And egészségedre, “cheers” in Hungarian, is certainly what we were saying throughout our time in this marvelous city. With its deeply rooted identity and amalgamation of cultures, Budapest is a place full of fun times and beautiful decor. I’d just visited Prague and found the two cities to be pretty different…but if you’re debating whether to visit Prague or Budapest, why not choose both?
Budapest is divided into two parts, Buda with its striking hills, beautiful palaces, and mysterious grandeur, and Pest with its world-class nightlife, lovely Christmas markets, and delicious cheap eats. This city was one crazy ride, but if you’re up for the challenge, you are sure to find something magical in its midst.
We perused the Grand Market, with its fresh produce and loads of paprika (a Hungarian specialty). The second floor has dozens of stalls of handmade crafts and souvenirs, including handmade embroidery and traditional Hungarian designs.
After taking a chilly walking tour with one of the city’s locals, we visited some of the city’s most beautiful spectacles. Our tour guide told us about some of the city’s most superstitious places as well as the war-torn but majestic history of Hungary’s capital city. We visited Matthias Church and Fisherman’s Bastion, beautiful structures with a view of the Danube.
We also crossed the famous Chain Bridge, connecting Buda and Pest across the Danube River.
Of course, on our walking tour, we visited the father of all Hungarians, a majestic bird named Turul. According to legend, the bird and Emese, a Scythian princess, had a child that came to be the ruler of all of Hungary. Thus, this bird is said to be the father of the Hungarian people.
We also visited the Budapest Opera House, which is smaller than Vienna’s, but is said to be more beautifully decorated on the inside. The ceiling was lined with gold and beautiful murals.
And of course, it’s no trip to Budapest without sitting in the famous thermal baths. We visited Szechenyi, one of the more famous baths. Going in the winter was unique because the air is below freezing and the water is very warm. For hours we sat, met people, and talked until the sun went down. It was a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.
In the evenings, we visited some of the city’s world-famous ruin bars. But that’s a post for another time 🙂
Budapest is such a vibrant city with lots of character and majesty, and it’s one of those places that never sleeps. If you ever find yourself on its streets, you’ll be sure to find something that fascinates you.
Special thanks to Nomadic Matt, Vayama, Hostelworld, and Aboriginal Hostel for making this trip possible!