My boyfriend and I visited Budapest in 2016 and we liked it so much, we may well live there one day! Here are some of my recommendations about the city, reasons why you should visit and favourite photos from our trip.
• Szechenyi Spa Baths – The famous thermal baths are well worth a visit. For 12 euros you can use the inside and outside baths to relax. There are outdoor sun loungers, cafes and bars. A really nice way to spend the day….and you can stay late into the evening as well.
• Fisherman’s Bastion – A beautiful building which feels straight out of a Disney film. We crossed the bridge by metro then walked up the sloping steps to the entrance. There are stunning views from the top, along with cafes and bars. Then walk sideways to Castle Hill and look at the views from that point. If you are tired you can pay for the cable cart ride down to the street level.
• Parliament building has great Gothic architecture and is beautiful to look at.
• St. Stephen’s Basilica is worth a visit. It was completed in 1905, is the third largest cathedral in Hungary and is very glitzy and golden!
• The Jewish shoe memorial ‘Shoes on the Danube Bank’. The message behind this memorial is incredibly sad. The shoes represent the 3,500 people who were killed by fascists in the Arrow Cross party. These people were ordered to take off their shoes, and were shot close to the edge of the water so their bodies would fall into the river and be carried away.
• The German occupation memorial – It was emotional reading texts and tributes to the deceased, and interesting to read the texts about the “truth” behind the memorial.
Budapest has an interesting food scene. Hungarian food is typically quite stodgy and heavy – many of these dishes are accompanied by potatoes or dumplings, and meat is extremely popular. From what we saw, vegetarians don’t have many options in traditional Hungarian restaurants, but luckily there is a varied international food scene so you definitely won’t go hungry.
We had a delicious brunch at Cirkusz Café. Try the Turkish eggs or the traditional Hungarian breakfast (which includes raw sliced peppers, a healthy start to the day!). Good coffee and helpful staff who spoke good English (and didn’t judge us for not knowing any Hungarian!)
We had lunch at Funky Pho. Great Vietnamese street food and pho broths/soups. Lovely spring rolls. Cheap, fresh and tasty. I could have happily eaten my way through the menu.
Regős Vendéglő. We had a lovely typical Hungarian dinner here and it was excellent value. Chicken paprika with dumplings and salad, two portions of goulash soup, pork knuckle with potatoes and a bottle of wine only came to £17. Cheap, filling, tasty and authentic!
• Pola Pola. If you like meat, this is the place for you! The menu offers shish, chicken or sausages, served in filling bread rolls with hot paprika and other sides.
• Karavan – This is a great area to eat and drink, with a variety of street food stalls. We had traditional beef goulash and langos (fried dough served with a range of toppings, most traditionally with sour cream and grated cheese). They also had burgers, tacos, pizzas and lots more. Plus bars for alcoholic and soft drinks, and benches to sit on.
Meat and sauce. Good for an on-the-go snack. They have freshly-made cream cheese bagels and big tasty sandwiches.
Ruszwurm Cukrászda is a lovely café by Fisherman’s Bastion. Try their strudels! There is a table charge so we got our cakes to take away and ate them by the Bastion.
As you may know, I love street photography and discovering cool street art when I’m in a new city. Budapest didn’t disappoint!
The city is actually composed of two parts, divided by the Danube River: “Buda” and “Pest”. Pest is the livelier area, where the majority of tourists stay and there are lots of bars, restaurants and cafes crammed together. We really liked our Air B&B. It was really good value for money and in a great area; Erzsébetváros (District VII). The apartment is between two metro stops, but Pest is so compact we only used the metro twice (when going across the river into Buda and back). Despite the nightlife on our doorstep, our bedroom faced onto a quiet courtyard so there was no street noise at night.
I recommend a visit to City Park Városliget, not only to visit the thermal baths but also to relax. Also go to the River Danube just before sunset, grab yourselves some drinks and enjoy the view and chilled-out atmosphere.
If you have any more Budapest recommendations, feel free to add them to the comments!
The Curious Sparrow