Budapest, two cities in one, with F1 Formula 1 back stage pass

Buda and Pest, together make Budapest and it features on the River Cruise route – one of the many stops on the Danube. It is a top destination and it is a Formula 1 City – Formula 1 does not refer to Doris’s driving of the pedal driven car round Margaret Island in the middle of the River Danube, which splits Buda and Pest. Buda is one side of the river, Pest is on the other side. We genuinely got an all areas pass to the F1 there – and when I say all areas, I mean all areas including into command centres where we were told strictly no filming or pictures … of, the Budapest Formula 1 Grand Prix.


Budapest F1 2 So how? We were living in Budapest whilst working on the HBO / Cinemax series Strike Back which went out on Sky. One of the stars was Malaysian actress Michelle Yo, who is married to Jean Todd head of the FIA. So, blessed with the keys to anywhere, we walked back pit lane and saw command centres, gyms, traveling nightclubs and green rooms, boy, we thought film had money but these guys have so much they take everything with them. It is not a crowded F1 and it is a very special town, so if you are an F1 fan, this could be the venue to see it live. Maybe on a well-timed river cruise!

SAGA own website page for the wonderful SPIRIT OF THE RHINE river ship – here

Budapest F1 4The race, the day was a once in a lifetime dream, thank you, Michelle. The last time I went to a Formula 1 race was with Mr. Blobby for a Noel Edmunds show, and we never got this treatment! It made me realise that a day at F1 is quite special if you purchase the ticket to the champagne VIP rooms with access to the pit lane. Fast cars and high heels!

Budapest is a Party City. I am not sure who gave the award, but Budapest recently won the best party city of Europe award. I think I would agree. When the weather is good, just about every courtyard in the centre and every unused warehouse becomes a bar, the alfresco bars being very special. Although it is young, all ages are there. Some of the bars serve very good food. Some partying goes on to very late. You will soon find these areas not far away from the middle where Deak Ferenc Metro station joins nearly all the lines.

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Budapest City by Segway. This film is about Segway in Prague and Budapest, where, because of the ground you want to cover quickly, the Segway is a good idea. In Budapest, you can cross a bridge quickly, go up to Buda castle, come back to Pest and see the parliament building on the Pest side. It is a great way to tour fast and get a quick overview of what you might like to see afterwards with more time.     

Hop On Hop Off Bus. These can be great but I never felt it was a great tour in Budapest, maybe because I lived there for months, but it is a town you can walk to, and the places out of town you might like to see are visits by bus or car. Taxi’s in Budapest are good but like anywhere – ask first, check the meter goes on. We recommend Segway here!

Budapest River Cruises – click here

Eating in Budapest. There are so many seriously good restaurants in Budapest there is no excuse to get caught in a tourist trap. We once had such a bad meal on one of the boats on the river we had to complain, and we got our money returned in full. When in the middle of town, two places you must visit. The Book Cafe upstairs in the bookshop opposite the Opera House, you will not be disappointed. Just tea and cake while someone plays the piano in the most ornate cafe you will find.

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The second is a fresh fish restaurant not too far away from the book cafe, in the main street up towards the crossroads. You buy what you want, they cook it how you want. Fantastic. Wish I could remember the name, someone please remind me. Our treat would then be the Pomo d’Oro which also serves great fish but much more. It was a standard for the cast and crew and we went there often. You can spend UK prices but get better wine and food than for the same money in the UK. So, better value for money than the UK, great food great wine.

SAGA own website page for the wonderful SPIRIT OF THE RHINE river ship – here

A list of places to see is easy, Buda castle is a must. The Chain Bridge they rave about, but it is a bridge. Parliament Building and St Stephen’s and Matthias Church are all possible by Segway or walking, or local bus or tram.

See a selection of what the locals offer.



Hero’s Square is the other way and is a huge square, huge park, zoo, area where they have festivals and concerts and Pomo D’Oro is not too far away on the walk back.

Out of town, Szentendre is a great village about 20kms away up the Danube and a great day out in the sunshine. Food, wine, local art. It is a nice place and worth the trip. If you drive, watch the parking restrictions and use the pay and display car park. Budapest is a great place to visit. Highly recommended! And, if it is the summer, also take a trip to the baths. There are three versions of our Houses of Parliament around the world, one is here on the Danube.

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See my cruise and port accurate mystery thrillers in paperback and eBook Some in large print & as audiobooks. They are all set on a cruise and written like movies or TV series. Well, that is where I spent the last 50 years! The income is reinvested into this cruise site.

CHAT GROUPS – a fantastic way to help others and a place to find answers. We run a Facebook Group for each of the ships. For example, P&O IONA group  P&O Ventura MARELLA EXPLORER Disney & Family cruise chatSAGA Ocean & River cruise chat group Viking Ocean & River Cruising chatCunard Chat – Premium cruise liners Find the complete list of chat groups here