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A Tour of the Ruin Bars of Budapest


Want to visit some dive bars so divey that they’re located in what were abandoned buildings? In Budapest, you can hit four or five of them in just a few blocks of walking.

When I was going to return to Budapest for the second time, I told my contact at Hungary Tourism I wanted to write about something different. I didn’t want to tick off the tourist sites everyone is hitting on their hop on, hop off bus trip around the city. “I know just the right people to hook you up with,” she said.  Then she sent me a brochure for Underguide, a company that promises to take visitors to the offbeat places, the little-known spots, and maybe down to the underbelly too.

Before I go any further, let me say that the people at Underguide were terrific. Three guides took me on three tours that were very different than anything I experienced the first time around. I’m talking the hills of Buda by steam train and chairlift and a tour under the city’s main bridge connecting the two sides. To a head of Stalin hidden behind some weeds and the most opulent coffee house I’ve ever seen. In between, I got Tipsy Budapest tour from a half-Jewish Germanic woman who speaks four languages, despite being half my age.


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