It’s that time of the year again, when even the birds seem to be celebrating love. If you are here for Valentine’s Day, then Budapest is just the right city to be around this most romantic occasion. Candlelit dinners, fancy cocktails and blooming flowers await couples around the Hungarian capital on 14 February. But you can also visit any of the city’s postcard-superstar landmarks to snap a happy selfie, even if you are single and ready to mingle.
Enjoy a romantic Valentine’s dinner
Budapest restaurants offer select specialities to guests on all budgets for Valentine’s Day. If you want to go the whole nine yards, then you can enjoy fine Hungarian gastronomy served on delicate porcelain at the historic Gundel (19,900 forints) or book a table at a stellar hotel for a romantic repast – the Hilton, Corinthia, Kempinski, Four Seasons, InterContinental and Sofitel all pamper the taste buds for Valentine’s.
But you don’t have to break the bank in the name of love. Several cosy restaurants await guests with a budget-friendly menu for February 14th. The three-course selection at Paletta is inspired by fine Balaton cuisine (5,300 forints), Macesz Bistro serves scallops, chicken and beef (6,900 forints), while Déryné offers a fish-based, meaty and a vegan menu spread (9,800 forints) for lovebirds.
Buy fragrant flowers
On Valentine’s Day, you’ll see men across Budapest carrying tulips, roses and lilies to offer them to the woman they adore. It’s a blooming day for the flower stores, with a wide range of scented merchandise citywide. Overlooking Parliament on Kossuth tér, Café Smúz pairs petals and bouquets with colourful cakes. At the gateway to party central, Arioso is a paradise for pastel-hued plants, while the Wild Flower Bar is where every girl could spend hours. On a quieter stretch of restaurant-lined Ráday utca, Jutka Virág has been creating sumptuous bouquets for decades.
If you want to say it with roses, blooms are elegantly displayed in round-shaped paper boxes and offered at The Million Roses on Buda’s Batthyány utca. Last-minute Valentines should head to Jászai Mari tér, where a pair of round-the-clock flower kiosks offer many a variety of this deep red symbol of love. And if you are not yet taken, who says that you can’t gift a flower to someone special?
Drink a love potion at a bar
Budapest has all kinds of drinking destinations that concoct potions for this special day, ones that will surely make you fall in love – if not with each other, then at least with the cocktail. At the panoramic Corso Bar, you can enjoy little finger food with divine glasses of champagne – the most romantic beaus can order the bartenders’ secret drink, which is said to be a confession of love in itself. The Blue Fox Bar within the Kempinski Hotel teaches the language of love with crafted cocktails (their recommendation is “Beloved”). Their four-course menu (59,980 forints) includes goose-liver terrine, seared scallops, lamb fillet with Jerusalem artichokes and Kaiserschmarren with strawberry and vanilla ice cream – plus free-flow Taittinger Champagne.
The Sofitel Hotel’s Paris Budapest Bar awaits with creative cocktails concocted especially for this special day, as well as with '#heartmelting' desserts. KOLLÁZS at the Four Seasons Hotel presents cocktails on a plate: for their themed four-course dinner (19,900 forints), each dish will be inspired by a classic cocktail. Live music plays from 8pm. In the meantime, under the hotel’s glass cupola, couples can savour classic cocktails created for him or for her, served in state-of-the-art Varga Crystal glasses.
And if you just need somewhere quiet to cosy up with a drink for an intimate chat, check out our recent article with loads of options to choose from.
Explore the city together
One of the world’s most romantic destinations, Budapest is full of panoramic selfie spots and intimate locations. The Danube and its pretty bridges, the hills of Buda and the grandiose Habsburg façades of Pest provide the perfect playground for any couple to explore. Tiny bus 27 winds its way up to Citadella for the finest vista of Budapest from atop Gellért Hill. The vantage point just below the statue of Lady Liberty is a popular one for wedding photos. Wrap up warm, though!
If the journey’s the thing, then you can cuddle up on the Cogwheel Railway, the Children’s Railway or the Chairlift and take in the hilly wintry landscapes as they unfold all around you. For something more active, ice skating at City Park is backdropped by the Disneyesque Vajdahunyad Castle, the Rudas Baths have a panoramic jacuzzi attached and couples love the Valyo mobile sauna, the most fun you can have with your swimsuit still on. Warm up and relax à deux as the Danube flows beneath Rákóczi Bridge right beside you.