WHAT'S WORTH SEEING IN BUDAPEST?
We slowly grow into Budapest. It's wonderful when you come back somewhere for longer - more than once and you are able to find something new and unknown with each of your next visits. Something that will attract attention and delight - that's exactly how I feel about this place. Also because it is so close to Warsaw. Probably that's why so many Poles are spending their long weekends here.
Before you lies a small guide and a few tips & tricks on how to get around the city and plan sightseeing tours. If you know a place that is not on the list, let us know - we will be happy to return to the Hungarian capital to check it out! So… what’s worth seeing in Budapest?
BUDAPEST IS NOT ONLY THE PARLIAMENT
Under this theme, we came to the capital of Hungary this time. This monumental building is familiar to everyone, whether from the window of the tram on the side of Buda, viewed from the top of the castle or an evening boat trip. Therefore, in spite of most of guides, we will not write about this point on the list. Let me just mention that now, in addition to booking a visit, there is a ticket required for about 15 euros. It used to be free for EU residents. Although it is still worth coming inside.
If we are already talking about views and Buda side of the city, remember that it's worth splitting trips to Buda and Pest separately. However it is very likely that you will start and finish at Pest – here you’ll find more accommodation options, pubs and bars.
I propose to begin your visit from Gellert's bathhouse. Budapest is known for its thermal springs containing a lot of various minerals (including chlorides, sulphates, calcium and magnesium). If you have a tight schedule and/or little time for bathing, or forgot your outfit, I’ll let you know that at 11 and 15 every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday you will visit the bathhouse for half the price to hit the best instagram photo inside!
(current days/hours on: http://www.gellertbath.com/).
After refreshing yourself, it's time to hit the views of the city. Here pick either the Citadel and the Statue of Liberty, or the Castle Hill, or both (for those who have more time and strength). What is important - you will get there by public transport. Well, maybe not just to the top of the Citadel - you have to put some energy into some of the views. For the castle pick the Funicular (nice cable car) which serves as an attraction and a nice view of the chain bridge and the river.
PESZT MAKES AN IMPRESSION OF A CITY VERY NICELY FRAMED
Equal roofs, even buildings, even streets and only the Basilica and the Parliament fall out of this pattern. Well, this was not supposed to be about the Parliament :) It's nice to travel around Budapest on foot, as well as on the public transport. Being on this side, you can shoot another cool Instagram pic next to the picturesque fishing tower, or you go to the one of many viewpoints.
You can visit the inside of the church of saint Matthiase, but pay attention to opening hours. They are cut through with masses and holidays so it is often unavailable to visitors. The castle is also nice to see, but a bigger impression on the other side of the river. It loses some of it’s majesty at close range. Inside the castle is the National Gallery or the Budapest Museum where you will see some artifacts from different periods of Hungary history.
From the hill you can see where the Jewish quarter is located. A place that was the most interesting for us to explore in terms of food. A multitude of Bar Ruins (these are old, unused tenement houses converted into bars and clubs - Szimpla Kert is widely - known). Stationary base for foodtrucks (named Karavan, open more or less from March to October) and Gozsdu Udvar. In addition, a lot of café-confectioneries with own baked goods, the largest Synagogue in Europe and a huge bistro-bar area, which I absolutely loved.
WHAT YOU SHOULD EAT?
Hungarian cuisine and the cuisine of Budapest are primarily two themes - meat and goulash. In every place you will eat different variations of goulash - from chicken, through beef, fowl to pork or less instagram eats like livers or stomachs. In addition, a very characteristic hand-made wheat noodles . And if you don't fancy stew you can try just meat - we have already praised the Cupakos restaurant, and later you will read more about the market halls - the more and less known ones. Meat, grilled, stewed, steamed in every possible combination and very often marinated in wine or spices with a base of "Hungarian Gold" - peprika.
Characteristic for Budapest and also very good are Bistro's & bars, small premises often run by the owners and "inspired" by their experience and ideas. You will find here traditional Hungarian dishes in a modern version, with additions characteristic of other cuisines and full of borrowed flavours from Jewish, Turkish and Arabic. And even more than bistro's - cafés and bakeries. I wonder why everyone is writing about peppers & paprika and no one mentions how Hungarians love coffee - every street corner another place, often with their own sweet and salty baked goods.
JEWISH DISTRICT IS AN A++ SIGHTSEEING
Virtually every day of sightseeing ended here in one of the bars or bistros. But what else to visit in Budapest? There is of course the main market hall - Nagy Vásárcsarnok. But since the best known it is also the most besieged. It is pretty, large and very crowded, which effectively hinders admiration of dried peppers and Mangalica sausages spreaded around the place.
That's why we have another location for you that is mainly known to local foodies. There you can try local food or buy the aforementioned sausages. In the center, not far from the Parliament (again unsuccessfully running away from the Parliament!) Is the "Downtown Market" in Hungarian called "Hold utcai Vásárcsarnok és Belvárosi Piac". If I have not mentioned that Hungarian is a difficult language, this is exactly that moment. The place has been renewed quite recently, in 2011.
In the hall you will find a couple of local specialties, something like a head – sized schnitzel or stewed liver with onions and potatoes. The last dish, as well as the local dessert called Flódni you will eat in a bistro called A Sef Utcaja. What is Flódni? Imagine a cake on a crisp bottom, with a layer of poppy, a layer of jam, a layer of apple mousse and a few other layers. This combination of poppy and apple pie is amazingly good!
THERE ARE SO MANY THINGS THAT I STILL HAVE NOT MENTIONED…
First of all, the historical metro line number 1, the oldest line in the continental Europe. Construction began in 1894 and only the London metro is dated to be older. What struck me the most was the depth beneath the ground. The stations are barely under the surface and very small for today's knowledge and technology. Even so, the fact that they had such engineering skills over 120 years ago ... respect!
Take the number one line from the heart of the city, Deak Ferenc ter, up to Hősök Tere, (eng. Heroes' Square). It was here that Stalin's famous monument was destroyed during the bloody uprising in 1956. If you have not yet got tired of museums, you will find another two places for your bucket list - the Museum of Fine Arts and the Palace of Art in Budapest. Right behind the Millennium monument is the Vajdahunyad Castle, Széchenyi Fürdő Baths, a park with a zoological garden (Fővárosi Állat- és Növénykert - try to pronounce it on one breath!). And because I guess that your legs are aching already, in the middle of the park you will find another metro stop for line number one to get back to the city centre.
Budapest certainly has some more to discover, but what a great adventure it is. We visited the city with the help of https://www.budapestinfo.hu/ - distributor of the "Budapest Card". This card, depending on the variant (from 24h to 120h), gives the possibility of free and unlimited public transport, free admission to many of the aforementioned museums and a lot of discounts to attractions in Budapest. You can find the full list on the mentioned website, or at one of many points throughout the city.
IS IT WORTH TO BUY THIS CARD?
I will answer "Yes, but". The cards are quite expensive and to fully feel the satisfaction of the money saved with it, you have to plan your trip carefully. Ask yourself how much do you want to visit and how many days you will spend in Budapest. Where you have to move and how to set the route to see everything in the right order. Book a day separately for Buda (or two if you visit every square meter of a museum – unlike us;) ). More time for Pest, because, although close to the means of transport, attractions are somewhat spread around the city.
Oh, one LARGE NOTICE FOR YOUR FUTURE VISIT. The cards are signed in the format month / day / hour, which is not too default and natural. Of course, I did make a mistake typing it in!
In this case, the card should be taken to one of the Budapestinfo points, and in general it is best to register it on their website - then the exchange takes only a few minutes!
The text was created in cooperation with Budapestinfo. https://www.budapestinfo.hu/