‘M’ Restaurant (M Étterem) in Budapest: Design Bistro

‘M’ Restaurant (M Étterem) in Budapest is an artistic, relaxed little restaurant in Kertész utca Budapest – some adore it, while others find it, well, below expectations. Even its name is a riddle, not intended to be deciphered as the letter ‘M’ could stand for so many things, people, places. “We’ve always adored M., the rough-and-ready bistro on District VII’s Kertész utca that has been a member of our elite “Top 33″ club for the past year or so. The food is generally very good, the décor is charming…” (Chew.hu – a Hungarian gastronomy website).

It is like a pleasant downtown bistro, water carafes on the table, old-school brown wrapping paper used ingeniously for the design (it is really amazing to see how a market pen turns sheets of brown paper into a cozy interior), friendly staff – give it a try if you like quirky places, and artsy is your style. It’s on the Top 33 list of Chew.hu which is continually updating its ‘best of Budapest restaurants‘ list.

M Restaurant Budapest - quirky artsy bistro

M Restaurant Budapest - quirky artsy bistro (photo by Wander Wonder)

Address: Kertész utca 48, 1073 Budapest,
Phone: 00-36-1-342-8991
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 18-24
Getting here:

  • M1 metro (yellow metro line), Oktogon metro station
  • trams/ streetcars: number 4 or 6

See the location of ‘M’ Restaurant (M Étterem) on the Budapest Tourist Map (check the knife and fork map icon in the middle, and click on the icons to learn more about the neighboring places of interest or click on the View Larger Map blue link under the map). Notice that ‘M’ Restaurant is very close to the Franz Liszt Music Academy, the Opera House as well as the Operetta Theater, and the House of Terror museum on Andrassy út.

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Read more about the Best Restaurants in Budapest.

House of Terror Museum of Dictatorships in Budapest, Hungary

House of Terror (Terror Háza) shows the history, practices & tactics of dictatorships in Hungary. Shocking pictures, interior design and audio-visual effects that actually evoke those awful times – you won’t be left untouched. Some of the travelers called the exhibition ‘ingenious’ ‘must-see’ ‘moving’ while few called it ‘badly orchestrated’ ‘distasteful’ and seemed to have lacked more distance and simplicity in the way the ruthlessness was conveyed and re-presented.

As it is a shocking and controversial theme, have a look at the video at the bottom to decide if it’s suitable for your kids or not. On a subjective note, I wouldn’t recommend it for small children.

The exhibition of the abuse by Nazis, the Hungarian Arrow-Cross Party as well as Soviets is placed in the former headquarters of the Hungarian secret police on beautiful Andrassy avenue. See the Museum icon in the middle of the map below (yellow M icon for museums)
Address: Andrássy út 60., 1062 Budapest
Phone: 00-36-1-374-2600
Opening hours: Tue-Fri 9am-5pm, Sat-Sun 10am-6pm
Prices: 1500 HUF, Student & retired 750 HUF, on Sundays free for students & under 18s.

See the House of Terror location in the middle of the Budapest Tourist Map below (yellow M icon for museums):

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Here are some of the disturbing visual effects of the exhibition (not for kids, please), where dead people are rolled by a machine (Gypsies, Jewish, etc.):

Some of the things that you can expect – based on a visitor’s review on TripAdvisor:

walking into a room where some strange trance music overlaid with extracts from Hitler’s speeches played as you watched some extremely distressing footage from when the Nazi and Soviet regimes were in power, it seemed the sort of music only suitable for a Neo-Nazi underground meeting.

there is a room with a dummy sitting at the head of an empty dining table dressed in full military uniform with a face projected on to it… it was creepy and totally unnecessary. Then the room where a black car which was used by the AVH is illuminated from behind black curtains and the lift which played the video clip of a man describing in detail the execution of one of the prisoners. And all this combined with hearing the laughter of people from the café downstairs…

If you are specifically interested in other communist historical traces in Budapest, check out the red flame map icons.

Millennial Velodrome in Budapest: Feel Like Playing Bike Polo?

