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Budapest: A beautiful, enchanting city that is under-hyped if you ask me. There’s so much to do when you’re visiting that it can be easy to miss things out purely because you’ve already spent the whole trip exploring! Here’s what you can’t miss if you are only in Budapest for a short time.
TRY A TÚRÓ RUDI
Of course, I am a total greedy guts and I’m gonna start with a chocolate covered soft cheese bar. It’s a very subtle flavour so don’t expect a chocolate cheesecake but this dark choc bar is super interesting and unlike anything I’ve come across in the UK. Worth a try, you’ll find it in the fridge in the shops. Best eaten straight away so it doesn’t melt everywhere.
GET ON THE OLDEST SUBWAY
So it’s actually the second oldest subway EVER, with the London Underground being the oldest. Make sure you get on the yellow metro, serving the Pest side only. It is a rattly old wagon but it’s worth absorbing a little bit of history in between your sightseeing and actually travelling just to experience it. If you plan on visiting the Széchenyi Thermal Baths and you are further than a stone’s throw away, you will need to use the metro anyway! So hop on 🙂
VISIT THE THERMAL BATHS
I mean, who goes to Budapest and doesn’t visit the spas?! You’d have to be crazy not to bother and it’s totally earned the hype. I was lucky enough to visit both the Széchenyi Baths and the St Lukács Baths. It’s worth remembering that the Széchenyi baths get very busy and are the most popular. I would 100% recommend taking the trip to St Lukács Bath, it’s a little bit further out of the centre and although you get free access with the Budapest card, it doesn’t get half as busy and there’s more variety of pools and there’s also a steam room. Get your relaxation in after a long day of sightseeing. Just double check the last entry times before you set off 😉
SPEND AT LEAST 1 FULL DAY SIGHTSEEING
Budapest is without a doubt one of my favourite cities. There is so much to see and it is unbelievably beautiful. The architecture is absolutely breathtaking, the scenery is gorgeous and there is a ton of history buried in the cracks of this incredible city. To me, it’s the city that keeps on giving and there’s pretty good reason that suddenly everyone you know is instagramming Budapest! I think you actually need more than a day if you want to see a lot of places and go to the museums and galleries, but if you are limited with the amount of time I would suggest dedicating a full day to go exploring. There are sooooo many amazing sights to see, but here are my favourites:
- Matthias Church. I just can’t get over how pretty this is.
- Hungarian Parliament Building. No words necessary.
- Shoes on the Danube. This poignant memorial can be found along the Danube on the Pest side.
- The Chain Bridge. This was the first permanent bridge across the Danube in Hungary.
- Buda Castle. Huge and enchanting.
MINI HIKE UP GELLERT HILL
Okay, so to call it a hike is a
slight exaggeration, but it’s well worth the little walk up here. We went at sunset. You get a great view over Budapest and the Danube, and while you’re up the hill you can see the Citadella and Szabadság Szobor, which is Budapest’s Statue of Liberty. Maybe take a bottle of wine up with you (while it’s supposedly illegal, you’ll only get in trouble if you are causing trouble) for a romantic evening watching the city lights as the sun dims.
HAVE A LOOK AROUND CENTRAL MARKET HALL
I loved the market hall! It was one of my favourite places out of everywhere else we visited in Budapest. Such a vibrant, buzzy atmosphere filled with little treasures and delights. If you need to buy souvenirs, definitely take a gander at the stalls here – you could find something suitable for ANYONE. Apparently loved by locals and tourists alike, you can grab food here as well, whether it’s ingredients for lunch or unpretentious street food from the stalls.
Lángos is fried bread, normally served with cheese but you can have a variety of toppings. I got to try this delicious meal on the second floor of the Central Market, but be prepared cos it gets extremely busy! It was super cheap and bloody amazing. In fact I really am craving one after writing about it! Take a look at this bad boy:
USE THE BUDAPEST CARD
I know a lot of places offer these tourist cards, and to be honest a lot of them seem to be great and then turn out to be a pretty sh*tty deal. But, this Budapest tourist card was well worth it. We got the 48 hour card, which gives you free transport, free entry to 12 museums, free entry to the St Lukács Thermal Baths, discount to Széchenyi Thermal Baths just to name a few bits. I think you get more if you buy a 72 hour card but the 48 hour was perfect for us and saved us money and time by having free transport. It was around 25 Euro for the 48 hour card.
Yep, another food one but it’s basically rude not to have goulash in Hungary! Made with beef and paprika, you’ll be hard-pressed to find this dish missing from any menu in Budapest. We found a little pub-like restaurant on the way back from the baths and had a delicious beef goulash, washed down with a glass of Hungarian wine. What a perfect way to refuel after a long day.
Wow, writing this had made me remember just how much I loved Budapest and how insanely pretty everything is! I hope this gives you some tips if you’re looking to plan your trip.
Have you been to Budapest? What were your fave bits?