A Historic Plaza in Budapest’s City Centre
The centrally located Vörösmarty Square (Vörösmarty tér) is unmissable since it lies in the inner city of Budapest (district V.), at just a moments walk from the Danube.
The city’s famous shopping street, Váci utca starts here stretching all the way to the Central Market Hall at Fővám Square.
The square hosts large-scale events liked very much both by locals and travellers visiting Budapest.
This is the place where
- the Christmas fair (voted the Europe’s best-value holiday fair by several travel magazines and websites) is held each year, and
- in March – April a Easter & Spring Fair welcomes visitors with lively atmosphere, craft fair, concerts and local gastronomy.
Continental Europe’s first underground line (built in the late 19. century and commonly known as Kisföldalatti in Hungary), connecting the downtown with the City Park (Városliget) has a station here, right in front of the Gerbeaud Coffee Hosue (see below).
Vörösmarty tér is one of Budapest’s top sights with a lot going on all year round. Easily accessible by walk or public transport for any points of the city.
Plenty of shops, restaurants and cafes are located here. You’ll inevitably end up here one way or the other while exploring the city.
- M1 Millennium Undergound (M1/yellow line) Vörösmarty tér station,
- M2, M3, M1 lines Deák Ferenc tér station,
- Tram 2 Vigadó tér stop on the Danube Promenade (3 minute walk).
Attractions in Vörösmarty Square
The marble statue of Mihály Vörösmarty (1800-1855), a romantic poet of the Reform Era and stands in the centre. The square received its named after him in 1926.
Before that it had gone by at least a dozen various names,
- Károlyi Mihály tér,
- Gizella tér,
- Régi színház tér/Old Theatre Sqr.
- Színház tér/Thetare Sqr.,
- Séta tér/Promenade Sqr.
His best-known work, the Szózat/Appeal became Hungary’s 2nd anthem.
The first two verses are sang usually at the end of ceremonies.
Gerbeaud Coffee House
The impressive white building at the north end is the famous Gerbeaud Cafe & Confectionery known for its delicious cakes and pastries since its establishment in 1870..
Their coffee is good too now that they source the beans from Hungary’s first third wave roastery, Casino Mocca.
The terrace of the cafe is almost always full of people, mostly tourists.
Try one of the traditional Hungarian cakes (a slice costs 2 250 HUF):
- Krémes (cream pastry resembling the French mille feuille but with less pastry layers),
- Gerbeaud pastry(named after the founder Emil Gerbeaud who created this delicacy: 4 layers of yeast based pastry filled with apricot jam and ground walnuts, with chocolate icing),
- Dobos cake (layers of yellow sponge cake spread with rich chocolate cream and with a crunchy caramel layer on top) or
- Eszterházy cake.
The former city wall of Pest ran at the north end of the square – this fact is remembered by a metal plaque on the wall of the Váci1 Shopping Centre – the huge glass-covered building that dominates the west corner.
The writing says that here stood the Váczi Gate, the northern gate of the Pest city wall.
The building where now the Váci1 stands used to housed the headquarters of Hungary’s first national bank then the Budapest Stock Exchange (between 1990-2005).
The palace was restored and turned into a modern, spacious building with shops on the ground floor.
- The Hard Rock Cafe is also here
- along with the Szamos Gourmet Palace Confectionery & Chocolatier.
Restaurants, Cafes Nearby
Onyx Restaurant – Michelin Star
Address: Vörösmarty tér
Open: Tue-Fri: 12.00-14.00, dinner time: Tue-Sat: 18.30-23.00
A fine-dining place that earned Hungary’s second Michelin star after Costes in 2011 but it was the first time that the work of Hungarian chefs (Tamás Széll and Szabina Szulló) was recognized.
Onyx is located inside the Gerbeaud House where the cafe operates.
Entrance is from the eastern side of the building.
You can enjoy gourmet meals in the imposing dining room: two tasting menus:
- Hungarian Evolution Menu that includes Hungary’s famous dish the goulash prepared in an innovative way, as well as contemporary version of a popular dessert the Somló sponge cake- 28 900 HUF,
- Tasting Menu Recommended by the chef: 31 900 HUF, wines and 15 % service fee are not included
- a la carte dinner,
- special lunch menu between Tuesday-Thursday at 12.00-13.30, the base price is 9 900 (without drinks and 15 % service fee).
Excellent wine list of Hungarian and international bottles. Reservation is highly recommended!
Hard Rock Cafe
Address: Deák Ferenc utca 3-5., district V.
- Sun – Wed: 12.00 – 23.00,
- Thurs: 12.00 – 24.00,
- Fri – Sat: 12.00 – 01.00
The iconic burger bar opened its Hungarian joint in 2011 in the Váci1 Shopping Centre.
The usual professional service, fantastic interior good food, drinks and music characterise the Budapest place.
Szamos Gourmet Palace
Address: Váci utca 1., district V.
Open: Mon – Sun: 10.00 – 19.00
The beautifully decorated Szamos Gourmet Palace is a cafe, cake shop and chocolate manufacture.
The Szamos is one of the oldest confectioneries in Hungary with several shops in the city.
It boasts a splendid interior with Herend porcelain pictures on the walls, dark wood and glass cabinets, and the symbol of the place: a large chocolate tree.
Golden cocoa beans hang at the end of the silver tree branches that are illuminated at night.
You can choose from
- 40 various handmade bonbons,
- various coffee drinks,
- cakes and
- ice cream in summer.
In the morning you can have a hearty English breakfast or just a cake and coffee duo.
There is also a seasonal daily menu available between 12.00 and 15.00. The a la carte menu includes simple bistro dishes: salads, sandwiches, soups.
Events, Festivals on the Square
Vörösmarty tér is home to several festivals and fairs all year round:
- The most popular and best-known event is the Christmas fair starting in mid-November each year. Local food and craft products, winter drinks, concerts are the highlights of the fair.
- In June book lovers browse among the stalls of various publishers during the Festive Book Week.
- The plaza is also a gathering place to welcome the New Year in Budapest – people (locals and tourists alike) flock here with champgane in hand to count down till the clock strikes midnight on 31. December.
- A Spring Fair and Easter Festival with a similar vibe that of the Christmas market welcomes visitors in March-April (depending on the date of Easter each year).