The Millennial Velodrome in Budapest is one of the oldest arena for track cycling in Europe: it was built in 1896 as part of the developments celebrating the 1000 year old Hungarian state. Little wonder, many of the famous buildings in Budapest were built in 1896, like the Millennial Velodrome, the Millennial Monument on Heroes’ Square, or the romantic Castle Vajdahunyad. Would you think that not so long ago, there were plans to demolish this fantastic facility? Luckily many bikers, architects and locals joined their forces and achieved a certain protection for the athletic national monument of the Budapest Velodrome.

These days, you will see bike polo players. Join them on Wed afternoons & Saturday mornings on the Millenáris Velodrome. It is fun and they are totally open to have foreign players. See this short video to get an idea:

In 1896 the first few sporting competitions included shot putting, javelin throwing, jumping, etc. The then gold-medalist weight-lifter (Horvath) lifted a 33 kg (!) weight in the air fifty-five times (sounds funny now, I know). And then, there was of course, cycling. The winners of the first Velodrome cycling race were the Belgian Emile Huet and Raymond Depage, plus the French Fournier. By the end of the year though, the later European champion Ferenc Gerger gathered the most medals in cycling. It was a novelty at that time that ladies also took part in the contest: yes, on tandems, and their partners on tandem were male competitors.

There were competitions for every weekend in 1896, the king was sitting in the Royal Pavilion, sportsmen were enjoying the modern facilities, spectators saw unknown sports: Velodrome meant a new chapter in the Hungarian sports life. The snag was that several millennial buildings were originally planned to be make-shift temporary structures with a short life: the Velodrome, for instance, was planned to get demolished and cleared away in Oct 31 in 1896, in the same year that it was constructed. All the sports clubs came together to lobby for the Velodrome, and many locals were against the makeshift Velodrome – then made of wood, meaning fire hazard to neighbouring houses. Locals also feared that homeless people would move into the wooden structures, etc. etc. The main point is that the clubs won the right to use the facilities for another 3 years. More and more football players came to the Velodrome arena, and in 1901 the Hungarian Football Association and the first National League was founded, played on the premises of the Millennial Velodrome. The athletics competition in the same year attracted 4000 athletes, and tickets could only be bought if one had multiple connections.

But back to cycling: in 1899 the city made the decision to make cyclists pay a pretty nice amount of annual tax. The result? Fewer cyclists. The taxation was canceled in 1911, and by that time football became by far the most popular sport, pushing behind the budding cycling in Hungary. From 1905, Wiegand started to organize cycling races as a sort of gambling. In 1902, the first few steher motorcycles arrived (soon banned due to locals’ complaints about the noise). In 1906 Woody Headspeth won the cycling race, which was sensational and disheartening at the same time. But even such sensations did not reach the profit of football matches.

In 1915 – when the Millennial Velodrome or Sports Center has become too small for professional football (although earlier hosting Southampton, Tottenham, Woolwich and Celtic – the arena got taken over by the capital again and gave place to thousands of schoolchildren as a regular sports facility. After WWI, the Velodrome was totally renewed, new structures, new lawn, and a fabulous new cycling track based on the Dresdan Velodrome. The Cycling track was now built from reinforced iron.

In 1925 the modern Velodrome was ready to attract thousands of spectators: 450 metre (0.27 miles) , 12–42° leaning, over 100 kmh (62 mph). Further rebuildings were carried out by Alfred Hajos & Aladar Mattyok sports architects. Cycling became fashionable again in the 20’s in Hungary. And at last, Cycling World Race, 1929: Budapest (after some tug of war with the Dutch). In the 30’s one name jumps out: Laszlo Orczan. Swimming and football also came back to the Millennial Centre. But WW2 meant first less and less rubber & then bombardments. During the war the arena turned into a supply centre, the changing rooms were haunted by cyclists who did not want to go to war or deserted the army. The Millie (nickname of the Millennial Velodrome) was heavily damaged in the WW2, but enthusiasm brought the Sports Centre back to life by May 1945! At least, there was a race already.

The 1950’s reconstruction changed the parameters of the cycling racing track. the length is now 412 metre (0.25 mile), which is not in line with the international standards, so world races gradually disappeared from the site (also for political reasons & the iron curtain). The 1970’s had several track races called Golden Mocca (Arany Mokka), but then the new media, TV primarily, meant the end of sports life in a sense. However, the last couple of years show a new revival. If you like bike polo, join the guys on the track!

