My Friend! What comes to your mind when you think about Budapest? Two diverse towns divided by the serene Danube River, the aroma from the cafes and street-side restaurants, romance in the air, wobbly trolleybuses, Turkish baths, complex lanes and bylanes, WWII memorials and beauty that has mainly been shaped by mankind down the years. Anything else? Shifting your eyes from everything mentioned, this Hungarian capital is a melting pot of dynamic architecture to an extent that can be the cause of your jaws being dropped. If you see any picture, it might not give you the goosebumps until and unless you stand yourself in front of one and gaze at it with awe.
Right from the Gothic-styled cathedrals and Roman amphitheatres to the time-honoured Turkish baths and art nouveau along with the modern establishments, Budapest is a concoction of wonders at every turn, no doubt. The past is a part that has shaped Budapest to what it is now. Since everything of this city cannot be penned down, there is a list of some mind-blowing treasures you cannot take your eyes off from.
The Acclaimed Parliament
It’s majestic, eye-boggling and gigantic! Being the largest and the tallest structure in Hungary, the Hungarian Parliament Building is a master-piece that showcases the Neo-Gothic architecture so very vividly in the gleaming daylight. With holidays to Budapest, visitors from all over flock to the city to admire the Hungarian Crown Jewels. Once you get inside, it’s a different world totally. Visitors can walk up the ornamented staircase and marvel at the sophisticated murals on the ceiling.
Enjoy Snails Pace at the Chain Bridge
Right after you have left the vicinity of the Parliament Building, you are sure to be attracted by the classical Chain Bridge, which is not very far from the Parliament Building. You might not know that this is the first building ever to link the two cities of Buda and Pest as an icon for national integrity. Just marvel at the views from there and it will keep you engrossed till you explore each gem of Budapest one by one. Inhale the cool breeze of the Danube and get lost in time forever. They say take time to walk down the bridge as time stops when you are engaged in admiring the surrounding.
Up We Go to Castle Hill
Remember the lonely and beautiful princess caged in a tower in the animation Shrek? That’s how you feel as you hike up towards the Castle Hill. With an interesting past, this particular place has seen the world go by from that height. The view from the top is mesmerising as you can spot countless structures ranging from 17th century baroque edifices to Gothic arches and cobblestone streets. Apart from the Castle Hill, there are other attractions famed as World Heritage Site. Capture stunning views of Budapest and the Castle itself. If you happen to be atop during a beer & wine festival or a folk art festival that is held in the Buda Castle, you will get an insight into the cultural and festive world of Hungary.
Appreciate St. Stephen’s Basilica
There’s nothing like a free entrance to the largest church in Budapest. With a 100 metre high dome, its interiors are ornamented by a famous artist. The Neo-Renaissance styled basilica is a treat to the eyes and to the soul as well. Your cheap holiday to Budapest will not be complete until and unless you ascend the 364 steps to reach the dome’s observation deck.
Refresh with Turkish Baths
You might think what’s a big deal in taking a bath? Well, this is no ordinary bath. Several baths that you see in Budapest were built within the Turkish occupation and Budapest is one such city where these bathhouses date back to the 16th century. It is believed that these bath houses contain healing powers and they spring up from the natural thermal springs.
At some of the baths, you will be thrilled to get into pools with mosaic floors. These baths are not only enjoyed as a rejuvenating element but they are also highly photographed. You will not feel like leaving pool enclosed with golden pillars with a bluish tint.
Idolize Baroque-style at its best
Have you heard about Szechenyi Baths? To marvel at these, you need to head towards the distinguished bathhouses in Budapest. Enjoy glimpses of the Baroque-styled engineering and learn about its construction. For another interesting experience, be a part of some of these bath parties that takes place every night.
Get Jaw-Dropped at the Great Synagogue
It’s the largest synagogue in Europe and also one of the gigantic religious places in the world. The synagogue bears the features of a Moorish Revolution, but it also displays a unification of Roman, Gothic and Byzantine ingredients. Whereas the exteriors are stunningly crafted, the interiors too are richly draped with golden designs covering the walls and the roof. It’s truly an inspiration for several photographers.
Strolling in the City Park
If you really wish to encounter a castle, the Vajdahunyad Castle displays a mixture of Renaissance, Baroque and Romanesque art. You can identify this castle with the Transylvanian fort that bears the marks of Hungarian architecture. At the castle grounds, you can enjoy live music and outdoor markets daily.
Night-crawlers are found at Ruined Pubs
Something that is pulling crowds, mainly younger crowds in Budapest, are the Ruin Pubs that are turning into drinking hot spots. These pubs are usually hosted in abandoned buildings and factories. Initially, this idea did not work out. But as time flew, these places became the talk of the town and today, these pubs are packed to the full. While enjoying the city, you will find live music, charming decoration and an atmosphere that is unforgettable.
My one such experience was in the Thermal Bath Parties. One summer September, I was at Sparty and it was like a dream come true. With just one look, you’ll fall in love with ambience, the music and the crowd. You won’t like leaving the place and dream of spending the night here itself. Try imagining laser shows, lively bars and world-class DJs playing the most heart-pounding music ever heard. The tickets to one of the Szechenyi Bath Party will cost you 25 Euros and it’s worth it.
One you’re in, you will need to put your cash on the electronic card you’ll be wearing over your neck. Therefore, throughout the time you are enjoying partying, you need not worry about losing your cash. There is a changing room where you can also change into the clothes you wish to.
Frank Moses works for work for holidaydesire.co.uk. A travel writer by profession and lover of people, culture, food, traditions, nature and unexplored places. Along with his job Frank manages to escape into the real world and discover places and acquire about different cultures. He’s passionate about exposing the blue planet. Hope you enjoy his write-ups, views and expositions.