This is a guest post by Eva Green
Budapest will simply leave you spellbound, especially if it’s your first visit. Even if you are going to the favorite city on the European continent for the nth time, you will always come across a new adventure and new things to see and do in Budapest. The famous place offers one the choice and freedom of enjoying their vacation the way they want. There are island parks, funky shops to explore or dig at the delicious local cuisine as well as countless other ways to spend some memorable time. You can hang out with the local Hungarians in the afternoon sipping coffee to save your energy for the nightlife. What do your fancy? Well, if you are still confused, here are some of the top and awesome things to do while in Budapest.
01 | Cruise on the Danube River
Budapest simply looks stunning by night as you stand on the banks of the Danube and watch the city lights reflect on the dark waters. Do not miss the chance to take a sightseeing cruise at night. Enjoy the long ride made even more special with the buffet-style dinner. There are one hour sightseeing cruises available for just the evening and those are highly recommended. As you cruise along the river, you come across lush vineyards and ancient castles. Embark on fascinating journeys through sleepy river towns and cities. Look for convenience, comfort and exquisite cuisine on your cruise.
02 | Thermal bath
Budapest has made a reputation of sorts as the “City of Spas” and for some good reasons. Get the quintessential Budapest experience at those baths, which are known as “fürdok” and are warmed by natural springs. Ask for the steam rooms and massage services. Different baths around the city supply to different preferences and one can look forward to complete relaxation or look for cures for illness. Széchenyi Baths in City Park and Gellért Baths are amongst the most popular baths. Most of the thermal baths remain open at night during the weekend but there are fewer baths for male- and female-only days. The temperatures can range from warm to hot and carry steam rooms and saunas as well as and rooms for massage.
03 | Dohány Street Synagogue
This is the largest synagogue in Europe and the second largest in the world. Referred to as Dohány Street Synagogue, the synagogue opened in 1859 and carries historical significance. The place of worship features Moorish Revival architecture and has a connection to the Holocaust. A pro-Nazi party between 1944 and 1945 bombed it. Do not forget to visit the connecting Hungarian Jewish Museum to learn more about the Hungarian Judaism as well as pay your respects at the Holocaust Memorial Temple in the courtyard.
04 | Wine Tasting in Hungary
Tourists and travelers never get tired of exploring the 22 wine regions of Hungary. Just beneath Buda Castle is the Faust Wine Cellar, which is part of the extensive labyrinth system. The cellar supplies only the very best wines in the region. Moreover, the very romantic setting of the cellar will leave you relaxed, and this is the right way to understand and sour the rich Hungarian wine.
05 | Hungarian State Opera House
Miklós Ybl designed the Location of Hungarian State Opera House in 1884, and this historic building is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful buildings in Budapest. Decorated with statues of muses and adorned with opera greats such as Mozart, Liszt, Puccini and Verdi, the interiors will leave you dazzled with marble columns, chandeliers, and gilded vaulted ceilings. The near-perfect acoustics make for an astounding performance and make you keep coming back for more.
06 | Fisherman’s Bastion
Located on the Castle Hill, the Fisherman’s Bastion offers a panoramic views of the city. You are sure to get blown away by those views as you explore the fairytale-like structure and the seven ornate turrets. The seven turrents represent the tents of the seven Magyar tribe leaders and their settlement on the Carpathian Basin, which ultimately led to the development of modern-day Hungary.
07 | Parliament Building
Hungarian Parliament Building was completed in 1904, and it remains one of the most famous landmarks in Budapest. The building’s architecture reminds one of the Gothic Revival styles and carries a national significance. Travelers come mainly to have a look at the beautiful statues and paintings. This is a prominent symbol of independence and democracy of the nation.
08 | Shopping at the Central Market Hall
The Central Market Hall is the biggest indoor market in Budapest. It was constructed in the 19th century and its focus is chiefly on Hungarian products. You will find the popular Hungarian sausages and Hungarian paprika selling on the first floor along with fresh vegetables and fruits. If you are looking forward to enjoy some inexpensive and traditional Hungarian lunch, than you are sure to find it here at Central Market Hall. Look for traditional Hungarian embroidery and souvenirs on the second floor.
09 | Matthias Church
Matthias Church has been around for centuries and portrays the Romanesque-style architecture. The Church was built in the 13th century and is the first parish church. However, during the 1541 occupation by the Turkish rulers, it was changed into a mosque and remained an Islamic place of worship for the following 150 years, until Turkish expulsion. Tourists admire its imposing architecture and marvel at the historical symbolism as well as the impressive artwork.
10 | Caving under Budapest
The rushing and soothing thermal waters of the famous baths of Budapest have created a huge cave system that is believed to be more than100 kilometers long. Get ready to go under and dirty and don on your overalls, helmets, and headlamps to worm your way through tight crevices as you cross some of the longest cave of Hungary. Mátyás-hegyi cave tour can easily last for about three hours. Do enjoy the adventurous activity through natural parts of the cave.
The above-listed sites and locations are a must-see for any visitor’s first trip to Budapest. Have you visited Budapest already and have some of your own tips to share? Let us know in the comments.