I’ve only been to Budapest twice but I can confidently say that it’s one of my favourite European cities. Budapest gives off an aura of a once grand but forgotten city, and this is exactly where my love for her stems.I have compiled a list of all of the reasons why I love the city and why you should too!
Lets start off with logistics. For those who don’t know much about Hungary, you’ll be pleased to know that the local currency is not the EURO but rather the Forint. This means your money will stretch further than in most European cities… A LOT FURTHER.
Lángos, Goulash, Chimney Cake, Somlói Cake, Soproni Beer… Hungary has a whole platter of different foods and drinks to try. The sooner you get there, the sooner you are to discovering it all. More on this topic here.
3. Great Market Hall (also known as Central Market Hall)
As soon as you walk through the old wooden doors you are confronted by an array of colours and smells. The ground floor houses unprepared foods such as fruits, sausages, chocolate, paprika etc. Upstairs you’ll find souvenir stalls and…… drum roll please…… prepared foods. So, if you don’t mind eating in awkward positions (it can get pretty squashy) then this is THE place to try langos. I recommend going for the traditional sour cream and cheese.
4. Andrássy Avenue
If you enjoy looking at architecture then you’ll love Andrássy avenue as much as I do. It’s reminiscent of a street that was once grand but now looks a little tired. Please don’t misinterpret me though, it is that ‘worn out’ look that makes this avenue so impressive. It’s a photographers haven and I simply adore the buildings that many don’t seem to appreciate.
There’s not a lot to say on this subject other than, the old yellow trams are pretty cool. The number 2 rides all along the side of the Danube river and even goes around Parliament. If you’re going to catch one of these trams, number 2 is the way to go!
6. Hungarian State Opera House
The opera in Budapest is super affordable. You can get top-notch seats for as cheap as chips and like most opera houses, the inside is stunning. The first time I visited the city I was able to catch a show but, unfortunately, the second time round I wasn’t so lucky (I’m known for being irresponsible). Be sure to book in advance or, at the very least, make sure there are shows playing while you’re in town.
7. Castle Hill at Night
Castle Hill is a hill (duh) located in Buda, that towers over the Danube river. It’s where you’ll find the famous Buda Castle, Matthias Church and Fisherman’s Bastion. When visited at night it has a peaceful feel about it which makes it perfect for a midnight stroll, but it’s the views of the lit up Parliament that make this ‘trek’ worth it (it’s pretty impressive). If you’re lucky you might even find a lovely Hungarian lady playing the violin, just to add to the serene ambience. For those in search of evening activities, add this to your list.
8. Zugliget Chairlift and János Hill
I’ve left my absolute favourite for last, because it’s just that good. Zugliget Chairlift is a two way system that takes you up to the highest point of Budapest, János Hill. You’ll need to do a bit of hiking to get to the very top (if I can do it, so can you!) but once you’ve made it, the Elizabeth Lookout Tower (free entrance!) provides stunning panoramic views. I’ve written a separate post on this because there are a few things to take into consideration before trying this one out.