Budapest is one of those cities that always ranks in many Top 10 lists, but still it’s hardly visited by many. With stunning architecture, refreshing thermal baths, and a reputation to live, Budapest is one large celebration of Hungarian culture. Budapest, has influence from many different countries and periods in history. The Romans, Magyars, Turks, Austrians, and Soviets all have left their mark on Budapest, helping shape it into the city it is today.
Certainly what I was not told was just how beautiful Budapest is. It is very underrated on the tourist scene and quite affordable on the pocket. Budapest is an interesting, enjoyable city
Budapest has so much to offer travelers. First of all its ridiculously cheap, filled with history at every turn of the corner, and the Hungarian people are very welcoming and warm. English is very commonly spoken, and I assure you there is no communism here. It’s a must visit for tourists looking for something a little off the beaten path.
We spent 3 days in the city. What I ended up seeing and doing in Budapest was not as ambitious as I initially planned. But still got enough time to just wander around and take it all in! Here’s a look at what we managed to see and do in Budapest.
Located at the curve of Danube, the city is flanked by Buda hills on the west and plains on the east. Many might not know but off late it has also emerged as one of the party towns of the region.
Castle Hill (Buda Castle)
One of the icons and one of the toursity places, Castle hill is from where you should start your city tour. Here you can see Budapest’s medieval buildings full of history, beautiful architecture and outstanding viewpoints. The highlights here are the Royal Palace, Matthias Fountain, Matthias Church and Fisherman’s Bastion. Castle Hill is the historic area of Budapest and overlooks the Pest side. Buda Castle is now home to the Budapest History Museum and Hungarian National Gallery.
It’s free to walk around the Castle Hill but visiting any of the museums of the place or Church will require an entry fee. Across the hill once can see spectacular views of the city.
Located in between Buda & Pest, this 2.3 km long island in the middle of Danube is a great place for a stroll. It has few attractions including Sculpture Avenue, medieval ruins, a small zoo, running tracks, swimming pools, an outdoor waterpark/beach, and a health spa resort. Connected through the Margaret Bridge, one can see people relaxing, enjoying a picnic or a jog in this big public park. This is one of Budapest’s loveliest parks and is a nice place to escape noise and bustle of downtown.
The Hungarian Parliament Building was built on the Pest side to give the city some balance.As an icon of Budapest, the Hungarian Parliament building is worth seeing. One can see more gold than one could have imagined! One can walk along the banks of the Danube from here to Margaret Island.
City Park & Heroes Square
Heroes Square was created in 1896 to mark the 1,000th anniversary of the Magyar conquest and foundation of the Hungarian state. The centerpiece here Millennium Monument, is a column topped by Archangel Gabriel holding the Hungarian Holy Crown. Behind that are two curved colonnades featuring statues of important people in Hungarian history.
Another of Budapest’s most iconic landmarks, the Széchenyi Chain Bridge was the first permanent stone bridge that spanned the Danube and connected Buda and Pest. Designed by the English engineer William Clark it was opened in 1849 and is the oldest permanent bridge on the Danube River. Destroyed in WWII and only its pillars remained standing. It was rebuilt and reopened in 1949.
Great Market Hall
Great Market Hall (aka Central Market Hall) at the Pest end of Szabadság Bridge to combine shopping with sightseeing. A great place to stroll and great opportunity to learn about other country’s food culture and customs. The marketplace offers you plenty to do and see. The Great Market Hall’s sheer size and splendor make it one of Budapest’s top attractions.
The water under Budapest is rich with Thermal waters. Often called “the city of spas”. It’s like large swimming pools filled with warm spring water that are believed to have natural healing powers. It is definitely an interesting experience, which one should definitely try while visiting Budapest. We visited Gellert bath based inside Hotel Gellert. Gellert is one of the most famous thermal spa baths in Europe. Visiting the bath is indeed a beautiful and historical experience. There are 10 pools of various sizes and temperatures and it feels like one is taking bath in an Art museum. And did I tell you that it is not that expensive. For a 2 hour experience it costs close to 1000 Rs in off season per person.
The ruin pubs drives Budapest’s nightlife. About a decade ago, many abandoned buildings were converted into a low-key club with little more than discarded furniture and artistic creativity. These are happening with lots of tourists and locals crowds mingling and partying together. We loved Szimpla Kert which was known as mother of all ruin pubs.
Accommodations – Accommodations in Budapest are pretty reasonable, I recommend Airbnb since they offer incredible value and comfortable. I was able to find an apartment in Budapest Belvaros district for about Rs. 1000 a night. If you haven’t tried Airbnb before, sign up with my referral link for a credit of $30 on your first stay.
Transportation – Budapest has an extensive network of Public transportation which is inexpensive and is quite easy to navigate. I would still suggest to walk around as it helps to explore the city more and experiencing the life and buzz of the city. Also the city is very small and easy to navigate. Budapest is well connected with all major cities in Europe. We got to fly the new KLM Dreamliner 747 from Amsterdam to Delhi which was a good experience.
Eat and drink – Among my whole trip I found Budapest as the cheapest place with numerous options fit for budget. Cafes are very popular and so are ruin pubs.
Often called the “Paris of the east” referring to its romantic vibe and night time scenery, it is one of the city I enjoyed. Don’t miss exploring Budapest in the night. There were many places I wanted to visited which I couldn’t which will make me come back again. Budapest with its architecture and nightlife did surprise me and should be on your wishlist.