Why Visit Budapest, Hungary
Relaxation in this city seems to be second nature, and from the soaring architecture, quiet pace of life, thermal baths and excellent spas, Budapest is one of the best European city destinations to unwind and get away from everyday life.
Budapest is a winter wonderland. Snowy landscapes cast a new light upon the city’s beautiful architecture. Seasonal activities will get you in the festive mood. And, if the hearty Eastern European cuisine isn’t enough to warm you up then the famous natural hot-spring spa will surely oblige.
Budapest is a city where luxury can be experienced without breaking the bank. It is one of the oldest and most historical cities in Europe and despite somewhat resembling a shabby Vienna, much of its former grandeur can still be glimpsed in its vast Roman, Gothic and Turkish architecture.
What to do
Get your walking shoes on and spend a day exploring the historic Castle District. Buda Castle dominates the skyline and is easily visible from all parts of the city but is best experienced up close where you can see the ornate decorations, statues, monuments and fountains. Here you will also witness the battle scars of many conflicts, particularly during the steep ascent to the Citadel atop Gellert Hill. The fortress was a site of great strategic importance, especially during the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 when Soviet tanks fired down onto the city. Today it is a more peaceful setting offering visitors impressive views over the Danube as well as benches to gaze upon the towering Freedom Statue erected in remembrance of the Soviet liberation of Hungary from the Nazis during World War II. The Castle District is also rich in museums with the Hungarian National Gallery and Budapest History Museum worth exploring for those with more time to spare.
While Buda boasts history, Pest offers relaxation and recreation. Take a trip to Mandala Day Spa where you will be presented with more than 50 types of treatments, including the Combination of East and West massage incorporating elements of Aromatherapy, Japanese Shiatsu, Swedish and Thai – the perfect choice for the indecisive. From spa therapy to retail therapy; Andrassy Avenue is the Budapest equivalent of the Champs Elysees with its own flurry of upscale boutiques and luxury brands. Make time for a coffee break at the Book Café on the first floor of the Alexandra Bookshop. The reasonably priced coffee and pastries are worth the indulgence for the impressive artwork and fresco-style ceiling of Karoly Lotz. Andrassy Avenue leads onto Central Park which is the setting for many summer time picnics whilst also serving as a winter wonderland with a giant seasonal outdoor ice skating rink and the famous Szechenyi thermal natural hot-spring spa which feels extra magical when snow is falling all around you. Afterwards, Pest has an abundance of excellent fine dining options, cocktail bars and ruin bars to round off the evening. Alternatively, book a night time cruise down the Danube to see the city in all its spot-lit glory.
Where to stay
Enjoying a wonderfully central location in close proximity to all of Pest’s main nightlife hotspots, Kempinski Hotel Corvinus Budapest is the perfect setting from which to enjoy this architecturally stunning city. Alternatively, history lovers will want to reside in The Castle District and should look no further than Baltazar Budapest. This 11-room boutique hotel possesses a quirky design and a unique character as well as, arguably, Buda’s best restaurant.
Where to eat & drink
You will want to arrive at the Central Market Hall for lunch with an empty stomach in order to sample the widest range of Hungarian specialties. Begin with a trip to the basement level where the pickled goods make an excellent appetiser or accompaniment for meat dishes. Afterwards head to the upper level for unpretentious traditional dishes such as kolbasz (Hungarian sausage), toltott kaposzta (stuffed cabbage leaves) and a variety of paprika laden soups, stews and broths. However, no trip to the market is complete without ordering langos; commonly referred to as the Hungarian pizza, this delicious deep fried flat bread is often topped with sour cream, cheese and some form of meat. Visit Hungarikum Bisztro for a homely dining experience accompanied by live traditional music. For fine dining there is no better place than Onyx; a Michelin star restaurant offering a six- or eight-course menu reimagining Magyar classics. Those seeking a raucous night out should visit the ruin bars of Szimpla Kert or for a more refined evening allow Attila Felhosi to present you with one of his imaginative cocktails at Blue Fox The Bar. Essential Sunday brunching can be had at ES Bisztro.
Fisherman’s Bastion offers the most enthralling view over the Danube and is without doubt the perfect spot to grab that enviable Instagram snap that will inevitably make all of your friends jealous.
Share this article: