Hungary Travel Guides for Backpackers

How to escape the crowds in Budapest and visit like a local

Among the European cities a long weekend away from each other, Budapest stands firmly as one of the top choices for youngsters, couples, and families alike. While the capital of Hungary is full of history, pleasantly tree-lined boulevards and a hefty stretch of riverside walks, the tourism can feel overwhelmingly targeted at young people hitting the town to get drunk on the cheap. But here’s a few budget suggestions to escape the crowds and feel like a visiting local.   Grab a coffee – and maybe buy an antique chair! If you follow the common advice of staying in Pest, you’ll find yourself somewhere between the fashion and theatre districts. If so, start your escape at Szerpentin Szalon, tucked away just off tourist-frenzied Király Utca. Grab an iced tea with fresh fruit, and have a browse of their antiquities stock: everything, from the chair you sit on to the cup you drink from, is for sale! Ditch the boat, take a tram! Budapest is renowned for its Danube boat tours, from which you can admire the sights, while sipping on a vast selection of beers, wines, cocktails, or enjoy dinner and live entertainment. Sadly, these tend to be very expensive and utterly over subscribed. Instead buy a day transport pass (€5) and grab one or both tramlines that run on the opposite banks of the Danube: number 2 for the Pest side, number 19 for the Buda one. If you hop on and off number 2, you’ll be able to admire the famous Chain Bridge with its impressive mixture of metal and stone architecture, the touching memorial to the lives lost during the Nazi persecution, and the imposing gothic-revival style Parliament amongst others. Number 19 will take you past the Citadel, topped by a beautiful statue to commemorate the sacrifices of WWII. You can then check out Buda Castle, guarding over the city just above the Chain Bridge, and the stunning Matthias Church, a white beacon of breath-taking gothic architecture. Jump off again at the junction with Margit Bridge, and check out the massive park on the homonymous island, where you can rest your sweaty muscles if, like me, you go in July when temperatures reach 37+ degrees. Cool down or steam up in Rudas Baths End your day with a few hours at Rudas Baths, bigger, quieter and less crowded with tourists than Lukacs Baths. For a mere €12 you can get all day access, and enjoy a swimming pool, a rooftop pool with a view, a thermal area with four differently heated pools and a vast array of saunas, from cooling salt chambers to steaming Finnish rooms reaching 90 degrees. But ladies beware: you’re allowed access to the ancient Ottoman bath with the typical octagonal pool and dome only on Tuesdays! The rooftop provides ample space for sunbathing and a nice view of the city: look ahead to the imposing Erzsébet Bridge, or up to Gellert Hill above you, before finishing off your day with a glass of […]

Travel Guide: Budapest on a Budget

Have you been wanting to see Hungary? But worried about how to be the best tourist without breaking the bank? Look no further! Széchenyi Thermal Baths Széchenyi Thermal Bath is the largest and most popular bath in the Hungarian capital of Budapest, actually the largest in Europe. Located in a scenic park and built in the neo-baroque style fitting its 1913 opening, it has a certain old-world glamour to it. It has 3 outdoor and 15 indoor pools of varying temperature. The complex also includes saunas and steam rooms, and optional extra spa treatments. It’s open every single day, and is especially popular on national holidays. €20 per person including towels and a changing room where you can leave your clothes. Would recommend flip flops, and possibly accessible cash if the on-site coffee shop and bar appeals to you. Jewish Quarter This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a set of contradictions. It’s the smallest district in the city, but the most densely populated. It comprises the historical remains of the Jewish community, including the ghetto wall, Europe’s largest synagogue and a memorial garden. However, it’s also known as the party area, and home to: Szimpla Kert    The original and very atmospheric ruin bar. In 2002, young people keen to have somewhere of their own, bought an abandoned factory and turned it into a bar, sparking a trend. In order to save money and increase charm, it is furnished using scavenged material, thematic junk and decorated with the work of local artists. Szimpla is an eclectic mix of themes, with options including shisha, live music, alcohol and oxygen. The building itself is huge and definitely worth exploring. Understandably, this is a big hit with the tourists and liable to get very busy around 10pm. Full of winding streets, street art, and a truly eclectic mix of people. We stayed in an Airbnb in this neighbourhood and it was a great location for walking around, we never had any problems with noise but more sensitive people might. Boat Cruise Duna Bella Boat Cruise. €12 per person (student discount) buys you just over an hour of narrated cruising between the shores of Buda and Pest, along with a drink of your choice. There’s also an optional 45 minutes of free time on Margaret Island. The boat has an open air top level, and an enclosed lower level with panoramic windows allowing you to stay warm without sacrificing the view. The trip encompasses the major Budapest sights, including the Parliament, Royal Palace, iconic bridges and the Gellert baths. With more than 12 departures daily, including evening and candlelit dinner options, there’s something to fit everyone’s schedule. Free Walking Tour A free walking tour is one of my favourite city-break activities. There are so many companies in pretty much every city that offer cool experiences, insightful information, and leave you ready to continue exploring on your own with a much better sense of the city. We went with TRIPTOBUDAPEST and had a great time, […]

