Budapest, Europe, Hungary, Restaurants

McDonalds Around The World: Budapest, Hungary.

November 10, 2011
A McDonalds in Budapest

McDonalds Around The World

I don’t really consider myself a “foodie” but I do admit that I like to indulge in a meal at a nice restaurant (or two, or three) whenever I travel. About a year ago, I told a funny tale of how I came to visit a McDonalds in Italy.

While I think it was a cute and funny story, for some reason I felt compelled to convince everyone that I really liked good food and described how I’d had spent a portion of my holidays in Italy on a cooking, wine and sight seeing tour with Culture Discovery. You discover at the end of the story, I never actually ate at the McDonalds and only entered in order to use the toilet.

Forgive Me Foodies, For I Have Sinned

Now time for another “shocking” confession from this self professed “bad girl“.

I usually eat at McDonalds whenever I travel.

Ohhh nooo! As I typed this statement, I half expected that an almighty foodie god in the sky would throw down a giant bolt of lighting to strike me down for my outrageous transgressions.

Seriously though, who really cares? It’s not like I’m killing anyone .

Except yourself!” a health nut would shriek.

Except an adorable cow named Besty!” a hard-core vegan would roar as they watched me scarf down a Big Mac.

Cows Grazing
Hailing from the Dairy Capital of Canada, as a young child I was convinced that brown cows actually produced chocolate milk and for this reason I thought cows were completey cool. Then I moved to the East Coast of Canada where I spent my high school years living next to a cow named Betsy and guess what? She wasn’t cute and worst of all, I had to clean up the “presents” she left on our lawn whenever she charged through our fence to come chew on the grass.

And I’m pretty sure that McDonalds doesn’t use real beef anyway. So shoot me for liking their “100% Real Beef” and indulging in some terribly unhealthy processed food from time-to-time.

The Times, They Are A Changing

A year has passed since that last post and I’m a changed woman. My style of travel is completely different and my way is living is too. Instead of staying at fancy hotels and taking cabs everywhere, I stay at hostels and take public transit. Where I once occupied a loft in a trendy Toronto neighborhood filled with too many possessions, I’ve since sold everything I own and moved to Berlin, where I share a flat someone and sleep on a futon. It’s actually a step up from the couch I slept on the first 5 months I lived here!

So although I still dig the whole fine dining thing, I can’t afford to eat this way every single time I have a meal when traveling. This is where McDonalds enters the picture.

McDonalds In Budapest

So when you’re looking for where to eat or a restaurant in Budapest, stop at a McDonalds where you still feel like you’re a patron of a swanky 5-star dining establishment. Seriously, isn’t this the nicest one you’ve ever seen?

A McDonalds in Budapest


Why would a budget traveler type like me (or you) eat at a McDonalds in Budapest (and in Barcelona and Milan too)?

  1. The most obvious reason? It’s super cheap.
  2. There’s free wi-fi! Travel blogging me was able to email updates to family and friends, jump on Twitter, update Facebook and check in on Four Square.
  3. To use the public toilet/WC/washroom (or whatever you’d like to call it).
  4. To take a break and rest my tired feet. I’ve mentioned over and over again how I love to walk through cities and Budapest was no exception.
  5. To escape the elements. Even though it was September, the 30 degree Celsius weather made it feel like it was July and it was nice to get some unnaturally cold AC chills.
  6. You can still order a healthy meal and make “friends with salad“.

As you usually need to buy something in order to use the wi-fi and/or the toilet, I bought this cappuccino decorated in a very pretty way …

A McDonalds in Budapest
Travel Photo Thursday.
This post was submitted to the Budget Travelers Sandbox weekly ā€œTravel Photo Thursdayā€ series where bloggers are provided opportunity to showcase their travel photos.

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26 Comments

  • Reply Christy @ Technosyncratic November 10, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    We’ve seen some super nice McDonald’s on the road, which is sort of strange. And sometimes there are unique things on the menu! That being said, we haven’t really eaten at one in years. šŸ™‚

  • Reply Debbie Beardsley @ European Travelista November 10, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    The McDonalds I visited in Budapest didn’t look this nice nor did have that awesome looking coffee! I stopped by one night becuase it was late, I was starving and couldn’t find anything I wanted to eat. I took it back to my room. I felt bad too because I really don’t like eating McDonalds when traveling, I want local food. But the mood I was in said I wasn’t going to find anything.

    • Reply Cheryl Howard November 11, 2011 at 1:15 pm

      @Christy – It’s kind of fun to see what they have on the menu!

      @Debbie – this was the McDonalds near the main train station. And my late night suggestion for Budapest if you don’t want McDonalds … Turkish!

  • Reply Leigh November 10, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    I swore off McDonalds decades ago but will admit to using their toilets. This is a great post and sometimes you just have to do what’s right for you – and on a budget free WiFi counts for a lot too.
    Loved the pictures that went with the story.

  • Reply Andrea November 11, 2011 at 12:03 am

    We go there sometimes too – the other night in Dresden we wanted a quick eat and NOTHING was open in the old town except for regular (pricier) restaurants except McDonald’s. And like you said, there are some pluses!

    • Reply Cheryl Howard November 11, 2011 at 1:18 pm

      @Leigh – The great thing is that you can still eat healthy there if you want to and this time, I only got coffee so not so bad! šŸ™‚

      @Andrea – Yes, totally some pluses! It’s not like I’m encouraging people to go there, but I just don’t see it as a big deal.

