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Tour guide or a guide book? Also what are Sundays like?

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London
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Tour guide or a guide book? Also what are Sundays like?

So myself and my friend are off to Budapest on the 20th of sept till the 22nd. We'll be there for 2 days and a half in total. We already have something planned and booked for Saturday night however we have no plans other than a guide book with us for the other day and a half. We are contemplating whether it'd be worth going on one of the many tours available on TripAdvisor top things to do list or whether it's just easier and better to do it ourselves with the book??? What would you recommend?

Second question, what are Sundays like in Budapest? Are bars/clubs still busy or dead? I appreciate that Hungarians probably work weekdays like the rest of the world mainly but would the bars and clubs be busy with tourists at least or not worth doing on that day? We were thinking tour the city in the morning then a night out but depending on what its like.

Thank you!

London
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1. Re: Tour guide or a guide book? Also what are Sundays like?

Anyone...?

Budapest, Hungary
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2. Re: Tour guide or a guide book? Also what are Sundays like?

Sorry, cant help you, as a local I am early in bed on sunday, as I have to get up monday morning.

nyc, usa
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3. Re: Tour guide or a guide book? Also what are Sundays like?

Perhaps a reason why there are few responses to the first part of your query is that you seem to be asking us questions that you can only answer for yourself. You will be in a major city with many things to see and do, and a lifestyle/culture that is rich and diverse so that 2.5 days will only allow you to scratch the surface.

How to allocate that much time, and whether you will get more from a book or a human being, are matters of personal preference and style, and even mood and weather ... What sort of guidebook you have and/or enjoy makes a difference as well.

When I am in a city that is new to me and that i won't have time to really get to know, sometimes a swift HopOn-HopOff bus feels like it will give me an overview, but generally i like to wander with a map and a guidebook. But that's just me, not you, and I can't think of anything Budapest-specific that would tilt one way or the other between guidebook and tour.

What I can say is that to my tastes, the book Budapest: A Critical Guide provides a series of walking tours and an engaging style and tone that seem to me to be a fun way to self-tour.

If you want an engaging introduction to Hungarian culture, you might look into a class with the folks who do FUNGARIAN; but that's a language/culture session in a cafe, and you may prefer to spend your time pounding the pavement ...

Budapest, Hungary
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4. Re: Tour guide or a guide book? Also what are Sundays like?

If I'm first time in a city, and I have 2 days only, I'm just walking in the city (and/or using public transportation) and visit the "obligatory tourist sites" (for example according to Wikipedia or Tripadvisor).

In my point of view these are the primary targets in Budapest for a "usual tourist":

Parliament (Parlament)

St. Stephen's Basilica (Szt. István bazilika)

Heroes' Square and City Park (Hősök tere, Városliget)

Castle Hill, Matthias Church, Fisherman's Bastion (Budai Vár, Mátyás templom, Halászbástya)

Margaret Island (Margitsziget)

Gellert Hill (Gellért-hegy)

And if you have more time, there are a lot of other ones, it's hard to list everything.

Perhaps Sunday evenings are not the busiest in aspect of going out, especially after summer, but I suppose in the "party district" and on the Grand Boulevard you can find some (ruin) pubs that are open and busy more or less.

Scottsdale, Arizona
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5. Re: Tour guide or a guide book? Also what are Sundays like?

It is unclear if your 1/2 day is Saturday or Monday. This could have bearing on what you can see and the order to see things.

The Central Market closes early on Saturday and is closed all day Sunday, so it probably should be seen on Monday or early on Saturday.

All the museums will be closed on Monday, so that is the best day to view all the churches when services are not going on. The Great Synagogue will be closed to visitors all day Saturday.

Pjk
New Jersey
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6. Re: Tour guide or a guide book? Also what are Sundays like?

There is a Free Budapest General Walking tour that covers both the Buda and Pest side. It gives you a lot of the history of the city and seemed worthwhile to me since we took it very soon after arriving on our first trip to Budapest and used the information on-and-off throughout our stay. But for two days you would have to decide if it seems like something that would be worthwhile to you.

Pjk

London
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7. Re: Tour guide or a guide book? Also what are Sundays like?

Thanks for all the info. One more question before I fly this this weekend.. is it possible to get to the centre from the airport by train and is it easy? or is it best to get a bus?

We are staying in:

Erzsebet Hotel City Center

Hotel contact details

Karolyi Mihaly 11-15

Budapest

1053

Hungary

Budapest, Hungary
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for Budapest, Hungary
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8. Re: Tour guide or a guide book? Also what are Sundays like?

If it is a 'we' then it is easiest to get a taxi, should be <£20.

It is possible - and cheaper - to do it by public transport (search the forum) but time consuming: you have limited time, unless money is tight take a taxi. Fo taxi have a desk outside the terminal door.

Budapest, Hungary
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9. Re: Tour guide or a guide book? Also what are Sundays like?

It's easy to get to the hotel by public transport. You should take the airport bus 200E, till the last station Kobanya-Kispest metro station. There you take the metro M3 to station Ferenciek tere (9th stop), your hotel is about 100 m from this station.

Denver, Colorado
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for Pecs, Budapest
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10. Re: Tour guide or a guide book? Also what are Sundays like?

Something may depend on how much luggage you have. There is a certain amount of unpleasant 'luggage humping' at K-K and Ferenciek ter. Also escalators, which can be quite fast compared to London. If there are only two of you, an intermediate option between a taxi and the bus-Metro one is the shuttle bus. It will be slower than a taxi, but faster than the bus-Metro.

http://www.airportshuttle.hu/en/