The Worldly’s Louisa Murray reports on a recent trip to the Hungarian capital, Budapest.
I didn’t really know much about the city before I had gone and mostly relied on friends (and of course TripAdvisor) for advice on what to see and do. So here is a quick list of things that I would recommend you take a look at if you get to visit the city!
Enjoy a Free Walking Tour
Budapest isn’t too difficult to navigate around especially with their excellent tram system. However it may be worth your time to take a quick tour of the city when you first arrive to get your bearings. The walking tour we joined started at 14.30 and we met in Vörösmarty Square, it lasted around two and half hours. It stops off at all the main sights around the city. The tour guide we had was really informative and was also pretty funny! As with so many Europeans both the tour guides spoke perfect English! We joined the ‘Original tour’ but there are also Communism tours and tours of the Jewish district, even a pub tour in the evening! There are leaflets all around the city advertising the tours but here is their website where you can see what tours they have on offer: http://triptobudapest.hu They are also on Tripadvisor so make sure you give them a review if you decide to go on a tour!
Relax in a Thermal Bath
You can’t visit Budapest and not take a dip into one of their world famous thermal baths! Dotted all over the city there are spas open to the public. We visited Géllet Spa that is part of a hotel but public can also visit, it costs about £9 for all day access, due to the time of year only the indoor pools were open but the outdoor pools look just as amazing so make sure you check them out if you visit during the warmer months!
Go to a Pool party
Who doesn’t love a pool party in a 38° thermal bath with a bar and top class DJs? This has to be one of the coolest nights out ever, I have a feeling over summer these parties run most nights but during the winter the main event is at Lucas Baths on a Saturday night. You get your own lockable cubicle and a lanyard with a card you can load money on to spend at the bar- what an excellent idea! Definitely worth a visit it’s so unique!
Dance all night at a Ruined nightclub!
These ruin bars are entirely made of second hand furniture and decoration, and built in abandoned ruined buildings- which is pretty cool! There are so many little rooms around the bars and so much to see! Entry is free and drinks are cheap, what more could you want from a bar!?
Take a tour of Parliament
The Parliament building is just amazing! Even if you don’t go inside for the tour (just £2 for under 24’s) its definitely worth having a look around the outside. It was really interesting to learn a bit about the history of Hungary and to see inside such a spectacular building!
Enjoy a rose shaped ice-cream at Gelato Rosa
This is a must! This is an ice-cream shop that makes your ice cream into a rose shape! They had the best flavours! I had salted caramel, Oreo and Strawberry and Elderflower! So delicious and such good value, it came to about £1.60 for 3 flavours!
The shop is beautiful and they also do the most wonderful hot chocolate! Defintiely pop in here, even if it is winter like I did!
Eat goulash soup
You can’t travel to Hungary and not eat Goulash right? It is probably closer to what the Brit’s would call a stew. In goulash there is beef, potatoes, carrots and of course paprika, it is in a runny sauce and served with fresh crusty white bread, you just can’t go wrong! Definitely worth a try it’s truly delicious!
Browse through Central Market Hall (Nagy Vasarcsarnok)
This is a huge indoor market hall, the ground floor is covered in fruit, meet, paprika and a variety of cured sausages, you’re probably not going to buy much from here but its quite fun to have a look around. Upstairs they have food stalls, they’re super busy but fun to go along to and pick up some traditional Hungarian cuisine!
I’ve never seen such perfectly positioned fruit!
Enjoy the sites from Fisherman’s Bastian and Matthias Church.
Up on a hill over the other side of the river on the Buda side of the city is the most beautiful church and surrounded by a gothic inspired terrace. Basically it looks like a castle! You can walk all around the terrace and see the most amazing views of the city. You just have to visit this – its truly beautiful and makes for the most beautiful photographs! (Hint: definitely walk up the hill if you are able to as it is only a seven minute walk and is free compared to the tram!)
10. Visit holocaust memorials
There is a long and difficult history in Hungary from occupations from various empire’s to the murder of thousands of not only Jewish people but also Gypsies and gay people as well during the Second World War. There is a history of torture museum which I have heard is really good, unfortunately I didn’t get time to visit but it would definitely be the top of my list if I went beck. There is a shoe memorial based upon the river edge where Jews were shot into the river leaving just their shoes behind. The memorial is really touching and clearly means a lot to the people of Budapest, this is definitely worth a visit, it is located just in front of the parliament buildings so it is easy to add it into your day.
They put Kinder Eggs in the children’s shoes as a gift – such a lovely idea.