Budapest was possibly my favourite place that I visited this year. I fell in love with the city and plan to revisit at some point. There’s so much to do and it’s so cheap! Take in the history, the culture, the scenery, the nightlife, relaxation… there really is something for eveyone!
- Eat cake
I am a huge fan of cake and luckily, the Hungarian’s take their cake very seriously too! One of their national specialities is Dobos Torte, which is a sponge cake layered with chocolate buttercream and topped with caramel. You will find it in any cake shop but for a special treat, head to Gerbeaud, a fabulous patisserie that is well renowned!
2. Visit a thermal bath
Budapest is famous for it’s thermal springs and ‘taking to the water ‘ has long been a tradition. As the city sits on over 100 springs, there are lots to choose from. The biggest is Szechenyi Baths, but others in the city include Gellert baths, Kiraly Baths, Rudas baths, Veli Bej baths andLukacs baths.
3. Heroes Square
Heroes Square is a major square in Budapest and features an impressive statue including the 7 Magyar Chieftains. It is at the top of Andrassy Ut and is just before the entrance to City Park.
4. Fisherman’s Bastion
Fisherman’s Bastion is one of the best places to get an epic view of the Danube River with the Chain Bridge and the Parliament building. It is a terrace built on the Buda side of the river on Castle Hill, next to St Matthias church. The seven towers represent the seven Magyar tribes that founded the city.
5. Ruin Bars
Budapest is well known for it’s ruin bars. These are bars that from the outside, look like ruins, but inside are very busy and popular. They also sometimes hold markets at weekends. I saw many around the Jewish Quarter that were particularly popular with a younger/ student crowd.
6. Parliament Building
The biggest building in Hungary, the Parliament building is part of the iconic view of the Danube river. Built on the Pest side, it sits almost at the water’s edge. You can tour the building, but to get the best view of it, you really need to do a river cruise.
7. House of Terror
It was once the headquarters of the secret police, but today it is a museum dedicated to Budapest’s story of WW2. Situated on Andrassy Ut, it contains a wealth of information on the war, the Red Arrow Party and other war memorabilia. It also has some of cells used in the basement. It’s quite a harrowing place but interesting nonetheless.
8. Shoes on the Danube
Continuing with the war theme, another must visit is The Shoes on the Danube memorial. It is built on the riverbank outside the Parliament building. The sculpture contains 60 pairs of shoes made from iron. They honour the Jews who were ordered to remove their shoes and were then shot by the Arrow Cross Party. The bodies would fall into the river and be carried away. The statue represents the shoes left behind. A very poignant reminder of the country’s tragic past.
9. St Stephen’s Basilica
Step inside this beautiful church and marvel at it’s interior. It reminds me of a miniature version of St Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
10. Chain bridge
Chain bridge is the oldest and most well known bridge over the Danube River. Take a stroll from Buda to Pest or vice versa and take in the beautiful views, not forgetting the epic lion statues at either end.
11. Ride the funicular
I loved catching this little train from Buda Castle to the bottom of the hill. It’s a bit touristy and only lasts a few minutes, but so much fun. Get the front carriage (or back depending which way you’re heading) to get the best views.
12. Margaret Island
Enjoy this haven of green space, particularly in the summer when it has lots of entertainment and food spots.
13. City Park
At the top of Andrassy Ut is City Park. This area contains many attractions such as Szechenyi Baths, Vajdahunyad Castle and Budapest Zoo. Plenty to see and do!
14. Budapest Zoo
Leading us nicely into visiting the zoo! One of the oldest zoos in the world and housing many animals from all over the world.
15. St Matthias Church
Another pretty church, if you’re into that kind of thing. Located next to Fisherman’s Bastion.
16. Hospital in the rock
Another bit of war history, this museum used to be a hospital during WWII. It was created in the caves under Buda Castle, hence the name. They run a tour every hour on the hour.
17. Hungarian State Opera House
A beautiful building, as you would expect! If you don’t go to see an opera, you can still book a tour and see the magnificence of this building for yourself.
18. Castle Hill
Castle Hill is situated on the Buda side of the river and contains Buda Castle, Fisherman’s Bastion and St Mathias Church, as well as other smaller attractions. It’s a UNESCO world heritage site as well.
19. Dohany Street Synagogue
This is the biggest synagogue outside of New York. It is a beautiful building and a moving experience for visitors, featuring memorials for Holocaust victims.
20. Danube dinner cruise
The best way to see the Parliament building and see lots of Budapest’s sights is to do a dinner cruise. There are lots of different cruises all for reasonable prices that tour the river in the evening. Quite a romantic night!
21. Statue spotting
I’ve never seen so many statues in one place! The city is literally covered in them. I lost count of how many I found!
22. Andrassy Ut
Budapest is mega cheap. It isn’t part of the Euro, and so the Forint is currently very favourable! I struggled to spend my money! Traipse the longest street in the city and spend spend spend. Also take in the beautiful architecture of this Parisian-esque boulevard.