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  • Writer's pictureIvanally Travel and More

November Nooks and Cozy Crannies: Embracing Budapest's Late Autumnal Charm

Updated: Feb 4

Helló and welcome to Budapest!

As the vibrant colors autumn start giving space to flickering Christmas lights, when the air takes on a chilly crispness, Budapest transforms into a realm of enchantment during late autumn. The Hungarian capital, with its rich history and stunning architecture, puts on a captivating show that beckons travelers to explore its hidden treasures.

A Tapestry of Golden Leaves

Late autumn in Budapest paints the city in shades of gold. The lush parks and tree-lined boulevards, which once glistened with summer greenery, now boast a tapestry of golden leaves that rustle gently in the cool breeze. As you stroll along its paths, the fallen leaves crunching beneath your feet, you'll be surrounded by nature's own masterpiece.

Thermal Baths

When the summer sunshine becomes nothing more than a memory, Budapest's thermal baths become even more inviting. The city is famous for its historic and rejuvenating bathhouses, and late autumn is the perfect time to experience their warmth and relaxation.

During my trip, I had the chance to explore some thermal baths, here is my top three:

  1. Rudas Baths: Ottoman Tranquility Step into Rudas Baths, where centuries-old Ottoman architecture meets modern wellness. The octagonal pool beneath a stunning dome takes you back in time, providing a unique and rejuvenating experience in the heart of Budapest.

  2. Gellért Baths: A Grand Soak in History Immerse yourself in the elegance of Gellért Baths, housed in a stunning Art Nouveau building. Indulge in thermal pools surrounded by intricate mosaics, and let the rich history of this iconic Budapest establishment enhance your relaxation.

  3. Széchenyi Baths: Thermal Oasis in City Park Bask in the opulence of Széchenyi Baths, set in the heart of City Park. With its vast outdoor pools, iconic yellow buildings, and a lively atmosphere, it's the perfect blend of relaxation and social enjoyment under the open sky. 💡 these baths get pretty crowded - I suggest visiting in the morning for a more relaxing experience.

Cozy Cafés and Pastries

Hungarian cuisine truly shines in late autumn. Budapest's cozy cafés beckon you to savor a cup of rich coffee, perhaps accompanied by a slice of creamy Dobos torte or the fluffy layers of a chimney cake. Warm up at Gerbeaud Café, an institution in the city, or venture to smaller, lesser-known cafés where you can savor traditional Hungarian sweets. Budapest's culinary delights are a symphony of flavors that will warm your soul on chilly days.

Graffiti around the city of Budapest

Historical Charm

Budapest's historical charm is ever-present, and late autumn allows you to explore its storied past without the summer crowds. The Great Market Hall, an architectural gem of wrought iron and glass, is a bustling place to sample Hungarian delicacies, from spicy sausages to pickled vegetables.

Prince of Buda and Princess of Pest statue

Embracing the Quiet

One of the most magical aspects of late autumn in Budapest is the sense of tranquility that descends upon the city. The pace of life slows, and the streets and parks become quieter, allowing for introspection and peaceful exploration. It's a time when you can wander the charming neighborhoods, like the historic Jewish Quarter, at your own leisure, discovering hidden courtyards and quaint bookshops.

In Budapest's late autumn, the city's layers of history, culture, and natural beauty come together in a mesmerizing fusion. It's a time when you can savor the city's culinary delights, immerse yourself in its thermal baths, and explore its hidden corners without the summer crowds. The golden hues of fall, the warm glow of historic landmarks, and the rich tapestry of Hungarian traditions create an unforgettable journey through a city that truly comes alive in the waning days of the year. So, embrace Budapest's late autumn charm and let the magic of this season enchant your heart and soul.

Ivankally standing in front of the hungarian parliament

What not to miss

  • Parliament: Marvel at the stunning architecture of the Hungarian Parliament, a grand landmark situated on the banks of the Danube River.

  • Castle District: Explore the historic Castle District, home to Buda Castle, offering breathtaking views of the city and a glimpse into Budapest's rich past.

  • Fisherman's Bastion: Visit Fisherman's Bastion, an enchanting terrace offering panoramic views of Budapest. Admire its fairytale-like architecture and picturesque setting.

  • Coffee Culture: Immerse yourself in Budapest's vibrant coffee culture. Enjoy a cup of coffee in one of the city's charming cafes, experiencing the local love for this beloved beverage.

