Take a walk through the streets of Budapest and the city’s beauty quickly becomes apparent. Buildings take on a number of architectural styles: the city is famous for its Art Nouveau architecture, beautifully shown in landmarks such as the Four Seasons Gresham Palace and the former Postal Savings Bank. There are also plenty of Gothic, Renaissance, Classicist and Baroque structures across the city, making it an architecture lover’s dream.
Whether it’s partying in a thermal bath, drinking in a ruin pub, or dancing the night away in one of the city’s many clubs, Budapest is (rightly) famous for its unique nightlife. The Jewish District is party central, coming alive on weekends with revelers from across the world.
Budapest’s foodie scene is increasingly interesting, with plenty of restaurants and cafés serving up delicious eats. Local dishes such as goulash and lángos are readily available, as are international options and modern takes on the national cuisine. Whether it’s a hearty Hungarian meal, or Michelin starred fine dining, the city has a varied and delicious culinary offering.
Budapest is stunning when enjoyed from one of the many viewpoints to be found across the city: its skyline features architectural landmarks including the Hungarian Parliament Building and the Chain Bridge. Plus, no buildings are allowed to stand at over 96m tall, meaning the city’s historic skyline allows for all the sights to be easily seen.
Budapest isn’t nicknamed the ‘City of Spas’ for nothing – it’s filled with beautiful thermal baths, all with healing properties and stunning architecture. From the popular Széchenyi spa complex to the lesser known Király baths, they’re the perfect places to relax and take some time out from the noise of city life.
While the first settlements in the area of Budapest were made during Roman times, it wasn’t until 1872 that the city as we know today was founded, thanks to the unification of three settlements (Óbuda, Buda and Pest ) by the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Since then, the city has witnessed and been affected by events such as WWI, WWII and life behind the Iron Curtain, under the Communist regime. From museums to architecture, the city is bursting with historic sites to discover.
With the rolling Buda hills a quick trip on public transport from the city centre (take the number 21 bus from Széll Kálmán tér to Normafa), and a number of large green parks within the heart of the city, it’s easy to escape to more natural surroundings without leaving Budapest. The centrally located Margaret Island and City Park offer an easily accessible taste of nature, while Normafa in the Buda Hills is great for hiking and barbecues.
Already an affordable city, some of the best things to see and do in Budapest are totally free! From St Stephen’s Basilica, which can be entered for a nominal donation, to the Chain Bridge and the impressive exterior of the Hungarian Parliament Building, some of the best things in life (and Budapest) really are free.