What To See In Budapest, Hungary

With so many wonderful destinations to visit I wanted to help you narrow down your list by recommending Budapest, Hungary as your next destination. Living in Budapest, Hungary completely transformed me as a human being and opened my eyes to more than I could ever imagine. It was much more than just tasting delicious foods, a fascinating history, and beautiful architecture. I learned so much by visiting all of the hot spots tourists love to visit, as well as the places loved by all of the locals. I fell in love with the food the instant my taste buds tasted the Hungarian cuisine. The architecture took my breath away and learning about the history of Hungary piqued my interest more than ever. This beautiful little country Hungary has been through quite a bit so I highly recommend that you read about its history before visiting. The yearly festivals, markets selling fresh foods and goods, the incredible food, and gorgeous architecture should place Budapest on the top of your list of destinations to visit around the world. Fountain of King Matthias One of the first places that you should visit should be Buda Castle. You will see many beautiful attractions including the Fountain of King Matthias. This Neo-Baroque bronze masterpiece will take your breath away. At the fountain, you see a hunting group led by King Matthias Corvinus standing on the top. Matthias Corvinus was the king of Hungary from 1458-1490. If you love photography as much as I do you will truly enjoy taking photographs of this fountain, as well as the other beautiful attractions at Buda Castle. If you visit Budapest make sure you stop by Buda Castle to see this masterpiece! Seeing the Fountain of King Matthias will make Budapest an unforgettable destination. Fountain of King Matthias at Buda Castle The Hungarian Parliament Budapest has one of the most beautiful parliaments in the world, which is another reason why Budapest should be your next destination! The Hungarian Parliament is the third-largest parliament building and is situated in Kossuth Square on the Pest side of the city. Being the third-largest parliament building in the world and on the banks of the Danube makes the Hungarian Parliament stand out more than other parliaments I have seen. Made of Neo-Gothic architecture, the Hungarian Parliament in Budapest, Hungary is enchanting and photographs beautifully. The Hungarian Parliament opened in 1902 and is one of the most beautiful historical sites in Hungary. I suggest you take a tour during the day if you have the time, you won’t want to miss it! I enjoyed taking photographs of the Hungarian Parliament in the evening when all of the lights are on, which makes the parliament appear even more enchanting than before. The Hungarian Parliament in Budapest, Hungary Hungarian State Opera House The Hungarian State Opera House is a site you will not want to miss if you visit Budapest, Hungary. This beautiful Neo-Renaissance opera house in Budapest, Hungary was founded in 1875. I highly recommend […]

