With a great menu consisting of wraps and sandwiches, cakes, cookies and muffins, The Goat Herder café has embraced the philosophy of Budapest’s burgeoning ‘coffee movement’ and pays attention to everything from beans to perfect preparations. The name is inspired from Kaldi, an Ethiopian goat herder in the 9th century, who apparently discovered coffee after seeing the stimulating effect the beans had on his goats.
The city life offers great opportunities for a good shot, including the crowds of young people in the ‘ruin pubs’ (quasi-abandoned buildings turned into entertainment venues), the enigmatic street art and designer shops. The architecture of the whole Erzsebetvaros neighbourhood is a great backdrop for Eastern European themes.
Budapest’s most famous hipster hangout, Szimpla Kert, is one of the city’s most iconic “ruin pubs.” Szimpla Kert was the first back in 2004 and ever since, others have come and gone. Since 2012, Szimpla has run a weekend farmer’s market every Sunday which not only features local, organic foods (and Budapest’s best brunch) alongside live music acts, but also raises money for charity. It’s a win-win!
The District VII of Pest, Erzsebetvaros, is named after Queen Elizabeth and it translates to ‘Elizabeth Town’, a neighbourhood also famous for being the city’s historic Jewish quarter. One of the main attractions is the wide variety of cuisine on offer, including Chinese, Serbian and vegetarian Indian dishes as well as the hectic nightlife most famous in the ruin pubs.
The Hungarian Jewish Museum and Archives is a small museum with many stories of the struggles of Jewish people, particularly in the context of World War II. Don’t miss the Garden of Memory — a moving memorial inside the museum dedicated to those who died in the ghetto. An unusual museum is the Postal Stamp Museum, where you can follow global history through the small prints, and appreciate the art and cultures of the world inside the glass shelves. This museum is a rarity and even with its limited English information, it’s worth a visit.
During the day, the streets may seem to be empty and abandoned, but at night the whole neighbourhood transforms into a vibrant area with many bars and friendly people walking around. It’s worthwhile to wander the streets in the early evening and take in the street life. Start at the Erzsébet tér square on the outskirts of District VII and make your way to one of the many nightclubs, whether Szimpla Kert, Ruin Pub Budapest or Warm Up. The proximity of the City Park makes Erzsebetvaros the perfect neighbourhood to have a drink and chill after a relaxed day or early evening in the baths and saunas of the city.