The Vaci Utca
Today we spent the day walking around our hotel, the Budapest
Marriott. Weâ€™re about a 5 minute walk to the Vaci Utca. The Vaci Utca is a long street that is closed off to car traffic. The only way to get through is to walk. One end of the Vaci Utca is the famous Gerbaud cafĂ© and if you walk to the other end, you will find the Great Market. The street is full of cafes, restaurants, shops and bars. The shops range from you high end designer goods to souvenirs shops selling anything from t-shirts to the Hungarian liquor, Unicum. If you are hungry there are various restaurants serving authentic Hungarian cuisine and beer. The Great Market also has restaurants and gift/souvenir vendors.
Inside the Great Market
I donâ€™t know how good the prices are here, but you can find pretty much anything you want.
After walking around the Vaci Utca and browsing the shops, we ended up at the Great Market. The Great Market is a huge indoor market, very similar to the farmerâ€™s markets back home. On the third floor of the market is the food court. It does get quite busy and finding a place to sit for lunch can be challenging but itâ€™s well worth it. You can choose from a variety of seemingly home cooked foods for really inexpensive. Wash it down with a beer and you are set until dinner.
We spent a good part of the day walking around then we were back to our hotel to get ready for the Opera.
One must do is to go to the Opera in Budapest. Not only are the performances world class but the Budapest Opera House itself is a structure that must be seen.
Budapest Opera House
Outside the building is adorned with various statues and the pillars outside give it a sense of elegance. Once inside, you can really feel the royalty of the place. With a spiraling walkway with red carpets, clean wood and brass handrails, wonderful chandeliers, red velvet curtains, itâ€™s the epitome of a classic opera house. I thoroughly enjoyed walking around and exploring the inside. What also added to the fun was to get dressed up for a night out. Everyone took the performance seriously and was dressed to enjoy the evening. We were fortunate to get tickets to â€śCarmen.â€ť Even though it was all in French and we couldnâ€™t understand the Hungarian subtitles, we loved it. Iâ€™ve never been to a real Opera before and this was an awesome first experience. Some of the music Iâ€™ve heard before and was surprised that to hear some of the songs.
Budapest Opera House
During intermission, make sure you walk around to the mezzanine. Drinks are served and there are tons of people walking about. You can also take the time to explore the rest of the Opera House.
If you have the time, make sure you check out a performance here. Not only is it world famous but the shows are fantastic. There is a performance almost every day and the cost of the tickets range from inexpensive ($10) to expensive ($80). We bought the $40 seats and were on the first level. You can drop by and check out what performances are playing as the box office is open during the daytime. A definite must while in Budapest.
After the Opera we headed back to the Franz Liszt square area. We had dinner at a terrific restaurant that had a fully stocked wine bar. It was a perfect end to a perfect day. I enjoyed the company of my best friends, reflected on the truly amazing experience we had and enjoyed a great bottle of wine.