I’ve traveled to several countries, but it never felt like home, until I went to Budapest. It’s the only city so far I can see myself raising a family and growing old in. Usually, every time I get a chance, I try to visit a different city or country, but when it comes to Budapest, no rules apply. I’ve already been there 3 times and I’m planning another trip soon.
The Pearl of the Danube is a virtual microcosm of various styles (gothic, modern, baroque, neo-classical, neo-renaissance), as each period left its mark on it. In Budapest, there are as many as 860 (!) protected buildings and structures of historic interest, so I decided to just wander around the city’s magic and beauty, by following a different route every night, something I’d suggest you do too.
Given that I’m a big animal lover and my weak spot is dogs and especially my precious Kiara, I try to travel with her all the time because she gets depressed when left alone. If you are a pet owner you’ll understand that this is quite hard, as many hotels are not pet friendly. There are also countries that do not allow specific breeds, not to mention the difficulty to find a dog park in a foreign country you’ve never been to before. Well, NOT in Budapest. Most of the hotels, apartments, cafés and restaurants are pet friendly. Every park I went to, was a dog playground!
Apart from the city’s mentality towards animals (forgot to mention there are no stray dogs-not even cats), there are several other reasons as to why to visit Budapest. It is listed as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and the world’s largest thermal water cave system with close to 90 geothermal springs (also known as the City of Spas). It has the 2nd oldest metro line in the world, the Millennium Underground Railway that along with Heroes’ Square, Andràssy Avenue, the Buda Castle and the banks of the Danube are considered as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Other Points of Interest:
- The Gresham Palace (Four Seasons Hotel)
- The Parliament (the largest building in Hungary, one of the largest in the world)
- Saint Stephen’s Basilica (3rd largest church in Hungary)
- Hungarian State Opera House
- Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden
- Castle Vajdahunyad (the biggest museum of Agriculture in Europe) and the City Park next to it
- Fishermen’s Bastion & Matthias Church
- Museum of Fine Arts
- Ice-Skating rink and lake (the largest ice-skating rink in Europe)
- Liberty Statue
- The Chain Bridge
- Margaret Island
- The Dohány Street Synagogue (the largest in Europe, 2nd largest in the world)
I’d highly recommend a boat cruise on the Danube, a massage or a treatment or just a bath at Gellert Spa Bath and a visit to Budapest Flea Market (Ecseri Piac). Tip: You MUST haggle.
Nikoza’s Favorite Spots
- “Szimpla Kert” ruinpub
- “Földes Józsi Vendéglöje” for the ultimate Hungarian food experience. (Try their Goulash Soup)
- Burger&Love: The burger.
- Ecocafé: the healthiest/tastiest breakfast in town
- Café Gerbeaud: Peanut butter meets hazelnut praliné meets apricot meets a chocolate sponge. Best-cake-ever.
- TG Italiano: share a T-Bone steak with your other half-you won’t regret it
- Padthai Wokbar: Thai food
Budapest is one of the few capital cities in Europe that does not require a big budget; decent prices in cafés and restaurants, very reasonable accommodation, cheap entrance fees in all tourist attractions. Another reason why to pack your bags and visit ASAP.
Until next time…