Amongst the wonderful towns across the river Danube, Budapest is one that undoubtedly stands out. A destination you shouldn’t miss, a city with many faces and millions of places to explore. Though a city filled with important historic and aesthetic monuments, for me it will always be one to offer fun like no other. So here’s a guide suitable for every taste that will help you turn your days in Budapest into an unforgettable experience!
A walk along the river
At first glance on the city’s map, your attention is definitely drawn by the river, which separates Budapest into… Buda and Pest. A living organism of the city, a walk along the riverbank is the best guide to its most extraordinary elements. Make the trip there on foot, watch the parliament light up after the sunset and find a sit among those who bask in its view. You can even travel through it, with the help of the riverboats that serve as buses and transport passengers across it.
The highest point of hill Gellert can be found inside the citadel stronghold. In its center is the statue of freedom, which can be seen by every point in the city (as a local tour guide told us, no matter how drunk you are, you can always find your way by looking at that statue). Climbing the hill can be done by bus or tram, but I personally advise the path through the stairs. Though tiring, you’ll be surrounded by trees and the view from the top is well worth the trouble! Besides it being the perfect spot for picture-taking, at the citadel, you’ll find booths with food and wine, concerts of local musicians, and great spots to have a picnic.
Situated beside the river Danube, the evergreen “Margaret island” is the best destination to escape the city’s buzz. It’s essentially a huge park with pave ways and paths for jogging while being the home of dozens of pools and thermal springs at the same time. Its main attraction is the musical fountain, with bursts of water that dance in time with the beat of well-known songs. In summer there are also bars and restaurants with live music you’ll be sure to enjoy.
The spot that was once the only place Jew merchants could sell their products, today is the most popular place in Budapest. In the morning you’ll find an outdoor market to buys souvenirs but also handmade and vintage trinkets. With an abundance of picturesque little streets, it combines the beauty of a troubled past with the flourishing evolution of today. With it being the center of nightlife in Budapest, one walk is enough to spot the countless bars, karaoke places, and the most renowned ruin bars of the city.
Besides the Rubik’s cube (its inventor, Erno Rubik, is of Hungarian ethnicity) we also have another very important invention to thank Hungarians for, the so-called “ruin bars”. What happens if you take an old abandoned building and you fill it up with a plethora of different objects, like bathtubs, lights, kids’ toys, and more? The incredibly popular ruin bars, with the most renown of them all being Szimpla. The foundation of underground fun – well, not so “underground” anymore- Szimpla provides a hurricane of colors and lights with a unique composition. If you succeed in your endeavor to focus your attention besides the initial “noise”, you can enjoy your drink or coffee in one of the vastly different corners or lounging in a bathtub.
With its incredibly lively tourist spots, Budapest could only have the sort of nightlife that matches that image. Among the bars and night places, “Instant” is definitely worth a visit, with its rooms of different kinds of music each, ranging from latin to rock, as are the clubs near the river, like “Pontoon”, which offer a very enjoyable summer experience.
If you’re not a fan of loud music and bars, then I have good news for you. Alcohol, an important part of nightlife, and especially beer, is incredibly cheap in Budapest. Unfortunately, its consumption isn’t allowed in many public places and squares. Well… there’s an exception. Elizabeth square. The square which in the mornings stands out with the huge “Eye Budapest” and all, at nights turns into a magnet for young people of every nationality who drink their beverages lounging around the central, square pool. A cheap and much enjoyable alternative to a night out.
Ottomans, who ruled in Budapest for a vast part of history, left behind them not only paprika- which is an ingredient of every Hungarian dish that has an ounce of self-respect- but also the well known hot springs. There are many hot springs baths in Budapest, at a range of prices and compositions, but the most artistic and unique ones are, in my opinion, the Szechenyi baths. At first glance, it’s clear that they make up an irreplaceable monument, all with the outside of their buildings that are bejeweled with domes and their outside pools. In the interior, there are pools with a lot of hot or cold water and saunas, some of which with aromatic herbs. You can spend even a whole day of relaxation in this destination, since even after dark the pools light up from within, creating an even more unique atmosphere.
Check also “Budapest: The capital of baths“
Great market Hall
Last but not least, the big market in Budapest is well worth a quick visit, since it is a huge space with foods of any kind on the lowest floor and very cheap souvenirs on the first one. Going in, you’re surrounded by a plethora of smells of foods and the voices of the merchants that make it clear that sales have been going on for hundreds of years in this particular spot.
Whatever you may choose to see, Budapest will not let you down. Good company is of course required, but can also been found once you reach the beautiful capital city of Hungary!
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