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Budapest

What to see in Budapest, including history, thermal baths, ruined pubs, unusual things, and nightlife.



Buda and the Fisherman's Bastion

Until the 19th century, there were three cities: Buda, Old Buda and Pest. Today they remain separated only by the Danube and make up the historical (Buda) and modern (Pest) souls of the Hungarian capital.

The Chain Bridge connects the two banks of the river (in case it is closed, you can reach the other bank by subway and bus), then go up the hill by funicular or walk. The most famous site is the Fishermen's Bastion, built by the fishermen's guild with steps and seven uniquely shaped white marble towers. From here the view of Parliament is fantastic. Flanking it is St. Matthias Church with its roof covered in glittering ceramic tiles. In this area, you can walk through the narrow streets of the old city, with its small stores and stalls. On the other side of the hill, however, stands Buda Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and former royal residence.

🎫 Fisherman's Bastion is free



Pest and the Parliament

The Parliament is the symbol of the city and is located in the center of Pest overlooking the Danube. Its grandeur is imposing and the forms mix the neo-Gothic style of Westminster (London) with the dome of Florence Cathedral. It is also home to the National Library, the Head of Government, and the President of the Republic.

From the Parliament, you can walk along the Danube (where boats leave for mini-cruises on the river) and reach the neighborhood of St. Stephen's Basilica, the capital's cathedral with a beautiful square in front and many small restaurants.

Continue to Vörösmarty tér Square to reach the modern center with its shopping streets, and you can continue the walk to Váci Utca and the covered market.

🎫 Book the Parliament with big advance link



Jewish Quarter

This is one of the liveliest areas of the city, amidst a painful history and the lightness of clubs, cafes, ruined pubs, graffiti, and vintage stores.

The neighborhood was built by Jews outside the city walls (in Károly krt. where streetcars run today) and 3 schools of thought coexisted: neological, orthodox, and conservative with their synagogues. Today the most famous are the third largest synagogue in the world with a cemetery and weeping willow Holocaust memorial in Dohány utcai, the Rumbach Utcai synagogue, and the Orthodox, triangular synagogue in Kazinczy utcai. In Budapest, there is one of the largest Jewish communities in Europe that continues to grow in size because of the security it provides. But in the past, this was not the case and we recommend you join the free walking tour to fully understand the place and see a section of the ghetto wall still intact and hidden among the buildings.

🚶‍♂️ Free walking tour

🎫 Entrance in Synagogue around 10 euro with a free guided tour



The Jewish Quarter is also home to the famous Ruin pubs, unique and eccentric places to have a drink and listen to live music. These buildings were abandoned during and after World War II and occupied by young people who slowly decorated them with salvaged objects. The first, most famous and beautiful is the Szimpla Kert (open from 12 to 4 a.m.). Here you can drink, and eat, and they even accept people who bring food from outside. Next door is Karavan Budapest Street Food, Bors Gastro Bar (started by 3 chefs and specializing in baguettes and soups with menus that change all the time), WAFU, and ramen while a few minutes away is Langos Papi' and the little places on the beautiful Kazinczy Utcai. 🍴 Karavan, Bors, Langos Papi'

🥂 Szimpla Kert




Symbols of the Nazi and Soviet occupation

Scattered throughout Budapest are memorials to brave people who fought against the Nazi and Soviet occupations. During the free walking tour our guide told us that he was the grandson of one of the 200 Jewish children saved by a Christian priest; a little further on is the memorial to Raoul Wallenberg who saved thousands of Jews and was executed by Stalin. Here the Nazi occupation and racial laws were resisted until 1944, but then the inevitable happened and the support of many locals was instrumental. To this day the government still tries to ease its conscience, but the population reminds them of what was done: in front of the statue with the Nazi eagle, in fact, an exhibition protest has been set up with objects and suitcases to remember the tragedy. Along the Danube are statues of shoes, of those who were slaughtered and thrown into the river; shoes were rare commodities and even women's shoes could be reused by soldiers. Another place to visit is the Museum of Terror, which gives insight into the denied freedom of the Soviet years.



Graffiti and mini statues

Graffiti is forbidden and severely fined in Budapest, but there is one place where it is legal. In fact, the Jewish quarter contains in a few streets large murals on building facades commissioned by the government, such as the rubik's cube and the '53 football victory in Rumbach Sebestyén Utca or the large bull in Kazinczy Utca with nearby summer bars that gather numerous artists and their works.

More info


Finally, the city hides little secrets to be sought among its streets: these are the mini-statues of Kolodko, a Ukrainian sculptor famous for his guerrilla sculpture. His statues in fact refer to characters from fairy tales, art, history such as the father of Zionism in front of the Synagogue, and politics such as the one against Putin. Where to find them



Termal baths of Budapest

One cannot visit Budapest without devoting a few hours to the thermal baths.

The most famous are the Szechenyi from 1913 located near Heroes' Square with large outdoor pools hot up to 38° and many saunas and treatments (avoid the Sparty, it's a rip-off..word from one who has been ripped off). The Gellert Baths are the most elegant because they were built in Art Nouveau style in 1918 inside the ominous hotel in downtown Budapest. Other famous ones are the Lukacs and the Rudas.

Entrance from 25 euro - info on www.spasbudapest.com





Margaret Island, Varosliget Park and Heroes' Square

In spring or summer, you can enjoy a half-day in the city's parks, perhaps renting a bike or scooter, which can be found almost anywhere.

Margaret Island is in the middle of the Danube, and in August one of Europe's most famous music festivals, Sziget, is held there (a once-in-a-lifetime experience).

Varosliget Park, on the other hand, opens up behind Heroes' Square. Here are the famous Széchenyi thermal baths, the zoo, small cafés, and Vajdahunyad Castle, which at night is reflected in a fairy-tale lake (its shape is a partial copy of the Corvinus Castle linked to Count Dracula).

🚲 Bikes and scooters to rent are available in the whole city.



Budget:

Budapest is no longer as cheap as it was a few years ago, but it is similar to Italy. Food starts from 8-9 euros and up per plate while drinks from 4-5 euros.



Useful tips:

  • Airport-city center: direct and very convenient bus number E100 that is taken at the airport and goes directly to the center in about 45 minutes to Kalvi, Astoria and Deak Ferenc tér at a cost of about 4.5-5 euros. Tickets are bought at the desk inside the airport or via the Budapest Go App.

  • The metro to get around the city is very convenient.

  • For sleeping the Jewish Quarter is a good area because you can visit everything on foot, however, it is noisy; we also tried T62, a very good hotel. 🛌


Have a nice trip!




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