Busy in Budapest: Hungary's beautiful capital

Meg Blount details all the best stops to visit whilst on a trip to Budapest, Hungary

Meg Blount
14th February 2020
Feature Image Credit: blizniak from Pixabay
The bustling city of Budapest is an ideal destination for both a short city break and a more relaxing holiday, offering a multitude of activities which attract millions of tourists every year.

The fabulous architecture of Buda and Pest combine the two halves of the city together, despite the geographical separation of the Danube river, creating a sensational metropolis that everyone should be encouraged to explore.

The historic highlights of Budapest are evident within the impressive architecture, showing the regal past of the Hungarians and the pride taken to build aesthetically pleasing homes. Luckily, the prices in Budapest to enter these historic buildings and churches are relatively cheap and are, without a doubt, worth paying in order to marvel at the skilful engineering. The Fisherman’s Bastion is an impressive viewing terrace that offers panoramic views of the city and boasts turrets and spires, almost resembling a castle from a fairy-tale; this monument is free to wander around on the lower levels accompanied with great views, but at a small charge access is granted to the highest platforms, ultimately possessing a slightly better look out onto Budapest.

"Climb uphill to the Liberty Statue, which commemorates those who sacrificed themselves for the independence of Hungary"

Furthermore, a plethora of religious buildings are accessible to the public, including the largest synagogue in Europe: Dohány Street Synagogue and the largest church in Budapest: St Stephen’s Basilica. Both are must see spectacles of the city and should be visited and appreciated, especially as the cathedral contains the mummified right hand of the patron King St Stephen – a rare, slightly disturbing, artefact. In order to add further history into the exploration of the city, visit the Danube promenade to find the collection of metal shoes placed on the banks of the river to honour the Jews killed during World War II or climb uphill to the Liberty Statue, which commemorates those who sacrificed themselves for the independence of Hungary. Albeit, the Hungarian Parliament Building may be the most remarkable structure situated in Budapest; the beautiful Neo-Gothic architecture on the outside is complimented by the gorgeous interior, establishing a magnificent building and becoming a definite priority to get a tour - highly recommended to discover some of the secrets of the parliament…

Image Credit: Free-Photos from Pixabay

There are many other recreational activities available that may suit those less interested in the history of the city and wanting more immersive experiences. Budapest is famous for its vast array of spa baths and is in fact home to the largest medicinal bath in Europe, Széchenyi; this bath house consists of 15 indoor baths, 3 outdoor baths and 10 sauna and steam rooms, providing perfect facilities for a pamper, especially if you treat yourself to a massage as well. On a slightly smaller scale, the Gellért Spa offers a similar relaxing experience only with fewer baths, but therefore it is less crowded. Plus, Gellért has the addition of a wave pool, adding a bit more variety to those hours spent unwinding.

"The Market is also the perfect place to buy souvenirs or gifts for those at home unfortunately unable to enjoy the wonders of Budapest"

After such a relaxing day, food is definitely a priority and Budapest offers a large range of cafes and restaurants with classic traditional food. The Grand Market Hall is definitely a great place to get food and to discover local delicacies at a more affordable price. The Market is also the perfect place to buy souvenirs or gifts for those at home unfortunately unable to enjoy the wonders of Budapest. For more upmarket dining experiences, book a river cruise along the Danube that includes a candle lit meal, as you slowly make your way downriver, admiring the beautiful scenery of the city in both Buda and Pest and enjoying the romantic ambience of the night. Alternatively, splash the cash at the New York Café, considered the most beautiful café in the world with its Italian Renaissance style, the queue for a table is worth the wait as the hot chocolates are heavenly, tasting like pure melted chocolate; however, a small cup is recommended as it is incredibly sweet and filling. If alcoholic drinks are desired instead, the ruin bars are the place to go – run down buildings have been transformed into quirky, upbeat bars unlike any other in the city. The original bar, Szimpla Kert, allows you to enjoy a beverage whilst lounging in an empty bath or you can explore the various rooms that all have a slightly different edge but are undeniably cool and unique – great photo opportunities.

Image Credit: Jorge Franganillo from Flickr

Budapest is a versatile city that can be visited at any time of the year. In Winter, dainty Christmas markets are set up all around the city selling beautiful, handmade gifts and traditional food. The lake in the City Park is also turned into a gigantic ice rink, adding to the merriment and providing a fun activity for all those in Budapest. In contrast, summertime brings gorgeous weather perfect for festivals, including the most famous music and cultural festival Sziget: an intense week of activities and performances, an unforgettable experience for all.

Ultimately, Budapest is a vibrant city that can entertain everyone, moulding a rememberable holiday that leaves you wanting to return and jumping back on a plane to Hungary with all your friends.

Feature Image Credit: blizniak from Pixabay

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