Before our recent river cruise – my husband and I spent a couple days in Budapest. I now understand all the raving about this city! Budapest is actually divided by the Danube into 2 different areas – Buda and Pest (pronounced “Pesh”). Budapest has so many reasons to visit – its picturesque location on the Danube, it’s an economical destination for American travelers, and it’s a safe place for tourists.
Even though we extended our trip in Budapest before our river cruise departure; it still wasn’t time to experience everything this fantastic city has to offer (next time thermal baths… it was just too hot this trip ;)! These are 5 things you must do when you’re in Budapest.
1. Visit the Great Market Hall
This was one of the best spots in Budapest to people watch and get a taste of local life! The produce and meat counters were extra busy with the locals. If you want to purchase souvenirs or paprika (a very popular spice in Hungary!) this is the place to do so.
2. Hike up to Fisherman’s Bastion
The lookout towers of Fisherman’s Bastion offer the best panoramic views of Budapest. Located on the Buda side in the castle district; you’ll get some good exercise and steps in walking up here from the river. After exploring the area – stop at the Panoramia Cafe & Bar for a drink and to soak in those views.
3. Taste Local Hungarian Food
This trip we made an effort to try some kind of local food and drink in each city we visited. Goulash was easy to find as all the local restaurants serve some sort of variation of this… it’s actually goulash soup in Budapest (more broth based than stew). It was tasty and washed down well paired with their local Dreher beer. For dessert – don’t miss the famous layered cake (Dobos Torte) at the Gerbeaud Cafe. Pro tip: sit on the terrace and watch the activity in Vörösmarty Square – one of Budapest’s main squares.
4. Stroll in the City
According to my husband’s Garmin – we smashed his walking goals in Budapest! IMHO – this is one of the best ways to experience a new city. The architecture is reminiscent of Paris, the locals are friendly and it’s easy to communicate as English is widely spoken. I did learn thank you in Hungarian on the first day and tried to use (“koszonom”). Only taking a taxi one time during our time in Budapest – we were able to visit Hero’s Square, Dohany Street Synagogue, Fisherman’s Bastion, the Shoes on the Danube Memorial and the Hungarian Parliament Building. In between we walked side streets, alleyways, neighborhoods, squares and stopped in many local cafes.
5. Experience Views from the Danube
Our river cruise departed as the sun set over the Danube. It was quite the amazing sight sailing out of Budapest with the city and Parliament Building aglow! If you aren’t taking a river cruise; there are many options for day and evening river cruise tours. I highly recommend, as the views from the river are not to be missed! On the banks of the Danube is also the spot to watch the sunset each evening. Do as the locals and take your drinks and snacks for this free daily event! 🙂
Budapest – you captured my heart! I can’t wait to plan trips for clients to meet you… and, I’ll be back. 🙂
If you missed the last newsletter – click here to read about where we stayed in Budapest.
Until the next adventure – bon voyage!