Take a walk in the parks of Budapest

Although Budapest is a crowded big city in Hungary, fortunately, it also has many green parks.  I think everybody needs them, those spots where you can leave the city behind, to get some fresh air and enjoy nature. Besides these benefits, a lot of interesting programs are waiting for you at these places. Let me introduce to you some of them! Margaret Island Margaret Island is one of the islands of Budapest, between the Margaret and Árpád Bridge. It occupies a sizeable area of the city. It’s basically a big green park with beautiful plants, trees, and flowers of course. It offers you many interesting programs as well. This is one of the most perfect places for walking, playing or simply just resting. Activities At the entrance of the island, next to Margaret Bridge, you can book a few kinds of vehicles if you would prefer not walking or strolling. There are bicycles, monster rollers and „bringó hintó-s”. The last one is like a chariot for four people, which works like a bike. It could be a really fun experience, especially when you are with your friends or family! For the sporty persons, there is a running track around the island, it’s 5,3 km long. Besides that, you can find a swimming pool and the Palatinus Bath is here, where you can relax and make some sporty activity too. Zoo On the island, you can find a mini zoo as well. Mainly saved birds live here, buzzards, eagles, storks.  But you can see bunnies, poultries, and deers too, and children have the opportunity to ride ponies for free. Ruins and fountains In the Middle Ages, more monasteries were present around here. Their ruins can still be visited these days. Actually, Princess Saint Margaret lived in one of them, the island was named after her. There are two musical fountains here. One of them is near the Margaret Bridge. It is the bigger one, and in the evenings the music is accompanied by a light show. The other one is near the Árpád Bridge. It is smaller, but really truly sightly as well. Near the smaller well there is a mini Japanese garden. It is really beautiful and a perfect place for relaxation. Normafa and János Hill Normafa Normafa is located on Svábhegy, 20 minutes away from Széll Kálmán square. The name means Norma Tree. This tree, the was a beech, started to grow in a time of King Matthias Corvinus (1458-1490), according to legends. Probably it’s not that old but either way, it lived a really long life. Its original name was Viharbükk, Stormbeech. The name “Norma” came from Bellini’s famous opera with the same name. The aria Casta Diva was performed under the tree by a Hungarian National Theater’s singer. Unfortunately, the original beech was destroyed by a thunderbolt in 1927. In 1962 a new beech was planted and a plaque guards its memory too. This whole area is indeed very green, the sounds of the city are almost […]

The Danube bend – Eastern Bank

A perfect one-day getaway from the noise of the big city, Budapest, if you are full of urban sightseeing. Just hop on a train (leaving every hour) and visit the bend of the Danube, situated only between ½ hour-hour from Budapest. The Danube river, running from West to East, offers adventures all along Hungary and makes an almost 90-degree bend towards the South just above Budapest. Surrounded by hills and with the Szentendre island in between, the scenery is just breathtaking. You can find a wide range of outdoor activities, depending on your preferences. The forests and hills offer stunning hiking routes and lookouts. The cycling routes grant you the possibility to cruise along the riverside. And of course, the river offers the possibility of swimming, at almost every village and town you can rent a kayak or boat and discover the surroundings by floating on the river or paddle up towards the 2 small tiny uninhabited islands – my favorite program. Vác  Just 35 km from Budapest on the East shore of Danube just below the bend, this city has a historical center in baroque style. Its main square is protected area and the city had religious importance as well, visit the cathedral, the white church, and the monastery. On the bank, you can catch the ferry to the Szentendre island and if you brought along your bike (on train), you cycle up to the most northern point of the island to discover the magical panorama of the bend in front of you, you can bbq on the beach or even camp there in a tent. All-time favorite excursion with noble city/wild nature combo. Kismaros  It is my secret gem village about 40 minutes train ride from Budapest. Perfect place to rent a kayak from the lovely elderly couple, living close to the shore, to paddle up the river to find nice sandy beaches where you can swim in the river alone or further up you can paddle around the 2 small uninhabited islands, tiny jungles. Between Kismaros and Nagymaros, you can find a camp-like bar in the woods offering refreshments, music, and chill:  the Nomad bar. This exclusive camp-bar is open from spring till late autumn, only accessible by bike or boat, or on foot – no cars can reach it! Stop for a drink or two, chill a bit, listen to music on the riverside and mingle with fellow hikers/kayakers. Nagymaros  It is a small, charming town offering sight to Visegrad, and to its medieval citadel on the opposite shore. The town has its roots in the medieval ages, however, it has a bit of  Art nouveau architecture as well in the center. It is really busy in the summer, its port has a ferry service to the other side of the Danube (accepting cars). There are great possibilities for hiking up the hill in the forest, cross the main square of the town towards the hill and just follow any of the tourist signs. Walking along […]

