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Cultural Treasures

Centuries-old churches and museums full of art, antiques and artifacts make Budapest a wonderful city to explore if you’re fascinated by European culture. And, thanks to plenty of fine dining and open spaces, you won’t find yourself in a museum-going rut. Budapest is, in a phrase, a paradise for lovers of art and culture. What’s more, returning each day to The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest will ensure you a good night’s rest before the next day’s adventure.

Day

1

MORNING
  • Join the Herd.

    Inspired by Australian coffeehouses, Goat Herder Espresso Bar serves locally roasted coffee in an atmosphere that’s both casual and chic. Plus, croissants, muesli, banana bread and freshly squeezed seasonal juices are available all day. Undoubtedly, you’ll want to return to this charming, sunny spot.

  • National Treasures.

    Since 1802, the Hungarian National Museum has documented the history, art and archaeology of the country, as well as regions — like Transylvania — beyond Hungary’s modern borders. The beautiful neoclassical building is accented with statues by Milanese sculptor Raffaele Monti. Its entry steps were featured in the film “Evita,” starring Madonna.

MIDDAY
  • River Walk.

    The Széchenyi Chain Bridge spans the Danube River between Buda and Pest, the western and eastern sides of Budapest. Cast from wrought iron and stone, the bridge opened Nov. 20, 1849, after the Hungarian Revolution and was designed by English engineer William Tierney Clark. During World War II, retreating Germans blew up the bridge in 1945, but it was rebuilt four years later. Today, visitors can walk the bridge and marvel in its beauty and broad views of the Danube.

  • Local Lunch.

    Experience authentic Hungarian cuisine at Mandragóra. This charming bistro is in a residential neighborhood and favored among locals and tourists alike. From goulash to wild boar and chicken paprikash, Mandragóra’s menu provides a wonderful entrée into the world of Hungarian cuisine.

AFTERNOON
  • God and Country.

    St. Stephan’s Basilica, or Szent István Bazilika, pays homage to Hungary’s first king, St. Stephan, and is the largest church in the country. It’s so large, in fact, that 8,500 people can fit inside the stunning neo-classical building at once. From the cupola, you’re treated to sweeping city views, and inside you’ll find Hungary’s most sacred treasure — the mummified right hand of St. Stephan, also known as the Szent Jobb, or Holy Right Hand.

  • One More Tour.

    Dohány Street Synagogue is the largest synagogue in Europe and the second largest synagogue in the world. Built between 1854 and 1859 in the Moorish revival style, the impressive building holds 3,000 people. Inside, the frescoes are made from golden geometric shapes — the work of famous Hungarian romantic architect Frigyes Feszl. Interestingly, both Franz Liszt and Camille Saint-Saëns both played the synagogue’s pipe organ, a rarity among synagogues.

EVENING
  • Comfort Food.

    Dinner at The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest’s Deák St. Kitchen means you’ll be able to unwind after a long day and enjoy lovingly curated Hungarian cuisine, as well as a few standbys. The restaurant focuses on fresh, local ingredients, and the dishes highlight the best of what’s in season. What’s more, this beloved grill also has an award-winning wine list and a resident mixologist who’d be happy to craft your favorite cocktail before or after dinner.

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Day

2

MORNING
  • Hip and Quick.

    Vinyl & Wood is part shop (specializing in goods made from recycled material) and part café. Here, you’ll find beautifully brewed lattes and light breakfast fare — try the Greek yogurt — in a hip, airy environment.

  • Modern Marvels.

    Trafó House of Contemporary Arts is a modern, multifunctional arts center that includes permanent exhibitions of contemporary art and experimental theater performances. The building in which it’s housed was once the electrical transformer station for south Pest. In fact, Trafó translates to “transformer.”

MIDDAY
  • Like a Monk.

    Modern, inviting and innovative, Monk’s Bistrot is a Budapest favorite. Top quality local ingredients, a friendly staff and dishes like scallops and risotto and smoked quail eggs make for a lovely midday experience. And the staff’s knowledge of Hungarian wines means that you might enjoy a glass or two before hitting the streets for more exploration.

AFTERNOON
  • Medieval Times.

    Budapest’s Castle District is loaded with historic sites and attractions, the Royal Palace and Matthias Church among them. It’s also where you’ll find numerous museums,
    along with crooked streets and a handful of cafés. Be sure to explore Buda Castle while you’re there, and enjoy views of the Danube and Chain Bridge.

  • Street Shopping.

    Váci Street is the most famous in Budapest, thanks to its many shops and restaurants. Although the street caters mostly to tourists, you’ll appreciate its spate of brands and its charming local bars.

EVENING
  • Evening Cruise.

    Book a Danube River dinner cruise to soak in the city lights from the water. These 2.5-hour tours typically depart around 7:30 p.m. and include an a la carte menu, live music and plenty of stunning views. Tours occur aboard a glass-encased boat, perfect for sightseeing. Book through the hotel’s concierge or online.

Day

3

MORNING
  • To Market.

    The Great Market Hall is the largest indoor market in all of Hungary. Its hundreds of stalls (on three levels) peddle pastries, spices, candies and caviar. You’ll even find fresh fruits and vegetables and a handful of souvenir stalls. Find breakfast at one of the in-market eateries, then wander the stalls, soaking in the sights and scents of traditional Hungary.

MIDDAY
  • Statuesque.

    In Heroes Square, you’ll find massive bronze statues that commemorate the seven tribal chieftains who once ruled Hungary, as well as monuments to kings, soldiers and
    politicians. While it is best to explore the square with a guide, you might also enjoy a stroll around the square on your own.

  • Lunch Alfresco.

    Sidewalk tables. Liget coffee. Small portions. Exceptional service. Városliget Café is perhaps one of Budapest’s best restaurants and is near Heroes Square. Linger over chicken paprikash while watching a stream of tourists and locals walk by. Should you decide on a lunchtime dessert, try the white chocolate pistachio cake.

AFTERNOON
  • Parliamentary Procedure.

    The Hungarian Parliament Building, on the banks of the Danube, is the seat of the National Assembly of Hungary and is the largest building in the country and the tallest building in Budapest. Built in the Gothic revival style, the building comprises a massive central dome flanked by two symmetrical wings. Its façade is embellished with statues of Hungarian leaders and famous military figures. Inside, you’ll find ornamental stairs, displayed artifacts — like the holy crown of Hungary — and beautiful frescoes.

  • Take a Bath.

    Budapest is known as the city of spas — and for good reason. The Hungarian people have long practiced aqua therapy, and the city is home to a handful of public thermal baths. According to some estimates, there are approximately 1,000 natural spring water sources. After days of walking and touring, allow yourself to soak, relax and unwind.

EVENING
  • Celebrate.

    Wrap up your Hungarian adventure with dinner at Caviar & Bull. This unique restaurant, helmed by Chef Marvin Gauci, offers two degustation menus — contemporary and cosmopolitan. On the contemporary side, you’ll find things like sea bass iceberg flambé and seared Wagyu beef carpaccio. On the cosmopolitan side, flash-seared foie gras and lobster popcorn are among the innovative offerings. No matter to which side you lean, you won’t be disappointed — Caviar & Bull is a local favorite.