bank near Erzsébet bridge. It has been recently renovated and a totally new part was added: it is now a spectacular sight from Pest when crossing the Danube by bike or bus. It features an awesome Turkish pool, steam room, and now a wellness area, a warm-water swimming pool and a restaurant. Combining the dip with a meal would get you a discount, too.

Craving a nice sight? Check out the rooftop terrace where you’ll find a spectacular view of the city and the river Danube. From a pool. Awesome.

Source: rudasfurdo.hu

The ultimate part here is the night bath on Fridays and Saturdays, perfect after a party or just to relax after a day of walking your legs off with your beloved one.

The Most Turkish

Source: kiralyfurdo.hu

To travel back in time to the 17th century check out this exciting venue. Király Fürdő is also in Buda, in a building you wouldn’t tell is a spa inside upon entering. Except if you go around and find the perfect little Turkish gem on the side of one of the main roads of Buda–but that’s normal for this city.

Anyway, this is a place to go not only for the Turkish hot bath but also a pleasant wellness experience with a lovely jacuzzi, great sauna and nice new changing rooms. Like in most baths, massage is also available here.

In the summer the unique experience of inner city sunbathing in the garden and cold water plunge pool would await for you outside in the garden, the price includes entry to the gym.

The Forgotten

Source: dandarfurdo.hu

Dandár Fürdő is the bastard child of Budapest’s spa culture. Located in the 9th district on the Pest side it’s mainly visited by locals. It could be a cost-effective alternative to the bigger baths on the Buda side, although without the Turkish or the historical thrill.

Inside it’s nice and clean and outside in the garden there’s a new pool. Moreover, its water is just as great therapeutic medical thermal water as that of Gellért, only for around half the price.

The Modern

Source: paskalfurdo.hu

In Budapest’s 14th district called Zugló this modern bath with a huge outdoors area is the real big hit for the summer. Especially with kids, Paskál Gyógyfürdő will be your favourite. Taking a cab is a good thought, this one is about 7 kilometres from the city centre.

There are several pools inside and outside too, with modern cafés that offer a rare selection of amenities such as lactose-free milk or alcohol-free beer, and a new pool area for children.

Also mainly visited by locals, this thermal bath is also not an architectural wonder but serves its cause well. In the summer, there’s enough shade under the grand trees for everybody and the entry fee is quite affordable.