Day 5. Having fun at Miniversum -Budapest’s model railway exhibition

The sunny weather of the previous days seemed to desert us as we woke to thick clouds and drizzle. It was fortunate then that we had planned some indoor activities for the earlier part of the day.   We started by taking Line 2 of the metro along to Deák Ferenc Square and from there strolled along the elegant Andrássy Avenue which is lined with high-end designer stores and restaurants. Located part way along this road, near to the Opera House, we arrived at Miniversum, one of the largest model rail exhibitions in the world. It’s home is on the ground floor of the former Krausz Palace which was built in 1838 and is now a national monument.

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Model railway layouts with interactive buttons for visitors to press

Entrance to Miniversum is HUF 2,700 (£7.38) with a 30% reduction offered to holders of the Budapest Card. The model railway boasts over 5,000 miniature figures, 1,200 vehicles and 100 trains winding their way along 1,300 metres of track through 14 towns and cities and the exhibition is scaled to 1:100 of its original size.

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A section of the Miniversum model railway layout

Our arrival time, fifteen minutes after its opening on a Monday morning was perfect as there were few other visitors which gave us plenty of opportunities to view the exhibition. As this was our 5th day in Budapest, we were already familiar with some of the miniature landmarks and we watched in awe, as little trains departed from the Nyugati Railway Station winding their way through the city.

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Scale model of the Nyugati Railway Station, Budapest

Beneath the layout are 100 strategically placed interactive buttons which are colour coded to allow visitors to control sounds, vehicles, movement and lights. We had so much fun pressing every one of the buttons and then scanning the layout to discover the action we had performed.

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Interactive buttons to press at the Miniversum model railway

Sometimes, it was a tiny resident going about their everyday chores such as hanging out their washing, other times we had set a bus in motion, the blades of a windmill, or the sounds of a plane’s engine. It was absolutely captivating and we spent around one and a half hours in sheer bliss.

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Beautiful houses feature in the Miniversum model railway layout

The display extends beyond the capital, taking visitors on a journey through the vineyards of Hungary, its countryside, small towns and into a second exhibition hall where the miniature journey continued onto Vienna and Bavaria. In addition to the model railway, there are useful information boards documenting such things as life under communism and the fall of the iron curtain.

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Interactive buttons to turn on vehicle headlights, etc.

Before leaving, we looked into the control room where a member of staff was watching more than 1Km of railway on 18 monitors, ensuring everything was running smoothly and there had been no derailments. Although HUF 2,700 might at first seem quite expensive to enter Miniversum, it’s an enchanting experience and one that bring’s out the child in all of us, irrespective of age.

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Budapest Central Market Hall

The rain was continuing to fall as we returned outdoors so we sped along to the Central Market Hall which is located at the end of the main pedestrianised shopping street Váci utca on the Pest side of the Liberty Bridge.

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The ground floor of the Budapest Central Market Hall

It’s both the largest and oldest indoor market hall in Budapest and was completed in 1897. Under an ornate glass and steel roof we found a huge variety of stalls with the ground floor offering fresh produce, sausages, Hungarian paprika and Tokaj wines.

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View from the upper balcony of the Budapest Central Market Hall

The upper floor is mainly given over to souvenirs, food stalls and cafes which were all doing a brisk trade as we had arrived around lunchtime. The market is open six days a week but please bear in mind if you are visiting over a weekend that it is closed each Sunday.

Located next to the market hall and overlooking the Danube lies the main building of the Corvinus University of Budapest.

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Main building of the Corvinus University of Budapest

This beautiful neo-Renaissance building was completed in 1874 and functioned as the Customs House during the years of the Austrian-Hungarian empire. Since 1948 it has been home to the university’s central services, business and economics departments.

