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janmcn

Budapest is GREAT!

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For anyone beginning or ending in Budapest, make sure to add a few days there. A friend had suggested that to us and I'm so happy we took her advice! It's an amazingly beautiful city with so many things to see...and easy and cheap transportation too! We spent 5 days there and loved every minute and still have much to see! Make SURE to see the Parliament Building (inside) and St. Stephen's Basilica which was the most beautiful of the churches we saw on our whole 14-day cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam. So many other things...the Shoe Memorial, Market, Baths, Hero Square (lots to see around there), not to mention coffee houses, etc. We were lucky and had a private guide for two days who took us out to Lake Balaton one day.

Anyway...just a suggestion for those still planning a trip! :D

PS my photos are up on my smugmug site under "Travel"

Edited by janmcn
Added PS

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For anyone beginning or ending in Budapest, make sure to add a few days there. A friend had suggested that to us and I'm so happy we took her advice! It's an amazingly beautiful city with so many things to see...and easy and cheap transportation too! We spent 5 days there and loved every minute and still have much to see! Make SURE to see the Parliament Building (inside) and St. Stephen's Basilica which was the most beautiful of the churches we saw on our whole 14-day cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam. So many other things...the Shoe Memorial, Market, Baths, Hero Square (lots to see around there), not to mention coffee houses, etc. We were lucky and had a private guide for two days who took us out to Lake Balaton one day.

Anyway...just a suggestion for those still planning a trip! :D

PS my photos are up on my smugmug site under "Travel"

 

I'm so pleased to hear that you loved Budapest so much. I have been wondering how to see as much as we can next year.

Do you mind posting details about your guide and how you contacted him/her. We will be in Budapest pre-cruise for several days in September 2014

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So glad you enjoyed your time in Budapest. It is amazing!

 

We had a private guide in Budapest, and we did 2 half-day tours with her. She was outstanding and I highly recommend her. Her name is Magdi Pelech and her email is magdi.pelech@gmail.com

 

For those who will also travel to Prague:

We had a private guide in Prague who was wonderful. Her name is Eva Trkalova and her website is: www.trkalova.guide-prague.cz

We did 2 full-day tours with her, and we loved it.

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Thank you Bobalink for those two guide references.

 

We will also be spending about 5 days in Prague so both links will be useful

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Janmcm

Great to read your notes, we will end cruise in Budapest next July and plan to spend additional 4 - 5 days there, can you give name of your Hotel and how did you rate it, please.

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Thank you Bobalink for those two guide references.

 

We will also be spending about 5 days in Prague so both links will be useful

 

You are welcome! I have benefited so much from the good information on these boards. When we have a good experience, I am happy to spread the word.

 

We typically use private guides when we travel in Europe. It is well worth the cost, it just enhances your experience.

 

I had originally contacted Andrea Makkay, another highly recommended guide for Budapest. Andrea was not going to be available on the dates we were going, so she referred me to Magdi Pelech. Andrea made all the arrangements, and it was wonderful.

 

Eva, our guide in Prague, was truly one of the best guides we have ever had. She knows the city inside and out. She also has a special certificate so that she can conduct tours in the Jewish Quarter and museums. She is old enough (maybe 45-ish) to have lived through Communism, and shared fascinating stories with us. She also took us to wonderful, authentic restaurants.

 

You will be so glad that you are spending extended time in Budapest and Prague. There is just so much to see!

 

We also spent 3 days in Vienna, pre-cruise. It is amazing, too!

 

Each of the 3 big cities - Vienna, Budapest and Prague need at minimum 3 days to explore.

 

Have a wonderful time!

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We used Andras Novak at contact@mypersonalbudapest.com. If you go to their website (mypersonalbudapest.com) you'll see the various options for tours. We chose the morning tour of the highlights in the Trabant which was outstanding. Bolesz, the Trabant driver, was able to hold the car while Andras took us into places...very time saving. We followed that with the "Lunch with a Local Family" which was wonderful. Agnes runs her own cooking school, so the lunch was delightful and fun to meet locals. The next day we went to Lake Balaton to see the countryside. This tour was not to be missed...it got us away from the city, saw some beautiful country and ended with a marvelous wine tasting at a small winery. EXCELLENT! I highly recommend those two days. Andras was wonderful...felt like my son taking me around his college town ;-)

 

We stayed at the Budapest Marriott with points, but upgraded when we were allowed to for 50 euros per night to the Club Floor which had been recommended and we now do too. It gave us an AMAZING view from a terrace for breakfast and a light dinner (we did it all the time we were there...had our big meal at lunch.) The food was delicious, wine, beer, soft drinks, coffees, etc. Breakfast was scrambled eggs, fruit, pastries, toast, etc. We had plenty...but sitting on the terrace (high up) just watching the ships go by, the lights come on, etc. was so relaxing after a busy day. Totally worth it...oh, and you get free HIGH SPEED wifi with it.

