Jewels of Budapest
After a few years living in Budapest, you might think that you know the best places in town, and to be honest you might, as jewels sparkle no matter how hidden they are. That said, this article is not meant to be a tourist guide, but rather a love letter to the places that are way too underestimated.
Alexandra Book Café
When talking to locals, I have realized that not many of them have visited Alexandra Book Café. They have heard about it or seen pictures, but never actually went there. Maybe because they think it’s expensive or because they are just lazy to dress up, but the truth is that even if the tourist guides say that you can skip it, it is a must see.
During the afternoons you can listen to live piano music and if you are anything like me, you should definitely order a bottle of Hungarian champagne at a very reasonable price and stay for hours looking at all the beautiful details the frescos have to offer.
You can find this beautiful place on the first floor of the Alexandra Bookshop in Andrássy út 39, which, by the way, also has a great selection of wines and books in English.
Let’s leave the fanciness behind and focus on something a little bit more fun: a thrift shop!
This shop in particular has something a little bit more than just old clothes to offer: a collection of stories disguised as vintage pieces. From the 50’s to the 90’s you can find a great deal of awesome attires and if you are still not convinced, it is October and Halloween is coming, so give it a try!
This awesome shop is in Károly körút 8, so if you are ever around the city center, pay them a visit.
In Budapest’s old Jewish quarter you can find a lot of teeny tiny shops that sell antiques. I am not talking about the fancy ones with fine jewelry and china, but rather the smaller ones that smell like humidity. These little shops are so inviting that even the most unimaginative minds will wonder about the stories behind each item.
From old military equipment to precious china dolls, these shops can distract you for hours, and who knows? Maybe you can find a real hidden jewel on those dusty shelves.
My favorites are in the seventh district and around Blaha Lujza square. Go spend some time there and you’ll realize that you can find some great presents for your friends and family!
Hungarian cuisine is itself underestimated. While living in my home country I never heard of typical Hungarian food, and oh God, how I pity the people who haven’t tried it.
If you are looking for typical Hungarian kitchen, you can find this restaurant right next to Madách square and Deák square. This little place in the city center is a great choice for an informal dinner with friends or family. Even the looks of this place make you feel at your grandma’s, as not only the furniture is kitschy and homey, but because the food really tastes of love.
This restaurant is in Madách square 3. Go for dinner and stay for drinks. After all, it is right next to the best party places!
Everyone knows Budapest’s beauty. Even after a couple of years living here, my heart beats with joy to see the city at night. That’s why I would like to recommend the best underestimated view of the city.
If you ask a local, everyone can tell you that Gellért Hill has the best view of the city, but that’s a lie. They probably don’t mention it because you cannot sit or because of the noise, but the truth is that there is not a better view in town than from the Margaret Bridge.
Another good option with almost a view as good as this is almost right under it. Walking from the Jászai Mari square tram stop to the Danube, you will find a great place with stairs to sit. If you ask me, I much rather choose a great view and good company over anything else.