If the Christmas period has left you needing to recharge your batteries and seek some relaxation, then the Hungarian capital, Budapest, is well worth a visit. Culture Trip has teamed up with the British Airways American Express® Credit Card to help you explore. Here are some top tips for how you can enjoy all that Budapest has to offer while still taking it easy. What’s more, we’ll show you how your everyday spending can help you collect Avios to jet off sooner.
The bubbling springs located under Budapest make the city a wellness haven, offering nearly 50 spas, baths and public pools. The most famous, and deservedly so, is the vast neo-Baroque Széchenyi Baths. Built in 1913 and set in the City Park, it houses an impressive 18 pools and 10 saunas and steam chambers. If you’re a chess fan, find the corner of the main bath where the locals play each day, an ideal way to while away the afternoon. Otherwise, make sure not to miss the whirlpool.
From the imposing Hotel Gellért, the meandering paths up Gellert Hill lead to spectacular views of the city. En route, the Cave Church – two chapels inspired by Lourdes and carved out of a limestone cave – is a must-see stop and an opportunity to reflect in a tranquil setting. As with all good caves, it has an eventful history – it’s been inhabited by a saint, has served as a hospital and was sealed behind concrete for several decades. The chapels are well worth exploring, not least to see the replica of the Black Madonna of Czestochowa up close.
This expansive park in the middle of the Danube has something for everyone, including a recently renovated water park, Palatinus, which is one of Budapest’s most popular summer spots for families. It’s also home to the tranquil, therapeutic pools of the Danubius Health Spa Resort Margitsziget, and the rest of the island is a delight for walking, cycling, eating ice cream or, if you’re hardy enough, taking a dip in the waters of the Danube.
Budapest has a rich musical history. Its classical music scene is highly regarded – unsurprising, given that Hungary was the birthplace of 19th-century composer Franz Liszt. One of the loveliest places in which to enjoy his and other composers’ music is amid the Art Nouveau interiors of the Zeneakadémia, or Franz Liszt Academy of Music. If you’re in town during opera season, a performance at the diminutive but delightful Hungarian State Opera House is well worth catching.
For a taste of proper, old-school Hungarian fare, Csarnok Vendéglö, hidden down a Pest side street near the Danube, takes the biscuit. Tuck into goulash, local cheeses, pork and mushrooms, beef stew with noodles or onion soup served in a bread boule, all at ludicrously reasonable prices and served in a traditional space where gingham tablecloths and helpful service are the order of the day. Portions are generous, so come hungry, and leave space for the ace desserts.
This cool atmospheric bar and restaurant is located in Budapest’s historic Jewish Quarter, a short walk from the centre of nightlife in the Hungarian capital. There are classic Israeli dishes including shakshuka, a delicious one-pot recipe made with poached eggs, tomatoes, chilli, onions and spices, and late-night indulgences like shawarma and skewers. Taste a wide selection of beers, both local and imported, amid the hanging gardens of this quirky local favourite.
Thanks to the British Airways American Express® Credit Card, your next holiday could be closer than you think. You’ll earn Avios on every £1 spent on the Card redeemable against reward flights to hundreds of destinations, including Budapest (return for 15,000 Avios*).
What’s more, there’s no annual fee and new Cardmembers receive a welcome bonus of 5,000 Avios when you spend £1,000 or more on your Card within your first three months. Put the Avios earned on your everyday spending towards a flight of your choice and you simply pay the taxes, fees and charges. Where and when your next adventure begins is up to you.
Find out more about the British Airways American Express® Credit Card here.
Representative 22.9% APR variable.
Discover how many Avios you need to escape to your perfect destination from London airports.
*Subject to availability. Applicants must be 18 years old or over. Approval subject to status, and terms and conditions apply. Terms and exclusions apply to the collection and redemption of Avios, and to the welcome bonus. For more information click here.
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These recommendations were updated on January 22, 2019 to keep your travel plans fresh.