See the green bike icon in the middle for the Budapest Velodrome. Look for the green bike signs on the map for further bikers’ tips in Budapest, e.g. Bike Rentals.

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sources: Zeidler Miklós: Egy régi pálya a polgári korban: a Millenáris Sporttelep, Velodrom.hu wiki

Millennial Monument (Millenniumi emlékmű) in Budapest

Heroes Square is one of the most visited squares in Budapest packed with some of the most beautiful Budapest attractions to see, and some fun things to do (lake / skating rink, cycling tour, Segway tours, etc.).

Millennial Monument (Millenniumi emlékmű) on Hosok tere, Budapest: the monument, also known as the Millennium Monument, was built for the 1000th birthday of Hungary. Andrassy Avenue seems to culminate in the beautiful memorial. It consists of a 35m/ 118 ft column (with Archangel Gabriel on top), and two wings with statues of Hungarian politicians & military men – you guessed: the Heroes of Hungary (children love the big horse statues).

While the domineering central piece of the square is the Millennial Monument, the two museums, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Hall of Art (Mucsarnok), which flank the the square, are enhancing the grandeur of this fin-de-siecle complex. If you have a Budapest Card you can get a free entry to the Museum of Fine Arts, 20% off the entry fee in the Kunsthalle (Hall of Arts). You can also visit the Vajdahunyad Castle and Szechenyi Baths if you are on Heroes’ Square.

Note: Hosok tere is also the favorite hangout place for acrobatic bikers, line skaters, etc.

Address: Hősök tere (Heroes’ Square) Budapest
Opening hours: 24/7
Prices: free
Getting here: the underground (old metro, yellow line) has a station called ‘Hősök tere’ but you can also take buses (e.g. number 30), or trolley buses (e.g. number 79)

See its location of the Hungarian Millennium Monument on the Budapest Tourist Map (the yellow balloon icon in the middle). Click the View larger map blue link under the map to enlarge the map-view.

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The Hungarian Parliament in Budapest

The Parliament in Budapest (the Hungarian Parliament) is a wonderful building completed in 1902 in eclectic style. Visits need to be booked in advance. Parliament tours are daily, but the Parliament (Orszaghaz in Hungarian) tours may be cancelled if someone important is visiting the political leaders. Regular starting hours of the guided tours. 10 am, 12 pm, 1 pm, 2pm, 6pm

Budapest Parliament Hungary

Budapest Parliament (photo: Christine McIntosh)

You can book your Budapest Parliament tour here. Unfortunately the tickets to the Hungarian Parliament building are not free for EU citizens from 2013.

Address: 1055 Budapest, Kossuth Lajos tér 1-3., Hungary
Phone: 00-36-1-441-4904 or 00-36-1-441-4415
Getting here:
Budapest metro (red line), station: Kossuth Lajos tér
trams/ streetcars: number 2

Cafe New York in New York Palace Hotel, Budapest

Café New York (New York kávéház) is in the recently renovated opulent five-star hotel, in the New York Palace, in a busy part of Budapest (easily reached by the red line metro at Blaha tér, or the trams 4 and 6).

It was a historical venue where the big names of Hungarian literature and movie making used to get together, but today it’s a luxury coffee house and bar – one of the oldest grand cafés of the fin de siecle Budapest. Both smoking and non-smoking parts. For your coffee, I suggest trying the Tiramisu in real Italian style, or just sipping a glass of Tokaj aszú – according to totally unscientific studies it helps to feel the grandeur of the café.

New York Cafe in Budapest New York Palace Boscolo Hotel

Opening hours: from 9am to 1am
Address: Erzsébet körút 9-11., Budapest district VII. 1073
Phone: 00-36-1-886-6111
Wifi: yes

See its location on the Budapest tourist map Check the yellow House icon in the middle standing for the New York Palace and Cafe, and click on Cup icons to get further info on good /Best Cafes in Budapest or the knife and fork icon for good / Best Restaurants in Budapest.

