Budapest was the first stop on my little European tour this Summer. The city definitely has a lot to offer and their architecture is really stunning with buildings resembling the grandeur of those in Rome. There is a nice mix of things to do in Budapest so I think it is definitely somewhere that has something for everyone. We stayed close to the Danube and found we were in walking distance of almost everywhere we needed to go.
For daytime activities we went to the House Of Terror, a museum telling the tragic story of Hungary and it’s difficult past. You often hear about the effect WWII had on Germany, Poland, Austria, etc – but I found the House Of Terror really eye opening with regards Hungary and it’s history. Buda Castle is absolutely stunning to visit and walk around (but beware, you will never climb so many steps in your life!). The Castle is close to places like the Parliament building which is best viewed at night, as well as Margaret’s Island, a small island on the Danube which you can reach by crossing over a bridge. It’s so small you can get around it by foot or bike, but it’s a really nice get away from the buzz of the city. We also climbed up Gellért Hill close to Buda Castle which is 235m high on the Buda side of the city – giving a stunning view of the Danube and Pest!
By night the city becomes a completely different place. While I was there I went to the ruin bar Szimpla Kert which is the oldest ruin bar in Budapest. Honestly, this place is a must visit! With all kinds of things dangling from the roof tops, old projectors showing cartoons on the brick walls and a lady walking around selling carrots – it really is just a one of a kind place! Then the only other place that we went at night were the Széchenyi Thermal Baths. People usually go here during the day but every Saturday they throw a ‘Sparty’ where the baths are open all night, DJ’s play, the works! In theory this is a really good idea for some good, clean fun (pun intended.. baths.. clean.. get it?!) but in reality it just turns into a complete and utter sex fest after midnight. Hate to sound crude, but honestly if you take a second to look around towards to end of the night you will see what I’m talking about! Never the less I had a brilliant night (even if I did drunkenly decided I HAD to take a shower to clean myself when I got home!).
Budapest is a really nice city, with a lot to offer for a long weekend away. Unfortunately I’m not big into food so I can’t report on that side of it – but if you’re a fan of falafel it is definitely a good place to go! As it turns out after my initial excitement I’m not overly fond of the Danube (I’m much more of a crystal clear water type girl!), it’s tourism really masked the streets true beauty as there were currency exchange shops every three of four doors down from each other by the ruin bars, and although tourism was high – their level of English was quite low. (I don’t want to come across as sounding ignorant and assume that everyone should speak my language, it just came as a bit of a surprise for me especially as we had very little communication problems in Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia, etc.) but these are just a few small slightly negative things to note about a really great city.
Have you been to Budapest? Or is it somewhere you would like to go? 🙂