  • Food Exploration: Indulge in Budapest's diverse culinary scene. Sample traditional Hungarian dishes, explore local markets, and savor the flavors that make Hungarian cuisine unique.

    • Hungary's love affair with paprika is a culinary tale that deserves more than just a passing mention; it warrants an entire blog post dedicated to its rich and fiery essence. As the vibrant photos below showcase, paprika isn't just an ingredient in Hungarian cuisine – it's the heartbeat, the soul, and the vibrant hue that paints the country's culinary canvas. Each region boasts its unique blend, adding layers of flavor to iconic dishes like goulash and chicken paprikash. The allure of paprika transcends the kitchen, weaving into Hungary's cultural identity and daily life. It's not just an ingredient; it's a story, a tradition, and a vibrant celebration of Hungary's culinary prowess.

Budapest's Café Chronicles: Where Coffee and Culture Coexist

In the heart of Budapest, coffee culture is more than just a daily ritual; it's a cherished tradition. As you wander the charming streets of this enchanting city, you'll find that Budapest's cafes are more than just places to grab a quick caffeine fix; they are destinations where time slows down, and culture takes center stage.

The city's coffee houses, steeped in history, tell stories of poets, artists, and intellectuals who found inspiration in the comforting embrace of a cup of coffee. From the grandeur of New York Café, an opulent palace of artistic gatherings, to the quirky and artsy atmosphere of Szimply, where minimalist design meets maximalist flavor, Budapest's cafes offer a diverse range of experiences.

It's not just about sipping coffee; it's about the ambiance. The classic kávéház with its marble-topped tables and plush velvet chairs exudes elegance, while the ruin pubs repurpose derelict spaces into cozy nooks for creative minds to gather.

Budapest's coffee culture is an art, a conversation, and a connection. The city's cafe culture perfectly captures the spirit of this enchanting destination, where time-honored traditions blend seamlessly with modern creativity.

So, whether you're seeking artistic inspiration, a moment of tranquility, or simply a delightful brew, Budapest's cafes invite you to savor not just coffee but the very essence of the city itself.

My top 5 cafes

Budapest is indeed known for its rich coffee culture, and you can find a variety of cafes to suit your taste. Here's my top 5 cafes in the city:

  • New York Café: Located in the Boscolo Budapest Hotel, the New York Café is often dubbed "the most beautiful café in the world." Its ornate, gilded interior and historic ambiance make it a must-visit for its opulence and grandeur.

  • Gerbeaud Café: This iconic cafe has been a Budapest institution since 1858. Located on Vörösmarty Square, it offers a wide selection of coffee, pastries, and traditional Hungarian cakes in a classic, elegant setting.

  • Fekete (Black): For a more modern and local experience, Fekete is a hidden gem in Budapest's District V. It's a tiny cafe known for its excellent coffee, minimalist design, and friendly service.

  • My Little Melbourne: Tucked away from the bustling tourist areas, My Little Melbourne is a specialty coffee shop with a passion for quality. It's a favorite among locals and coffee enthusiasts for its well-crafted brews and laid-back vibe.

  • Espresso Embassy: Located in the city center, Espresso Embassy is a welcoming space for coffee aficionados. They take their coffee seriously, offering a variety of specialty brews, and often host barista championships.

While New York Café and Gerbeaud Café are more well-known and attract tourists due to their historical significance, Fekete, My Little Melbourne, and Espresso Embassy are cherished by locals and offer a more contemporary and authentic Budapest coffee experience.

Warming up with a hot cup of tea at Zileat

Steps and Surprises: A Trek from Fisherman's Bastion to the Citadella Odyssey

Embarking on what seemed like a casual stroll from the iconic Fisherman's Bastion to the formidable Citadella in Budapest, little did I know that I was about to experience a journey filled with unexpected ups and downs – quite literally.

The map indicated a seemingly short distance between the two landmarks, and with the sun shining brightly overhead, I confidently set off on what I envisioned to be a leisurely walk. As I made my way down the cobbled streets, the panoramic views of the Danube River and the city below were a picturesque prelude to the adventure awaiting me.

However, what appeared deceptively close on the map turned into a hilly escapade of epic proportions. The ascent began innocently enough as I approached Gellért Hill, where the majestic Statue of Liberty (that I indeed noticed only on the way down - and by that I mean once I was far from the hill... that's what I get fir keeping my eyes glued to google maps) stood sentinel over the city. Little did I anticipate the hundreds of steep steps that lay ahead, each one unveiling a new layer of Budapest's topography.