 

THe Marriott was right on the Danube, just a short walk to the main areas. We took Rick Steve's recommendations for the "Legenda boat" to do a night tour on the river (mention Rick's name and you get a small discount). The boat was right below us on the river.

 

ENJOY!

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... We stayed at the Budapest Marriott with points, but upgraded when we were allowed to for 50 euros per night to the Club Floor which had been recommended and we now do too. It gave us an AMAZING view from a terrace for breakfast and a light dinner (we did it all the time we were there...had our big meal at lunch.) The food was delicious, wine, beer, soft drinks, coffees, etc. Breakfast was scrambled eggs, fruit, pastries, toast, etc. We had plenty...but sitting on the terrace (high up) just watching the ships go by, the lights come on, etc. was so relaxing after a busy day. Totally worth it...oh, and you get free HIGH SPEED wifi with it.

... ENJOY!

 

Your tours sound amazing!

 

We stayed at the Sofitel Chain Bridge, on the 8th floor and the view was amazing. We also added the Club Package and that gave us access to the Lounge also located on the 8th floor, where we had breakfast and snacks throughout the day. Included was wine, cheese, fruit basket and lots of hearty appetizers and desserts. The package was $65 (per room/per day) and we felt it was well worth it. The view from the Lounge was spectacular, looking over the Danube and the Office of Ministry Building which was unbelievably ornate and beautiful.

 

You are right, Budapest is GREAT!

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The Marriott, Sofitel, Corinthia and Intercontinental all seem to get very good reviews. We are looking for a hotel post-cruise in Budapest. Can anyone recommend something that is in a lower price range? The rates look very attractive online until you convert from Euro to USD and figure in the additional 22% tax that most booking sites do not include in their advertised rates.

Also, how much can we plan on spending on meals? Breakfast, lunch, dinner? I am trying to decide if a hotel breakfast package is worth it.

We are looking at Hotel Victoria (on the Buda side). All rooms are river view and rates include breakfast - just seems to good to be true.

Which side does AMA dock on, or does it vary?

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The Marriott, Sofitel, Corinthia and Intercontinental all seem to get very good reviews. We are looking for a hotel post-cruise in Budapest. Can anyone recommend something that is in a lower price range? The rates look very attractive online until you convert from Euro to USD and figure in the additional 22% tax that most booking sites do not include in their advertised rates.

Also, how much can we plan on spending on meals? Breakfast, lunch, dinner? I am trying to decide if a hotel breakfast package is worth it.

We are looking at Hotel Victoria (on the Buda side). All rooms are river view and rates include breakfast - just seems to good to be true.

Which side does AMA dock on, or does it vary?

 

Hi sippican,

I got a super deal on the Sofitel by paying in advance for 3 nights. You may want to check their website and see if they are still offering that.

It really was a nice place, and you can't beat the view!

 

We didn't think Budapest meals were too overly priced. It was convenient to get the Club Package at Sofitel, and we utilized it every day. There is more selection downstairs at the Breakfast Buffet, and you can choose either place, but the Lounge had plenty for us to choose from, and it is quiet and peaceful.

 

AMA docked a few blocks down from the Sofitel. (At least for our cruise, but that could change.) We took a taxi (the Sofitel porter arranged it for us) and if I remember correctly, it was 10Euro. We could have taken the public tram for much less, but with suitcases, the taxi was a good option.

 

This photo was taken from our 8th floor window at the Sofitel Chain Bridge.

 

 

9943774013_c00eb74829_z.jpg

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janmcn -- did the Trabant tour duplicate any - or much - of what you experienced with the Viking Budapest tour?

 

If we can book with mypersonalbudapest I'd like to try to maximize what we see. Maybe doing a different tour like the Hidden Treasures or Lake Balaton would be better.

 

Unfortunately we're not going to have extra days in Budapest so we'd have to book for the one free day we get with Viking when we move from the hotel to the ship. Not sure how much free time that actually will give us but having a guide would help us see as much as possible.

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Hi sippican,

I got a super deal on the Sofitel by paying in advance for 3 nights. You may want to check their website and see if they are still offering that.

It really was a nice place, and you can't beat the view!

