River Danube parts the city that was once part of a kingdom ruling central Europe and was long ago divided into Buda and Pest. With historical buildings dominating the city scape, a centre of culture and religious diversity, Budapest has worked its way back into the spotlight, being praised and loved by people all over Europe.
Budapest’s Stunning Architecture
With Buda Castle and the Citadella throning on the hills of the city quarter of Buda, overlooking the green forests on the one side and the stunning skyline of Pest on the other, Budapest is an actual heaven for those who admire a great view. Conquering the steps up to the top of the hill, ending up right below Liberty Statue, is definitely worth the sweat and exhaustion of the small hike, just like Buda Castle further north up the riverside. An extraordinary palace that was once home to royals and is now home to exhibitions with artefacts of Hungary’s art history – and the paintings of Frida Kahlo that have been brought to Budapest directly from Mexico for a temporary exhibition. Getting lost in the country’s art is always something I thoroughly enjoy because it is another visual representation of how society and history shaped the country in long lost times.
Not far away from Buda Castle one of the architecturally most beautiful sights spreads across another hill, Fisherman’s Bastion and Matthias Church. The bright white stone almost sparkles in the sunshine and thrones over a part of Budapest reminding the visitors of an old Italian town with streets made of cobblestones and flowers decorating the window sills.
The city of Hungary can be explored almost entirely by foot as the city centre is rather compact and the most important sites are situated close to each other. Just by walking through the city centre one will stumble across cute cafés, shops offering local specialities and small boutiques selling unique clothes that will make every fashion lover cry of joy.
Food, Drinks and the Joys of Cheap Prices
Even though the Hungarian currency Forinth does need some time to get used to but compared to average European prices, food and drinks in Budapest are almost ridiculously cheap. The general price for beer is around the two euro mark, which is an absolute bargain. Due to us living in an AirBnB we were able to fill up our fridge with snacks from one of the many grocery shops in our area, which gave us the opportunity to save some money in the process.
Nevertheless it is definitely recommendable to pay one of the many cute, small, independent cafés all around the city a visit as they put a lot of effort and thought into their interior and menu. Our favourite spot was called Zoska and was located in a small side street close to the National Museum. They offered sandwiches, porridge, dips and veggies but also scrambled egg, pancakes and croissants so everyone’s taste buds could get satisfied. Side note: Their coffee was absolutely delish.
Bars and Pub Life in Budapest
The bar and pub culture in Budapest is a fairytale for the young generation and can especially be found at a rather unique place called Szimpla Kert which is a gigantic bar hidden in an old brick house measuring at least 500 square metre. Divided into different areas with various different bar areas and rooms with differing theming, the bar is definitely worth a visit just to take a look at the unique furnishing, decoration and lighting. One will find bins being used as lamps, puppets, tricycles and chairs being screwed to the walls and ceilings, fairy lights covering the whole area and brick walls being used as a screen.
We also had lunch at the big market hall right next to river Danube where farmers sell their food and a part of the first floor is dedicated to food stands that offer local specialities that are mindblowingly tasty.
Szimpla Kert Zoska Market Hall
Culture & History
We also had a look at the inside of the Hungarian parliament and took a walk through the building, where we were introduced to the vast history and culture of the country that goes a lot further back than just to the point of becoming a part of the Habsburg monarchy.
Budapest still is an underestimated, hidden gem in the list of Europe’s capital city but is slowly growing to become a hotspot for culture and lifestyle once again. People from all over the world are coming to Budapest to not only embrace the Hungarian culture but also let go of all their sorrows in the blooming night life, enjoying their lives to the fullest. Budapest combines the young, the modern and the old and historical in a unique and mindblowingly beautiful way and all the prejudices one might have beforehand are entirely washed away by the beauty of the former Habsburg city.