The latest edition of our “Best of Budapest” series takes a look at some of the best places to spend a relaxing afternoon in the Hungarian capital, from rooftop bars to beaches and from confectioneries to Margaret Island.
Pontoon, which calls itself the ‘Seaside of the city’, is a fusion of a party-chill-concert spot and a beach. Located right at the bridgehead of the Chain bridge in downtown Budapest it is a perfect place to drink a wine and grab a snack at the end of a tiring work day, but on the weekends, they are waiting customers with live music and parties as well. The bar opened with a five-day mini festival at the end of April, but don’t worry, they have several exciting programs in the coming months as well. There’s a great view of the Buda side of the capital, including the Buda Castle and the Fisherman’s Bastion, and it is ideally situated next to the most beautiful bridge of Budapest and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in the background.
Római part (Roman shore)
No summer in Hungary is complete without the usual nostalgic trio of lángos, fried hake and ice-cream on the beach. One of the loveliest beaches of Budapest is probably the Római part (which translates to Roman shore), an area filled with restaurants, bars, shops and beach food eateries. It’s a bit outside of the city center, close to the suburban railway’s Római fürdő stop, but visitors can also take the BKV boat here. It is a great place for sunbathing and swimming, and you can also sit in one of the many restaurants and bars here sunbathing and drinking a cold beer – the best of which is Fellini Kultúrbisztró with its striped chairs, live music, and great food and wine.
Located on the World Heritage site Andrássy street, one of Budapest’s main shopping streets, filled with cafes, restaurants, Embassies and luxury boutiques, 360 Bar offers one of the most beautiful views of downtown Budapest and the Buda Hills. The rooftop terrace can be accessed from the former Párizsi Nagyáruház (Paris Department Store) via lift. Sipping an extravagant cocktail and watching the sunset surrounded by a 360° panorama of Budapest is an unforgettable experience. Aria Hotel’s rooftop bar, High Note SkyBar also offers a breathtaking view of the city, and especially of the Basilica’s dome. The rooftop terrace of Corvin Club, above Blaha Lujza square, is a great alternative as well. It was the first rooftop bar in Downtown Budapest, with a bar, and an open-air cinema with classic and new films.
Bartók Béla Boulevard
Following in the footsteps of Kosztolányi, Karinthy, Móricz and other great figures of Hungarian literature and coffeehouse culture, the next place on this list is Bartók Béla Boulevard, which in the recent years has once again become one of Budapest’s cultural hubs. The street is filled with small galleries, such as Faur Zsófi and Gross Arnold’s, vintage cafés, and new additions like Hadik, Szatyor and Kelet, and Spanish breakfast-tapas place La Nube. The newest spot on this bustling street is BÉLA, which is the fusion – and abbreviation – of bar, restaurant, apartment and botanical garden, where you can enjoy a nice meal, a cocktail, or a craft beer. The Boulevard hosts its own mini-festival twice each year, “Eleven Spring” and “Eleven Fall”, which are both worth a visit as well.
Émile is a restaurant, confectionery and pastry shop, located in a beautiful villa, built in the 1920’s, in Pasarét, on the Buda side of the capital. The place is named after legendary confectioner Émile Gerbeaud, and is a reference to its partner-institution, the Gerbeaud Confectionery of Pest. Its garden is the perfect place to enjoy a coffee, a classic Gerbeaud or Dobos cake, or even a frozen mango margarita outside the busy city centre in a friendly atmosphere. Émile also offers breakfast, and during the summer months has a barbecue with live music on Friday evenings.
Margit sziget (Margaret Island)
Margaret Island is located in the middle of the Danube River, between the Árpád and Margaret bridges, and alongside the Városliget (City Park) it is the most popular leisure spot in the capital. If you would like to go for a picnic, Margaret Island’s Nagy-rét is the best place for it. The Island is also great for active leisure: you can play football and badminton here, swim at the Alfréd Hajós Swimming pool or Palatinus, or run around the island on the so-called ‘Island Round’ or ‘Margaret Round’’, a renovated running track which is 5.3 km long. During the summer, Margaret Island also hosts some of the Budapest Summer Festival Events, not to mention its hidden treasures, the Zoo, Japanese garden, music fountain and medieval ruins. If you would rather stay in downtown Budapest, however, the Károlyi garden is a somewhat quieter place, close to Astoria and to some nice cafés, bars and breakfast spots, such as Csendes and Zoska.
via emile.hu, pontoonbudapest.com, 360bar.hu