Guided by only the ‘must-see’ agenda listed in their guidebooks, tourists and backpackers miss out on a lot — especially since most visitors only give the Hungarian capital a weekend or a few days at best. Here’s what you’re probably not going to see.
1. Hidden courtyards and passages
The buildings in downtown Pest mostly date back to the end of the 19th and the early 20th century. Once you step through the front door you enter a spacious courtyard that belongs to another world, where old ladies sweep the yard and glare at you with suspicion, the smell of home cooking wafts down, and the sound of Hungarian television blasts from above. You’ll get a taste for these courtyards in most of Budapest’s “ruin pubs,” where apartment complexes have been recycled into hip watering holes, or perhaps even your hotel has one, but they’re only a shadow of the real thing, and it’s not the same as sneaking through an open door you pass by in the street.