Sundays in Budapest are time for farmers and designer markets. Traffic is not that heavy and locals lazily get out for a brunch and coffee, go to public baths and walk in the parks. Nothing reminds of the crazy Friday night and residents of party districts can enjoy their sleep. Follow our guide for a relaxed day in the city.
On weekdays, Szimpla is a ruin bar with noisy parties that drive residents of neighboring houses crazy. On Sundays, the place is a common overcrowded market. Here you will find fresh pastry, honey, home-made cheese, all kinds of Hungarian sausages with mangalica, fruits and vegetables, special pesto Budapesto, a large stall with salted foods, paprikash in cans and a gigantic tun with goulash boiling since morning. Bumper crowds of expats throng the stalls and don't miss a single market Sunday.
Cafe Vian serves traditional Hungarian meals with some particular French chic. You will find here goose drumstick, local foie gras, an extensive breakfast and brunch menu, in-house coffee and a number of seasonal dishes. There used to be a petrol station and auto parts store on shady Liszt Ferenc Square. Today, it has more cafes and restaurants per square meter than any other place in the city. The trees have grown up and cover the whole square from the sun. The monument to the composer Liszt stands in the middle of the square with dishevelled stone hair and gigantic fingers.
Gozsdu udvar is virtually a huge food court in the centre of the city. A passage connecting Kiraly and Dob streets is composed of seven houses and six courtyards forming a long pass. A transverse line from Kazinczy street to Small Boulevard Károly körút crosses the passage. This is a vast pedestrian zone in the form of a cross on a treasure map. The right place for true walkers. You will find everything here - small cafes, beer restaurants, trendy bars, Thai, Jewish, Japanese, Hungarian, vegetarian cuisine and spaghetti-bars. On Friday and Saturday, Gozsdu udvar and its surroundings are an all-night party. On Sundays, a design bazar is organized here.
The place used to be an apple of discord between neighboring Hungary and Romania. Both countries thought they were entitled to the passage. Emanuil Gojdu was a famous lawyer of Romanian origin considering himself a Hungarian. He always supported any initiatives that could promote friendship between two countries. He awarded scholarships to Romanian students in Budapest and supported cultural events. Gojdu invested his own money in the city's development. The passage named after Gojdu was built in 1904 after he died. Today, friendship seems to have won and Gozdu udvar is operated by Gojdu Hungarian and Romanian Foundation.
First bathhouses in the area of today's Lukács were built by the knights of the order of Saint John in the 12th century. For many centuries, baths were used for treatment of wounded and ill. In the 16th century, Turks conquered Buda and built here bathhouses with carved tracery and a water-mill to produce gunpowder. When Austrians conquered Buda back, the place fell into decay. A clever commercial move saved the situation. At the end of the 19th century, the Palotai family bought the baths after finding a considerable fortune in selling healing water. During that period, Lukács acquired its today's appearance - a large beautiful mansion with a cozy courtyard. The place also features a treatment centre with a hotel, pools, saunas, massage halls and steam houses. Unfortunately, no traces of centuries-old history of Lukács can be found here today. By the 1920s, the last Turkish tracery vanished and the interior became just like it looks today - comfortable and simple. Locals frequent the place, which now also has a Finnish sauna with an ice barrel and roof exit. Many types of massage are available here.
Gül Baba Türbe és Rózsakert Budapest
Buda used to be an important point for Turks - further territories could be conquered from here. They destroyed much more than built, turning churches to mosques. However, you'll discover wonderful bathhouses here with arch domes. Visit Király and Rudas to be sure that Turks enjoyed themselves in Buda.
It is also worth climbing Gül Baba utca to see a nice garden with a fascinating view of the city. Turks turned the place into a mausoleum of dervish Gül Baba's (Father of Roses in English), who arrived in Buda in 1541 to be in charge of local religious life but died almost right away. There are two versions of this. The famous dervish either died during a prayer of thanks to the Turks' victory or was killed at the siege of Buda. Any way, his funeral was flamboyant. A small garden round the mausoleum proves the point. There is no city fuss here. You may just relax in the shadow of flowering trees, drink from the murmuring fountain and see the city from the above.
After catching your breath, continue ascending the hill. This is a fashionable district Rózsadomb with villas and small apartment houses with gardens. There are no tourists here, while locals are considered to be very wealthy people.
Margitkert is one of the oldest city's restaurants. From 1780, authentic Hungarian dishes have been served here. On the menu you will find goose drumstick, mangalica, foie gras, thick soups, soups with paprika, local wines and traditional desserts made of chestnuts. The design of the place is rather minimalist, but the atmosphere is cosy and the meals are really filling. On the walls hang pictures of prominent locals, recollections of whom seem to give no rest for the hospitable owners.