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The History of New York Cafe Budapest

The four-floor New York Palace was built in 1894 in eclectic style by a New York-based life insurance company: of course, not as a palace but as an elegant office complex. It re-opened as New York Palace Boscolo Budapest Hotel, a five star hotel of the Italian Boscolo group managed by Antonio Delpin, in May 2006. Its café, the New York, or rather, The New York in Budapest lingo (opened by Sándor Steuer a member of a famous coffee-family in 1894)

New York Cafe, Literature and Film art

The cafe became one of the most popular iconic cafés of fin-de-siécle Budapest, especially amongst Budapest literati: writers frequented the café for its inspirational atmosphere and company as well as for good coffees and meals. Waiters treated authors with due respect, even providing ink, paper, or aspirin for them. Special discount Writers’ Plates with generous portions of ham, cheese and rolls were given to artists just for a few cents (writing rarely has been a lucrative living). Writers of the first professional mainstream periodical of Hungarian progressive literature called Nyugat (West) were regularly coming together in New York Café. The managers (Harsányi brothers) loved the talented authors who aimed to elevate Hungarian literature to international standards – with great success. Can you imagine that there were 400 different journals and papers in the café to read at the turn of the 20th century? According to Noémi Saly, a Budapest café expert, in addition to Hungarian dailies and periodicals, Czech, Spanish, French and English journals were on display.

Moreover, in the 1910’s theatrical and movie intellectuals found their home in the café. “Indeed, this is where Sir Alexander Korda – director of films such as The Private Life of Henry VIII & The Thief of Baghdad – started out for his world award winning career, just as Michael Curtis, Oscar winning director of Casablanca did too,” according to the hotel’s official website. Yes, the café is undoubtedly deeply rooted in Hungarian cultural history.

In 1920 Vilmos Tarján put together his capital (half a million gained through gambling as District VII local government’s website points out) and took over the management of the café, which became the center of Budapest night life up until 1936. Once it was even visited by a circus seal to the amazement of the audience.

New York Cafe as a Warehouse?

In 1945 the palace was bombarded, the café had to close down in 1947 and was turned into a warehouse. What a beautiful warehouse it must have been…. It opened again in 1954 renamed as ‘Hungaria’ (New York was too capitalist for the then communist Hungary, and it was not a café any more just a buffet and restaurant). Two years later, the 1956 revolution left its marks on the building. After World War II there were plans to turn the palace into a fashionable mall, then in the communist era it functioned as the headquarters of a national publishing group (Pallas).

New York Cafe in the Modern era

After the change of regime in 1989, there were several bidders for the palace who wished to transform the property into a shopping center, and some suggested it as the venue for the new national theater.

But in 2001, Boscolo Hotels, the Italian hotel chain, purchased New York Palace from the Hungarian government with the promise of a full restoration of the famous New York Café. The café indeed got back its former pomp and the magical mixture of styles. “What will be done to bring back the poets and the painters?” posed the question Eve M. Kahn in the New York Times to Gilles Stellardo, the marketing director for Boscolo in North America. And the answer is elusive ”We will do something special for the writers and artists; we’re figuring that out right now.” Well, even if you don’t meet artists (there are no discount artist rates any more), you will surely enjoy the painstakingly restored café with rich marbles, friezes and gilt, the Murano glass chandeliers as well as high quality Italian coffees.

New York Cafe – Interior Design

The opulent splendor of New York Palace is characterized by the heavy influence of Italian renaissance with elegant but lavishly furnished interiors in marble, gilt, velvet, crystal, silk, bronze, enlivened by mythological figures, vigorous fresco scenes, baroque ornaments, bright red and blue chandeliers, and a likewise marvelous facade with carved statues, marble spires, wrought iron balconies. To mention but a few, there are 16 winged and horned devilish fauns dramatizing the windows of the café, several nude female statues and figurines to hint at lust, and in the royal suite there is a bronze horse with its leg sunken into the furniture as if it got trapped.

The New York Palace Boscolo is literally eclectic and full of aesthetic surprises to the eye. Tom Otley on Business Traveller compares the design to Kubrick’s film interiors: “Inside the New York Palace it is a strange mix. There is the extremely fashionable and good-looking design: both the breakfast room and the VIP room are some of the most attractive modern designs I’ve seen, a kind of Stanley Kubrick version of the future (a cross between the Milk Bar in A Clockwork Orange and something from 2001: A Space Odyssey). Then there is the carefully renovated grand, turn-of-the-(last)-century style of the café, one of Budapest’s most famous, with its marble, bronze, frescoes and Murano chandeliers. Finally there are the frankly odd touches, like the presidential suite with its turquoise Murano chandelier.”

