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Written by Barbara from Jet Settera
Budapest, the capital of Hungary in Central-Eastern Europe with a long and fascinating history. It is a great destination for tourists as the country offers a great cuisine, vibrant nightlife, long and interesting culture and many interesting sites to visit. The city is perfectly safe for solo travelers, who want to experience this fascinating, historic city. There are lots of historical sites to visit, such as museums, great restaurants and fun nightlife.
Here are 8 spectacular things to do in Budapest, Hungary
1. Visit the Castle District
Cross the Chain Bridge and either walk up to the top of the hill or take the funicular. This funicular is a bit pricey and touristy, but it is over 100 years old and one of the great things to do in Budapest. It will take you up to the top of the hill, where you can visit the Buda Castle, the Matthias Church and the Fisherman’s Bastion. These are landmark sites of Hungary and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Buda Castle serves as the National Gallery of Hungary. Admission is free, so if you love art, get in and explore the collection. The Matthias Church has been recently renovated and it looks beautiful. Walk around on the Fisherman’s Bastion, where you can take wonderful photos of the Pest side of the city. You can see the beautiful Parliament building on the river bank.
2. Visit the Heroes Square and the Vajdahunyad Castle
Take the oldest metro (M1) of Europe to the Heroes Square where you can see the statues of the most famous Hungarian kings and the 7 leaders who invaded Hungary a 1000 years ago. After visiting the square, check out the park behind the square. It is an enchanting castle with much history. It is relaxing to walk around the park and the castle and enjoying the beautiful nature. A couple of times a year, they organize food festivals here, where you can taste delicious Hungarian delicacies.
3. Visit the Citadel to See Budapest from Above
If you want to take some stunning sunrise photos of Budapest, walk up to the Citadel to get the best views of the city. On the Buda side of the Freedom Bridge, you can ascend to the top of the Gellert Hill to reach the Citadel statue. It takes about 15-20 minutes to reach the top. You should be reasonably fit to be able to climb up to the top. The view from up there is really stunning. You will see the entire city below you, and you will be able to take the most beautiful photos of the city.
4. Visit One of the Turkish Baths
Most tourists visit the Rudas, Gellert or Szechenyi baths to enjoy the thermal water of Budapest, a massage, sauna and other spa treatments. These spas are a bit pricier and they are a bit touristy, but they are beautiful places to relax and rejuvenate. Rudas and Gellert are covered, so these are great places in the winter, while Szechenyi is open, so this bath is better in the Summer. Budget travellers will like Veli Bej Baths, which was recently refurbished and has a traditional Turkish pool. Kiraly Bath is an odd looking Turkish bath. It is slightly outdated and cheap. It is very frequented by the locals. Lukacs Bath is another one of the Budapest locals’ favourites. It has large pools, and it is a great place to mingle with locals in Budapest.
5. Visit The Great Market Hall For a Bit of Shopping
The Central Market Hall was built in the end of 19th century. It is one of the most beautiful market halls of Europe. Here, visitors can have a delicious lunch at one of the food stalls or they can shop for souvenirs. It is not only the best place to shop for fresh produce, but also a remarkable historical building. Those tourists, who are staying at an AirBnb, here they can shop for fresh produce and meat if they want to cook in their apartments.
6. Stroll Down the Andrassy Ut
It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the most famous boulevard of Budapest. It is also known as the Champs-Élysées of Eastern-Europe. Here you will see all the luxury designer shops along the road in the most beautiful neo-classical buildings. You will see the National Opera. It is housed in a beautiful neo-classical building that was built in the 19th century. World-class opera and ballet performances are performed in this stunning building.
After crossing Oktogon, you can find the House of Terror to the left. It was the headquarter of the Communist Party in the fifties and sixties. In the basement you can see the torture chambers of the Communist era.
7. Visit the Margaret Island
Take the tram 4-6 to cross the Margaret Bridge, get off in the middle and take the stairs down to the island. There is a 5,5 km long running track around the island, so if you are a runner, go for a run. This is the most beautiful running track around the World. You can see a giant singing fountain near the entrance of the isle. At every hour the fountain plays music and a water show. There are a zoo and a Japanese garden on the island, as well as one of the most famous spa hotels in Hungary. It is an ideal place to relax on a Sunday afternoon with the family and another one of the spectacular things to do in Budapest and one of the recommendations you will see on every Budapest guide.
8. Take a Tour in the Dohany Street Synagogue and Explore the Jewish District
The Great Synagogue of Budapest is the largest synagogue in Europe and the second largest in the World. It can accommodate 3000 people. Hungary had a vast Jewish population until the beginning of the 20th century, and they built a large, beautifully decorated synagogue in the middle of the 19th century. The building was built in Moorish Revival style, mirroring Islamic architecture of medieval Spain.
The synagogue complex consists of the Great Synagogue, the Heroes’ Temple, the graveyard of people who were killed here during WWII, the Holocaust memorial and a Jewish Museum. Budapest is famous for its array of ruin bars which are best to be discovered by a pub crawl. If you’re looking for a unique experience make sure you discover them!
There are lots of great things to do in Budapest. Whether you are nature, architecture or food lover or looking for a city with a fun nightlife or great museums, you will enjoy this diverse, culturally rich capital. Make sure to spend more than only a long weekend in the Hungarian capital to discover the different faces of Budapest and go beyond the touristy things that you will see in most Budapest guides.
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Barbara is a London based luxury travel and lifestyle blogger of Jet Settera. She left her country, Hungary, when she was 17 to conquer the World as a model. Ever since she has lived in seven countries and visited 74. She blogs about exclusive destinations and the some of the most prestigious events around the World such as Venice, Cannes, San Sebastian Film Festivals, Oscar Parties in LA, Fashion Weeks in Milan or Paris, yacht parties in St-Tropez as well as Prince Albert’s wedding in Monaco.