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Do a little detective work and seek out the Columbo statue in Budapest. Located in a quiet side-street on the eastern side of the Danube, the Columbo statue (depicting the beloved TV detective played by Peter Falk) is a big, bronze affair complete with his beloved Basset Hound (called “Dog”).
As a life-long of the TV series, we ‘Czech’ out the Columbo statue every time we’re in Budapest – not so much a pilgrimage but because there is something beautifully bizarre and surreal about the whole set-up, especially the puzzled look on some tourist’s faces when they unexpectedly stumble across the Columbo statue in a quite suburban side-street.
We are possibly a tad biased but Columbo was probably the best detective show of it’s time – it’s enduring appeal may explain why Columbo episodes are still repeated every week on UK television. So this is a must visit for us when in Budapest.
We didn’t go to Budapest especially to see the Columbo statue, but as we were already there visiting the ruin bars (a perfect Columbo alibi right?), we decided to make a side-trip to see the Columbo statue up-close for ourselves.
The likeness of the statue to Peter Falk is spot on, right down to the detail of the crumpled rain-jacket and falling cigarette ash.
The Columbo statue in Budapest is fairly recent and will celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2024. Columbo’s statue was nstalled in 2014 and sculpted by Geza Feket, as part of an overall project to rejuvenate the area.
Like many of Columbo’s storylines, the reason behind choosing Peter Falk for such an accolade is a little mysterious and muddled.
We did some detective work into the origin of the Columbo / Peter Falk statue. The (semi) official reason is that Peter Falk ‘may’ (!) have been related to the 19th century local politician Miksa Falk. The street where the statue is located – Falk Mikca Utna – is also named after them.
Like the perfect Columbo mystery, things aren’t always clear and many dispute the link saying it is unlikely they were related, with ‘Falk’ being a fairly common Hungarian name.
The story of the Columbo Statue becomes even more bizarre when we read afterwards that the bronze dog at Falk’s feet isn’t based on the pet beagle (called “Dog”) from the series, but a local dog named Franzi, who was part of the unveiling ceremony (but looked very similar to Columbo’s dog so they just went with it)… wow, this really does have more twists and turns than a classic Columbo episode.
On our last visit to the Columbo Statue in Budapest, apart from a few American tourists who had stumbled upon the statue likely by accident, we were the only tourists there snapping away. As such, we don’t think the Columbo statue is that well known or featured in tourist maps (shame!) but we are grateful for it’s surreal existence (a bit like the David Hasselhoff Museum in Berlin).
Just one more thing… all in all, the reason for the existence of the Columbo statue in Budapest is beautifully vague and mysterious to say the least, but we appreciate a lasting European legacy to one of television’s most enduring TV detectives. Now, if we could just look forward to a Kojak statue unveiled in Birmingham one day…
As at 2023, the Columbo Statue in Budapest is free to visit and ‘open’ 24 hours (mainly because it is a statue on a side-street).
Here are some highly rated accommodation suggestions for all types of budget in Budapest.
Hostel accommodations that come highly rated include:
If you are looking for something mid range then these hotels are in excellent locations with great reviews:
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Check out our other Budapest blog posts
- Top things to do on a weekend visit to Budapest
- Eating our way around Budapest with Taste Hungary
- A visit to Gellert and Szechenyi thermal Baths in Budapest
- Szimpla Kert, exploring Budapest’s best ruin bar
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