  • Reply Cathy Sweeney November 11, 2011 at 12:20 am

    That Budapest McDonalds is gorgeous – I wouldn’t mind having a Quarter Pounder with Cheese there myself. Not really a McD’s fan, but they do have their place in the world. I’ve sometimes found them the best available option for wi-fi, restrooms & a snack on the road. Just hold the fries — way too much salt!

  • Reply Laurel November 11, 2011 at 11:17 am

    From looking at the pictures I never would have guessed that was a McDonalds. I’m not a big fan of McDonalds but do go when I’m homesick and the cappuccinos as McCafe are surprisingly good.

    • Reply Cheryl Howard November 11, 2011 at 1:44 pm

      @Laurel – Yes, the coffee wasn’t bad! I like it better than Star Bucks actually. šŸ™‚

  • Reply Jarmo @ Arctic Nomad November 11, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    That is a pretty nice looking McDonalds, I would guess they normally don’t look as nice as that, but then again I wouldn’t know… Fine, I do occasionally go for it, it’s something familiar. And the free wifi is pretty sweet, at least in New Zealand that was the cheapest way to get on the Interwebs!

  • Reply Average Traveller November 11, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    Nothing wrong with stopping into a McDonalds when travelleing, especially ones as cool as this one, as long as you don’t *just* eat at McDonalds. It’s okay to feel unadventurous once in awhile.

    • Reply Cheryl Howard November 11, 2011 at 8:53 pm

      @Jarmo – I’m not the only one, ha ha!

      @Ryan – it’s not something I do everyday. But I will stop for the reasons I listed out and even if it was just to eat, no big deal. šŸ™‚

  • Reply Sophie November 14, 2011 at 11:34 am

    I wouldn’t shed a tear if McDonald’s went out of business, I’m afraid – but then I don’t like the food. I was in Barbados once and the locals were very proud that McDonald’s had to shut down there for lack of business. They’re located in some beautiful buildings around the world, though. In my hometown, it’s at the former stock exchange, a gorgeous neoclassical building.

  • Reply Simon November 14, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    Incredible. I remember going to a Mc Cafe in Nice, and being absolutely blown away that they were serving beautiful French Macaron and iced coffee.

    Totally not the Mc Do experience I expected.

    Lovely pictures Cheryl.

    Si

    • Reply Cheryl Howard November 14, 2011 at 5:24 pm

      @Simon – wow, that sounds amazing! And thanks for your comment.

  • Reply Lindsay November 14, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    You’re hilarious! I actually don’t like McDonald’s, so I don’t even eat there at home (except ice cream cones at 2am after leaving the bar hehehehe…bad university habit!), however, in Krakow in 2006 we ended up in a McD’s at like 7am because it was the only thing open when our overnight train got in. It was a pretty standard McD’s – not nearly as gorgeous as your Budapest one!

    However, my confession is that I totally hit up Starbucks when I’m away, if I see one. I don’t hunt them down, but if they appear and I want a skim latte, I’m going (which, to be fair, most places don’t have skim milk and I can’t drink anything else!). Fast food may not be my travel sin, but bad American coffee is! :p

    • Reply Cheryl Howard November 14, 2011 at 5:22 pm

      @Sophie – I’m not dependent on McDonalds but now that I live abroad, it’s sometimes nice to have a ‘taste of home’.

      @Lindsay – thanks, I was trying my best to be funny. šŸ˜‰ Ha ha, I hit up Starbucks from time-to-time too although I must admit I’m spoiled with good coffee in Berlin. šŸ™‚

  • Reply Jim November 14, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    You can be forgiven entering MacDonalds in Budapest or even Prague as you really are just going in to study the old building frescos…and having a bite to eat while you’re there anyway!

    • Reply Cheryl Howard November 15, 2011 at 12:27 am

      @ Jim – ha ha, thanks for the absolution. šŸ˜‰

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  • Reply Tiny Girl with Big Bag September 17, 2012 at 4:00 am

    Haha, it is so nice to see such a post.. true, we have this McDonald’s in Budapest, and what we usually do in summertime is to sit in the shady park behind this building and enjoy the sun… hmm.. of course, during those rare times when we eat Mc-food šŸ˜‰

    • Reply Cheryl Howard September 17, 2012 at 9:38 am

      @Tiny Girl With Big Bag – Glad you liked the post, as it was meant to be funny more than anything and take a stab at those foodie snobs who make fun of McDonalds. Your McDonalds is beautiful! šŸ™‚

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  • Reply Jaillan October 8, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    You know what, I really believe that it’s ok to eat McDonald’s if that’s what you feel like doing. The more I travel the more I realise you don’t have to be seeking out authentic meaningful experiences every minute of every day, sometimes you need to really chill and do something familiar to recharge your batteries – so if you want to kick back in a Maccy D once in a while, don’t beat yourself up about it! I have the habit a bit myself, I usually go in for Wi-Fi or to use a bathroom but the more I travel the more nice branches I have seen especially in Europe and they have to serve decent coffee and cakes to survive – because the Europeans won’t put up with bad coffee!

    Talking of coffee I now seek out Starbucks as I can rely on them to have soya milk. Similarly I feel like it is sacrilegious to go somewhere with a great food culture and head to Starbucks especially as I am not even a Starbucks fan at home in London (because everywhere has soya milk) but if something makes your life easier, why not do it?

    • Reply Cheryl Howard October 9, 2012 at 11:35 am

      @Jaillan – I think it’s OK too! Of course, one always tries to seek out local foods but sometimes it’s nice to just grab a burger and fries. Especially, if you’ve been on the road for quite sometime. People need to chill out and stop judging others. I also seek out a Starbucks from time-to-time! šŸ™‚

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