Best and worst sights, experiences and destinations:
Best: Szechenyi Baths – Budapest
Why: I visited Szechenyi Baths on my last day in Budapest. After a two week romp through the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary, I am glad I did! I was just what the doctor ordered! On the outside pool area had a very large swimming pool in the center, sandwiched in between two warm mineral pools. One of these mineral pools had water jets that projected water from the bottom, as well as fountain type jets as well, which provided a very comfortable massage and was very relaxing. Later, I took to the hot indoor spa pools which were even more relaxing. After a few hours lounging in these baths, it seemed to take away the fatigue of this trip. It was a great way to top off a great trip! (Trip taken mid/late Sept. 2012)
Kaz in Santa Clarita, CA USA 03/31/2013
Best: Opera House
Why: We attended a ballet and concert at the Opera House. The acoustics, beauty and history are fantastic.
Michael Quirk in Belleville, IL USA 11/23/2012
Best: Adrassy Ut Walk
Why: It covers the Opera, The House of Terror, Liszt Ferenc Ter, and Terminates with Hosok Tere. If you only have one day in Budapest, I would recommend hitting the Parliament in the morning, doing an abbreviated Leopold Town Walk (ie, end at St Istvan's Basilica, go around behind it, and start the Andrassy Ut Walk) with dinner at Liszt Ferenc Ter after dark. Candles and party lights (more romantic than they sound) coupled with live music and a bottle of Hungarian wine make for a wonderful dinner for two for less than $50. I don't remember the name of the restaurant we went to, I think it was the third one on the left, from Andrassy Ut, but my girlfriend had Paprikash that was absolutely delicious.
Definitely recommend the detour from the Oktogon to visit New York Cafe. Rick recommends that you pay the price for an expensive treat just to take pictures, but I would say that I would pay just as much if the same beverage were served in my local Burger King. I had a cold white chocolate drink with coconut.
Worst: Pest Town Center Walk
Why: While still a very good walk, the detour to the City and County halls is unnecessary. If you are hurting for time, axe this section from your walk and don't worry. Rick describes them with plenty of detail (ie, pink and yellow buildings with three flags out front. Rather unremarkable) (If you have the second edition, completely skip the directions at the bottom of page 143 and all of page 144).
Also, I would downgrade Great Market Hall to a 1 Triangle attraction. Part of that may be my hesitation to speak to the vendors out of fear that they won't speak English (rather unfounded, most Hungarians speak some English, and a few could pass as native speakers), but I'm of a rather shy constitution. The other reason is that I didn't really find much worthy of parting me from my money. Try some Pick salami, but other than that, Turo Rudi, Unicum and Tokaji Aszu can be found cheaper at most Spar or Match Grocery Stores. The souvenirs on the second floor are what you might expect, so this would be a great place to pick them up. Perhaps slightly over-priced, but on par with everywhere else in the city. Besides, what touristy souvenirs aren't slightly over-priced?
James W. in Clyde, OH USA 08/20/2012
Worst: The Keleti train station
Why: We were very confused after being placed on a bus 50 miles outside Budapest due to a broken r.r. line--No one said anything so I jiust followed the crowd and found the train station a bit overwhelming
james Nygard in Buffalo, MN USA 08/18/2012
Best: local guide
Why: Steve's recommendation to hire guide Peter Polczman in Budapest was the best advice we got about visiting that city. Peter is a wonderful guide whose English is excellent. Best of all, his knowledge of history is spot on. We spent half a day with him, and felt as if we had made a new friend. If you are going to Budapest, make sure to schedule time with Peter. His time with us was the best travel investment we made on this trip.
Priscilla in Rochester, MN USA 07/07/2012
Why: great budget airline, good experience from check in to picking up my bags
Meredith in Edina, MN USA 07/04/2012
Best: Walking tour with guide Peter Polczman
Why: Peter is a terrific guide and a warm, friendly person as well. Our half-day with him was like being introduced to Budapest by a longtime friend. Thanks for the recommendation!
Andrea in Corvallis, OR USA 06/09/2012
Best: Tourguide Andrea Makkay
Why: We took a tour with Andrea Makkay. She was very knowledgeable, personable and had a nice sense of humor. Our time and money spent with her was very well spent.
Kathie Roon in Marysville, WA USA 05/03/2012
Best: Gerloczy Cafe
Why: Delicious food & excellent service! We were only in Budapest for a short time, arriving late afternoon on a Saturday and leaving very early Tuesday morning. We were looking for a restaurant close to our hotel since we were very tired and wanted to get a very early start the next day. I had your guidebook and this restaurant was at the top of your list. It was only two blocks from the Astoria, which is where we were staying, so it was an easy decision to try it out. Everything about it was outstanding, so much so that we returned Monday evening. Only advice I have is to stay away from the house wine. I had white & my cousin had red; both were pretty bad. We didn't make that mistake the second trip, and the wine we chose was fine.
Cathy Bryant in Marietta, GA USA 03/14/2012
Best: Szechenyi Baths, Christmas Markets
Why: This was our second visit to Budapest but first to the baths. The late November weather was in the 30s, but even at night the thermal baths were great and staff at Szechenyi (particularly the young man at the turnstile) were very helpful with confused Americans. We were there over Thanksgiving and, although more markets were opening the weekend after Thanksgiving, we enjoyed the markets that were open during our visit. There were many fewer tourists than we saw when visiting Christmas markets in Germany other years.
Amy in Chicago, IL USA 12/04/2011
Best: Szechenyi Baths
Madeleine in Redlands, CA USA 11/27/2011
Best: Parliament, House of Terror, Memento Park, Hospital in the Rock
Why: aesthetics (Parliament), historical significance of all others, all very user friendly
Philip Braverman in New York, NY USA 09/05/2011
Why: Don't miss the Szimpla mentioned by RS in the "Ruin Pub" crawl--nothing quite like it.
Larry Iversen in Bremerton, WA USA 07/02/2011
Best: Fisherman's Bastion, Vajdahunyad Castle & Graet Market Hall.
Why: The first two are just amazing for taking photos. The third is great for local reatail therapy and we had amazing Langos there.
Francine Miller in Seminole, FL USA 05/18/2011