 

We didn't think Budapest meals were too overly priced. It was convenient to get the Club Package at Sofitel, and we utilized it every day. There is more selection downstairs at the Breakfast Buffet, and you can choose either place, but the Lounge had plenty for us to choose from, and it is quiet and peaceful.

 

AMA docked a few blocks down from the Sofitel. (At least for our cruise, but that could change.) We took a taxi (the Sofitel porter arranged it for us) and if I remember correctly, it was 10Euro. We could have taken the public tram for much less, but with suitcases, the taxi was a good option.

 

This photo was taken from our 8th floor window at the Sofitel Chain Bridge.

 

 

9943774013_c00eb74829_z.jpg

 

Thank you for that suggestion. No such deal now with Sofitel. A riverview room there (no breakfast) for two nights is $400+, and with breakfast, close to $550. Since we plan to be out and about for most of the time, I'm not willing to pay that.

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Although I have not stayed there yet try the k and k hotel opera. I am booked there on July. We stayed at the K and k George in London and were really impressed with the chain

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We didn't take the Viking tour of Budapest, but the Trabant tour does not duplicate it from what we heard. Andras will take you into the Gellert Baths, the Market, a coffee house, etc. whereas with the Viking tour you are only let out at a few places…Heroes' Square, Fisherman's Bastion. We had a much more personalized view and saw a whole lot more of Budapest than an overall tour.

 

You can't go wrong with Andras' tour and he will make sure that you see what you would like to. Just tell him.

 

By the way, if you have an evening in Budapest…Definitely take the Legenda Night Tour on the river (only an hour)…it's magical. It's recommended by Rick Steves and is definitely the one to take. It's right in front of the Marriott Hotel.

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Although I have not stayed there yet try the k and k hotel opera. I am booked there on July. We stayed at the K and k George in London and were really impressed with the chain

 

We stayed at the K&K Opera. It is right around the corner from the Opera House. If you are there while there is an opera, pre-book it. As a minimum take a tour of the opera house and pay the little extra for the 5 minute sample opera at the end.

 

I highly recommend the K&K. Very good buffet breakfast is included.

 

I loved Budapest. It is well worth adding a few days and exploring it on your own.

 

One little thing. If you like bottled flat water, research this translation ahead of time. They like fizzy water there. We weren't the only confused tourists in the store.

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Thanks janmcn for the further info. I'll definitely keep in mind the Legenda - do you know by chance if you need tickets in advance or just that day?

I'll google it.

 

The Trabant tour sounds perfect.

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Although I have not stayed there yet try the k and k hotel opera. I am booked there on July. We stayed at the K and k George in London and were really impressed with the chain

 

Thank you for the suggestion. I will be sure to add it to places to look at.

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By the way, if you have an evening in Budapest…Definitely take the Legenda Night Tour on the river (only an hour)…it's magical. It's recommended by Rick Steves and is definitely the one to take. It's right in front of the Marriott Hotel.

 

We will be arriving in Budapest on the AMAPrima. The evening before disembarking they do a night sail in Budapest to see the lights. Do you think we might see something different on the Legenda?

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We will be arriving in Budapest on the AMAPrima. The evening before disembarking they do a night sail in Budapest to see the lights. Do you think we might see something different on the Legenda?

 

sippican,

You are in for a treat! We did a night "sail away" from Budapest. It is MAGICAL. That city is beautiful by day, and spectacular at night.

 

Knowing that we had the night sail away, we opted not to do the Legenda.

 

Enjoy!

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sippican,

You are in for a treat! We did a night "sail away" from Budapest. It is MAGICAL. That city is beautiful by day, and spectacular at night.

 

Knowing that we had the night sail away, we opted not to do the Legenda.

 

Enjoy!

 

Sounds wonderful. We will be arriving the day prior to disembarking, and overnighting in Budapest. Our party is spending two additional days. We are really looking forward to this wonderful city.

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I'm not sure what other companies do, but our Viking tour left the Chain Bridge and sailed by the Parliament building and that was it. The Legenda goes up the river under a few other bridges, past time more lovely buildings and returns down as far as Parliament, then returns...so many more opportunities to see lovely lights and buildings. Legenda was better (IMO).

 

 

 

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The Marriott, Sofitel, Corinthia and Intercontinental all seem to get very good reviews. We are looking for a hotel post-cruise in Budapest. Can anyone recommend something that is in a lower price range?

 

Check out the Marriott Millenium court Apts

If you do not want to cook the breakfast places across the road are cheap

We had a 2 bedroom apt for 2 nights very reasonable

Lots of eating places around the corner

 

Walking distance to many places

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