Budapest

Buda Castle.
Buda Castle.

Budapest is truly enchanting. Pockets of culture crop up unexpectedly, there is an abundance of grand architecture and there are lush green spaces offering a breath of fresh air from the city wandering. At numerous points throughout the city, you are able to take a panoramic view of the magnificence of Budapest’s bridges on the Danube, its beautiful city space and its striking Castle. It wouldn’t be a trip to Budapest without a visit to one of its thermal baths, and the city is world renowned for the unique spa experience they offer. Budapest is historically rich and offers an interesting and wonderful trip away.

Castle Hill and Buda Castle

A striking feature of grandeur on the Buda side of the Danube River is the Buda Castle adorning Castle Hill. It’s recognised today as a World Heritage site and wandering its enchanting cobbled streets can easily fill a day. There’s the Royal Palace, the Matthias Church, a handful of museums and restaurants and cafes. An intricate cellar system can be explored in the Buda Castle Labyrinth and the Hospital in the Rock Museum. There’s also a glorious view over the Danube, the Chain Bridge and the monuments on the pest side of the river.

Take in the views through these gorgeous Bvlgari sunglasses.

Double Bridge Sunglasses in Black San Pietrino by Bvlgari.
Double Bridge Sunglasses in Black San Pietrino by Bvlgari.

Baths

Budapest is renowned for its thermal springs and offers a number of different baths to try. The baths all have a series of indoor pools varying in temperature, steam rooms, massage rooms, saunas. Considered one of the best, are the Art Nouveau Gellért Baths, situated in a fantastic building of splendour and featuring indoor pools as well as an outdoor wave pool. The most popular of baths is the Széchenyi, which are lavish and offer a large number of pools. Spartys, or spa parties, the focus of many party animals’ trips are also held in the Széchenyi Baths on a Saturday night and make for an unforgettable night for many visitors.

Ruin Bars

Budapest’s nightlife is thriving and its quirkiness, artys, and hip soul that everybody loves is due to its ruin bars. The rage of the bars began by converting abandoned buildings, many having been destroyed during WWII, into clubs and from there grew the world-renowned underground bar scene of Budapest. They’re laid back, bustling, and varied in what the offer, from electronic music, to wine bars to sipping cocktails or enjoying a barbeque. Szimpla attracts thousands of tourists and offers a range of funky bars, a market on certain days, and a bakery.

The Buda Hills

The Buda hills are popular for hikers, runners, and mountain bikers and offer a serene breath of fresh air. János Hill, reaching a height of 526 meters, is the highest point in Budapest and provides a panorama of the city with views stretching for miles and miles. The Chairlift, ‘Libego’, offers a unique way of reaching the views, and flies you over the scenery for almost 1km.

Margaret Island

Another idyllic break from the city scene is Margaret Island, a large green area of flowery gardens in the middle of the Danube. There’s medieval ruins, a rose garden, fountains, swimming pools, a water park and an open air theatre. The thermal waters on Margaret Island are famous for their healing effects and offer a great way to relax. For something a bit different, hire an electric car at the entrance to the park and zoom, or rather dawdle (they aren’t the fastest of cars), around the island on wheels.

Soak up the sun in these Versace sunglasses.

Rock Ring Square Sunglasses in Havana by Versace.
Rock Ring Square Sunglasses in Havana by Versace.

St. Stephen’s Basilica

Budapest’s Basilica is striking and impressive. Located in the centre of Budapest, and at the top of many visitors’ lists, the Basilica is gigantic, the largest church in Budapest and houses sacred treasures. On a fair day, from the dome of the church, you can view a gorgeous panorama of the surroundings.

Andrássy Avenue

Andrássy Avenue is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the most elegant street in Budapest. It’s a long avenue lined with flowering trees and offers an enchanting wander through the city. It’s lined with buildings of spectacular architecture, funky cafes and restaurants and many luxury shops. The Budapest Opera house is situated on Andrássy Avenue, and is highly esteemed as one of the best opera houses in the world for its acoustics. The Opera House offers a number of short performances daily for a quick way of experiencing its splendour. Another popular attraction on Andrássy Avenue is the House of Terror, the former headquarters of the communist secret police, featuring an exhibition of Hungary’s relationship with Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.

(Cover photo courtesy of placestoseeinyourlifetime.com)