So as you can see, eclecticism is clear. Be prepared to gape at its blended beauty.
The second phase of the hotel development on Osvát street is scheduled to be finished by 2009.

Cafe Ruszwurm (Ruszwurm Cukrászda)- the Old-style Confectioner’s in Budapest

Cafe Ruszwurm is one of the oldest traditional cafes & confectioner’s in Budapest. It’s also one of the best cafes in Budapest. As Frommer’s guide puts it: “the Ruszwurm is an utterly charming little place, with two rooms outfitted with small tables and chairs, and shelves lined with antiques.” There is a wide range of great pastries, which you can have in a century old beautiful Biedermeier interior (now the furniture is protected). You will see traditional tools of the old confectionery trade, glass cabinets, mortars, models, etc.

Café Ruszwurm in Budapest

Address: Szentháromság u. 7., 1014 Budapest, Hungary
Phone: 00-36 1 3755-284
Opening hours: 9am-8pm (spring-fall) 10 am-7pm (winter)
Prices: (cakes) 200-500 HUF

Location of Café Ruszwurm on the Budapest Tourist Map (check the Cup icon indicating cafes in the middle of the map – you can enlarge the map by clicking on the View larger map blue link under the map). Ruszwurm Cukrászda is located on Várhegy (the Castle Hill on the Buda side): once you go up the hill to see the Royal Palace, and the Fishermen’s Bastion, it’s only a 2 minute walk from the Matthias Church and you should not miss it. You will find Ruszwurm cream pastry, Esterházy cake, Szamos cake, Dobos cake (Dobos torta is highlighted by several guides but I would rather suggest the heavenly Ruszwurm cream pastry, or – for the less sweet-toothed – traditional Hungarian scones/ pogácsa).

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Confectioner Ferenc Schwabl set up his business almost two-hundred years ago in 1827. Now it’s owned by the Szamos dynasty whose name is a trademark for good pastry and sweets in Hungary. The biedermeier cabinets were made by Krautsiedler and the sculpture by Lőrinc Dunaiszky in the 1830s, surviving the Hungarian revolution of 1848-49 against the Austrian oppression and the world wars too.

Read more about the Best Restaurants in Budapest or the Best Cafes in Budapest.

Matthias Church (Mátyás-templom) in Budapest

Matthias Church (Mátyás Templom)

Address: Szentháromság tér 2. Budapest I. ker.
Phone: 00-36-1-355-5657
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 9am – 5pm, Sat 9am – 1pm, Sun 1-5pm
Prices: from 300 to 1000 HUF

See the Matthias Church on the Budapest Tourist Map: the church is indicated with a red balloon icon in the middle. Click to View larger map blue link under the map to make it bigger:

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St Gellert Statue and Waterfall in Budapest (Szent Gellért szobor)

St Gerhard Statue (Szent Gellért szobor) shows St Gerhard, an Italian missionary and Benedictine abbot, later Hungarian bishop, who converted many a Hungarians to Christianity in the 11th century, and privately tutored the son of the first Hungarian king, St Emeric. However, after 8 years of education and conscientious preparation for the monarch’s role, Emeric (Prince Imre) was killed – by a boar while hunting.

Pagans did not like the efficiency of St Gerhard, so they put him in a spiked barrel and hurled it down Gellért Hill in 1046 (the hill, Gellérthegy, also bears his name). Historians point out that Hungary’s conversion to Christianity, which meant giving up the nomadic pagan life style in 896, was crucial to make Hungary a state and remain a constant player in the political field of the Carpathian-basin and Europe.

It’s a nice walk up to the statue of the martyr and the waterfall: cool shadows, green in the gray, nice spot to have some tranquil moments, when it’s not busy.
It’s also ideal for taking photos of the Pest side of Budapest with the Parliament, the Gresham Palace, etc.
Take something to quench your thirst.
Mosquito repellent is not a bad idea in summer time.

The bronze statue of Szent Gellért made in 1904 by Gyula Jankovits was originally planned to be 3 meters/ 9.8 ft high, but to make it stand out more of the hill its size was increased to 7 meters/ 23 ft. The main figure is the bishop raising a cross towards the sky, and there’s a pagan soldier as a complementary figure, the latter is not really easy to take it out in this photo, I know. The waterfall is oftentimes interpreted as the symbol of Hungary’s baptism. St Gerhard statue is one of the ten statues presented by Emperor Franz Joseph of the Austro-Hungarian Empire to Budapest (it alone cost 100,000 crowns in 1904 – yes, at that time the currency was not forints but crowns).

