Budapest – Top 7 things to do
Visit the Budapest Parliament
You won’t miss it, even if you want it. It’s located in the Pest side in the bank of the Danube and is 268 meters long and 96 meters high in the central dome. The Hungarian parliament is one the biggest and oldest legislative buildings in the world. Imre Steindl used the English one as an inspiration. The building is beautiful and is inspiring to look at from every possible angle. Inside it is full of details, golden ornaments and beautiful rooms. The tour will guide you through the these rooms and sights which include the Holy Crown, the magnificent staircase and the session room. Our guide was very knowledgeable and seem to really enjoy her work, which only made the tour more interesting.
A late afternoon in the szechenyi thermal baths
A Visit to the Baths is Budapest is absolutely mandatory. Have you ever felt absolutely exhausted after hours of visiting monuments, shopping and walking around a big city like Budapest? Budapest has the best way to end the day: A late afternoon in one of the biggest thermal baths in Europe, with 18 pools (15 indoors and 3 outdoors) and several saunas and steam baths. The building itself is stunning and in a walking distance from the heroes square and Vajdahunyad Castle, so you can visit them in the same afternoon. We went there in winter so it was incredibly relaxing and fun to be in a hot pool with whirlpools in a roughly 0 degrees temperature.
Wander around Budapest
Like many historic European cities, the city itself is a monument worth visiting. The buildings and the streets are beautiful, full of life both locals and tourists, and with a bonus: the Hungarians are very good-looking and stylish. Andrássy Avenue, Váci Utca, banks of the Danube and the castle district are your best options if you want to walk around Budapest. But our best suggestion is to just let yourself go in Budapest’s life and not follow strict itineraries.
The Castle district is like a small old town inside Budapest, with limited traffic and parking. you almost forget that you are inside one of busiest cities in Europe. You should definitely walk around because everything is quite close to each other. We stayed in a very nice hotel inside castle district and were able to enjoy it both during day and night. The best way to get there from Pest is crossing Chain Bridge and then walk your way up (you can take the cable car, but it really isn’t worth it) to Fisherman’s Bastion and Mathias Church. Now that you are up there you can enjoy the fantastic view of Pest from Fisherman’s Bastion. A few meters from this is one of the best Cafes of Budapest: Cafe Ruszwurm, where you should definitely try the Cream Cake and the traditional tortas.
Relax with a cruise in the Danube
The cruise is a good way to relax in the end of the day after walking around the city. At night you have a spectacular view of Buda and Pest. Especially some of the landmarks like, the Hungarian Parliament, the Buda castle, the bridges… It has quite a romantic atmosphere with the lights and the stars. There are different options of cruise and different choices of itineraries, from one hour sightseeing, to dinner cruises, party cruises, day cruises and night cruises. We took a night cruise of one hour. We caught the boat in the Pest side and land in the Buda side near Betthyány square. It was quite cold so during the cruise we had a hot cappuccino that was fantastic. The only petty was not be able to visit or see anything of Margaret Island.
Buy the best paprika in the world in the Great Market Hall
Paprika, paprika and more paprika in all possible and imaginable formats and sizes: in powder, paste, paprika pepper dried and fresh… You simply have to buy some to take home and delight yourself. You have sweet paprika, mild and hot. The hot is really hot, at least to the Portuguese standards, so when cooking just use a tea-spoon, but i guarantee that it gives your recipes an special taste, particularly meat dishes. You can buy also a kit to do Goulash, a package that has all the ingredients and the recipe.
But the market doesn’t just have paprika, there is a big variety of traditional Hungarian salami, of pork, duck, lamb with spices (we liked the lamb one). You can ask the different sellers to taste before you buy. There is also great variety of cakes, bread, fresh fruit – a feast for your eyes. The market is an awesome place to buy souvenirs. In the upper floor you can try Hungarian fast/street food. It that looked delicious, but unfortunately we were already full so didn’t try anything.
TIP: Don’t have lunch before going to the market, you can find there a variety of tasty and cheep food; compare prices between different sellers to find the best.
Have a late night pancake at Palacsintazoja
Nagyi Palacsintazoja (yes, i know… but it’s its name) is fantastic pancake house in Betthyány square on the Buda side of Budapest. You have a huge choice of salty and sweet pancakes and they are very tasty and quite cheap… Although being very good, we won’t lie saying that it’s the best pancakes we ever ate, but for its price is surely one of the best value for money. When we went there it was full of young Hungarians and a few tourists, so there was a good environment. There is an English menu and the staff was very attentive. Overall it was a great surprise and when returning to Budapest we will surely go there again.
Tip:The place is open 24 h so it’s a great option for a late meal before/during/after a night out.