Budapest Travel Guide – A Fun Alive City

Budapest, the capital city of Hungary, boasts of historical monuments, ancient thermal baths, gothic churches, and a very happening nightlife. I have created a personalized Budapest Travel Guide out of my own experience of touring the city. And I must say, 2 days are not sufficient to explore the city, but here's how you can plan your itinerary to get the best out of it. Day 1 Dohany Street Synagogue The largest synagogue in Europe, Dohany Street Synagogue has a capacity of almost 3000 people, and it served as a shelter for many Jews during the Nazi era. The Jews that died due to starvation and sickness during the war, their bodies are buried in the synagogue courtyard. St Stephens Basilica Named after the first king of Hungary, this neo-classical church is the largest church in Budapest. With its high domes and intricate architecture, St Stephens Basilica is a complete treat to the eyes. There is an open-air movie screening on some nights outside the church. Fisherman's Bastion Architecture straight out of a fairy tale, Fisherman's Bastion also is a perfect spot to have the panoramic views of Budapest from. You can see the Budapest Parliament building, the Danube river and bridges running over it, Gellert Hill, and Margaret island very clearly from the top of the towers. Chain Bridge Chain Bridge was the first ever stone bridge that was built to connect the two cities of Buda and Pest. It runs over the Danube river and is a perfect spot to watch the sunset from, as the bridge's shadow shift over the buildings on the other side of the river. Day 2 Ancient Thermal Baths Thermal baths were quite a trend in the earlier times, among the Turkish. Nowadays these baths are generally visited by the elderly or the unwell, and tourists that want to take a dip into the warm history of the city. Margaret Island A retreat from the city life, even for the locals, Margaret island hosts tourists and locals alike. On a good sunny day, you'll find many joggers running on the race tracks, families picnicking in the park, kids playing around the fountains. There are a couple of restaurants too in the park that you can dine at for nominal prices. The island is right in the center of the city between Buda and Pest, and you can walk down the Margaret bridge to reach the island. Citadella Citadella is located on the top of the Gellert Hill on the Buda side of the city. It is a short and an easy hike up the hill, and the views from the top are worth it all. Walk past the Citadella and a little further up the hill, you'll find a perfect spot to watch the sunset from. Central Market Hall A 3-floored market, with shops ranging from handicraft to clothes, to pickles and local food, to souvenirs, the market is crowded throughout the day. It is the best place to do some local shopping […]

Top 5 things to do in Budapest

Budapest has been very popular lately, the number of tourists has been increasing every year. Budapest is the capital city of Hungary, with a population of 2 million people. And of course thousands of tourists every day. As a local, I have seen the city and the main tourist spots so many times, but there is something, that is still so magical about Budapest. Every time I see the Danube with its gorgeous bridges or the Gellert-hill with the Buda Castle, I become a little child, who is amazed by everything around her. It is beautiful, peaceful and looks like a postcard. I will tell you 5 “must-do” when you are in Budapest. 1. Go sightseeing by segway or electric scooter Budapest is a big city, especially if you would like to do sightseeing on foot. I highly recommend renting either a segway, a bike or an electric scooter. Any of these can be so useful if you would like to see the most, in a relatively short time. There are tours, where you can join a group of people and go look around in the city together with a leader, who will tell you about history, places to visit, and some hidden gems. You can also go by yourself, renting a bike for a whole day is still cheap and you won’t be extremely tired at the end of the day. My personal favorite is the electric scooter, which is available for an affordable price and even you can go up on the hill easily. There are different routes, that you can choose from. My recommendation is to go from the Heroes’ Square, through the Andrassy street, Basilica, Chain Bridge, and finish at the Buda Castle. This is a long distance and you can see many of the famous places. 2. Visit one of the famous Turkish baths Anytime I talk to somebody who is planning to visit Hungary, I tell them to go to a bath. It is a very unique experience, something that doesn’t exist in so many other countries. There are five different thermal baths in Budapest, but my absolute favorite is the Rudas Bath. It is located next to the river Danube, at the bottom of Gellert-hill. The most unique place to relax a little bit is the jacuzzi on the top of the building, looking over the river, the Parliament, the bridges, the Budapest-Eye, and the Basilica. A lot of people visit Szechenyi-bath, which is a nice place to go, mostly in the summer, because the big pools are outside. However, it is open all year round and you can take a good dip in the swimming pool if you can handle the cold outside through the winter time. You can find several inside pools, sauna, spa sessions, massages, and relaxing areas. 3. Take a walk on the Margaret Island Some tour guides mention Margaret Island, but I don’t think it is getting enough attention. From March to October, it is one of the most beautiful places […]

