This past weekend I went to Budapest; it was a three day trip that had been in the works for a while. My friend and I have wanted to visit Budapest for a long while and so we were excited to finally go. I had a great time, and want to tell you all about it. In this post I am sharing the highlights of my trip, and things I recommend anyone to do whilst in Budapest. So if you ever plan on visiting the Hungarian capital, or have already been and want to reminisce, keep reading!
*you’ll notice that a lot of the pictures are very grey; the weather on our trip wasn’t the best and it was very foggy most of the time. The city was still beautiful though!
Matthias Church and Fisherman’s Bastion: Located on Castle Hill, these two buildings are beautiful and definitely a must-see. I personally did not go in to the church, but even from the outside it was already beautiful. The Fisherman’s Bastion is a nice piece of gothic architecture, and on a clear day you would have some great views from here (I assume anyway, as the day I visited it was so foggy you couldn’t see a thing!). Castle Hill is a really nice area to explore and it also houses Buda Castle, which I didn’t find very impressive but it’s definitely worth seeing if you’re in the area anyway.
House of Terror: I thoroughly recommend visiting this museum. It gives a great insight into Hungary’s turbulent history; I learned a lot on my visit there. It’s not a happy activity but definitely one that I think anyone visiting Budapest should make time for. Knowing about the history of the place you’re visiting is so important, and this place is a great one to start. Plus, the museum is really well put together.
Gellért Baths: we wanted to go to one of Budapest’s many baths and decided on Gellért. They’re not the biggest ones in the city (the szechenyi baths are) but they are beautiful. We spent 4 hours enjoying all aspects of the baths. There’s an outside hot pool, which is an amazing experience when it’s 3 degrees outside. I was also a big fan of the 40 degree pool, as well as the steam rooms. If you’re looking to treat yourself whilst in Budapest (and splurge a little) I highly recommend the baths.
Gellért Hill: this park offers a great view of Budapest. The climb to the top is not too bad and definitely worth it.
St. Stephen’s Basilica: this centrally located basilica is beautiful and also offers some great views. It’s worth paying the small price for going all the way to the top of the building, as the panorama views are impressive. The inside of the basilica is equally beautiful.
Central market hall: this indoor market is housed in a beautiful building. There’s a mix of vendors: food stalls on the ground floor which are mainly geared towards locals, and countless stalls on the top floor selling souvenirs. It’s a great place to explore, and to buy some affordable keepsakes.
Parliament building: this is arguably the most impressive building in Budapest. Situated along the Danube, it’s definitely worth seeing.
Shoes on the Danube Bank: If you’re by the parliament building you cannot miss the ‘Shoes on the Danube Bank’ memorial. Take a moment to commemorate the lives lost here.
Christmas markets: if you happen to visit Budapest around Christmas time, check out the many Christmas markets in the city. They’re cosy and fun to explore, plus you can find some great mulled wine.
Fun things to do:
- Margaret Island: this is an island in the Danube river. It’s a nice place to walk around and explore. We hired some electric scooters whilst we were there and it was so much fun to ride around. If you’re looking for a fun activity, I highly recommend it!
- Buda caste labyrinth: if you’re on Castle Hill and want to do something slightly different, check out the labyrinth underneath Budapest’s castle district. It’s a maze of caves and cellars 16 meters under ground and hosts several labyrinths, one of which is pitch black and definitely freaked me out. Dracula was held prisoner here as well, so look out…
- Pinball museum: on our last day we had some time to spare and so we headed to the pinball museum. I don’t know if you could call it a museum, as it’s basically just an arcade with a lot of pinball machines, but it is a cool spot. There are countless pinball machines ranging in manufacturing year and themes, and we had a lot of fun trying them out.
I had a great time in Budapest and would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a weekend break. I will also be sharing a separate post all about the vegan food Budapest has on offer because, spoiler alert, I was very pleasantly surprised!