Budapest will leave you Hungary for more!
So it is safe to say we fell in love with Budapest… Aside from being absolutely beautiful (it has been voted one of the most beautiful Cities in Europe and they are so right!), it is friendly, welcoming and truly enchanting. As an extra bonus, it was also deliciously vegetarian and vegan friendly!
You have to do…
- Cocktails on the Danube at night! It is easy to get caught up in the constant movement of travel. Rushing from bus to subway, from sight to sight. The memorable moments often come about when you stop and take a moment to soak up your surroundings and just ponder the world. These such moments are easy to come by along the powerful Danube. Grab a drink or 3 (they are so cheap anyway) at one of the riverside bars, sit and watch the water flow endlessly by while you enjoy live music and the lights of the City.
- Parliament at night and a river walk. In early August the temperature was just right for a long, lazy evening stroll along the river – one of the highlights being the imposing yet beautiful Hungarian Parliament building.
- Szechenyi ‘Turkish’ baths. Catch the oldest Subway line in Europe which is truly an experience in itself and head to The most famous of Budapest’s Thermal baths which are located in the large City park at the North-East end of the City. Don’t forget your jandals, you will need them.
Tip: Stay near one of the subway lines. We found the subway incredibly easy to use, plus you can buy a 72 hour pass which makes things easy. Keep your pass on you as they are often checked you walking into a station.
- If you are there at the right time make sure you go to one of the free summer concerts held through out the city. A great way to spend the afternoon in the sun.
- Spend a day or lazy afternoon on Margaret Island. You can walk, run, bike, or old style golf cart (like we did!) around the island, check out the musical fountain, go to the theatre, play sports and enjoy the sun all in one place. It’s like a little oasis in the middle of the city.
You have to see…
- Either before or after you go to the baths, take a short walk to the Millenium Monument in Hosok Tere (Heroes’ Square) located just over the bridge, back towards the City.
- Cipok a Duna-Parton or “The Shoes on the Danube” is possibly the most well known sight in Budapest. Created by sculptor Gyula Pauer with help from film director Can Togay to honour the jews who were lined up in that exact spot and killed (their bodies falling into the river below) by arrow cross militiamen, near the end of World War II. Allow yourself some time to just be there and take it in.
- Near Szabadság Square is a unique and controversial monument dedicated to “all the victims” of Hungary’s German “Occupation”. It is like no other monument we have seen on our travels so far (and by this we mean it’s ugly) and has caused quite a stir amongst the locals. Apparently it was put up in the middle of the night, without any public consultation… read this for a bit more of an insight.
- In the main square is the beautiful St Stephen’s Basilica which is absolutely breath taking inside and as an additional perk, unlike a lot of churches in Europe, it’s only a coin donation to get in. If you have time, go to one of the organ concerts that take place most nights during the summer months.
You have to eat at…
- Napfényes – This place serves the most incredible local Hungarian Cuisine but entirely vegan. If you can get the ‘Napfényes Platter For Two’. It will blow your mind (and give you a food baby!).
- Vegan Love – For a truly amazing vegan Burger and fresh juices Vegan Love is definitely worth hunting down.
- Fruccola – We stumbled across this little gem completely by accident and we went back twice it was so good! It’s not entirely vegetarian but it does have a huge range of meat free options and if you are there on a Monday they do ‘Meat Free Mondays’ where their main ‘Dish of the Day’ is vegetarian. Make sure you get the Tapioca Pudding in the ‘grab and go’ section. You will not regret it.
- Great Bistro – This super cute cafe doesn’t have a huge menu (what they serve changes daily) but it makes up for it with deliciousness and super helpful staff. Come here to chill out, use some wifi and take stock of what an awesome city Budapest is!
A few other tips and perks to one of the best cities in the world…
- Food is cheap! You will be able to live like kings here in regards to cuisine especially if you are used to Central Europe Prices.
- For being so awesome, Budapest is still relatively unknown as a tourist destination in comparison to most of its neighbours. This makes for a nice respite from the constant tourist crowds in the high season and gives you a bit more breathing space to enjoy yourself.
- Before you go, make sure you check out the dates for any festivals/concerts. We missed the Music festival ‘Sziget’ by just 2 days which was a bit disappointing. It also meant that as we left there was very limited accommodation available so just make sure you know when it is on so you can either dive in or avoid depending on what you are looking for.
- The locals are wonderfully friendly and english is widely spoken so you will easily find your way around.
- This city really is an Architectural dream so make sure you take the time to admire and stroll through what Budapest’s buildings have on offer.