Budapest is another one of those places that completely surprised me, in a good way of course! I had never really discovered Eastern Europe on my travels before, and this year was the first time that I started to venture to that part of the world. The more I discovered, the more I wanted to see and do in Hungary's capital city.
Upon doing my research on where to stay, I quickly realised there were two parts to Budapest - Buda which was on the west side of the Danube River and Pest which was on the east. Who would have thought? 😊 I stayed on the Pest side because that was said to be where all the action takes place.
I found the people in Budapest to be friendly, the city had a safe vibe for two female travellers and we didn't have a problem with language at all. Everyone we encountered spoke English. We were totally blown away by the food and coffee scene and we had some amazing meals while we were there. It’s also important to note that Hungary has its own currency called the Hungarian Forint. So, what should do you do while you're there I hear you ask??
No trip to Budapest would be complete without a visit to one of their famous thermal-heated baths. We chose Szechenyi because it’s a local favourite, the largest medicinal bath in Europe and has 18 pools, 15 of which are spring fed. The waters in Szechenyi are said to have healing powers thanks to their mineral content which includes fluoride, calcium, magnesium, bicarbonate sulphate and more!
Yes, it’s a little uncomfortable changing out of your winter woollies into a bikini in the middle of winter but once you’re in the thermal pool, it’s all worth it!
If you want uninterrupted stunning views of Budapest, Fisherman’s Bastion is your place! It’s one of the key attractions of the city and looks like it just came out of a Disney movie. It has seven towers signifying the Hungarian tribes that arrived in the county in the late 9th century and was named after the fishermen that protected the Buda district from the Mongolian army in the middle ages.
The Hungarian Parliament is known to be on the largest buildings in the country. It was built in the 19th century and is located on the Pest bank of the Danube River but is best viewed from the Buda side. It’s Budapest’s tallest building and the third largest parliament building in the world. It has 691 rooms, 10 courtyards and 20 km’s worth of stairs!
Don’t do what we did and walk around in circles looking for an actual castle. Buda Castle is the name of the complex that is home to National Gallery and the Budapest History Museum and in the same vicinity of Fishermans Bastion. I highly recommend visiting at dusk if you want to experience a colourful sky and an amazing sunset (if you’re lucky!)
If you want Instagram-worthy photos, go to Heroes Square which is the largest and most unique piazza in Budapest. The first thing we noticed is the considerable number of posing tourists, however it wasn’t long before we joined in on the photo action, snapping away at the fourteen statues of Hungary’s leaders in the Millennium Monument. The square also has a centre column that recognises the seven Magyar tribes that settled the area with the archangel Gabriel perched at the top.
In 1859, this Synagogue was the biggest Jewish synagogue in the world. It’s now the second biggest one in the world (New York being the first) and the biggest one in Europe. It also houses the Hungarian Jewish Museum and is situated in Budapest’s Jewish quarter. We took a guided tour of the grounds where thousands of Jews were buried during the holocaust and learnt a lot about the history. This was my first time in a synagogue and I was amazed by the extremely impressive interior, particularly the beauty of the stained glassed windows and mosaic tiles.
If you love paprika like I do, you’ll be in spice heaven here. Paprika is heavily associated with Hungarian cooking and comes in different forms and flavours. My favourite is the smoked kind and I wish I had stocked up on more while I was there! Don’t worry, there’s more to this market hall than just paprika - we also found over three levels of vendors selling a variety of local sausages and cold cuts (some names that we couldn’t pronounce and some that we could such as cabanossi), sweets, pastries and biscuits.
The first time I’d heard of a Ruins Bar let alone visited one, was in Budapest. Turned out to be one of the coolest places I’d ever been to! This iconic venue is definitely worth a visit. Upon entry, we noticed there were numerous bars inside that spans over two levels. Each room had a different eclectic style, there’s an open garden and even a shisha bar. The photos speak for themselves!
From Sydney to Sorrento Tania is an Australian girl currently living in Italy which is a dream come true for her. She has a love for travel and adventure and put her corporate career on hold to live 'la dolce vita' and to study some of the things she’s passionate about which include Italian, Digital Photography and Creative Writing to help pursue her career in travel blogging.
Read more at Abi's Insights