It feels like absolute forever since I came back from Budapest when in actual fact it’s only been about 5 weeks, although I already want to go back and explore more of the beautiful city. My first experience was a bit mixed and didn’t give me much time to explore so I tried to cram a lot in this time. If you’re heading the Hungarian capital here are eight things you need to experience:
Walk the chain bridge
The Chain Bridge is one of many which stretch over the Danube connecting Buda with Pest in the city but perhaps the most iconic. At night time it is beautifully lit up and is a beautiful walk over the river without being too strenuous. You’ll need to move from one side of the city to another anyway so why not walk over this beautiful bridge.
Eat Gelato Rosa
Gelato Rosa is an ice cream shop in Budapest which creates beautiful rose shaped ice cream creations. Obviously to get the beautiful effect you need at least two flavors – although three of four work best. The ice cream itself is so yummy and the flavours are amazing, over my time I had a lovely mango and passionfruit ice cream and their basil and lemon was beautiful, of course, Nutella/ chocolate/ oreo were all amazing too but I spent more time wondering what the colours would look like together for photos.
Visit the parliament building
Personally, I think the Parliament building is one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever come across. It is also one of the largest parliament buildings in the world as it spans a large area on the Pest side of the city. You can get amazing views from walking around at ground level and also from the Buda side, but a river cruise is a great way to get some uninterrupted photos. You can do a tour of the building which is one thing I really wish I’d had time to do during my trip.
Try some traditional treats at The Great Market
There are loads of restaurants where you can try traditional Hungarian food but The Great Market allows you to experience small snacks and treats. Downstairs are loads of food stalls selling pastries and other hard to identify food. We just wandered around pointed to a few things and gave them all a try, fortunately, most of it was yummy. Upstairs is then a market for gifts and souvenirs so perfect for grabbing a few presents.
Go to a thermal bath
Budapest is famous for it’s thermal baths and they are scattered all over the city with a mixture of beautiful outdoor pools at various temperatures, indoor pools from freezing plunge pools to ones which feel like you’re climbing into a kettle. There’s also steam rooms/ saunas/ jacuzzi’s and the chance to pay a bit extra for a massage (well worth it). Szechenyi is one of the largest ones and a truly beautiful space, although it does get a little busy whilst Rudas is a lot smaller but more relaxing.
Go to Margaret Island
I didn’t even know Margaret Island existed until just before my second trip. The small island sits in the middle of the Danube and is accessible via a bridge or via boat and it is a beautiful green oasis and a great place to relax, take a picnic and just relax. The main attraction though is the musical fountain light show. At 9pm each evening crowds gather around the fountain to see the choreographed water and light show take place to the sound of a mixture of traditional Hungarian and English music, and of course George Ezra’s ‘Budapest’. It’s so pretty and well worth the walk up to see.
Go up to the Citadel
The Citadel is a small area located at the highest point in the city atop the Gellert Hill on the Buda side of the city and the views are incredible as you can see for miles. It can be really hard to reach this area as it’s a long steep walk but the hop on, hop off buses do head up there and it’s worth the trip. There’s a small fortress up there which used to be used for military purposes but now is much more of a tourist attraction.
Take a Danube Cruise
Some of the best views of the city come from right down the centre and that’s the Danube River. If you get a hop on, hop off bus you get a free river cruise and usually I don’t think they’re worth it but this one certainly was. Not only was it a relaxing way to see most of the key buildings (Buda Castle/ Fisherman’s Bastion/ Parliament/ Margaret Island etc) it’s a great way to see things from different angles.