During the past few years, an interesting and lively gay scene has re-emerged in
Hungary. Budapest, once known as the "Paris of the East", has always been regarded
as a gay capital by Eastern Europeans.
| The city is divided into two parts by the
Danube: Buda - the hilly side, and Pest - the lively city centre. To find your way
around you'll need to know that Budapest is divided into districts ("kerület",
abbrev. "ker.") arranged in a spiral, and numbered in
Roman numerals starting at the centre (so, I. and II. are the most central districts
on the Buda side, V.,VI., VII. and VIII the most central districts on the Pest side.)
Since the fall of the communist regime, a commercial gay infrastructure has grown
up, though there is less of a sense of community than in other European countries.
Nevertheless the very first gay youth group was founded recently and a Gay Pride
Day in Budapest has been organized every year since 1997.
The legal situation for gays is a mixed. The age of consent for gay sex is 18,
however sexual contacts between heterosexuals are allowed from the age of 14, a
situation that some gay organizations are fighting in the Hungarian courts. Gay
marriage is not possible, but the law makes no difference between homo- or heterosexual
partnerships. The state recommends officially that gay men should not become teachers
or soldiers. The latest bad news for gays in Hungary came in January, 1998, when
it was ruled that people who test positive for HIV must, by law, be registered.
Since this ruling, it has no longer been possible to get an anonymous HIV test.
When they visit for the first time, most gay tourists are surprised at the intense and
very obvious level of cruising that goes on here which is totally accepted.
If you go during the summer to
Erzebet Square in the heart of Budapest, and walk some hundred metres down the
Danube to the Korzo between the Marriott Hotel and the bridge, you'll find
yourself in a large, very public, outside cruising area, especially in the two
hours before and after sunset. At one part of the Korzo, there are a lot of seats
and you can be sure that many of the people sitting there are gay. Also you'll find
that most of the teenage lads hanging around are more than happy to strike a deal.
It's not the only place where cruising goes on in Budapest, but a lot of gay socializing
takes place here. Just by occupying, for a short time at sunset, one of the seats
along the Korzo near the Erzsebet bridge and March 15th Square, you can get a good
idea of what gay society in Hungary is really like.
The other big cruising ground is Népliget, The Peoples Park, behind the Planetarium
and around the area of the old ruins, and also the path between the Planetarium and the
Epitok Sport Club. People go here to do everything and the men in the parked cars are
all looking for action.
In Hungary, it is very easy to make contacts with the locals. You might even find
yourself feeling somewhat irritated at their frankness, because Hungarian gays are
very quick to tell you their wishes and expectations. Foreign visitors are the objects
of great interest, partly because Hungarians are very fearful of having their sexual
liaisons gossiped about, and they look upon foreign visitors as gossip-proof, because
of the shortness of their stays. For all that, Hungarians seem to have no trouble at
all in passionately enjoying their gay lifestyle. And Hungary's gay night spots are
One of the busiest places is the Action Bar, a
basement bar, a special room where porn movies are screened, and Hungary's most
On Wednesdays and Sundays, shows and dancing
are a happening at the Cafe Cappella, which is located right on the Danube, but on
the Pest side. It's on the gay tourist map and don't lose your drink ticket as you'll have to pay 10,000HUF when you leave.
It's the same system at CBA - Club Bohemian Alibi which has a great sound system
and spectacular drag shows, but this attracts a mixed gay and straight crowd.
The CoXx Club is a combined internet café, bar,
plus a backroom and organises regular leather and fetish parties. You'll find male
prostitution is prevalent in Hungarian gay places, but not really professional.
Budapest is fortunate to have some of the world's finest Turkish baths. Not only do they
boast original Ottoman architecture consisting of wonderful octagonal pools, cupolas
and stained-glass windows, but they offer a unique bathing experience. Admission is cheap
and expert masseurs happily re-arrange your limbs and muscles in ways that you thought were
impossible. While some are definitely mixed, others have a mostly gay clientele, so make
sure you choose the right ones. The Király
Bath is one of the city's most historic Turkish monuments and is open to men
on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays when it is full of local gays. Its origins date back as
far back as 1570 and today it is a listed building and shows the
early Ottoman bathing culture in its original glamour. The octagonal
main pool is surrounded by a number of smaller pools, steam rooms and saunas.
The Gellért Bath is probably the finest example of Art Nouveau anywhere in Europe. Located
on the banks of the Danube it boasts wonderful statues, mosaic tiling and stained glass.
This characteristic style extends from the internal areas to the outdoor pools and
the artifical wave pool.Leading off from the main pool on either side are two Turkish style
thermal baths, one for men, the other for women, where local gays always meet, or on the
outside pool in the summer.
The longest established gay only sauna is the Magnum which offers private cabins,
glory hole rooms and a darkroom. A recent addition is Sauna 69|
There are direct flights from the UK and discount deals are available from around Ł90
return. We recommend eBookers
for the latest offers.
The best time to visit Budapest is in the warmer months between April and October. The old city
is architecturally beautiful, and well-preserved. Hungary is a very cheap destination, except for the cost of accommodation,
which is comparable to any western European city. There are the normal range of
international hotels and a number of gay guest houses and apartments.
Budapest Gay Guide has details of a number of apartments for gay visitors and you'll also find an extensive
choice of hotels bookable online, at all price
ranges with many special deals at our recommended hotel partners Booking.
Click here for the latest offers.
More info at
THE LITTLE BLACK BOOK
Cafe Capella (Belgrád rakpart 23, 1056 Budapest, T: 1/ 318 62 31)
CBA - Club Bohemian Alibi (13 Ülloi út 45 (corner of Ferenc Körút/Ülloi út), T: 20 314 19 59)
Gellért Bath (XI Kelenhegyi út 4, T: 1 466 61 66)
Király Bath (II Fö utca 84)
Magnum (Csepreghy utca 2, corner Mária utca, T:1 267 25 32)
Revised January 2015.