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Physicists, architects, painters – Hungary has produced some of the world’s leading names in almost every field of science and arts.
To provide a little inspiration, we’ve put together our own Cool List, suggesting where we think it’s best to sit outdoors, show you our favourite street art and where we found the best pizza in Budapest. All you have to do is tell us what you love about the city, submit your favourite places to Beefeater Gin via this link (Hungarian-only). This will get whittled down to shortlists of three, then you can vote on the coolest thing in town. Bottles of Beefeater gin are at stake!
If you are looking for a less bustle, head to Népsziget. Kabin is a super waterfront spot for cyclists, dogs, walkers, young and old alike. It’s ideal for sipping a spritzer or a lemonade when you’re on the move, and from noon, heavenly dishes await. Népsziget also holds other treasures, such as Filip at Zsilip utca 9, a community workshop set up on the site of a ship repair complex, where they even set up a flea market on Saturdays.
If you don't feel like moving out of the city centre, there’s no better choice than Pagony behind the Gellért Hotel. Renovated pools now feature tables and chairs where breakfast, lunch, dinner, dishes sourced from seasonal ingredients, lemonade, fine coffee and Czech beers, are served in a summery setting.
Not only in Pest, but also in Buda, you can find eye-catching works, such as in District XI, the wall at Bertalan Lajos utca 16 is decorated with a wonderful bird, created by Lídia Zsanna Zsuffa. At first, residents were a bit hesitant, but in the end they loved it so much a petition was also launched to keep the painting. This was duly signed by hundreds, so the bird still nests on the firewall today.
Returning to Pest, we should definitely talk about District VIII. Two works in Szigony utca evoke the golden age of Hungarian cartoons, scenes showing popular character Szaffi cover the wall at number 10, and the iconic figures of Macskafogó at number 8. The creation of this latter mural was also assisted by 0036mark, whose work around the city is well-known. The illustrator is famous for his cult mash-ups, in which he mixes popular fairy-tale figures of the '80s and '90s with famous film characters, so Hungarian figures Picur and the Vízipók can be found at the most unexpected parts of the city merged with Princess Leia of Star Wars and Spider-Man.
Adventuring out of the city centre, Budapest holds plenty of other secret places. For example in Zugló, hidden between the four-storey brick houses and a sports field, there’s a hidden green oasis, Hungary's first Japanese garden. This attraction is created around the traditional tea ceremony and is still used for relaxation to this day. The sense of slowing down is augmented by the lake system built around the garden, where Indian and Asian mandarin ducks casually paddle. The garden was founded by Márton Varga in 1928 and was visited three years later by the emperor’s third son, Prince Takamatsu and his new bride, touring Europe on their honeymoon.
Another favourite green oasis, and even lesser-known, is Molnár Island, hidden down the Soroksár stretch of the Ráckeve-Danube branch of the river. This wildly romantic natural getaway, which evokes the atmosphere of children’s adventure stories, is a world of possibilities: you can go hiking, cycling, rowing and fishing, or just feed the ducks, sit on a bench and admire the timeless scenery.
Our next favourite, the Halkakas fish bistro, is a completely different animal. You won’t find spicy Hungarian fish soup or catfish paprikash, but the basic ingredients come exclusively from home. Street-food wise, you’ll find exciting dishes such as the fishburger with classic french fries and coleslaw salad, and it’s also worth trying the catfish kebab, wrapped in tortilla bread.
Last but not least, we must mention the Bors GasztroBár, one of the 2012 pioneers of Budapest’s great street-food revolution. Combined with a bistro kitchen, it offers some of the best quality you’ll find in town, and you can also thank them for the introduction of takeaway soup in Budapest. They often play with soup and sandwich combinations, for example, it is worth sampling the Bounty cottage-cheese bar (yes, really!) dessert soup with Belgian chocolate drops, or the French Lady baguette with raspberry-and-red-onion jam and roast chicken.
Our other big favourite for views is Buda Castle but is there a better vista than simply looking from the battlements? Yes! The dome terrace of the Hungarian National Gallery is the highest point of Buda Castle. The dome hall on the third floor functions as an exhibition space, from where a narrow flight of stairs takes you up to the observation terrace. To enter, you just need a ticket for any of the museum’s current exhibitions. The HNG reopens on May 13 (Immunity Certificate required), so let’s hope everyone can enjoy the view soon.
Finally, it is worth heading a little further out, as there is a wonderful view of Budapest from the surrounding hills as well. One particular favourite in this category is the bunker on Fazekas Hill. The World War II memorial is a lesser-known attraction around Hűvösvölgy and the Children's Railway, the terminus a ten-minute walk away. Although you may find more beautiful excursions nearby, none will be more adventurous, with a rare landmark thrown in.
Now you choose!
it’s up to you to decide which are the coolest place in town – submit your favourites
to the Beefeater Gin Cool List (Hungarian-only), and then vote for the
place you like best out of the three finalists. Valuable prizes await!