The statue is overlooking the sleek modern bridge, Erzsébet Híd, and is very close to some of the spa baths in Budapest (the statue is in the middle of the map indicated with a yellow balloon icon – click the View larger map blue link under the map to enlarge, double click to zoom in, etc.):

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St Stephen’s Basilica: Szent István-bazilika in Budapest

St Stephen’s Basilica (Szent István-bazilika) was built between 1850 and 1905 in neoclassical style based on the plans of József Hild, who could not see the complete church as he died in 1867. Miklós Ybl took over overseeing the works, who could not see the completion either, as he died in 1891. Eventually it was finished by József Kauser: the keystone of the basilica, indicating the completion of the long works, was put on in the presence of Franz Joseph I. the emperor of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1905.

The church is truly huge: it can take up approx. 8500 people, as it’s as big under the ground as over it.

The Basilica’s dome is like a compass in Budapest – you can easily locate yourself in the city if you spot the dome. In 1868 the dome collapsed – partly due to the low quality pillars given as presents to the church. Then the works were stalled for about 3 years. It explains why the construction of the church took more than half a century. There’s an elevator, which will take you up to the top (about 96m/ 315 feet high), where you can take some nice photos of the city. Or you can make a thorough workout by climbing the 364 stairs that lead to the balcony.

Highlights: statues made by Alajos Stróbl (see the floor plan below), ‘St Stephen offers the crown to Virgin Mary’ – painting by Gyula Benczúr, the panoramic view from the top, the Treasury and the Reliquary (incl. the mummified right fist of St Stephen (considered a holy relic), the first king of Hungary), the heaviest bell in Hungary in the southern tower (9,600 kilogram/ 21,164 pounds), the organ made by József Angster (1834- 1918). The Choir of the Basilica (founded in 1909) sings every Sunday at 10 am: here’s the Program of the Basilica Choir.

Address: Szent István tér Budapest V. ker.
Phone: 00-36-1-311-0839 or 338-2151
Opening hours:

  • Mon-Fri 9 am – 5 pm, and 7-8 pm,
  • Sat 9 am – 1 pm, and 7-8 pm,
  • Sun 1 -5 pm, and 7-8 pm
  • Elevator operating from April 1 to October 31

Prices: 1600 HUF, for students & retired 1200HUF
Getting here:
metro (blue line): Arany János utca station

Here’s the (Greek-cross) floorplan of the Basilica with some of the prominent statues made by Hungarian sculptors, painters:

floor plan and some statues in St Stephen Basilica Szent István Bazilika

Video of St Stephen’s Basilica, Budapest (made by a fellow traveler, adelsonline)

And another user made video (garrymay) of the Basilica, with a short sample of the Choir singing:

1, If you want to see the Treasury, the Reliquary, the Chapel, and get further info on the Basilica, turn to the official guides (Mon-Fri at 11am, 2pm, 15:30, St at 11am), 2000HUF/ person. Book in advance, and for groups get reductions, contact: turizmus@basilica.hu.

If you are looking for further programs or a good restaurant in the neighborhood of the Basilica (map icon: red balloon in the middle), take a look at the Budapest Tourist Map: double click to zoom in, and click on the icons to learn more about the attractions:

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If you wish to do some shopping, e.g. find specialty products (wines, paprika, Unicum, designer clothes, etc.) in the neighborhood, use the Budapest Shopping Map:

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Budapest Museum of Fine Arts: Szepmuveszeti Muzeum

The Museum of Fine Arts (Szépművészeti Múzeum) in Budapest has an extraordinary permanent and a hugely successful temporary exhibition series.

