Castles, bridges, thermal springs and spas, these are a few of the things Budapest has to offer. Aside from being the most populous city in Hungary and also a popular destination to visit, Budapest has an interesting history and a very fascinating culture.
Did you know that Buda and Pest were two distinct cities before merging to form Budapest?
Those who visit or even hear the name Budapest, would have never guessed that at some point in time (before the merge happened in 1873), Budapest was actually two cities by the name of Buda and Pest. Two very distinct cities, but even with the differences, the merge still took place. Even though, Budapest is now known as one, the differences between Buda and Pest are still very much noticeable. While Buda is known for its series of hills, Pest is very much flat. You get a better view of the city on the side of Buda than you would if you were in the side of Pest.
All that said, Budapest has become one of my favorite places, not just because of the history or culture, but also because there is plenty to do in Budapest.
What to do in Budapest
1.Get a better view of Budapest
One of the things I love about Budapest is that it has two different surfaces – hilly and flat. In order to get a better view of the city, you would need to go to the side of Buda to get the most amazing view.
If you don’t go to a ruin bar, were you even in Budapest? Ruin bars seem to be a very popular thing to do in Budapest and I can definitely see why! My experience was wonderful and I definitely enjoyed having a drink in an abandoned building.
3. Go to the Szechenyi Baths
After a long day touring Budapest, the best way to relax is by visiting the Szechenyi Baths. The baths have two thermal springs which heat a bunch of pools. Not only are they great to relax in, but they are also the largest medicinal bath.
4. Cruise the Danube River
If you get a chance to go on a river cruise, do it! Especially at night when the city is all lit up. There’s many different cruises in Budapest, but the ones that take you around the Danube River are the best.
If your feet hurt from walking around so much, why not take a bus tour? Not only is this the best way to learn about the culture and history, but you also get to sight see without having to use your legs (unless you decide to get off at the next stop).
6. Visit Heroes Square
One of the largest squares in Budapest and also a wonderful spot for photos. Also a great spot for historians as Heroes Square has statues of the Seven Chieftains of the Magyars.
7. Go to the Christmas Markets
One of the things I love the most about Europe are the Christmas markets. So if you are in Budapest during Christmas, do not miss out on the Christmas markets!
I had to put this on the list because I have seen foreigners eat McDonald’s. So if you are one of those people who eat McDonald’s in Foreign Countries like China, do not do that in Budapest. They have some delightful meals and they definitely love to use Paprika in their meals, so go to a nice restaurant and try some Hungarian food.
9. Try the Kurtoskalacs (Stove Cake)
This sweet, delicious treat is a must when you visit Hungary. Although it may look like bread, it tastes so much better than regular bread.
10. Visit St. Stephen’s Basilica
One of the most important religious buildings, St. Stephen’s Basilica is a great place to visit. Not a religious person? not a problem! St. Stephen’s Basilica offers music concerts and organ concerts plus you can also go up to the dome and look out over the city.
11. Get a view from the Fisherman’s Bastion
Built to act as a panoramic viewing platform, this beautiful building was named after the Guild of Fishermen, which were responsible for defending the city during Middle Ages. Stop by the Fisherman’s Bastion to admire the wonderful view.
12. Stroll across the chain bridge
One of the most popular and iconic brides, the chain bridge is not only a must while you are in Budapest, but you also get to see some great sights such as the Castle Hill, Parliament and the Danube.
13. Visit the Hungarian Parliament
Aside from being a beautiful building nestle up against the Danube, the Parliament building has tours, which need to be booked in advance. So go take a tour of this beauty!
14. Check out the Buda Castle
The Buda Castle offers plenty to do, which are all mostly museums, but people can always find something to do inside.
15. Explore Vajdahunyad Castle
Built in 1896, this castle was only supposed to be a temporary attraction. However, due to its popularity the castle became permanent.
Anonymvs (latin for Anonymous) was a monk who lived in the 12th century as the notary of King Bela III. He is credited as the writer of the first Hungarian history book, the ‘Gesta Hungarorum.’ This monk is so mysterious that he is referred to as Anonymous.
It is said that if you touch Anonymous pen, you will become a better writer.
Budapest is a beautiful city to visit, full of things to do. Whether you like museums or spas, there’s plenty of options.
A few tips before you go to Budapest…
- Budapest uses the Hungarian Forint, which is their official currency. Although many places may use the Euros, not many places will. So stick to using the Hungarian Forint.
- Do not exchange currency abroad, you will get a much better rate once you are in Hungary.
- Go to the visitors center in the airport, they may have something to offer (Last time I was there, I got a FREE discount card, which helped me a lot!).
- Budapest is a very safe city with minor crimes, but do not let this get your guard down. Always be aware of your surroundings.
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