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Elaborate interior of the main building of Corvinus University

We wandered through the grand entrance of this beautiful, heritage listed building and admired its original marble columns and wood panelling in its entrance lobby. With its idyllic position overlooking the Danube there can be few institutions offering such panoramic vistas.  Adjoining the university lies the Fóvám ter interchange station and from a machine in its lobby we purchased a 24 hour travel card as our original 72 hour card had expired. These cards cost HUF 1,650 (£4.50) each and we had delayed renewing our card so that it would be valid for our return to the airport the following afternoon,

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Heritage metro station on Line One

We caught a tram along the riverside enjoying the stunning views from its windows and then walked a short distance to Vörösmarty tér, the terminus for the Line One, heritage metro line to take a train to Sźechenyi Fürdö station where we had been for a moonlight walk the previous evening.

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Entrance to the Vajdahunyad Castle in City Park, Budapest

The City Park looked just as inviting in the daylight as we explored the area from the Szechenyi thermal baths along to the fairytale like Vajdahunyad Castle which was constructed in 1896 in various architectural styles as part of Hungary’s millennial celebrations.

Finishing touches were being made to a huge ice skating rink in front of the castle which was due to open the following week making a perfect backdrop for the festivities.

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CIty Park Ice Rink, Budapest

Continuing our stroll through the park we strolled alongside a thermally heated pond where sensible ducks were keeping warm, floating in the warm water. Our walk continued to Heroes Square with its millennium monument rising to a height of 36 metres (118ft).

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Thermally heated pond, City Park, Budapest

Feeling cold, we hopped on the heritage metro line once again, back towards our hotel. Ticket inspectors seemed to be patrolling this line constantly and on the few occasions that we used it, we observed several people receiving on the spot fines of HUF 8,000 (£21.90) or double if they failed to pay immediately so do please take care to ensure that you are in possession of a valid ticket.

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The Budapest Eye Ferris wheel at Erzsebet Square

Later in the evening we visited Erzsébet Square near Deák station where a smaller Christmas market was taking place.  This square is home to the Budapest Eye Ferris wheel which glimmered in the night sky.  We wandered around the small cabins with their welcoming twinkling lights and then warmed ourselves up with mugs of hot chocolate topped with whipped cream.  The end of another lovely day in Budapest.

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Erzsebet Square Christmas Market, Budapest

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Merrivale Model Village, Great Yarmouth

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37 thoughts on “Day 5. Having fun at Miniversum -Budapest’s model railway exhibition

  1. Pingback: Day 1 & 2. Wroclaw, Poland – a short break – Love Travelling

  2. Wonderful post. I especially love the model railway exhibition. Maybe You guessed? 🙂 Budapest seems to be worth for a visit! I have only been there at the airport about one hour when I was a flying officer for Finnair in the mid-70s during five years.

    All the best to You and Yours.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. jasonlikestotravel

    I don’t know if this was there when I visited but I’ll have to visit Miniversum when I go back. I see you’ve mentioned it already but the Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg is great fun too! Definitely worth a visit, as is Hamburg generally 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. jasonlikestotravel

        Thank you! So far so good, hope yours is going well too! I’m contemplating Frankfurt when I go to Cologne/Dortmund in March so keen to hear what you get up to 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hi Jason, just noticed your comment whilst I’m eating lunch. Yes, I was in Frankfurt over the weekend and really enjoyed it, though the weather could have been a bit better. We found plenty of nice things to see and do, and of course sampled the schnitzels, sausages and beer. If I haven’t posted my weekend review before you go to Cologne, let me know and I’ll fill you in! Marion

          Liked by 1 person

  4. THAT is one day of indefatigable travel.
    I loved the idea of all the interactive features on that stunning railroad layout.
    Ah yes, the millennial celebration. I hope you’re making your plans to come to the U.S. when we have ours in 2776. As luck would have it, I was in York for the observation of their 1900th in 1971, but I’m not certain if my calendar’s open in 2071 for the bimillennial (!). I’m trying to free things up.
    I’ve sent a link to a railroading fan in Australia who might well make a point to go to Budapest to see the Miniversum! Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Such a great city and who doesn’t love a model railway! Although that one looks absolutely incredible. Have to admit I’m a bit of a big kid with those layouts and could spend hours wandering around them just taking it all in . Looks like you had a wonderful time.

    Liked by 1 person

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