Often described as the Paris of the East, Budapest exudes a certain promise that anything can happen, anything is possible. A city divided by the mighty Danube, the suburban Buda is home to the historic cattle district where you’ll find remains from the Roman occupation alongside medieval houses, caves and museums. Dynamic Pest is all about the flea markets, bookstores, café’s and the overall bohemian feel that makes the city such a hot spot for young, budding talent. If you’ve got your eyes set on Hungary travel and your heart beating for Budapest, these are the 5 things you absolutely have to do:
Undoubtedly the place to go for the best panoramic views of Budapest, the Fisherman’s Bastion is a neo-Gothic style fortification that looks like it’s come straight from a Disney set. Free to enter, the Bastion is on the Buda side of the river and has totally unparalleled views of the Danube, nearby Margaret Island and Pest to the east. And if you think the views incredible by day, try it by night…
‘Taking the waters’ is a long established Budapest tradition dating back to the Roman times, and you know what they say, do as the Romans do… A way of life for the people of Budapest (seriously, spot the old guys playing chess on floating boards), the baths are made up of 18 pools whose geothermic waters are said to have healing qualities. The pools range in temperature so whether visiting in the peak of summer or the depths of winter, you’ve got to take the plunge.
CITY PARK LAKE
Jump in a boat on the City Park Lake to get up close and personal with the Vajdahunyad Castle, another fairytale esque beauty located smack bang in City Park. An architectural fusion of Roman, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque influence, the castle is a replica of the legendary Transylvanian castle of the same name. The Lake itself is super cool; used for boating in the summer and ice skating in the winter, so be sure to add this to your hit list of things to do in the city.
Standing tall at 65 metres high, the Budapest Eye is Europe’s largest mobile ferris wheel. Officially known as the Sziget Eye to promote Budapest’s legendary music festival, the wheel is a summer only attraction that closes September – April. 42 cars with the ability to hold up to 332 people whisk you up in to the sky, laying out Budapest before you like a present ready to be unwrapped. By night, the wheel lights up the city with over 10,000 coloured lights so if you get lost, just tell people to meet you at the eye.
A cruise on the mighty Danube is the perfect way to wrap up your Budapest adventure. The cruises depart at multiple times throughout the day but for the ultimate experience, opt for the night cruise. Make your way down the river and see the city lit up like a Christmas tree in front of you, passing the Gresham Palace, the Chain Bridge, the mighty Parliament building and Fisherman’s Bastion as you go.