A multicultural place where you can enjoy life, learn about a fascinating history, all while being surrounded by breathtaking landscapes. This is BUDAPEST! Hungary’s biggest city has been attracting tourists at exponential speed in the last decade. Offering somewhat lower prices compared to the significant surrounding Western cities (located in Central Europe), the locals seem to embrace tourists and have an open-minded attitude that is endearing and enjoyable.
What do we do in Budapest, you may ask? Well, the beauty of this place is that it does have something for everyone. You can be a party animal, a foody, a historian buff, or a spa loving person, and fall in love with this beautiful city. It sounds like an unexpected mix of entertainment, I know, but trust us and read through our suggestions below.
To read our article on Vienna, Austria (which is really close to Budapest!) click here.
Walkthrough the stunning and famous Chain bridge to arrive in Buda, one side of Budapest, where its beautiful castles, landscapes views, and some stunning architecture resides. This is the perfect outdoor visit on a sunny day so you can enjoy the weather, visit historic buildings all while catching some awesome views. This might be the most touristic area of the city, so be prepared to pay inflated prices for lunch and snacks, but it is an essential part of your tour of the city.
Hungarian National Gallery. Nestled into the royal palace of Buda Castle, this beautiful museum houses many Hungarian paintings which, like most art, give you a glimpse into the history of the people as well. It is noticeably different than what you can see in Western museums for the same periods but lovely. Click here for the current exhibitions all information. We were lucky enough to see a Salvatore Dali exhibit on surrealism.
This stunning white Church looks like it came right out of your most vivid fairytale dreams. It is a historic building with an important history as two Kings of Hungary were crowned within its walls. It is not too far from the Royal Palace and the quiet walk in the village is quite pleasant. Click here for all the information to visit.
Arguably the most beautiful and stunning building of Budapest, this is a beautiful place to visit. From far it sits pretty in the landscape but up close, you notice all the details that make it the masterpiece that it is. Get your tickets online the day before because spaces fill up FAST! You need to visit by way of a guided tour which is why it can be tricky if you don’t plan in advance.
The Baths and Spas
There are so many spas to discover in Budapest! What started out as a male dominant environment where baths were the center of the event (Turkish influence) has grown into a cultural tradition for all that everyone enjoys. Some have become a little more on the party side (i.e. Szechenyi Baths in City Park) and some are more peaceful, and elegant such as the Gellert Baths. We tried both and could appreciate the diversity. Considering they tend to be settled in beautiful historical buildings, the architecture alone is pleasant to be around.
Don’t expect anything too fancy though – it can be a little overwhelming to be in these very large baths and spas. Just getting changed was a little confusing and did not feel so private. Overal, it is a nice experience and if you love this type of activity, there are many to discover (always check the schedules before you go and make sure they accept women as some of them are still mainly catered to men).
Ruin Pubs in the Jewish Quarter
Arriving in this neighborhood was a fascinating and entertaining discovery. The ruin pubs came alive after the wars in the twentieth century when people started serving drinks in these abandoned large buildings. Slowly more people started coming and the pubs became permanent and more of them started to emerge.
The history behind these places is evident as they are saturated with a variety of objects that make up for the furniture and decor. It is a little unusual but definitely cool. It does not feel very organized or quite clean but that is the charm of these places. The whole area has become synonymous with party place as people from around the world seem to flock from bar to bar having a good time drinking, eating, and bumping into each other!
The first ruin pub which is very large and has many “sections” where they serve different menu items, is called Szimpla Kert. There are many tourists here but it is still considered a landmark and should be visited. From this place, you can discover many more around and probably meet some people along the way! Of course, there are also now newer restaurants, shops, and bars which can be a nice change of pace if you want something more formal.
Markets, Handmade Crafts, and Foodie Specialties
The Great Market Hall (close to Liberty Bridge) is Budapest’s largest market. What a great experience to discover the variety of food products and locally created goods! From handcrafted Hungarian traditional tapestry and crystal (makes great gifts to bring home), delicious sweet treats you can try immediately, and Palinka, traditional Hungarian alcohol (they have GREAT wines too!) we were delighted by the variety.
When you are dining, you need to try goulash, a traditional meaty, slightly spicy tomato soup dish. It is delicious and available easily (but make sure you try a good one). Also, we tried the dumplings, There are also Michelin star restaurants and other high end treats for the real foodies. In Budapest, there is so many lifestyle options of various levels, it really makes it a destination of choice for all kinds of tastes.
Budapest, Hungary is the kind of place you want to go back to! It is rich with activities that are pleasurable in a leisure kind of way. There is also a lot of outdoor activities outside the city that are accessible and convenient. With welcoming Hungarians, it is truly an enjoyable trip for all!
Founder/Editor-in-chief/Creative Director. Passionate about the city of Montreal, discovering its various cultural components as well as exploring foreign places. I am inspired by artists, innovative concepts, philanthropy, creative encounters, and cultural events. View all posts by Anne Jano