Budapest, pronounced buda-pesh, has won a place in my heart as one of my favorite European cities.
It is one of the rare places I visited twice in the last year. The first time I visited the Hungarian capital was exactly a year ago during my Semana Santa extravaganza of 6 countries in 12 days. From decadent food full of goat cheese and paprika to some of the most delicious vegan dishes I have ever tried Budapest never fails to make my foodie dreams come true. Yet, food can’t be the only reason I travel, can it? Read on to see my favorite sites, the best bathhouses and more, all from my Instagram account, @MissFilatelista.
1. Marvel at the beautiful Vajdahunyad Castle and the surrounding churches and statues.
2. Find the anonymous statue and discover the story behind his pencil. I touched the pencil and its charms have worked for me immensely.
3. Join everyone at Széchenyi for a dip in Budapest's largest thermal bath with 15 different pools, multiple saunas, and steam rooms. The medicinal waters are from a well that is 1,246 deep into the earth!
4. Feed your Hungary self with a decadent garlic and cheese Langos from Retro Bufe.
5. Walk the famed Chain Bridge that connects Buda to Pest centrally over the Danube river. Instead of taking a selfie that’ll only capture your face and some steel, take photos from either end of the bridge to show the entire sweeping beauty.
sixty pairs of period shoes line the bank of the danube river near the parliament building. the memorial is a symbol and reminder of the WWII victims who stood in this very spot, were told to strip naked, remove their shoes and were then shot by facist arrow cross militiamen. the victims bodies, including children, fell into the river and floated away unaccounted for.
6. Pay your respects at the Danube Bank Memorial. While you gaze at the bronze shoes and think about the monstrosity that took place here remember, what you are doing now about the migrant crisis, Muslim ban, hate crimes, etc. is exactly what you would have done if you’d been alive during the time of the holocaust. Don’t just say never forget and never again. Instead, take action and stand up for what you believe in.
7. If you like architecture discover the Great Market Hall to admire the neo-gothic exterior and interior. Otherwise, skip it as it is a total tourist trap.
8. For a few euros climb to the top of the Cupola of the Roman Catholic St. Stephen’s Basilica and take in the amazing views of the Danube river, Buda castle, the Chain Bridge and the House of Parliament. From this vantage point, you won’t notice it but the House of Parliament and the Basilica were built to be exactly the same height to show that neither is above the other.
9. Stroll the Szabadság híd aka the Liberty Bridge and try to capture a picture of the beautiful golden trams. Hop onboard to zip along the riverside for unbeatable views.
10. Devor delicious Mediterranean cuisine at Mazel Tov.
11. Have cheap wonderful rosé wine at the Budapest ruin pubs. I loved exploring them by day and night as they remind me of the grimy dive bars in my former neighborhood, New York City’s Lower East Side. Szimpla Kert is my favorite, and everyone else's, it’s even been voted the 3rd best bar in the world by Lonely Planet. It opened in 2002 and has gathered an impressive amount of graffiti. Street art lovers like yours truly, will thoroughly enjoy hanging out in this spot.
12. Discover the church cave in Gellért Hill.The grotto chapel was used as a hospital during WWII!
13. Actually relax at Rudas in the incredible Arabic style bath with boiling and freezing dipping waters. Don’t forget to dump a bucket of ice water over your head after the 40° tub. Follow this up with a sensual meditation in the many aromatherapy rooms. There are many other bathhouse options in Budapest as there are 123 springs that produce more than 70 million liters of water every day!
14. You obviously can’t go to Budapest without hanging out in Fisherman’s Bastion.
15. Admire the beautifully tiled roof of Matthias Church. I want to wear this pattern on a dress.
16. Indulge in your lazy side and zoom down the Buda Hill in the funicular. I wish I had taken a boomerang video from the window. Take one for me and send it to me!
17. Walk by the largest synagogue in Europe and explore the surrounding Jewish quarter.
18. Look down as you stroll to see if you come across any of these WWII memorials that are in honor of holocaust victims and survivors.
19. Feel fancy and book an evening river cruise. The cheapest option is a wine tasting that will get you properly tipsy. Everyone knows I can’t resist wine and beautiful views. This is the best way to see the beautiful House of Parliament, UNESCO world heritage site, aglow.
20. Have one of the most famous slices of chocolate cake at Café Gerbeaud. Established in 1858 and providing sweets ever since. To save some cash order your cake to go and enjoy it by the fountain right outside. Dining in will cost twice the price.
21. Enjoy the beautiful manholes around Budapest and discover that the city is also sometimes called Budapesti.
22. Get lost and take in the many architectural beauties that can be found in both Buda and Pest. I’m always on the lookout for pink houses.