It’s always great to read reviews and to learn about how much travellers enjoyed their tours with me. Here are a few ones from September.

FULL-DAY BUDAPEST TOUR BY CAR

Having Julia show us around Budapest was the experience of a lifetime. She was so knowledgeable, so interesting, and so much fun we didn’t want the tour to end. It is obvious that she loves her city, and her enthusiasm and insight made us love it too. I cannot recommend Julia more. She is a gem. Get her if you can. Richard E. U.S.A.

Thus was a fantastic tour by a Budapest local. Julia was an amazing guide…prompt, friendly, courteous and full of information about her hometown. She took us to a local hangout for a traditional lunch and to “off the beaten path” sights to see. Definitely recommend Julia….5+ stars!!!

DANUBE BEND TOUR BY CAR

Julia was an exellent tour guide.We would rate her a high 5 and recommend her without reservation.

What a real pleasure to meet Julia via her virtual tour of Budapest. My sister and i were introduced to the Buda side of Budapest and Julia did an amazing job of being our virtual tour guide. Her detailed knowledge of history and her city was excellent and we felt we were walking along with her on the tour. Plenty of time for questions and she is a beautiful person….thanks so much Julia ��

It was informative and interesting. Participants were positively surprised how good a virtual guided tour can be.

Rumbach street synagogue, one pillar of the famous synagogue triangle in Budapest was closed for renovation works for almost three years. From the 19th of July the synagogue is open for visitors, so that you can admire the interior of the building designed by Otto Wagner in the 1860’s.

The synagogue is of moorish architecture and surely you’ll be amazed by the abundance of colours: blue, purple and golden. There will be concerts, performances, exhibitions and conferences held in the building and you can also have some coffee and snack in the cafeteria.

I’m happy to show you the building when you book a Jewish Quarter walking tour with me.

 

The lake Balaton is the number one destination of Hungarians in the summer months. It’s the greatest freshwater lake in Central Europe and is famous for its wine regions, cute little villages, beautiful castles and of course the magnificent views over the lake.

You can book the tour or contact me for further details. I’ll make sure to include in the itinerary all the sights you would like to see.

Unfortunately the Great Synagogue (or as we call it the Dohány street Synagogue) is not yet open for visitors, however, we were fortunate enough to visit the building. It was unusually quiet and empty without the hundreds of tourists but it was a very special tour as you can see in the pictures. The synagogue will reopen in August and hopefully you’ll include a visit when you are in Beautiful Budapest.

Book the Jewish Quarter tour with me to explore all the sights and history of the Jewish Quarter of Budapest.

 

 

The golden age of the famous coffeehouses of Budapest was at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. However, we see now the renaissance of the coffeehouse and coffee culture. We try to see different coffeehouses on our foodie tours so that travellers can sample the best Hungarian coffee and cakes.

I’ve already posted about Central and Book cafés, although I should have started with Gerbeaud, as it’s the probably the most famous and known coffeehouse of Budapest.

The story of the Gerbeaud family is very impressive, Emile Gerbeaud, the French bonbonnier was invited to Budapest by Henrik Kugler, the owner of the very popular cake shop and coffeehouse on Vörösmarty square. Emile Gerbeaud’s contribution to the cake shop was a huge success, he invented and created a great assortment of bonbons that were sold in millions every year. He overtook the business and the Gerbeaud name became a highly renowned trademark not only in Budapest but all over the European continent.

The Gerbeaud Café was the ladies’ coffeehouse at the end of the 19th, beginning of the 20th century, meaning that young ladies frequented the place in the hope of finding a rich husband. Even now there are rumours and urban legends about how lady guest can give a secret sign if they are in search of a husband or a lover. Join my foodie tour if you’d like to know more about the details and this beautiful café of Budapest.

 

The monument was inaugurated in 2020, on the 100th anniversary of the Versailles Peace Treaty. I’ve been considering posting about this monument for quite a long time and the time has come to publish my opinion, as I’m getting a lot of question about it on my Virtual Tours.

As most of you know Hungary was one of the countries which were badly punished after WW1, we can discuss the fairness of the decision but it’s too late now, as it all happened 101 years ago. As a consequence Hungary lost 2/3 of its original territories and 1/3 of its ethnic Hungarian population. From the early 1920’s political leaders continuously searched for the revision of the treaty, that was actually one of the reasons why Hungary entered WW2.

