Without a doubt Budapest is the most beautiful city I have ever seen! Famously described as the Paris of the East, the Pearl of the Danube or the City of Spas – this city lives up to each of these titles wholeheartedly! I visited Budapest for my birthday and I spent a 3 full days immersing myself into this magical city. It is packed full of amazing things to do and see so we made the most of the short time we had there. This charm filled city is an architectural dream and is also easy on your budget. So if your looking to plan your next adventure then Budapest needs to be on your list! Below are my top reasons why.
If you’re looking for a unique experience then you need to visit one of Budapest’s many ruin bars. The most famous ruin bar is Szimpla Kert. Trying to put this bar into words is SO hard! It’s basically a derelict building that was turned into a world-famous bar (hence the name ruin bar). The building is huge with a maze of different rooms each with their own distinct personality. From old bathtubs for couches, writing on the walls, antiques from around the world and general bric a brac; this place makes no sense at all but that’s why it works. I spent my time wandering through each room in complete awe! When we finally settled we spent the night smoking shisha and we soaked in the chilled atmosphere. If your lucky enough you may just get a seat in the old Trabant car where the interior has been removed so a table can fit inside. Also, keep an eye out for the girl randomly offering raw carrots! Here is a list of a few more ruin bars that are also worth a visit : Instant, Fogasház, Corvin Teto, Grandio, Mazel Tov.
Budapest has an abundance of natural hot springs making it a great place to unwind after a long day of sight-seeing. One of the most popular and largest is the Szechanyi Baths – it has 21 pools and is actually one of the newer baths as it was built in the 19th century. We had spent so much time exploring the city that by the time we reached the baths we were exhausted! So we took a warm dip and booked ourselves in for an amazing massage. The Szechanyi Baths also have plenty of pool parties from March to September so there is something for everyone. Here is a link of the upcoming pool party dates. Other baths to visit include: Gellert, Rudas, Lukacs and Kiraly to name but a few.
New York Cafe
Beautiful buildings are the norm in Budapest and magnificent cafes even more so. I’m a coffee lover so when I heard about the New York Cafe I knew I had to go! Essentially it’s like wandering into a palace and the interior is decorated with marble tiles, brass elements, silk, velvet and there are gorgeous galleries, staircases, chandeliers and murals as well. A piano was also softly playing the background. In the past this cafe was frequented by writers, editors, poets and artists. When you step inside you will be in awe at the sheer splendour of this cafe but also be prepared to queue and pay a ridiculous price for a coffee and dessert. Trust me though – its worth it for the experience alone! Other mind blowingly beautiful cafes worth visiting include: Muvesz Kavehaz, Alexandra Book Café, Café Gerbaud.
The city of Budapest is huge! We did most of our sight-seeing by foot because we wanted to see as much of the architecture as possible along the way. One of the most spectacular buildings is the Parliament building. The Parliament building was built in a Neo-Gothic style and is the third largest Parliament in the world with 691 rooms. You can also see the Parliament building lit up by night on a River Cruise along the Danube which I would really recommend. In general the buildings, doorways and streets are just phenomenal so grab a coffee and get exploring!
Half Day Sightseeing Tour
A great way to see a lot of Budapest in a short space of time is by booking a half day tour. Buda and Pest are on opposite sides of the Danube river and both offer a variety of attractions. Buda is home to the Castle District where you can explore the Fisherman’s Bastion and Matthias Church for example. Buda also offers spectacular panoramic views of Pest! On the Pest side you will see Hero’s Square and St Stephen’s Basilica . Our tour guide had a wealth of knowledge with regards to the history of Budapest so this tour was extremely insightful.
Described as a festival within the city walls – you need to visit Gozsdu Udvar! It’s a courtyard in the city jam-packed with quirky restaurants, ruin bars, colourful lights and an electric atmosphere. We nearly made the mistake of sitting in the first bar we saw – but the best thing to do is to wander the whole way through first and soak it all in. Budapest does night life extremely well and this open air courtyard is not one to miss!
Thanks for reading!