There are a few cities in Europe that were long hidden from the world and are only recently being rediscovered. One of these places is Budapest, the capital city of Hungary.
The fact that Budapest is made up of two cities on either side of the river Danube in itself is a wonder. But apart from that Budapest has a unique atmosphere, offering anything from a pulsating night life to world-class classical music scene, to world heritage buildings and a selection of thermal spas, several monuments, and underground caves as well as a rich gastronomical experience.
Budapest is one of Europe’s most delightful and enjoyable cities. Due to its scenic setting and its architecture it is nicknamed the ‘Paris of the East’.
Buda is the hilly part of the city and has several places of interest, like the Castle Hill District. This district has been here for several hundred years, surrounded by the Fisherman’s Bastillon. This district was used by the royal families of Hungary through the ages, and has several historic sites like the Royal Palace and the beautiful Matthias Church along with medieval houses, and museums.
With plentiful cafes and restaurants around, it is a perfect place for a romantic walk on a sunny day, you may even find one of the many festivals that are held in the courtyards of the Buda Castle. There is always something happening, from international wine festivals to beer festivals and folk art festivals.
And if that wasn’t exciting enough you can always take a ride (on the way up is more fun!) on the Siklo From Clark Adam ter – Buda end of the Chain Bridge.
And while you are on the Buda side, why not visit one of the thermal baths in the area? There have been thermal springs spruting up in Budapest from as early as the 15th century, later favoured by the Turks who built bath houses. There are plenty of bath houses to choose from, one of these is the 1565 built Kiraly Bath. This one in particular was built away from the natural spring within the castle walls to ensure that the Turkish Pasha could bathe even if there was a siege of Buda.
The water for this bath comes from surrounding baths like the Gellert Bath. This bath is located in the centre of the city, right on the bank of the Danube. The Gellert Thermal Bath and Hotel is known world-wide and highly favoured by foreigners.
It was built in 1918 and expanded in 1927 by the wave and effervescent baths. It has since been modernised and today this is one of the biggest baths offering indoor and outdoor pools to its visitors. It is being frequented regularly by those who wish to enjoy its healing qualities.
You can stroll across the Chain Bridge and find yourself on the Pest side, there are plenty more to discover here. You can take a walk along the Danube on the Dunakorzo, and find your way to the city’s Upmarket Fashion Street – Vaci Utca. This is a designated pedestrian precinct, running from Vorosmarty Square.
At the end of Vaci utca you will find a white line in the pavement, this marks the site where once the medieval city wall stood. This was the Northern gate to the city.
While you are here, you could enjoy one of Hungary’s most famous dessert, Somloi or why not try a Gerbeaud, at the Gerbeaud Café. This café is one of Hungary’s most traditional and biggest café. It was built in 1858 and expanded in 1884.
If you stroll down on Andrassy Avenue, you will find Hungary’s biggest Theatres, the Ballet and the Opera House, showing world famous Operas, Ballet, cabarets and other theatre productions. If you keep making your way down this avenue, you find yourself at Hero’s square.
Hero’s square is one of the major squares in Budapest, featuring the Seven Chieftains of the Magyars (who led the Hungarians to their home), as well as the Hungarian Kings.
Hero’s square is surrounded by The museum of Fine arts and the Mucsarnok, behind it is the Nep Liget.
Nepliget was set up to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the union of Pest, Buda and Obuda, and gives home to the Planetarium, which is a laser theatre and the E-klub. The biggest nightclub in Hungary.
And if you are after the party scene, there are plenty of bars and night clubs to choose from! Even the thermal baths hold awesome parties in the summer months! Check out the spa parties at the Szechenyi or the Magic Bath parties at the Lukacs.
If the baths are not your scene you can hop on a party boat and dance the night away on while floating down the river Danube enjoying great views of Buda and Pest, awesome music and drinks.
Wow! I am only scratching the surface here! With such vast array of activities and places to visit to choose from, would you not agree that Budapest is AMAZING?