The best things in life are unexpected… And that is how I found my favourite street in Budapest. I was just wandering the streets of the city, killing time until I could get in the apartment, when I suddenly appeared in this great street that became one of the main attractions in Budapest for me. Welcome to Nagymezo Utca!
If you are spending a weekend in Budapest and are curious, let me explain why I liked this street so much and maybe you will make some time during your visit to the capital of Hungary to go there.
First of all, Nagymezö Utca (street in Hungarian) is a beautiful street! While Budapest is an astonishing city, and the area around the Parlament and the river are breathtaking, walking around less popular streets I had the feeling that the city was narrow and a bit colourless… But this street in Budapest looked surprisingly bright and alive.
You can start walking it from the north, just 500 meters from Nyugati Station. The offer of restaurants and coffee shops on every side of the street is pretty good there. One of the buildings that will grab your attention is the Operetta and Musical Theater. This Art Nouveau building was designed by a the Viennese duo Fellner and Helmer in 1894. As there are other theatres on Nagymezo, this street is sometimes called the Broadway of Budapest!
Another reason why I liked so much Nagymezö Street is because one of my favourite things: photography! If you are interested in the History of Photography and you would like to visit some small but wonderful exhibitions in Budapest, this street is your place. To begin with, in Nagymezo Utca you can find the Robert Capa Contemporary Photography Center. Capa was a photojournalist and war photographer born in Budapest. He covered many wars, like the Spanish Civil War, the II World War or the First Indochina War, where he died when he stepped on a landmine. He was also one of the founders of the Magnum Agency and the love and professional partner of one of my idols: Gerda Taro .
Capa’s motto was: “If your pictures are not good enough, you are not close enough”. For me, the photographer is a character surrounded in legend and romanticism but most important is that his pictures were exceptional. The Robert Capa Center in Budapest organizes good photography exhibitions, some with Robert Capa works or topics around him, but also shows contemporary journalism photography. When I was there I was lucky to visit the exhibition of the pictures of Robert Capa in Color, and it was great!
If you walk just a few meters from the Capa Center of Budapest you will find another photographic curiosity, The Mai Manó Ház, the Hungarian House of Photography. Located in an wonderful building consructed at the end of the 19th century, this small museum is a place to visit in Budapest. The house, was planned as a house-studio by the photographer Mai Manó, and it stills has a sunlight studio that can be used by professionals, apart from two exhibition stores and a little shop where you can buy photography books.
The history of this building is very interesting: Mai Manó, who was a renowned court photographer, made it built inspired by photography and with the will to leave a legacy to the younger generations . The facade is decorated in neo-renaissance style and has sculptures of the six muses of photography.
If you are hungry after enjoying all these beautiful photos, you can luckily find another of my favourite things in Nagymezö Street…Hummus! I love hummus and if I go to a restaurant and it’s on the menu I always have to order it, so imagine my surprise when I discovered a restaurant just for hummus in the street! After walking around Budapest I discovered that this place is actually a very popular chain with many shops around the city.
It looks like I am not the only hummus fan! The one on Nagymezö looked very new and it is a quiet and pleasant place with funny explanations about hummus and chickpeas on the walls, and it was delicious and cheap! A very good place to eat in Budapest.
For a good cup of coffee or a fast snack, just next to the Capa Center there is a also a cosy café and bakery where you can get energy after wandering this beautiful street of Budapest.
As you can see, apart from the castles and big views (which are incredible in Budapest), there are always some gems hidden in the less crowded streets of the cities.
Which is your favourite secret street?