A Complete Guide to the Top Attractions in Budapest

From historical sites and relaxing thermal baths to eclectic ruin bars, there’s something for everyone in the Hungarian capital of Budapest. Although I spent two enjoyable weeks in this beautiful city, it only took an afternoon to fall in love as I walked around to explore some of it’s interesting sites. If you only have a few days to spend in Budapest, you can certainly see all of the must do attractions as it is a pedestrian-friendly city that also has a great transit system. The public transportation system consists of a subway, streetcars, buses and trolley buses which are all quite affordable. Divided by the Danube river, many people don’t realize that the city is actually split into two parts; Buda on one side of the river and Pest on the other. I chose to stay in Pest because it houses most of the tourist attractions and is relatively cheaper and flatter in comparison to the hilly, upscale Buda. There’s a range of hotels, airbnb, and funky hostels to choose from, including Grandio hostel which is also a ruin bar. Top Attractions in Budapest I thoroughly enjoyed all of the activities and sites I experienced during my two week visit, but what I love most about Budapest is that there are a few attractions that are truly unique to the city. Here are some must do’s while you visit Budapest: Ruin bars Thermal Baths Danube boat cruise Margaret Island Central Market Hall Ruin Bars Literally built in the ruins of abandoned buildings, these bars have a hip vibe with funky furniture, unconventional artwork and leave you with the feeling of being underground. Each bar seems to have it’s own personality, yet each one has a great atmosphere, good music, delicious drinks and some even serve food. Szimpla Kert is the most popular ruin bar and is a great place to go day or night to grab a bite to eat and a drink. If you like to dance, check out Instant or Fogashaz. Many of the ruin bars have multiple rooms throughout with a variety of music and djs, as well as chill out areas to simply soak up the atmosphere. Thermal Baths After a night out at one of the ruin bars, there’s nothing better than a relaxing afternoon in the medicinal waters of the thermal baths. The two most popular ones are the Szechenyi baths and the Gellert baths. The Szechenyi baths is one of the biggest natural hot springs in Europe and has 18 pools, some indoors and some outdoors. You can also enjoy saunas, a gym and massage services. For something a little less relaxing and a little more fun, you can attend spa parties on Saturday nights with dj music, performers, lights and of course, alcohol. These parties run from 10pm to 3 am in the outdoor pool and I can personally tell you that they are a lot of fun! If you want to avail of the bar service, you can get a […]

Budapest: One of the most popular destinations in Europe

Two years ago, I had an opportunity to pay a visit to one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, or maybe even the world. I heard stories about it, and they were all true. The city is captivating. No matter how long you stay, there is not enough time to see all its beauties and attractions. Budapest is the capital and the largest city, located in Central Hungary. It lies on the Danube River, which divides the city into two parts – Buda and Pest. By road, it is 378km north of Belgrade, 216 km south-east of Vienna, 545 km south of Warsaw, 1,565 km south-west of Moscow, 1,122 km north of Athens, 788 km north-east of Milan, and 443 km south-east of Prague. Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport is 16km far from the city centre. It’s one of the busiest airports, which provides international connections amongst all major cities in Europe, America, Africa and the Middle East. City Sights Fisherman’s Bastion This beautiful terrace with its seven towers is located on the Buda bank of Danube, on the Castle Hill, offering you the most amazing view of the Danube, Margaret Island and Pest. It is a nice place to take a walk, or just sit and enjoy a good coffee, sweets or drinks made of marzipan. It is very popular and it has its own museum, Szabo Marzipan Museum where you can see an exhibition of statues and scenes made of marzipan. It’s amazing what people can create from it. The Hungarian Parliament The Hungarian Parliament Building is one of the tallest buildings in Budapest and also amongst the most popular city sights. It is built in Gothic style, displaying figures of Hungarian rulers on its façade. I didn’t have an opportunity to see it from inside, but I sure enjoyed a lot sitting on the opposite bank and watching it as it shines the whole night. Definitely, one of the most fascinating views this city has to offer. The Shoes on the Danube Bank This monument is located on the Pest side of the river. It is a memorial created to honour the people who were killed by the fascist in World War II. Visiting this site was very emotional. You can’t just stand there and feel nothing. Some other people, children including, were standing on that site, just like me that day. They were ordered to take off their shoes and then they were shot. The river carried away their bodies. Certainly one of the most disturbing stories I have ever heard. Margaret Island Margaret Island is located in the middle of Danube. This park is a place where you can escape the city crowd. It is also a recreational and picnic area. You can enjoy long walks, jogging, swimming, playing tennis etc. There is also a small zoo, a music fountain, open-air theatre and my favourite place, the Japanese garden with a small fish pond. There is also a hotel with thermal services, clubs and […]

