Budapest's Terézváros (District 6) Offers More Than Andrássy Avenue

The grand Andrássy Avenue anchors Budapest's Terézváros, but the less-traveled side streets are also worth visiting for an immersive neighborhood experience.

Use this map to find all places mentioned in the article below.

Often called the "Champs-Élysées of Budapest," Andrássy Avenue is a 2.3 km (1.4 mile) Unesco World Heritage-awarded leafy boulevard, connecting Budapest's city center with its City Park. The impressive Renaissance Revival buildings lining it are the result of the systematic urban planning of the 1870s. Wealthy Hungarian businessmen, many of the Jewish, commissioned the majority of these lavish homes, motivated by a desire for upward mobility and social acceptance by the Hungarian aristocracy, which also owned property here.

Andrássy Avenue's moniker bears witness to Budapest’s tumultuous history: it has been renamed a total of five times over the last century or so. In fact, leading up to WWII, parts of it were named after Hitler and Mussolini, and it went by "Stalin Avenue," and later the "People’s Republic Avenue" during communism. Since 1990, it's back to Andrássy, named after Gyula Andrássy, a Prime Minister of Hungary, and later Foreign Minister of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

To appreciate Andrássy Avenue's magnitude and landmarks to the fullest, start your trip at Erzsébet Square, and saunter all the way to Heroes' Square, a light, 30-minute stroll. The first section of Andrássy, up to Oktogon, comprises Budapest's high-end shopping area, meaning that it's here that you can quickly shell out a fortune on Gucci coats, Louis Vuitton bags, and handmade Hungarian porcelain. If you're curious about local designer labels, too, visit the Berlin Store and NUBU, or walk a block over to Paulay Ede Street, parallel to Andrássy, and dropy by The Garden Studio and Je Suis Belle (for more options, see our best shopping toplist). As a footnote, bear in mind that Budapest's leading cocktail bar, Boutiq, is also in Paulay Ede Street.

Back on Andrássy, it's impossible to miss the ornate building of the Hungarian State Opera, decorated with statues of famous composers. Across from it is the less conspicuous but comparably impressive Drechsler Palace, designed by Hungary's pioneering art nouveau architect, Ödön Lechner (the building is slated to become a W Hotel soon).

Hajós Street, a quiet pedestrian area behind the Opera House, keeps rumored to be the next party street, similar to Kazinczy Street in the Jewish Quarter, but right now they're hardly comparable. If anything, Hajós Street is better known for its iconic gyro takeout joint, Gyros Kerkyra, than its lively bars. Also here is a legendary, old-school butcher shop specializing in ready-made paprika-laced sauages and other roasted meat treats.

If food is already on your mind, let me recommend a few places. Nearby Menza puts out some of the best traditional Hungarian dishes in the city. If there's a long wait, which is often the case, try Két Szerecsen a couple of blocks down. Ristorante Krizia, tucked away on a side street off Andrássy, is an elegant Italian restaurant specializing in delicate northern Italian fare. If you're curious to try Michelin-starred traditional Hungarian dishes within a fine dining, Michelin-starred setting, head over to Stand Restaurant.

Your best bets for a quick snack or a drink are Café Zsivágó, an atmospheric café with bourgeois-bohemian vibes, and Kiadó Kocsma on the opposite side of Andrássy. If you're near Liszt Ferenc Square, be sure to catch a glimpse of the bombastic, art-deco inspired Franz Liszt Academy of Music (or peruse their event calendar).

Several of Budapest's contemporary art galleries are clustered in the side streets near Andrássy, including acb, Deák Erika, and Viltin. These galleries sell expensive modern pieces by Hungary's leading artists, but even if you aren't ready to drop thousands of euros, you might enjoy their temporary exhibits, which can be visited for free. Also, Budapest's two prominent photography museums are both in Terézváros, near each another: the Robert Capa Contemporary Photography Center and the Mai Mano House.

Beyond the Grand Boulevard, the side streets of Andrássy, on both sides of it, look and feel a little different. The unkempt condition of the otherwise grand housing stock here shows long decades of neglect that started during communism and, in many cases, has lasted to the present day (these buildings are a good approximation of what much of Budapest looked like in the 1990s).

There's little commercial activity in these still mainly working-class neighborhoods, and even the main market, Hunyadi, feels like a journey back in time. One exception is Cube, a cute specialty café by the park, where you can satiate any caffeine-craving with new-wave coffee made from light-roasted beans. It's worth quickly stopping by the University of Fine Arts to appreciate the frescoes of its sumptuous-yet-disintegrating lobby. Next door is the Franz Liszt Museum, a small exhibit inside the apartment where the world-renowned composer once lived.

A fruit and vegetable vendor at the Hunyadi Square Market.

Almost across the street from the university is the House of Terror, one of the city's most visited museums. The exhibit showcases the savagery and stupidity of the Nazi, and especially the ensuing communist regimes. Szondi Street, two long blocks away, is becoming an international-food mecca; Saigon Bistro, a takeout-style Vietnamese, and Taj Mahal, an elegant Indian restaurant are the two highlights. Somewhat unexpectedly, also near here is Brody Studios, a hip, members-only private club, popular among Budapest's expat community. If you feel like getting a drink, try Pótkulcs, an adorably grungy, long-standing bar with a hidden outdoor terrace.

Once you're here and don't mind a small detour, amble over to the Nyugati Railway Terminal. The building is one of the oldest train stations of Hungary, and its glass-clad facade and slender frames offer a piece of architectural eye-candy (the building was partly designed by Gustave Eiffel's office, a firm best known for another building in Paris, bearing its founder's name.) Across the train station is Pinczi, another legendary bastion of meat, best known for its tender, roasted pork belly.

The last section of Andrássy, from Kodály Körönd to Heroes' Square, is dotted with handsome villas. The families who once lived here, and also their descendents, are long gone thanks to the Holocaust and then communism. Today, many of these buildings serve as embassies. To appreciate the neighborhood's quiet charm and dramatic palazzos, venture out also to Benczúr and Bajza Streets, just off Andrássy. If you're in for an elaborate dining experience right along Andrássy, visit La Perle Noire, whose outdoor terrace is especially enjoyable during the summer months.

On the other side of Andrássy is the weird and wonderful Epreskert, an exotic artists' colony from the 19th century that serves as a training ground for students of the Hungarian University of Fine Arts, as signaled by half-finished statues scattered around its lawn (Epreskert isn't open to the public, but you can see much of it from outside if you walk around it).

Half-finished statues lying around Epreskert.

Andrássy Avenue terminates in Heroes' Square, a must-see plaza with monuments and a colonnade depicting historic Hungarian figures. Around the central obelisk stand the equestrian statues of the seven chieftains, who led the Hungarians tribes to the Carpathian Basin in the 9th century A.D. Two important museums flank Heroes' Square: the Museum of Fine Arts, the largest museum in Hungary with a renowned collection of Italian Renaissance paintings, and Műcsarnok (Kunsthalle), known for its excellent temporary exhibits.

Behind Heroes' Square lies Budapest's City Park, home to the Széchenyi Baths and the Vajdahunyad Castle. But since this is no longer Terézváros territory, you can read more about those, and other points of interests in our Zugló neighborhood guide. If you're low on energy, instead of walking, take the charming, century-old Millennium Underground Railway / M1 back to downtown.

If you've found this useful, please consider supporting Offbeat. Our content is free, so your contributions go a long way toward maintaining and growing the website.