What to see in Budapest: Tip for a weekend trip
Budapest is just one of the cities in Central Europe. Not as picturesque as Prague, not as classy as Vienna. I’d recommend you to pay this city a visit though. It’s neither the prettiest nor the cleanest but it has its own charisma and thousands of stories to tell. Here are some sights I’d recommend you to visit if you are planning to wander around the region.
Don’t skip Hungarian Parliament Building. One of the oldest European legislative buildings and the largest one in Hungary is situated right at the bank of the Danube. Gothic Revival style building with countless spires looks like someone borrowed it from a fairy tale. Luckily that someone decided to drop it just next to one of the most beautiful rivers in Europe. It looks great from the water. If you have time, take a city cruise. Seat back and enjoy the view!
Make sure you make it to the spa. Budapest is not a City of Love. It is not a City of Lights. It is not a city of Angels. It is a City of Healing Waters. What does that mean? Budapest offers us overwhelming number of spas, thermal baths and pools. The city lies in a land which abounds in natural springs rich in healthy minerals. Everyone who comes over Buda and Pest should benefit from this natural treasure. I’d recommend you visiting Szechenyi Termal Baths, one of the oldest spa complexes in Europe. The building itself is pretty interesting spot for all architecture lovers out there. While visiting it look for men playing chess half-way in the water, a symbol of the place. I found them when I was there in February. That most probably means they never leave the pool.
Don’t miss the shoes at bank of the Danube. Does that sound weird to you? Here is the story. The unique monument honors the Jews who were killed by Nazis during World War II. The victims were ordered to take off their shoes before being shot at the edge of the promenade so that their bodies fell down into water and were carried away by the flows. The concept was created by Can Togay and Gyula Pauer. Almost every bigger is city in Central Europe has its own monument to the victims of the Holocaust. This one bought me to tears. If you feel like licking more of the history of the dictatures in Hungary, go to visit Terror House. The museum contains exhibits related to the fascist and communist dictatorships of 20th-century Hungary and the region.
If you are visiting Budapest in summer or spring and you are a nature lover you definitely should head to the Margaret Island, a long island located in the middle of the beautiful Danube in central Budapest. It’s a favorite recreational area of the inhabitants and their dogs. The island is mostly covered by gardens and parks. There are also some fairy tale-ish ruins to be found there.
I assume that after all the sightseeing you got hungry. Let’s go for grocery shopping! Visiting the Great Market Hall is a must for both food and architecture fans. Don’t forget to try some of the spicy Hungarian sausage.
You have a free evening in Budapest? Go to Buda Castle Quartier, a palace complex of Hungarian kings. This sounds important. So many crucial decisions were made here! You still can smell it in the air. Buda Castle Quartier is so much more than just a castle! It’s a whole neighborhood full of hidden gems like medieval, baroque and 19th century houses and public buildings. Of course, it’s fine to do it in daylight but evening suits it better. The lights are breathtaking!
Have you ever been to Budapest? What are your favorite spots? Do you want to go?
Zofia Bałdyga aka Zof is a Polish Yerevan-based NGO worker interested in international migration issues, translator from Czech and Slovak, an occasional poet and photoblogger. A visual addict. Her blog, The Picktures presents photo essays from her travels. She feels at home everywhere but her favorite places in the world are Prague and Yerevan.
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