With every step, the cityscape unfolded in breathtaking beauty, but the sheer incline of the terrain made me realize that this was no ordinary stroll. The Fisherman's Bastion, once a charming starting point, now seemed like a distant memory as I ascended higher and higher into the hills. The map, my trusty guide, suddenly felt like a mischievous accomplice, luring me into a cardiovascular challenge.

As I approached the Citadella, the panoramic view of Budapest below was awe-inspiring, but my legs were certainly feeling the strain of the unexpected vertical journey. The charming walk had morphed into a wrecking trip, and I couldn't help but chuckle at the irony of underestimating the city's topography.

While the journey may have been more challenging than anticipated, the sense of accomplishment upon reaching the Citadella was unparalleled. Slightly breathless, I stood atop Gellért Hill, taking in the stunning vistas of Budapest that stretched before me, feeling both humbled and triumphant.

The lesson learned? In Budapest, appearances can be deceiving. The seemingly short distances on the map may transform into a trek of unexpected elevations. So, next time you plan a stroll in this city of hills, be sure to double-check the topography – for a casual walk can quickly become a memorable adventure of ascents, descents, and the surprising beauty of Budapest's hidden perspectives.

Ivanka approving the view from the Citadel


Budapest has a vibrant bar scene, and there are options to suit various tastes.

  • Szimpla Kert: Szimpla Kert is one of Budapest's famous ruin pubs, known for its eclectic and artsy atmosphere. It's a labyrinth of rooms, each with its unique decor and vibe. While it attracts tourists, it's a must-visit for its creativity and nightlife scene.

  • Ráday Street: This street in Budapest is lined with many charming bars and cafes. It's a popular spot among locals and has a variety of options, from cozy wine bars to trendy cocktail lounges.

  • Kisüzem: Tucked away in District VIII, Kisüzem is a more local and alternative option. It's known for its live music, art exhibitions, and laid-back ambiance.

  • Eleszto Craft Beer Bar: If you're a fan of craft beer, Eleszto is a fantastic choice. They offer a wide selection of local and international craft beers, and it's a favorite among beer enthusiasts.

  • For Sale Pub: The For Sale Pub is a unique and somewhat quirky pub known for its eclectic decor, with banknotes and notes left by previous visitors covering the walls. It's less touristy than some other options.

These bars offer a diverse range of experiences, from the iconic ruin pub Szimpla Kert to the more local and artsy spots like Kisüzem. Whether you're looking for a lively atmosphere or a more intimate setting, Budapest's bar scene has something for everyone.

Fun facts

  • City of Spas: Budapest is often referred to as the "City of Spas" due to its abundance of thermal baths. The city is situated on a geological fault that allows over 100 natural thermal springs to flow, resulting in an array of beautiful and historic bathhouses, including the famous Széchenyi and Gellért Baths.

  • Two Cities in One: Budapest was originally two separate cities, Buda and Pest, each on opposite sides of the Danube River. The unification of these two cities took place in 1873, forming the modern Budapest. Each side has its own distinct character and charm.

  • Chain Bridge and Count Szechenyi: The iconic Chain Bridge, one of Budapest's most famous landmarks, was designed by English engineer William Tierney Clark and later financed by Hungarian Count István Széchenyi. As the story goes, the Count wanted to create a bridge to connect Buda and Pest and invested his family fortune in the project.

  • Cats: Budapest is home to some quirky small graffiti depicting black cats. On crowded roads and on railings and walls, these black shadows will join you in your exploration of the city.

  • The Land of Ruin Bars: Budapest boasts an array of "ruin pubs" like Szimpla Kert, which are famous for their eclectic, mismatched decor, graffiti-covered walls, and salvaged furniture. These unique bars are often set in abandoned buildings and courtyards.

  • A Toast to the Chain Bridge: It's a local superstition that making a toast with water is bad luck. So when you're raising your glass in Budapest, it's customary to clink glasses with something stronger, like wine or palinka, a traditional fruit brandy.

Take home a piece of Hungary

When visiting Hungary, you'll find a wide variety of unique and delightful souvenirs to bring back home. Here are some of the best souvenirs from Hungary:

  • Porcelain: Herend and Zsolnay are renowned Hungarian porcelain brands known for their intricate designs and high quality. A porcelain trinket, figurine, or tableware makes for a classy souvenir.

