Welcome to Budapest, Hungary!
Many people don’t know that this incredible world capital is actually made up of three unified cities (Buda, Óbuda on the west bank of the Danube, and Pest on the east bank). Every aspect of this city has blended historically, artistically, and culturally. Tourists always know where to find the more popular attractions, but a worldwide local knows how to experience the city at its best. This is an insider’s guide to some of the best local gems Budapest has to offer.
If you are a fan of Medieval and Gothic styles of architecture, you will fall in love with Budapest! Take for example the Hungarian Parliament Building, designed and built in the Gothic Revival style. This is one of the largest buildings in the city and is home to hundreds of parliamentary offices.
Worldwide Local Tip: Visit the farmer's markets to enjoy the crisp Budapest weather. On Sundays, you will find the Ruin Pubs (also known as Szimpla Kert) at the farmers market. You will also find artisanal cheeses, homemade items (like jams), and fresh fruits and veggies. There is live music to enjoy, and the entire market is buzzing with people and life!
History, Ancient and Recent
Many travelers visiting Budapest are those who enjoy learning about WWII history. If this is you, we have the perfect thing to do in Budapest. Shoes on the Danube Promenade is a haunting and beautiful monument, built in 2005 as a memorial to the 20,000 Jews who lost their lives on the river banks of the Danube.
Are you ready to visit the Hungarian version of the Disney Castle? Fisherman’s Bastion looks like it could be a medieval monument, however, it was built in the early 20th century in a neo-Gothic style.From the castle, you can enjoy incredible panoramic views of the Danube, Margaret Island, and Pest. Built in honor of the Guild of Fishermen, it was responsible for defending that stretch of the city walls during the Middle Ages. There are seven towers around the structure. These towers represent the seven Magyar tribes that helped settle the Magyar people in the Carpathian Basin. If you want to find a location for the perfect romantic sunset, you’ve found it.
See the City from a New Point of View
Budapest is a striking city from every angle, but if you really want to appreciate the city’s layout and beauty, then you need to take a Segway to Buda Castle Hill Funicular. First opened in 1870, and is the second oldest funicular in the world. The tram uses a system of weights and counterweights to help raise the carriages up and down the hill. This is the fastest way to get to the top of Castle Hill, and it’s extremely popular because of its panoramic views out across the Danube. This track is open till 10 pm.
Beware of Vampires!
Another recommendation is to visit the Labyrinth of Buda Castle. The Labyrinth, beneath Budapest’s Castle Hill, is where Vlad Tepes was held captive and tortured for 14 years, starting in 1463. We remember him now as Vlad the Impaler, better known as “Count Dracula.” This is where you can walk through the Labyrinth tunnels. There’s no map or guidebook. You simply follow a few incoherent signs through foggy, damp chambers, dotted with mannequins dolled up as characters from the Phantom of the Opera.
Worldwide Local Tip: Take a soak in healing waters by visiting Széchenyi Baths, otherwise known as the thermal Budapest baths. This complex is the largest medicinal bath center in all of Europe. The waters are rich in sulphates, calcium, magnesium, bicarbonate, and fluoride, which are noted to help visitors with joint pains and other medical issues.
Take a Dive into the Extraordinary
While you’re here, why not step outside of the ordinary bucket list items? Did you know that there are several recreational dives that you can take around Budapest? There are even caves under the city where you can dive. This is the only capital in the world where you can do this. If diving in caves isn’t up your alley, how about diving for your beer? There is a stone mine and submerged beer factory where you can dive, whether you are a beginner or an advanced diver.
Where and What to Eat
After all the walking and diving, you are going to probably be hungry (pun intended). We recommend visiting the Central Market Hall. This is Budapest’s most famous marketplace in the city. Used by both locals and tourists, you can find coffee, local delicacies (goulash and langos), a snack (local fruits and vegetables), and some amazing little shops. That is where you can find souvenirs, antiques, specialty shops and more!
Other food options are extensive around Budapest, and you will want to find the best local places to eat, that represent the best local foods. Taste all the hummus you can stand at the Hummus Bar, sit for your morning coffee at Espresso Embassy, or feel the heartbeat of the city with lots of varieties of food at Gozsdu Udvar.
Enjoy your visit!
Budapest is a romantic, mysterious, and beautiful city. However long you are staying, we can guarantee it won’t be long enough. Roaming the city as a worldwide local will grant you unparalleled access to its amazing sights and fascinating sounds.