Top 11 things to do in Budapest
One of the most modern cities in Europe with a tumultuous history, Budapest, Hungary has everything in her means to totally captivate you. I was in this magnificent city a couple of months ago and I realised that just a few days is not even nearly enough to marvel at this wonderful city. So if you are wondering what to do in Budapest only for a few days, you needn’t look any further. Here are my top 11 things to do in Budapest :
1. One of my favourite things to do in any city is to walk around aimlessly just to soak in the vibe, the history and the monumental heritage that the city embodies. A walk by the Danube river that separates the two cities of Buda and Pest is a pure delight. Alternately you could take walking tours which are available in plenty for tourists and are often free – this is the best way to get a fair introduction of the city and its history.
2. Ogle at the Parliament building which is one of the largest Parliament buildings in the world. Better yet, take a ride up to the Citadel on the Gellert Hill, where you get the best view of both the cities and the Parliament building looks glorious especially at sunset.The view is so pretty and that is reason enough to visit Budapest. Talking about buildings, most Budapest hotels and houses are magnificent too.
3. Fall in love with the diverse architecture in this city that comprise of Gothic, Neo Gothic, Renaissance and Art Deco. Every turn around the corner will only leave you in awe of these stupendous works of art. You simply cannot miss a metro ride – it is one of the oldest metro lines in the world which was built in 1896.
4. The Chain bridge that links the city of Buda and Pest and it is a symbolic site in the history of Hungary. A walk on this bridge gives you a panoramic view of the cities.
5. Stop at cafes that serve the ‘Budapest punch’ as locals call it, which is basically heated spiced mulled wine. There is always something about cafes in European cities and so it was in Budapest – its very transformative. The preserved old world charm united with the new.
6. Don’t forget to immerse in the eclectic culinary culture of the city- whether it’s the iconic Hungarian dish of Goulash ( made with meat and potatoes stewed in a spicy tomato and paprika based sauce), the Langos (which is a flat bread that is eaten with various toppings like cheese, ham, sausage) or a gelato at Gelarto Rossa which combines art and ice-creamery right in the heart of the city near St.Stephen’s basilica.To add to the list try layered cakes, tortes or stuffed crepes if you have the sweetest tooth like I do. European countries have some of the best desserts in the world.
7. Budapest boasts of having the largest number of Thermal spas in the world and the chemical compositions in the water differs from bath to bath and is very unique. You must visit Széchenyi Thermal Bath which has 18 separate pools. Don’t just stop at the thermal baths here, but take a dip in the ice cold water too followed by a dip in one of the two outdoor heated pools. The last pool here has a whirlpool and is great fun. And if you are a spa lover, well, you have already arrived! You simply cannot leave Hungary without an experience at a Budapest Spa. Budapest Tourism has done a good job promoting these.
8. Ruin Bars are a rage in this diverse city. Many people come to Budapest just to drink in these dilapidated watering holes, this being one of the biggest Budapest attractions. It so happened that a large number of buildings in the old city remained unoccupied since World War II and hence gave rise to Ruin Bars in the 2000s. Large ruined buildings, decorated with funky furniture, broken cars, bathtubs wherein you can sit with a drink, body parts of mannequins, meter boxes hanging from the ceiling make these a hub for the artsy hip crowd. The best and the oldest is the Szimpla Kert. Budapest travel is incomplete without having a drink here.
The Operation Theatre themed Chemical laboratory Bar
9. Hop on a train for a day trip to the capital city of Slovakia – Bratislava. It’s a two and a half hours ride. Its old town charm is quite rewarding and walk through all of the old town – it’s very pretty. Visit the Art Nouveau style Blue Church (St. Elizabeth’s Church), take pictures with the various statues in old town – Most famous is the statue called Cumil. He dates back to 1997 and is a funny guy looking up from a street manhole. You can’t say you’ve been to Bratislava without taking a photo with him. Also look for the walking tours.
10. Take it easy on Margaret Island which is Budapest’s answer to Central Park or Hyde Park. There are plenty of things to do around in the park but the ideal way to spend the day could be just to rent a bike or simply lie under a tree with a book. This was my way to unwind from all the ‘walking-around’.
11. Live it up, partying in Gozsdu Udvar which is a collage of 7 building in the affluent district of Budapest. I’d recommend the Bistro Pub, Spiler for a bite and join in the karaoke at the Blue bird- it’s super energising after a good meal.When it comes to Budapest accommodations, this area also has some of the best hotels in Budapest
There you have it. If you ask me, I will say that one must visit Budapest for its sheer vibe with the pubs and bars, the architecture, the food and the people. So now that you know what to see in Budapest, get going – pack your bags, get on that plane and bring back memories of a life time.
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I am a fearless, unguarded and fun loving traveller. The word ‘cannot’ doesn't often appear in my life’s dictionary. I was bitten by the travel bug a long, long time ago and it has taken me to more than 60 countries and countless destinations ever since. A born networker—I have met and made a gazillion friends across the world and the experiences so far, has more often than not, left me speechless. The more I travel, the more I realise that how much there is left to travel.
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