As much as we try to value local favorites over tourist traps, there were a few things we had to check out. One of the most recommended places to visit was the Central Market Hall. It was on the complete other side of town from our hotel. Along the way, we walked through Váci utca, which is a famous street known for tourist gift shops and tons of restaurants. At the end of the street, we finally arrived at Central Market Hall, only to find out it was closed for Easter weekend. We were still so intrigued by the huge market and all the good reviews we heard that we came back later in the week.
The downstairs is a food market. Dozens of aisles are filled with stands selling vegetables, fruit, and meat. If our hotel had a kitchen, we would have definitely bought some! Our favorite was the peppers hanging above almost every stand, since Hungary is known for their paprika. We lucked out by visiting during the week of a local artist's gallery exhibit in the center of the market. The upstairs was like a food court with half a dozen stands selling traditional Hungarian foods. We read that this place had the best goulash, so we decided to try this traditional dish for the first time here. It was amazing! It was similar to a beef stew, but the paprika gave it a bit of a punch that we weren't expecting. We also saw an incredibly long line for lángos and decided it must be good. Lángos is similar to pizza, only the crust is fried dough and all the toppings are cold. We grabbed a Hungarian soda to go along with it and really enjoyed the meal. They also served homemade lemonades, sausage sandwiches, french fries, and more. We definitely could have kept on eating.
Another touristy spot we explored was Margaret Island. We were on the fence about whether or not we should visit here, since some reviews said it wasn’t the best. However, since we hadn’t seen much nature since being in Budapest, we decided to take the bus to the center of the island. Locals use this for running trails, an Olympic swimming pool, and other recreational activities. We rented a cart to bike around the island, which was honestly the best part of it. If it wasn’t so expensive, we would have biked around the whole island. We only hit a few spots before our rental time was up. There was so much we weren’t able to see, including a look out at the top of a water tower, a petting zoo, and more. It was about to rain so we reluctantly left, grabbing some cotton candy to eat on the way home.
- Nick + Jess