Budapest, the dreamy capital of Hungary, is cited as one of the most idyllic cities of Europe, mainly for it’s stunning architecture and art. After my three day visit, I sure can understand why. I must admit, I didn’t expect it do be as pretty, my cousin didn’t either. The place looks like a movie scene. Here’s a list of my top 5 spots in no particular order, but I’m sure there are many, many more.
By night, during the day, from nearby or far away… I can literally stare at the Parliament of Budapest for hours.
The neo-Gothic building is situated ted outside the centre of the town but you can see it from almost everywhere.
If you’re totally hooked by its beauty (like I am), you can actually get a guided tour to view the inside. I do advise you to book it beforehand to skip the massive waiting line.
The tour takes about 45 minutes and you are allowed to take pictures inside. Yeeey! I get a lot of information (including anecdotal commentary) and see some impressive conference rooms and
staircases. Besides that, the tour it’s quite a rushed touristic routine, I find.
You get in to get out even quicker. That unfortunately happens with almost every guided tour I’ve ever been on. There’s rarely enough time to enjoy the moment. Money talks.
Szimpla Kert is a very interesting place, to say at least. It’s basically a ruin pub complex with the cheapest beer and most outrageous decor. It has an open-air courtyard with heaps of plants and sitting areas.
All around (and above -the place is built in levels) I see many little pubs with different music in each room. Art is all around, guys.
You can either dance your heart out, watch a movie, sit in a carnival truck or eat some local snacks. Whatever you do, expect to be blown away! This place is a real life seventies circus.
More info: Szimpla Kert
The Fishermans Bastion
The romantics amongst us will definitely rely: the Fishermans Bastion is an embodied version of a classic Disney Princess Castle with a Missoni design embroidered rooftop. So pretty, so tasteful and squeaky-clean too.
Someone must have ripped this out of an ancient storybook, I’m sure. That’s mainly the reason why people get married here all the time. I even see it happen right in front of me. Un-be-lievable! My little heart feels touched: ‘One day my prince will come’, it sights.
The Metropolitan Library
I don’t consider myself a Bibliophile but I do love myself some old books, including their musty smell. So I’m very happy to notice there are many second hand book stores in Budapest.
Too bad they’re almost all in Hungarian but they do make excellent decoration for an office. But there is more…
‘My fav hidden gem: The Metropolitan Library’
The hidden gem of the city must be the Ervin Sabo Library.
The place holds 2,4 million books, it has fireplaces in almost each reading room and it’s full of art. GASP!
I’ve never seen anything like it (except for in Beauty & The Beast). It’s like reading a book in a King’s Palace. I kid you not, if you’re into books, this is where you wanna be.
The unfortunate thing is, you will need to register (with photo ID) to gain access and that can take a little while, but it’s totally worth it.
The Royal Opera House
Franz Liszt is Hungary’s most known contribution to the worldwide field of European classical music.
Did you know the very first Drama and Comedic plays were took place in The Royal Opera House? I take a guided tour to get a good insight about the building.
As we reach the first floor’s box corridor, we see the Sissi Box, the box only meant for Duchess Elisabeth of Bavaria (well known Royal figure in Europe).
The auditorium itself is incredible. Red velvet everywhere.
‘Go see an Opera, you won’t regret’
That night, me and my cousin go to the opera. Because there are no shows available in the Royal Opera House, or the so called Magyar Allami Operahaz, we choose to see ‘Carmen’ elsewhere: The Danube Palace.
My last minute tickets to the opera cost only 10 Euro, so… even if you’re not the biggest opera fanatic out there (like my cousin), there’s no love lost in sniffing up the ancient atmosphere by checking it out anyways.
What to Eat
The food in Budapest remains a pretty ‘standard’ European cuisine. And I haven’t tried anything crazy, except for flower shaped ice creams. There are a lot cute coffee bars and breakfast places in Budapest.
For what I have tried it was all very tasty and fresh. Fun fact: in most little pubs, restaurants, you can leave personal messages on the walls. How adorable, right?
Cutest Hotel Ever
Me and my cousin choose a private room at the artistic Lavender Circus Hostel. The place is close to the centre, clean and more than well decorated.
To give you an example: there’s a fish tank at the toilet and tables and chairs are glued to the walls. Wait, whaaat!? Yes, we are pleasantly surprised. What a fun place to hang out!
More info: Lavender Circus Hotel
Around & About
The easiest way to get around and about in Budapest is by foot or by bus. When you book a place at the city centre, it will save you a lot of traffic and time. I get a day card for the tourbus that takes us too all the hot spots in Budapest. That way we won’t get lost and we can just enjoy the view.
Budapest is an awesome, versatile city, I think everyone can enjoy. And although I get to visit it in three full days I could have easily stayed longer.
Good thing to keep in mind should you have some spare travel days: Vienna, the capital of Austria, is only two hours driving away from Budapest.
Bonus point, the bus and train station are both situated at the Budapest Football Stadium. Yet an other splendid view to take in on your way out.