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Downtown programmes for cold days

In winter, temperatures can easily drop below zero in Budapest; it’s hardly surprising that many people prefer indoor entertainment over long city walks. Well, there’s no need to fret. In fact, the city centre has everything to offer this time of the year. Packed with stunning buildings, offering a fine selection of the best restaurants and cafés, the heart of Budapest is easy to reach, no matter where your accommodation is located.

One of the most striking buildings in the downtown area is St. Stephen’s Basilica, which has catered to the needs of the faithful and delighted those who would like to marvel at the richly decorated interior since it was built in 1906. Entry to the church is free of charge, but it’s well worth exploring the treasury as well – the Budapest Card gives you a 25% discount on the entrance fee. A quick trip in the elevator, some stairs to climb, and the breathtaking view is yours to take in: step out of the dome and walk high above the capital in the Panorama Observatory, with 15% off the ticket price thanks to your city card.

St. Stephen’s Basilica

1051 Budapest, Szent István tér 1.

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A quick stroll from St Stephen’s Square through Erzsébet and Vörösmarty Squares leads straight to the Danube embankment. Here, after a one-hour guided tour inside the Pesti Vigadó, the chances are that this venue, more than 150 years old, will be your new favourite building in the capital. Guided visits in this extraordinarily beautiful palace are available in 7 languages, either as a group or as a private tour. As an added bonus, the Budapest Card gives you 20 to 50% discount, which is also valid if you just want to see the exhibitions.

The Pesti Vigadó

1051 Budapest, Vigadó tér 2.

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Having admired the beauty of the palace, if you’d like to rest a little in a similarly elegant environment, lunch at the Café Astoria Restaurant might be a good idea; or at the Mátyás Pince Restaurant, an establishment true to old Hungarian dining traditions. If you are lucky, you’ll be in for a real treat here, with live music played by Gypsy musicians. Bring your Budapest Card with you, and you’ll be eligible for 30% and 20% discount, respectively.

Café Astoria

1053 Kossuth Lajos u. 19.

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Are you looking for something truly unique and special? Then make your way back towards the Basilica. The Urban Betyár Restaurant and Folk Lounge offers the best of Hungarian and international gastronomy, prepared from ingredients of the best quality. In addition, their ethnographic visitor centre is an integral part of the kitchen, offering an opportunity to learn up-close about traditional peasant culture – at no cost at all if you have your Budapest Card with you.

After lunch, return to the heart of the city, and head to the Underground Railway Museum at Deák Ferenc Square. The collection on display in an original section of the Budapest underground railway pays tribute to the European continent’s first underground, opened in 1896. The museum’s permanent exhibition guides you through the history of the Millennium Underground Railway, from the time of its construction through today. Whether you are a railway fan or just looking for somewhere nice to warm up, this exhibition is guaranteed to provide a special experience. But then, the same can be said of many other sights in the heart of Budapest, worthy of exploring over a good few days.

Millenium Underground Museum

1051 Budapest, Deák tér, Metro station

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More info about Budapest Card here

Photo: Pixabay

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