I went to Budapest in 2014 and immediately fell in love with the place. I’m a bit of a geek when it comes to historical buildings and architecture so Budapest was like a slice of heaven for me! During the spring/summer months you’ll find it heaving with tourists which can be a bit off-putting if you’re looking for a quiet, relaxing getaway but trust me, the scenery alone makes it worth it. If you’re heading out, then take a look at some of my favourite things to do:
Traditional hungarian food
If you’re a fellow carb/stodgy food lover like me then you may find Hungary to be something of a ‘food heaven’. Almost every street corner offers up a restaurant or cafe of some sort that will undoubtably serve up some of the tastiest local delicacies. Traditional meat goulash was one of my all-time favourites. A thick stew of meat and vegetables seasonsed with paprika and other spices, it made for a great winter warmer and left me feeling full and ready to face the miles of walking (and taking photos) that lay ahead of me. Fülemüle has an amazingly mouthwatering menu with prices ranging from £4 to £7 and trust me, they serve up some huge portions! Nagycsarnok (Great Market Hall) was built in 1897 and on Saturdays attracts crowds of locals and tourists alike with its numerous and inexpensive food stalls. Here you’ll find everything from fruit and vegetables to elegant pastries and all at a fraction of what you would pay in a restaurant. Head on up to the second floor of the market where you’ll find a cluster of canteen-style cafe’s such as Fakanál, a wonderful little place to escape the hustle and bustle down below and all it a very competitive price. Finally, if you’re a big desert fan then I would suggest asking for the home-made strudel with ice cream- word’s cannot describe the taste explosion that you’ll get!!!
Hands down the best view of the entire city (in my opinion) was at the top of Gellért Hill. Despite being an absolute killer on the old thighs trying to get up there and being jam-packed with a gazillion tourists all huffing and puffing along with me, the panoramic view of the city was absolutely insane! The chain bridge is another must-see (especially if you’re an architect junkie like me) and is the perfect spot to watch boats floating up and down the Danube river. Parliament building is a dazzling sight and despite it being free to tour if you’re an EU citizen (you’ll need to bring your passport along with you to prove this at the gates) I much prefer the view of it at night, when it’s lit up in all its glory and reflects beautifully off of the river. Other great spots to visit are Heroes square, city park, Károlyi Gardens and Szabadság Square. St. Stephen’s Basilica, the largest church in Budapest, is also well worth a visit. Its free to enter if you;d like to tour around the base of the building and costs only £1.50 if you’d to like view the city from the top of its observation deck.
Budapest is pretty much spa central, having carried the title of a ‘Spa city’ for the past 80 years, many of it’s thermal baths date back some 2000 years ago. Interesting fact: the city has more than 70 million litres of 21-78 oC thermal waters pouring through its 123 natural hot springs every DAY. The spa’s aren’t just to be used for self-pampering purposes either, they are widely known to have amazing health benefits for those suffering from various illnesses. With so many different types of baths to chose from, you’re sure to find one thats perfect for your needs, from Rudas Baths to Szechenyi Baths- the city has it all. For a list of the bath spa’s in the city, take a look here.
If you’re the party animal type then Budapest is definitely the perfect place for you! The country is consistently rated as one of the top 10 destinations for club-goers in Europe due to its vibrant (and cheap) nightlife. The A38 (Artemovsk 38) was voted the best nightclub in the world in 2012 by Lonely Planet readers and, from an architectural point of view, it really is one of kind- as it is built on an old military boat. The club itself offers up many different genres of entertainment, from live concerts to open air parties so its no surprise you’ll often find a long queue of waiting people outside. I would also recommend Holdudvar, Norimuri and Ötkert which are all regularly packed with locals and tourists alike. If you’re not in the partying mood (and I wouldn’t be surprised after all of the walking you’ve been doing!) why not take a relaxing boat trip on the Danube river? For a little bit extra you can book yourself in for a lovely 3 course meal whilst you float up and down the river, taking in the bright lights of the big city of Budapest. Take a look here for more information.