Once you’ve covered Budapest’s history, immerse yourself in a more sybaritic side of the city. Start with a traditional breakfast pastry filled with sweet cheese ($3) at Gerbeaud, the landmark coffeehouse and confectioner that has been a fixture in Vörösmarty Square in downtown Pest since 1845. Stroll a few blocks west to board a vintage wooden speedboat for an hour-long private sightseeing ($270) cruise of the Danube. Dunarama supplies the boat and crew, as well as sparkling wine for up to ten people. After disembarking, grab a swimsuit and towel and head to the famous thermal baths of Budapest. The two most accessible for visitors are Széchenyi and Gellért, masterpieces of Baroque and Art Nouveau design. The swimming pools and massage/spa area of Széchenyi (located on the Pest side, from $19) are co-ed, while the massage and thermal sections of Gellért (in Buda, from $15) are divided into men’s and women’s sections. Next, stock up on Hungarian picnic supplies at gourmet provider Culinaris and head for Margaret Island, a manicured summer playground in the heart of the Danube (bridges connect it to the mainland on either side). Take in an outdoor concert at the open-air theater in the shadow of the famous Art Deco water tower or splash in one of eleven pools at the Palatinus Water Park. As the sun goes down, quench your thirst at Holdudvar, a restaurant, bar, and open-air cinema in the southeast corner of the island that’s a magnet for the beautiful people come summer (11 a.m. to 5 a.m. through September). Choose from a list of cocktail classics—Cuba libres, daiquiris, and piña coladas abound—and settle on the terrace as the city lights up around you.
The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan
Get Decadent in BudapestShareThis
5. Oddball Day
Published on Jun 23, 2011 as a web exclusive.