The Versailles Peace Treaty is named Trianon Treaty in the Hungarian folklore, as the treaty regulating the new borders of Hungary was signed in the Trianon Palace of Versailles.

The memorial is dark and somber. I know that it’s not supposed to be joyful as it commemorates hundred years of grieving but I would be happier to see something a bit less depressing. It’s a 100-meter-long tunnel that goes under the ground. What I like about the monument is that you can see the name of each and every Hungarian village or town that has ever been part of our country. What I don’t like about it is that it’s a dead end, when you walk to the end of it, there is no option to go forward, you have to turn back. I’d like to think that my nation’s history is a canvas changing its colours and shapes continuously and we, the Hungarians are contributing to its actual form. Our history was not over in 1920. I miss seeing the continuity and the hope to move forward.

The memorial is at Kossuth Lajos square right across from the magnificent Parliament building.

In the early 20th century fuel and lighting gas used in Hungary was manufactured from coal and because of the increasing consumption there was a need for modern, high capacity gas plants. The location of the gas plants was crucial, as they needed road, rail and waterway connection. The Óbuda Gas Works was inaugurated in 1914, it was the most advanced gas factory of the country producing 250 thousand cubic meters of gas every day. In the 1970’s natural gas became more accessible and cheaper and Budapest switched to natural gas. The Óbuda gas works was decommissioned in 1984.

The factory with its great colours and shapes might remind you of an abandoned castle with its four towers, they originally housed the turbines, control rooms and water towers.

What I personally love about the place is that because of the generosity of the original owners of the factory, residential buildings had also been built for the employees, so that they could live close to their workplace. Two locations were created, a villa neighbourhood for managers and a more simple housing estate for the workers. Walking around the early 20th century buildings is like a real time travel.

A short video shot in the building showing its decoy before it was finally restored a few years ago.

The Budapest home of Liszt is surprisingly modest with only two rooms, one of them serving as bedroom and study at the same time but it’s nevertheless full of treasures. The Budapest home of the one and only Hungarian composer universally renowned as one of the greatests of the 19th century was on the elegant Andrássy avenue.

His home is a museum now and it’s a remarkably valuable collection of objects: personal items and amazing instruments of music. My favourite piece is a music composing desk with a built-in three-octave piano keyboard, specially designed for Liszt in the 1870’s. I also love the ornate music stand that Liszt received as a gift in 1858 and thanked it by saying: “I wish to produce soon some works worthy of being offered as an homage to the three patrons of music: Beethoven, Weber and Schubert” – whose busts decorate the wonderful piece.

Although Liszt only welcomed visitors in his home on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday afternoons, the museum is open to visitors every day except Sundays.

Vác is a cute little town on the left bank of the Danube, it’s some 25 minutes drive from Budapest. The visit of Vác can be included in a customised Danube Bend day trip. It’s such a beautiful Baroque jewellery box, I strongly recommend a short visit. We had been fortunate to tour Vác with my travellers before the borders of Hungary got closed again on the 1st of September.

The mummified remains of 265 people were found in 1994 in the crypt of the Dominican church, they had been laid to rest in hand painted, wooden coffins in the 18th and 19th centuries. The bodies didn’t decompose but were mummified naturally because of the favourable air conditions and dry settings.

The findings were extraordinary and not only because it’s a veritable gold mine for ethnographers about 18th century Hungarian everyday life and funeral traditions. It’s also a fantastic source for medical researches, a large number of tests have been performed by scientists on the mummified remains related to tuberculosis, HIV researches and they could also confirm C section had been performed as early as in the 18th century in Hungary.

The coffins are simply beautiful, all colourful, all hand-painted, all prepared with a lot of care, it’s very much like the fascinating celebration of life and death in a small Vác museum.

I’m a huge admirer of the Hungarian Art Nouveau movement and I’m more than proud to show travellers around the magnificent Budapest Art Nouveau buildings. For me, the home of György Ráth, first director of the Budapest Museum of Applied Arts is a veritable jewellery box, both the building and the artworks and furnitures on display are unique.

The villa was originally Ráth’s family home and was furnished with pieces of his private collection, today it houses the permanent exhibition “Art Nouveau – a Hungarian Perspective”. Every room is different, the furnitures and pieces of art were selected and put on display with such a unique care and taste, it’s like visiting an elderly family member where every single item is authentic and they all tell you a different story.

When you visit the museum, don’t forget to take a walk along Városligeti fasor, where you can admire fascinating Art Nouveau villa buildings.