Budapest is known as “the Paris of the east”, but the comparison is unfair – it is a city of romance and beauty in its own right. There is a warm buzz in the air no matter the hour, with the river Buda running through its heart.
The Budapest Essentials
- Get a multi-trip travel card to get to and from the airport and around the city
- Walk when you can – the metro will get you there further but only from one far flung corner of the city to another is not walkable, everything you want to see can be reached by foot
- Try the local food! As a vegetarian a lot of the main dishes were not suitable, but the breads are delicious and fresh, and for a sweet snack the strawberry Túró Rudi is my favourite. It’s a quark cheese covered in chocolate that tastes like a cold Quality Street Strawberry Cream Chocolate.
- Go on the Free Walking Tours – I went on both The Original tour (great for hearing about the history and culture of Budapest) and the Jewish Quarter Tour (perfect to spotting bars and restaurants to try out later in your trip)
- Download the Trip Advisor Budapest app, which works offline if you are without easy data
- Bring a camera!
I spent 5 lazy days exploring the city and loved everything I was able to experience, ticking off as many of the traditional ‘must-dos’ as possible. Here are my highlights:
Wander up and down the riverbanks of the Danube
Connect Buda and Pest by the Chain Bridge
Say a little prayer at a very big Cathedral
Act out a fairytale at Fisherman’s Bastion
Luxuriate in the Szechenyi Baths & Pools
Rest for a coffee at the Book Cafe
Ride the Waves at Gellert Spa
Eat your weight in carbs at the Central Market Hall
Create a musical ‘Firework’
Drink away your sadness about having to leave in Szimpla, the best Ruin Bar in the world