Some must-dos, must-sees, must-eats in Budapest by from me and my dad...
First, pay for everything in HUF (forint), either credit card or cash. Shops charge 5-10% more if paying in Euros or Dollars. If ATMs/Credit Card machines offer to convert to your currency for you at the machine, they are giving you a worse rate (~3%), so best to let decline and let your own bank do the conversion.
Next, buy tram/metro/bus tickets. If you are mostly walking, get a book of 10 tickets (1 ticket/trip/person), otherwise an unlimited 24-hour or unlimited 72-hour pass. The individual tickets need to be "stamped" on entry, where the passes don't. The fine for not stamping a ticket, or not having a pass is 8000huf (~$27).
Purchase Prices: 350huf/ticket; 3,000 for 10 pack; 1650 for 24-hour pass; 4150 for 72-hour pass; and 4950 for 7-day pass.
If you buy a local SIM card for your phone, it's good for travel around the EU and costs about 5,000huf and includes 10gb. The local version of Uber is BOLT, just download the app.
In the evening, walk to the Bazilika (Cathedral), and just walk around the square or sit down at one of the outdoor coffees for a drink.
Walk along Andrássy út all the way to Hősök tere (Heros’ square) Along the way,
o Look at the Opera House on your left as you walk down Andrássy út. Walk into the
lobby to get a taste of the interior architecture.
o Stop to see the outdoor restaurant scene on Liszt Ferenc tér (Franz Liszt square).
It’s on your right as you walk down Andrássy út.
o Stop to look at or have a tea in the garden of the Arany muzeum (Gold Muzeum)
near Hősök tere. It may be closed for renovations.
o Take the Metro 1 [also called the kis földalatti (little metro)] back to Vörösmarty tér.
Take a ride on the #2 street car along the Danube between the Margit (Margaret) and Szabadság (Freedom) bridges. Sit on the Danube side and take lots of pictures.
While at the Szabadság bridge, go in to the Nagycsarnok (city market).
Have lunch or dinner, or both, on the terrace of the Dunacorso restaurant on the
promenade along the Danube. My favorite dishes: Halászlé (Fisherman’s soup), Bécsiszelet (wiener schnitzel - better here than in Vienna!), then share one order of Túrógombóc for dessert. For drinks, ask for a Kis fröcs (Small spritzer of 1⁄2 white wine, 1⁄2 club soda)
A nice place for dinner in the Jewish district is Macesz Bistro (Matzoh Bistro) www.maceszbistro.hu. It is at Dob utca 20. Make a reservation 06-1-787-6164.
Two rows of indoor/outdoor restaurants for lunch on Liszt Ference tér run between Andrássy út and the Zeneakademia (Academy of Music). My favorite is Menza.
Take the Bus #16 from Erezsébet tér (square) up to Várhegy (Castle Hill). o Walk along Halászbástya (Fishermen’s Bastion)
o Spend a little time in the National Gallery
o Walk down the hill and over the Lánc hid (Chain Bridge) back to Pest.
Walking over Lánc hid either east or west is an absolute must.
Take a bus or a taxi up to the Citadella on Gellért hegy (hill) where the Szabadság
szobor (Statue of Liberty) is. The view from there is unforgettable.
Visit the inside of the Bazilika (Cathedral) and the Zsinagóga (Synagogue).
If you have the time (about two hours), I recommend one of the pools/baths: the
Gellért fürdő or the Széchényi fürdő (bath)..
A short cruise on the Danube is a nice tourist attraction.
If you are there on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday night after 7:00PM when Tibor Soós
plays the piano, have dinner or just a drink at the Spinoza étterem (restaurant) . (It is at Dob utca 15,) He is the oldest playing bar pianist in Budapest. Tell him you are Rátay Robi’s friend from New York. You can just drop in but a telephone reservation (06-1-414-7788) would be a good idea; be sure to ask for a table in the front piano room. Try the grillezett libamáj (grilled foie gras) with a glass of Tokaji wine.
A wild in-door and out-door night scene of young Hungarians and rowdy foreign tourists is at Gozsdu Udvar. (It is near Deák tér, between Dob utca and Király utca.)