After a week in Budapest I am feeling relaxed. My skin is tanned and I feel energised. Though, as I sipped on my favourite, late-harvest, Furmint wine, soaked up the sun and tried to practice Hungarian, I wondered how I would describe Budapest to you. You see, this is not a straight forward task. Budapest is so many things, it is full of idyllic architecture, it sets the scene for numerous films and preserves the European culture that I am so familiar with as a Lithuanian. Its difficult to package this up. So here goes, my attempt to highlight some one of the best landmarks, restaurants and activities to experience in Budapest. If you manage to get through the whole post, please leave a comment and let me know if this was helpful – or if I just bored you to death!
Budapest in a nutshell
Arriving at the capital of Hungary I first learnt how the city is bisected by its famous river – Danube. On one side of the river is Buda, a charming district, characterised by its hills and castles, and on the other side is Pest – where we found ruin bars.
The two sides are familiar enough, just like sisters and yet equally as unique and different from each other. You are bound to find something extraordinary, something romantic and something historic that is now reimagined on either side of the city. This Hungarian gem also boasts alluring thermal baths, avant-garde ‘ruin’ bars and delicious lángos (a must try delicacy!).
Fortunately, I have a place to stay in Budapest. Unfortunately, this means that I have no great way of recommending where to stay besides sharing a link to the Booking.com website. It is where I would look if I had to book a room for my trip.
Anyway… although, I cannot recommend where to stay, hopefully, my fifth (sixth?) visit to Budapest has allowed me to think of places that you wouldn’t necessarily find on other blogs. Also, as I only eat vegan food, my Budapest experience was a little more exciting, sometimes challenging, as I had to discover restaurants and coffee shops that respect and cater for people like me. Nevertheless, I did find a number of amazing places!
The Hungarian Parliament building
First and foremost, you must see the magnificent work of art that is this neo-gothic Parliament building. I recommend booking a river tour to snap a picture like mine. However, you can also get pretty close to it on foot, though its entirety is difficult to capture up close – but it is breathtaking, nevertheless.
Matthias Church – Trinity Square
Exceptional, 13th century Matthias Church is situated on Castle Hill, Buda’s Old town.
Feel like you are starring in your very own fairy-tale as you walk into the Fisherman’s Bastion, situated near Matthias Church.
The Chain Bridge
The chain bridge connects the hilly Buda district with the flat Pest. A stroll across it in the evening is super romantic.
Budapest History Museum
Where to eat
Mazel Tov – Ruin Bar
Budapest is famous for its ruin bars – trendy bars that were built inside abandoned buildings and ruins of the historically Jewish district. But some ruin bars are better than others – you will find hen and stag do’s and lots of tourists at the cheaper bars. However, if you are avoiding the party crowds then I’d recommend a more upscale place: The Mazel Tov ruin bar: “this urban, recreational, dog-friendly garden laden with planted herbs and trees is transformed into a garden party location in the evenings. We wish to establish an informal, casual atmosphere, an easily digestible urban meeting point, which transforms into one of the most intimate and greenest arbors at dusk, every day of the week.”
Truly, it is a beautiful bar. I tried their hummus platter with freshly made falafels. Unfortunately, I inhaled the food and didn’t take a picture. However, here’s another picture from their Instagram page. I feel hungry just looking at it!
Babel – Fine dining
If fine dining is more your thing, then visit Babel. Think chef’s table style experience. Babel’s extraordinary seven-course vegan tasting menu will blow your socks away. Please book in advance as this is required.
Napfenyes – Vegan Hungarian food
We visited Napfenyes for lunch in search of authentic Hungarian food that was vegan friendly. The entire menu is free from animal products. The food was inexpensive and wholesome.
Where to stay
As I have already mentioned, I cannot really recommend a place to stay as I have crashed with friends and family during all of my trips to Budapest. However, I would check Booking.com for a place to stay in, and for two reasons: 1. Reviews – You can filter places based on reviews. This will let you pick something that others have tried and tested. 2. Variety – Choose from hotels, apartments and BnB’s to suit your needs. My quick search has found hotel rooms with amazing views of the city like this one:
Where to pamper
Thermal Turkish Baths
Before you leave Budapest, make sure you take a moment to relax at a healing, thermal Turkish bath. One of the most notable Turkish baths, and the very first one I ever visited in Budapest, is the 16th century Rudas Bath. Boasting beautiful traditional pools and rooms this this a great place to relax. We enjoyed a midnight session here. I was especially impressed with how low key it was: its wasn’t a primary spot for tourists and with a rooftop jacuzzi, this venue offered stunning city views.
Another thermal bath worth mentioning is the Széchenyi Thermal Bath. It is the largest thermal bath in Europe. This thermal bath is one that never sleeps. Parties and games are hosted there so make sure to check-out Trip Advisor and their website for whats on.
Thank you for taking your time to read this post! Please leave a comment if you have visited Budapest and can recommend another exciting place for me to explore. Or if you are planning your trip to there – let me know if this post was helpful.
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