Compared to many of Europe’s celebrated capital cities – Rome, Paris, Prague to name a few – Budapest still remains under-the-radar. But this is something that cannot continue forever. Not only is the city naturally beautiful, it is jam-packed with things to do and see. On top of all this, it is one the most affordable places to visit on the continent. What’s not to love? If you needed more convincing, here, we will look closer at a few of the reasons why you should seriously consider treating yourself and going to Budapest as your next holiday destination.
It is Architecturally Stunning
Take a stroll through the old streets of Budapest, and you will appreciate the range of architectural styles contained in the city. Art Nouveau is a style which is particularly dominant in the city, though Gothic is also prominent as you can see most clearly in the striking Matthias Church. Architecture enthusiasts will also be able to spot Renaissance, Classicism and Baroque structures.
A Ruinous Nightlife
With bars, pubs, restaurants and clubs galore, Budapest is certainly a world-class nightlife destination. Where else can you go to a huge party at an outdoor thermal bath? Many of the best drinking spots in the city are known as ‘ruin pubs’ – buildings which were originally destroyed during the Second World War but have now been converted into uniquely decorated bars full of modern art. If you are looking to enjoy the nightlife at its most raucous, Szimpla is the most famous of the ruin pubs while Instant is one of the most celebrated nightclubs in the world.
A Diverse Culinary Offering
There is no doubt that the culinary offering in Budapest goes beyond the usual Eastern European fayre of meat and potatoes. Of course, you can still find plenty of these dishes, but with an edge like the paprika-spiced Hungarian Goulash. Budapest is also becoming a very international city, so you will find plenty of dishes from all over the world. And most of them are very reasonably priced indeed!
Panoramic Views are Everywhere
Hike up into the hills of the Buda part of town and you will be rewarded with views across the Danube and down across Pest. The castle is a particularly attractive place to enjoy the beauty of the city in its full glory, but there are plenty of places which are a little more hidden and less tourist-overrun. There are lots of sights that you can easily pick out on the skyline including the Hungarian Parliament Building and the Chain Bridge. It is this mix of beauty which is starting to make Budapest a popular wedding destination. Check out here if you are planning an Indian Wedding in Budapest. You are bound to snap a picture or two that will provide you with fantastic memories for a lifetime.
Need we say more? The city is packed with beautiful thermal baths where you can – quite literally – sit back and soak in the atmosphere. The Széchenyi spa complex is the one that most people head to first (and it is also the location of the Sparty that we mentioned earlier). If you want to go to one that is a little more off the beaten path, check out Gellért Thermal Baths, which some people have said is like bathing inside a cathedral.
Long and Fascinating History
The first settlements were made in the area way back in Roman times, but it wasn’t until late in the 19th century that the city that you see today began to take shape – brought together by the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Much of the 20th century history is marred by tragedy including the First and Second World Wars, as well as a long period behind the Iron Curtain. You can learn about much of this at the fascinating House of Terror Museum. But simply stroll around the city and you will discover so much. Even better, take one of the walking tours and an experienced guide can fill in the details and make history come to life.
Nature On Your Doorstep
Many of the best cities in the world have done a great job in combining the man-made and the natural, and Budapest is no different. The rolling hills of Buda are only a short bus ride away from the city centre. But there are also plenty of large green areas in the heart of the city. Margaret Island and City Park are two such examples of excellent parks directly in the middle of Budapest, while Normafa is for those who are wanting to escape the confines of the city for a little while.
We have already talked about the affordability of Budapest as a city break, but if that wasn’t enough, there are also plenty of free sights to enjoy. The grand St Stephen’s Basilica is one which you can enter by just paying a donation of your choice. And you can also get some fantastic photographs of monuments like the Chain Bridge and the striking exterior of the Hungarian Parliament Building. And, of course, there are also the parks that we discussed in the previous section.
Time your visit well and you can enjoy one of the many festivals which take place during the course of the year. Choose the one that best suits your interests – whether you are looking for a food and drink festival, a film festival or a music festival like Sziget. While the summer festival is a major attraction during the warmer months of the year, there is also a magical Christmas market when the festive season rolls around.
As you can see, there is plenty to enjoy in Budapest and it is a world-class destination. Plan your visit soon as it is only likely to get busier and busier as time goes on! If you can, try to organise your trip away from the summer months which are baking hot and busy. Spring and autumn are both excellent times to visit.