  • Embroidery: Traditional Hungarian embroidery is famous for its vibrant colors and intricate patterns. You can find embroidered items like clothing, tablecloths, and decorative pieces.

  • Paprika: Hungary is famous for its paprika, which comes in various forms, from sweet to hot. A decorative paprika tin or a bag of authentic Hungarian paprika is a flavorful souvenir.

  • Books and Music: Hungarian literature and music have made significant contributions to world culture. A book by a Hungarian author or traditional Hungarian music can be great souvenirs.

These souvenirs not only capture the essence of Hungarian culture but also make for memorable and unique gifts or mementos of your visit to this fascinating country.

Getting to Budapest

Getting to Budapest, the capital of Hungary, is relatively easy as it's a major European city with well-established transportation options. Here's how you can get to Budapest:

  • By Air: Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport (BUD): This is the main international gateway to Budapest. The airport is well-connected to various destinations in Europe and beyond. You can book a flight to BUD from your nearest international airport.

  • By Train: Budapest is well-connected by train to many European cities. The Keleti (Eastern) Railway Station, Nyugati (Western) Railway Station, and Déli (Southern) Railway Station are the main train stations in Budapest, serving international and domestic routes.

  • By Bus: Several international bus companies operate routes to Budapest from various European cities. The Kelenföld Bus Station is one of the main bus terminals in Budapest.

  • By Car: If you're coming from neighboring European countries, you can reach Budapest by car. Major highways connect Budapest with Vienna, Bratislava, and other nearby cities.

  • By River Cruise: Budapest is a popular stop for river cruises along the Danube River. Many cruise lines offer itineraries that include Budapest as a port of call.

Once you arrive in Budapest, the city has an efficient public transportation system, including trams, buses, and a metro.

🏨 Accomodation

Certainly, here are three diverse accommodation options in Budapest:

  • Historical and Luxurious Hotel - Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace: This exquisite 5-star hotel is housed in a meticulously restored Art Nouveau building overlooking the Danube River. It offers opulent rooms, impeccable service, and stunning views of the Chain Bridge and Buda Castle.

  • Middle-Range and Modern Hotel - Hotel Parlament: Hotel Parlament is a contemporary and stylish 4-star hotel located in the heart of Budapest, near the Hungarian Parliament Building. It offers comfortable and modern rooms, making it an excellent choice for travelers seeking a mid-range option with a central location.

  • Hostel - Hostel One: Hostel One is known for its vibrant and social atmosphere. Located in the heart of the city, it offers budget-friendly accommodations with a focus on creating a community among travelers. The hostel often organizes events and activities, making it easy for guests to meet fellow travelers and explore Budapest together.

These three options cater to various preferences, from luxurious and historical accommodations to a modern mid-range hotel and a vibrant hostel for social travelers.

Personal tips

🍽️ My favourite restaurant in Budapest has to be Retek Bisztro. With its heartwarming dishes, friendly and welcoming staff it truly feels like eating with family. The ambiance is truly special - modern allure and familiar vintage pieces adorn each corner of this beautiful restaurant. Prices are a little above average.

🏨 Hotel Astoria, a classic Budapest landmark, is a captivating blend of history and modernity. Its iconic facade and Art Nouveau charm invite guests into a world where tradition meets contemporary comfort. Located in the heart of the city, it's the perfect base to explore Budapest's treasures. With a touch of nostalgia, I had the pleasure of experiencing its timeless allure during my stay. Prices are middle range.

☕️ Vivina café is a cute locally owned café in downtown Budapest. The calm and familiar vibes are the best way to start the day in a warm environment.

Insider tips

💡 Hungarian, known as "Magyar," is the official language of Hungary. It is a unique and distinct language, part of the Finno-Ugric language family, making it quite different from its European neighbors.

💡 The currency of Hungary is the Hungarian Forint (HUF), represented by the symbol "Ft." Hungary's currency is a reflection of its national identity and has a history dating back to the Middle Ages.

🗺️Italian, French, German and Hungarian cuisine meet in the cosmopolitan city of Budapest. Taste some turikish coffe and have a chimney cake while exploring rococo buildings and visiting classical buildings like the parliament!

Ciao, e al prossimo viaggio!

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