Budapest is a great city for any kind of traveler. It’s a little off the beaten path of typically toured European cities, and that’s part of what makes it so special. The looming architecture and foggy weather will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time, and despite its troubled history, Budapest radiates a warm beauty and intrigue that begs you to explore.
The Danube River bisected Buda and Pest at a time when they were two separate cities. This beautiful body of water is the second longest river in Europe, and was once the frontier of the Roman Empire. The best way to experience the splendor of the Danube is without a doubt by boat tour: board an enclosed ferry, take a seat, and sip on some champagne while you listen to Budapest’s spectacular story. The best time to go is in the evening so you can see all the beautiful lights of the city. The Parliament building in particular is a breathtaking spectacle of light and size, and is probably one of the most iconic buildings in Eastern Europe.
Just off the bank of the Danube is the enormous Great Market Hall. This restored neo-Gothic hall is for traders and farmers. The ground floor is filled with produce, meats, candy, pastries and spices. The second floor offers handmade clothing, toys, trinkets, and restaurants. Whether you go to taste some authentic goulash or buy a newly knit scarf, the Great Market is not to be missed.
One of the most notable elements of the whole city are the famous thermal baths and spas. There are several locations to check out, but the Széchenyi Baths are the biggest and most luxurious of all the thermal baths in Budapest. Grab a towel and a glass of wine and enjoy the geothermal pools, special massage treatments, and saunas. You can even taste the natural mineral water that supplies the pools more than 3,000 feet below the surface. The sight of the crystal water next to the striking yellow architecture sets the mood perfectly.
After your bath you may be feeling a bit hungry. Worry not; Budapest is filled with tasty spots to enjoy authentic strudel, goulash, and palatschinke. The Cirkusz Café is a cozy place to taste some of the local cuisine. The traditional Hungarian breakfast is to die for; liver pâté, toast, and fresh vegetables are arranged beautifully with some locally sourced butter. Stika is another great restaurant to have a great meal, or just grab a great cup of coffee.
In addition to the amazing food and leisure in Budapest, there is also a plethora of fascinating history to go alone with it. Take a stroll down Andrassy Avenue and bask in the glory of impressive neo-Renaissance mansions with ornate facades. Here you’ll also find important monuments such as the State Opera House and the Zoltán Kodály Memorial Museum. At the very end of Andrassy Avenue is Hero’s Square. This is one of the major squares in Budapest, known for its iconic statue complex featuring various important Hungarian leaders. It’s also located right next to the beautiful City Park and the Museum of Fine Arts.
Budapest has so much to offer you’ll just be itching to see it all. Places such as the Buda Castle and St. Stephen’s Basilica are some of many other fascinating locales to visit. So if you like the idea of relaxing in a thermal bath all day, or you’re energized by the idea of an awe-inspiring hike up to Buda Castle, you are sure to love every minute of your time in Budapest.
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