Where is Budapest?
Budapest is the capital and most populated city of Hungary. It is both a city and a county as is considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. It is bisected by the Danube river and consists of two parts – Buda & Pest – which have been united to form the cities name in 1873.
Where to Stay in Budapest?
Guess what, its not the Grand Budapest Hotel! We are sure there are loads of grand hotels in Budapest (such as the majestic Corinthia Hotel) but we rather preferred to stay in one of the many apartments which are for rent all throughout the city.
Budapest is made up of many different districts. When choosing an area to stay we decided to go to one of the most interesting districts full of history, culture and food – the Jewish district. We found a small but comfortable & clean apartment called Transit Apartments Budapest which is located within this district. You can find a full review of the Budapest Apartments here.
5 Best Things to do in Budapest
Budapest has numerous things to do and places to see. During our stay we tried to explore as much as we could and put together a small list of our 5 best things to do in Budapest for you!
1. Explore the Jewish District
The Jewish district is one of the smallest but also most populated districts in Budapest. You will find a great mix of locals and tourists here which makes it a very interesting area to discover, both during the day and night. Streets here are filled with bars, cafés and restaurants. Especially famous are the ruin bars such as the Szimpla Kert, probably the most famous one of them. They are called ruin bars because they were built in the ruins of abandoned buildings, stores, or lots after World War II. Definitely a great place to grab some beers and experience their special vibe.
The Jewish district is also a very historical place where you can learn much about the Jewish community which once thrived here. It is here where you can also find the world’s second largest synagogue – the Dohány Synagogue. Stroll the streets here and get lost in its interesting mix!
2. Visit the Castle Hill
If you want to get the best view across the city we suggest to visit the Buda side. This side is the hilly side of town and has the Buda castle and other larger churches and squares from which you can get a nice view of the Pest side. Must-see spots are the Matthias Church, the Fisherman’s Bastion and the actual Buda Castle. The castle itself is nothing spectacular but it has a nice viewing platform.
3. Spend a Day at a Thermal Bath
One of the most common things to do in Budapest is thermal bathing. The city lies on top of a patchwork of over 100 thermal springs. Making use of them has a strong tradition in Budapest and there are numerous different thermal baths spread across town. Which one to chose is a matter of taste and what you are looking for. We decided to visit one of the most famous baths in town called the Széchenyi Bath. It has a wide variety of hot and cold baths and definitely is a great place to overcome a hangover from the night before. Depending on the time and day it can get quite crowded so make sure to be there a bit earlier.
4. Cross the Chain Bridge and visit the Parliament Building
Probably the most famous landmarks of Budapest are the Chain Bridge and the Parliament building. The bridge connects the two parts of the city over the Danube river and is regarded as one of the modern world’s engineering wonders. You can easily walk across it and enjoy the views of both sides from it.
The most bombastic and impressive building in Budapest is the Hungarian Parliament. Inspired by the Parliament in London it is the countries largest (and probably most expensive) building. Its indeed a very impressive construction and a nice place to visit, especially in the evening hours.
5. Eat & Drink Local Specialities
No visit to Budapest is complete without trying the many different food dishes in Budapest. The most famous food in Hungary surely is the Gulash or gulyás – a soup or stew of meat (usually beef) seasoned with paprika and other spices (sorry, no pictures as we couldn’t resist to eat it all up before!). A great restaurant to eat Gulash that we found in the Jewish district is called Gettó Gulyás.
An important ingredient to Hungarian cuisine is the use of Paprika. Traditional Hungarian dishes are primarily based on meats, vegetables & fresh bread. Once again, we particularly enjoyed the mix of both very local and Jewish restaurants in the Jewish district.
You can also find this blog post as a GPS guided tour!