Over the years, Budapest has become an uncovered hidden gem to visit in Europe. Increasing in popularity daily, this city is filled with fun things to do and see and for now, is quite affordable. The nightlife scene is a main attraction as is its colorful history.
Being Hungary’s capital, Budapest is bisected by the Danube. Its 19th-century Chain Bridge connects the hilly Buda district with flat Pest. A funicular runs up Castle Hill to Buda’s Old Town, where the Budapest History Museum traces city life from Roman times onward. Trinity Square is home to 13th-century Matthias Church as well as the turrets of the Fisherman’s Bastion, which offer spectacular views of the city.
So, where to stay? I absolutely loved my time at the Kempinski Hotel in central Pest. Spacious and luxuriously outfitted rooms and suites in the Kempinski Hotel Corvinus, right at the city centre with great views of the Budapest eye. Guests can savor Budapest’s best international cuisines at the hotel’s top restaurants inclusive ES Bisztro, a brasserie featuring Hungarian and Austrian dishes with a modern twist, NOBU Budapest, the first in Central Europe as well as their grab n go cafe. Find relief from urban stress while pampering your senses at Kempinski the Spa, all steps away from the Danube and a huge variety of city sights.One of the most famous of sights is the Széchenyi Thermal Bath House, located in the City Park near Vajdahunyad Castle. One of the largest bath houses in Europe, guests can soak in thermal baths both inside the facility or in the picturesque outdoor pools. The bath house also offers medical and wellness treatments, serves up some treats as well as drinks. While this is one of the most iconic spots in Budapest, there are many thermal bath houses in the city also worth visiting.
For foodies of all kinds, a visit to the Central Market Hall is a must. A restored neo gothic hall originally for traders, visitors can find groceries, produce, food stalls and souvenirs. A great walk to check out local delicacies and even bring some snacks back to your room for sightseeing and munchies ; )
Now on the Buda side of town, you’ll find the iconic Fisherman’s Bastion, Matthias Church and Buda Castle. All located on the Buda Castle Hill, visitors can take beautiful photos of the historic architecture, take in gorgeous views of the Danube, shop and dine in quaint places up and down the hill and check out a panoramic view of the Parliament Building. Walk it, bike it, take a trolley tour or even see the city by tuk tuk!
One of my favorite attractions located within the Buda Castle Hill is the Labyrinth under Budapest Castle, aka the Dracula Prison Cave. It really does the trick of sending chills up your spine. I never get spooked and this was definitely an eerie but worthwhile experience. The Labyrinth at the bottom of Castle Hill has been used for many things since the Middle Ages: former refuge, hospital and a prison. In its curvy corridors and arched halls you can visit Gothic and Renaissance stone monuments and Turkish gravestones. From the founder of the state, Saint Stephen to King Matthias, medieval Hungary is brought to life through the statues of the most famous Hungarian kings. The Cave Exhibition features photographers and adventurous travelers’ accounts of the world’s finest caves while also giving you a first hand experience of what it must have been like to walk these dark and damp tunnels centuries ago. Not for the faint of heart! I did it alone!!
For those who like natural cavern tours without the scare factor, be sure to check out the various caving tours around the city. From adventure caving to light cave walks, Budapest is the capital of caves. It is the only capital in the world which has caves of significant size and length underneath its buildings and streets. More than two hundred caves are known under the Buda side of the town. However these caves also have a special place in the world because of their unusual thermal water based development. The hydrothermal caves of Budapest were created by the same thermal springs that supply the famous spas of the capital and the entire area is on the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
That’s just a little bit on all the great things you can do and see in this wonderful city. Next week I show you all the great places to eat and drink!! Stay tuned!