Opening hours: Permanent Exhibitions are open from Tue to Sun 10 am – 5pm. Oftentimes, the museum is open until 9:30 pm on Thursdays (if there’s an extra program). Temp exhibitions are basically the same, but you have another half an hour to enter (until 17:30). The museum is closed on Mondays.
Prices: 1200 HUF (if you are from the EU and aged between 6-26 or 62-70 you can get a 50% discount). Temporary exhibition prices start at 1200 HUF, and if you buy a ticket for a temp exhibition, you can go to the permanent exhibition free.
Tip for budget travelers: For individuals, the Museum of Fine Arts provide FREE guided tours in English in the Collection of Old Master Paintings from Tue to Fri at 11am & 2pm, on Sat at 11am. The Old Master Paintings are the core of the permanent exhibition (so the free guided tour excludes other collections and temp exhibitions, and guidance for groups, of course). More advanced guided tours need to be paid. But again, there are audio tours available for 1000 HUF (both perm and temp, flexible route)! You can listen to some samples here (e.g. Gauguin: The Black Pigs, Raffaello Santi: The Esterházy Madonna, Cézanne: The Buffet)

Budapest Museum of Fine Arts Szepmuveszeti Muzeum download audio tour samples

Phone: 00-36 1 469 7100
Getting here:
metro (yellow line): Hősök tere stop
trolley buses: 72
buses: 4, 30, 75, 79

Location of the Museum of Fine Arts on the Budapest Tourist Map:

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Permanent exhibitions in the Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest

Not only will you find here approx. 3,000 excellent foreign art works (especially Flemish, Dutch as well as Spanish, French, German paintings, graphics and statues ranging from the 13th to the 18th century etc.), but also valuable collections from the ancient times (Egyptian, Greek & Roman artifacts) displaying original works of the art of Hellas, Italy and Rome.

Temporary exhibitions in the Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest

To mention but a few of the temp exhibitions from the past few years: Van Gogh, Tiziano, the Incas, Hundertwasser, etc. If you drop by these days, you can see the Splendour of the Medici, Art and Life in Renaissance Florence (until May 18, 2008). Prices are very favorable (starting at 1200 HUF, and if you are under 26 or over 62, it will only cost you 600 HUF). Temp exhibitions were tremendous success, oftentimes tickets sold out, so you may wish to book your admission in advance.

Budapest Museum of Fine Arts Szepmuveszeti Muzeum full of foreign artworks like Cezanne Raffaello Gauguin

Children in the Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest

There are regular museum educational classes where art touches children through stories, dances, creative movement, dance, etc.- not boring! Also for kids between 5 and 7, who learn about Seasons, Colors and Shapes, Stories in Art and, of course, Animals. There’s even a summer camp! Most of these programs are in Hungarian (e.g. the Sat morning museum immersion classes), so please contact the Museum of Fine Arts for further details at Phone: 00-36-469 7180, Email to muzeumpedagogia@szepmuveszeti.hu.

History of the Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest

When Hungary was celebrating its 1000th birthday in 1896, the Hungarian Parliament passed a new law, which said that art collections scattered in different institutions were to be placed in the newly-established Museum of Fine Arts. The Museum of Fine Arts was designed by Albert Schickendanz and Fülöp Herzog, and it finally opened its gates in 1906 (inaugurated by I. Franz Joseph ). At that time, only plaster casts were available to illustrate the complete history of European sculpture. “It was for these life-size copy sculptures that the Doric, Ionic, Romanesque, Renaissance and Baroque halls on the ground floor were designed, imitating the styles of individual periods of art history,” writes Szilvia Bodnár. Over the years, the number of original works increased, so the plaster sculptures were out, and the ground floor galleries are now used to display exhibitions of the Classical Antiquities and of 19th century paintings & sculptures, Renaissance frescoes & fountains, the Prints and Drawings Gallery & the Marble and Baroque halls. During WW2, the Museum of Fine Arts was heavily damaged (only opened again in 1949) and many of the finest works were taken out of the country in order to save them.

Museum Quiz: Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest

  • Who is at the top of the entrance gate?
  • Who painted The Sermon of St. John the Baptist?
  • Who painted this portrait and who is the Petrarch-follower depicted on the oil canvas?

museum quiz of the museum of fine arts budapest

  • When was this painting made?

museum quiz 2 of the museum of fine arts budapest

  • How many El Greco paintings can you see in the museum?
  • Which collection is the basis of the world-renowned Old Painters Gallery and when was it bought?

Please don’t spoil the quiz by writing the answers in the comments. Thank you. Drop Anna a mail if any of the answers bug you at LuxuryBudapest [@] gmail [dot] com.