The largest city in Hungary and the Capital, Budapest is a city full of rich culture, stunning architecture…and a lot of grumpy people. Budapest has been cited as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe including an extensive world heritage site. Budapest used to be a two separate cities with Buda on the west bank and pest on the east…these came together to form BUDAPEST – genius!
I travelled with a group of friends to pretend we were cultured and explore all that Budapest had to offer as a city. We rented a large AirBnB apartment in the center of Budapest that between 7 of us worked out to around £35 for a 3 night stay. The city it very walkable with lots to do and see all within a fairly small radius. During my time in Budapest there were a few particular highlights that really stand out:
Hungarian Parliament building
This enormous building completed in 1904 is wonderfully placed alongside the danube river. It is truly an amazing sight with it’s unique architecture. We were fortunate to have a particularly sunny day, but the backdrop of the parliament building against the banks of Danube was a photographers dream. Make sure you get a chance to view the parliament building at night as the lights reflect magnificently across the water.
Shoes by the Danube
A short walk from the Parliament building is the Shoes on the Danube Bank memorial. This memorial was created to honour the jews killed by fascist militiament during WWII. Women, men and children were ordered to take off their shoes and were shot at the edge of the water so their bodies fell into the river. The memorial is creatively crafted and gives a stark reminder as to the brutality that humans can inflict upon other humans.
Another historic landmark of Budapest was the citadel and surrounding castle areas. A great area to spend half a day exploring and taking in the views over Budapest from high above in the hills.
This family run restaurant was one of the highlights of our trip in Budapest (yes, really). Not only are you given crayons to draw to your heart’s content on your placemat, the food and the service was outstanding. The majority of the food and wine come from the family’s farm and vineyard near Lake Batalon in south-west Hungary. The food was genuinely incredible, ensure you book ahead of time to avoid disappointment.
I put this in red as proper research is needed to avoid disappointment, something we did not too. We went to Széchenyi Thermal Baths and truth be told it was one of the worst experiences of my life. The changing rooms were in dark, intimidating underground chambers with little to no security. Many of the lockers had been kicked in and the smell was unbearable. After this you sit in a hot water spa full of dirt and other overweight men. If you get the chance find a premium thermal spa, it is worth the extra pain/time/money.
Heroes Square & Vajdahunyad Castle
If you get good weather then venture out on the seriously old-school metro up to heroes square and the Vajdahunyad Castle nearby. Heroes square plays a huge role in contemporary Hungarian history. At the front of the monument is a large stone cenotaph surrounded by an ornamental iron chain. The cenotaph is dedicated “To the memory of the heroes who gave their lives for the freedom of our people and our national independence.”
A short walk from the square is Vajdahunyad Castle. This castle looks like it is perfectly suited for Dracula or the Adam’s family. Have a wander around the ground and explore the park the lies behind the castle. If you get to visit in autumn there are also 100s of massive leaf piles for you to frolick and kick – that’s if you have the same immaturity level as me.
Overall Budapest was a beautiful and fun city. We did explore much of the nightlife also, however this was probably the most disappointing part, oh, and the fact everyone looked like they wanted to kill you. If you do go to Budapest promise me one thing, never visit Liget Club. This has to be the singly worst place I have been to in my life, full of racist skin-head and rude, intimidating bar staff.
Have you been to Budapest? If so let me know what you thought in the comments below!
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