When I visited Budapest this summer, my friend from college and I stayed at a beautiful apartment near a charming neighborhood in Pest: Budapest Vacation Rentals.
Opting for a traditional Hungarian apartment over a mainstream hotel chain was one of the best decisions we made throughout the trip. I’m a firm believer that staying at rental apartments is the next wave of traveling. Budapest Vacation Rentals provided absolute convenience and a perfect way to truly experience a rustic yet exciting Budapest.
John Farago, host of BVR, left delicious cakes and a bottle of white wine to welcome our stay. On our last day, he called to confirm that our time in Budapest was magnificently spent. I was elated when he agreed to share some of his favorite things to do in Budapest and photos from his personal albums! – Wendy Hung, Founder of Jetset Times
What inspired you to create Budapest Vacation Rentals?
Our experience as home-exchangers and the experience of a friend in Budapest whom we met when we exchanged apartments with her – she had started to rent out her apartment when she was not exchanging it, and she met such great people from all over the world that it was fun and exciting.
How does BVR promote travel and how are you inspired by your own travels?
We simply try to provide the travel experience that we would most want to have when we are in a new city; as we travel ourselves we pay attention to all the small and large things that we like or dislike about the places we stay.
What’s unique about BVR?
I don’t think anything that we do is unique except the mix: we try to provide the amenity of an excellent-to-grand hotel (depending on which apartment one rents) with the support comparable to a concierge, but the privacy, facilities, and ability to stretch out of an apartment, and the comforts and details of a home – so when one stays in one of our apartments there are bandages and contact lens solution in the bathroom cabinet, books on the bookshelves, food in the refrigerator … Among private apartment rentals in Budapest we also have, I think, the deepest infrastructure, with two full time staff for six apartments and a team of contractors who can swiftly address any problem that arises (often even at night or over a weekend).
What are your top 5 favorite things to do in Budapest?
I always find time for a meal at Café Bouchon on Zichy Jeno near Liszt Ferenc ter. It is the most comfortable place I have ever eaten in without a TV remote in my hand. It feels like home, but the cooking is better and the cleanup a breeze. But there are a dozen other places we love and a hundred we are very happy with. The food in Hungary may not be the very top of the international restaurant scene, but the meals – the entire experience of eating with family or friends – are better than anywhere else.
Walking in Budapest is an unalloyed pleasure. There is always something to see that you would miss if you were in a bus or underground, a courtyard or a façade or a small shop, or just a lintel or bit of public art. It is a human city, and one whose residents seem less stratified than most and share joy in its riches. The symphony and the Opera are filled with audience members from all levels of city life. The street fairs bustle with local families who come from all social strata. When you walk, you can immerse yourself in this feeling of city life.
3. Stopping walking.
There are cafes everywhere. Whenever I start to wane even a bit, I find a place within a block or so and plop down, order a lemonade, a beer, a pastry or an ice cream, or all four. Then, I watch people, read, talk to a friend, connect to ubiquitous WiFi and just hit my personal Pause button.
It’s a city that supports two full-time major, world-class symphony orchestras, and at least four more with significant seasons annually. A great Opera company, a light operetta company, a handful of the greatest music venues in the world, and a thriving experimental/avant garde arts scene.
Budapest is not a city with great bargains or terrific souvenirs to bring home, but it is a wonderful shoppers’ city for antiques, small artisanal shops, galleries. And it has a great array of Market Halls for food shopping and perhaps the last of the large, inexpensive flea markets in Europe.
Check out Budapest Vacation Rentals’ apartments here.
WRITTEN BY JOHN FARAGO, Host of Budapest Vacation Rentals