“All right, let’s meet at…” – everyone can complete this sentence with their favorite meeting place in Budapest, whether it’s for a date, catching up with a friend, a package delivery, or to give back some lost-and-found sunglasses. We rounded up the most popular transportation hubs in Hungary’s capital, where if you agree to meet someone there, you surely won’t be the only one standing around waiting.
Although we didn’t rank these meeting spots, if we did, the clock at Nyugati Square – across the street from Nyugati Railway Station – would probably be on top of the list, as urban dwellers of Budapest have been using this place to meet with one another since the 1970s. The square underwent numerous renovations and refurbishments; the last one of these was in 2015, when they added a fountain, benches, and the upgraded rotating clock with LED panels, which shows not only the time, but also the temperature and occasional announcements.
This spot is so popular for meetings that it was the inspiration for a song by the renowned Hungarian band Republic. Although the song mentions a girl who stands in front of Jégbüfé with an ice cream in hand, we don’t know who she was waiting for. However, the iconic Jégbüfé confectionery that Republic sang of closed last year after 63 years of service – but fortunately it reopened just a few steps away on Petőfi Sándor Street, so now, the girl from the song can wait there. Or watch the people passing by on the street, as everyone else does here.
For some reason, meetings in Budapest are quite frequently arranged to begin in front of fast-food restaurants, maybe because they are easy to find. Burger King at Oktogon was recently renewed, and people often gather there so that they can easily continue on their way aboard the tram on Grand Boulevard, or to stroll toward the bars of District VII. In winter, when it’s cold outside, people often go in for a hot coffee, or to enjoy the free Wi-Fi warmth.
This Lutheran Church is a historic city-center landmark, but it’s mostly noticed because of the people waiting by the stairs here; since three of the city’s metro lines meet at downtown Deák Square, this is a convenient crossroads for everyone citywide. Because of that, there are many things going on here all the time, making this a good spot to pick if you are meeting a friend who is always late – musicians, street performers, and weird fellows gather here, where the clock of the church jingles a melody at the top of each hour. Instead of looking at our watch and cursing our tardy chum, we can entertain ourselves by admiring all the characters while looking from left to right.
The two most popular meeting places on Móricz are probably tied; one of them is the round Gomba (meaning “Mushroom”)building which was finally renovated in recent years, while the other is the fast-food restaurant with the golden arches. Due to current construction projects, the area is a bit chaotic at the moment, so it seems like less people are waiting around McDonald’s – but from this point, anyone waiting to meet someone can monitor all of the BKK lines in the area.
The largest building of the square can’t be missed whether it’s bright or dark, and not even when one is intoxicated with love, or alcohol. It’s a great starting point to visit one of the hangouts on Ráday Street, although Mikszáth Square and its comfy nooks are also close by. And if one runs out of cash, there are plenty of ATMs around.
Here we are in another neighborhood in front of a fast-food restaurant once again. The hotel across the street was a venue for a famous Hungarian movie, in which the prime minister has an affair, which is a bad sign for secret flings taking place there. Young people are more likely to meet up here by the Home of the Whopper, as the very popular Könyvtár Klub, favored by students of ELTE, is just a few meters away from here.
The subway at Blaha Lujza Square
Blaha Lujza Square is a very divisive place, to put it mildly – it isn’t one of the most popular or charming of meeting places, especially at night and at dawn. For this reason, people usually gather in front of the stairs leading to the subway, if they must meet up for a soccer match (at the old Puskás Stadion) or a concert (Sportaréna), or to go to the cinema, or go shopping in the nearby mall.
This clock – or rather, its predecessor – is one that’s even more legendary than the one at Nyugati Square. For generations dating back to Hungary’s communist era (when this plaza was called Moszkva tér, meaning Moscow Square), the central clock atop a metal post was the most iconic meeting point of Buda, but when the renamed square was refurbished in recent years, the clock was removed to be placed in a city museum. However, a new concrete clock tower was placed in the same place – with an image of the old clock gracing its side – so this is now becoming an equally popular meeting point.