Budapest

budapest

Do's:

  • Take a moment to visit the Shoes on the Danube, a moving memorial for WWII victims
  • Be blown away by the crazy architecture of the Hungarian Parliament Building
  • Grab a drink, or more specifically a shot of Pálinka, at the Gozsdu Courtyard (Gozsdu Udvar) in the Jewish Quarter.
  • Walk up to Fisherman's Bastion for lovely panoramic views of the city. 
  • Cross over from Buda to Pest on the Chain Bridge.
  • Enjoy an afternoon at the Buda Castle.
  • Treat yourself to a spa and wellness day at the Széchenyi Thermal Baths.
  • Check out the largest synagogue in Europe, Dohány Street Synagogue. 
  • Eat a traditional Hungarian dinner at Frici Papa's

Don't:

  • Go for less than 2 days. You need AT LEAST a weekend in this city. 
  • Drive through Budapest. The traffic is comparable to the 10 in Los Angeles. 

You MUST go to Budapest. I repeat. MUST. What's already a magical city during the day, will blow your mind at night. In addition to the infamous riverfront, there's no shortage of things to see and do with a little something for everyone! 

SIGHT SEEING

As far as sight seeing goes, there are so many impressive buildings to check off the list! Spend a day just walking around as you'll want to see Budapest both by day and night. Start your tour on either side of the river and slowly make your way across the Chain Bridge to get a taste of Buda and Pest.

budapest1

I personally enjoyed staying in Pest for the nightlife and location. Unity Hostel is a fun place to stay where the staff will take great care of you and tell you all you need to know about the city. They'll even book your tickets to the Széchenyi Thermal Baths. Buda, however, is where you'll find stunning panoramic views of Budapest, with amazing viewpoints from both the Buda Castle and Fisherman's Bastion

View from Fisherman's Bastion 

View from Fisherman's Bastion 

Fisherman's Bastion coins it's name from the fisherman that used to defend the old rampart that once stood in it's place during the Middle Ages. It's now made up of seven fairytale-esque towers, each symbolizing one of the seven Magyar tribes who were the original settlers of Hungary. Not only will you have access to some breathtaking views, but you'll also fall in love with the colourful orange roof of the Matthias Church just beside it. Or at least I did. 

While the architecture and history of the city will definitely leave you in awe, I was most moved by the Shoes on the Danube. A simple yet powerful memorial honoring the victims killed along the Danube by militiamen during World War II, is represents the shoes they were forced to leave behind. I definitely think it's a must see and one of the most chilling WWII tributes in Europe. 

The perfect way to end an active day of sightseeing? Grab a spot along the Danube and admire the glamorous glow of the riverfront on either side of you, as there's nothing quite like Budapest at night! 

EATING/DRINKING

Recommended by locals and travelers, you'll want to get a seat at Frici Papa's. It's almost always crowded but somehow they manage to get everyone in. Here, you'll be able to get a great traditional Hungarian meal for close to nothing. Between the awesome name, the warm atmosphere and the cheap prices, it's safe to say I really enjoyed my goulash! 

After a filling and heavy Hungarian dinner, you'll want to walk it off. Take a stroll through the Gozsdu Courtyard (Gozsdu Udvar) in the middle of the Jewish Quarter, where you'll find an abundance of bars and restaurants packed into cozy courtyards. Have a meal here if you'd like but you'll be paying significantly more for the atmosphere. Don't leave without taking a shot of Pálinka, a fruit brandy fermented exclusively from fruit grown in Hungary. Nicknamed 'firewater,' it's a traditional part of Hungarian hospitality. Ease your way in by trying the Pálinka made from apricots! 

SPA & CHILL

Whether you're taking a break from your huge days of walking, or you're not much into sights, definitely spend a day at the Széchenyi Thermal Baths, the largest medicinal bath in Europe. It's definitely not glamorous, but it's an experience. While tickets may seem complicated due to the large array of options, the main thing you have to worry about as a visitor is whether you want a locker or a private changing cabin. In my opinion, go for the cheaper locker option since you'll be spending a whopping 5-10 minutes here to change.  

My recommendation: check out the outdoor pools first, then make your way inside to one of the 15 (18 on weekends) indoor pools or to one of the many steam baths and saunas. 

Looking to indulge? There's plenty of spa services such as massages, pedicures/manicures, or wellness packages. Don't be pressured into buying a package at the front door as you can also make a decision inside once you've checked out the facilities. Try to visit outside of summer since it's sometimes too hot to really enjoy the pools. 

What was your favourite part of Budapest?? Feel free to comment below :)