Must Try: Ruin Bars in Budapest, Hungary

Do you want to taste the real Budapest feeling? Visit one of our best places – our Ruin Bars. This article will help you to find the outstanding Ruin Bar that fits you the most in the heart of Budapest, the capital city of Hungary. but first, let’s answer the first question comes up to your mind: What is a Ruin Bar? As for its historical background, the first ruin bar, Szimpla kert (see below) was established in 2001. Urban legends say it was the idea of a group of young, thirsty guys, who were looking for cheap place to drink. They started to convert old, abandoned buildings in the inner district to provide affordable drinks to everyone. To spare some money, they collected unwanted thrown-out furniture from their grandparents (or great-grandparents) garage. This is how the interior of these miraculous places were created – with dozens of mismatched tables, sofas, paintings old cars and even bathtubs. Over the years ruin bars become extremely popular among Hungarians and foreigners. Anyone can find a ruin bar that fits him/her. The city offers bars in several sizes, various type of music- including live concerts, ideal abandoned places to lose control and feel the rhythm or just to grab a hand-made craft beer and have a deep talk night with your friends. It is not only about drinking, though! Szimpla Kert offers regular meetings for foreigners, passionate about our lovely Hungarian language, to teach them the most useful phrases – such as Két sört, légyszíves! – two beers, please! If you wonder what is the atmosphere like in a ruin pub I can assure you… you have no clue what a chaotic, magical universe waits for you! Be prepared for random pigs dressed in party clothes hanging down from the cellar! and now… Let’s see the bars: Szimpla Kert: As mentioned above, Szimpla is the oldest and craziest ruin bar in the Jewish district, well-known by tourists and foreigners living in the city. You can start your trip around the building only by discovering every tiny room filled with their own hidden treasures. The place provides various events, such as live concerts, international breakfast with traditional Hungarian, Chezh, Polish flavours, Hungarian language course as well as blood donation. Wondering what souvenir you should buy from Budapest? Leave the magnets and postcards! Take something crazy, truly permanent memory from Budapest – get blind-tattooed by a professional tattoo artist in Szimpla! Location: 1075 Budapest, Kazinczy u. 14. Púder: Ruin bar from a different angle. While Szimpla is well-known for its famous parties and loud music and dance, Púder is the ruin bar ideal for deep thoughts, delicious traditional Hungarian meals, craft beers and chilly nights. Again, Púder is a must see& must try in Budapest if you are into arts or simply want to discover something extraordinary. Take a seat inside in a comfy armchair, a wooden bench or old-fashioned golden throne surrounded by the colourful, crumbly walls, and taste some of Hungary’s famous wines. During the summer, the bar opens its […]

Why you should visit the colourful Szeged

Have you ever tried to give each place you visit a “title”? I have always thought about Prague as “The city of lights”, about Berlin as “The city of past” and well, also about Rome as “The city of history”. It’s a nice game to play when you go somewhere. We always focus on what we should see of a town or a city we visit for the first time. But, let me say something new: forget about to visit, and start considering what you might feel, while walking inside a museum, or enjoying a glass of a local drink. Immersed in colors In the lower part of the country, close to the border between Romania and Serbia, there is the third city of Hungary, unfortunately not as famous as the Capital, Szeged. It is called “The city of sun”, due to the fact that it is exposed to sun most of the year. I had never visited Hungary before and, as anyone going somewhere for the first time, I had my mind full of evanescent images about that place that I had once heard when I was a child watching and listening to the stories about a certain empress Sissi. Then, I went to Szeged, and I found myself immersed in colors. Starting from the yellow of the neo-baroque National Theatre that welcomes you as you approach the centre of the city. Then it takes a while to actually feel the harmony that there is between each color of Szeged: it’s not strange to watch the aquamarine walls of a building matching the red coral ones of the house next-door. So, take a minute to allow yourself to truly feel it. Then, you can start walking around, because you wouldn’t understand Szeged without having its colors in you. The Dom The “Szegedi D?m” is something you should see from the inside, even though it looks amazing even when you watch it from the square upon which it stares. It’s the perfect explanation of what I mean by calling Szeged “The city of colors” because the main feature of this Neo-Romanesque style Church is, again, its colors. If you are gothic style lovers, then you might not appreciate completely the brightness of the space inside; but I would suggest you to give it a chance anyway. Right from the entrance you will notice how more colourful the vaulted ceilings are, with their light-blue, red and orange decorations. Then, if you were positively surprised by this unexpected presence of light, then you should go on, and walk until you find yourself under probably the most colourful cupola you have ever seen. Just stare at it for a moment, because it is something very different from any other kind of style you might see in Europe Churches, especially in the “gothic area”. If you are in Szeged in May or June, then there is a great possibility that you will witness a wedding, because in this period lots of people get married […]

