Get to know one of the most vibrant, beautiful (and cheap) European Capitals: Budapest, Hungary. Here there are 5 tips for your weekend trip!
“Budapest”, famously, is the combination of the cities Buda and Pest, which, together with Óbuda, united in 1873. Buda is situated on the left side of the Danube and Pest on the right side. It is the biggest city of Hungary and with nearly 2 millions inhabitants, also the most populous.
How to get here and where to stay? It’s quite easy to reach it. By plane, there are several cheap travel companies which fly here; by train is also quite easy from Austria and nearby countries; by bus and car is usually cheaper, but do not expect to go fast on Hungarian roads!
Choose the central district or the Jewish district for accommodation, so you can easily walk around your position.
First of all, how to move around? While here, if you are a good walker, you can easily walk around by yourself. Expect to walk between 10 to 20 km if you want to see all the major sightseeing in one or two days: it’s definitely recommended to just wander around if the weather is great! Otherwise Metro coverage is quite good, and if there isn’t the metro, probably a bus would do it. Taxis are also quite cheap, but just be sure to set prices and conditions before the ride.
When to go? People say that in summer Budapest is exceptional, full of life and activities to do. We traveled here in winter with almost -10°C and we still had full days! Personally speaking, I prefer winter: it feels more like a little, unexplored city, where only locals roam.
What to do? There are few sights/activities you shouldn’t miss:
- Visit the neo-Gothic Parliament, the biggest building in Hungary with its 268 metres length. Inside there are also the Hungarian Crown’s Jewels.
- Hike around Castle Hill, Castle District and the Citadel: it’s quite a hike up to the Citadel, but the view over the city and the Castle District is worth the fatigue. Then you can slide down to the Castle and visit it, concluding your visit of the Buda part and coming back across one of the two bridges to the Pest side.
- Visit the Dohány Street Synagogue, which is the largest synagogue in Europe, and the second largest active synagogue in the world. Be aware, being a Synagogue, Saturday is closed 😉
- Have a drink or three in some ruin bars such as Szimpla Kert: “these bars are built in Budapest’s old District VII neighborhood (the old Jewish quarter) in the ruins of abandoned buildings, stores, or lots. This neighborhood was left to decay after World War II, so it was a perfect place to develop an underground bar scene” (hey, you can drink in a little Trabant there 😉 ).
- Taste a kurtos (kalacs) around any of the shops in Budapest. Those are the most amazing spit cake you can have, specific to Hungary. I had quite a few there, but I personally recommend this one.
Hope you enjoyed this little travel guide for Budapest and see you in the next one!