Budapest in two days

Hungarians speak almost the same language as I do. I lived one year in the Hungarian capital city: Budapest; and I got to say they have such a beautiful place. The architecture there is amazing, everywhere you turn there´s a monument to something or someone. Weather is good also, it rains a lot so there are pretty plants in all gardens. And then there´s alcohol wherever you go. So party, a lot of partying. I don’t consider myself as a party person, on my planet, people appreciate quietness pretty much. We have bars where people can just speak to each other not having to yell to have a conversation. But human partying is nice every now and then and if you are someone who enjoys that, then Budapest is a good place for you. They have Széchenyi baths, where you can take a relaxing hot bath in thermal waters or if you are a night person then you can go to the foam parties in this place, they seem pretty fun, humans seem to enjoy having foam all over their bodies meanwhile they drink beer or the precious Hungarian traditional drink: Pálinka. There´s also something really strange humans do over here, there´s something called Ruin bars and then they like to go to these places where almost everything is falling down, like the roof for example. But they are nice and antique, besides that, you can go dressed however you want to so I really enjoyed going with my short shorts and a nice t-shirt, you see, not a party outfit, yeii! My favorite ruin bar was Szimpla, quite famous, and a lot of international people went there, mainly tourists, but as my main goal in this planet is knowing diverse cultures then I was always meeting people all over the globe and asking on how their culture was different to the one I knew the most, the Mexican one.   Day 1 – Must-see sights near Hero square Budapest is a city you can walk in two days, there´s a lot of cheap stuff and many free as well. You can start purchasing a ticket for 48 hrs for the public transportation and I have to say Hungarians are great on this of communicating a city, urbanism in Budapest is so good, you can really take tram 4-6 and get almost everywhere you need to be as a tourist. If you are a student, then don´t forget your student card as you´ll get discounts in mainly all attractions. I will recommend starting by Hero square, it’s the main square in Budapest and there are statues of, well as it names states, many Hungarians heroes. The main one is an angel delivering the Christian cross and a crown to Saint Istvan, the king who started Catholicism in Hungary. I´ll dedicate a whole post to this square so I don´t distract you on the tour to follow. In both sides of the square you´ll find national museums art museums and then if you […]

Surviving a Study Abroad in Budapest

  The City of BUDAPEST Probably one of the most cultural and historical cities in the world. Do not hesitate about its name: Which fun fact: it’s composed of two words representing the two parts of the city that conforms the capital of Hungary. The Buda side, mainly known by being the “old” or antique part of the city and the Pest side, which contains most of the sightseeing of the city. Doesn’t really matter the side you decide to stay for your semester abroad, since the city is really well connected and has a well-communicated transportation system (might experience some technical problems once in a while but believe me you can cross from one side to the other in just a couple of minutes). Once you have established yourself the first thing you should learn it’s the name of your street, or at least try to associate it to a familiar word, just in case you get so excited walking the city that you ran out of battery and there’s no way to use the amazing GPS. At first sight, you will feel like in an extra-terrestrial movie. Hungarian is not the friendliest language after all. However, you will start catching the stations, street names, even avenues. The most important ones from the Pest side you have to look for and remember are: Andrassy  Utca, which connects to the Oktogon station, (we will talk about this very important meeting point later) and József Korut which is one of the main streets and belongs to the Line 4 and 6, the busiest ones in the city,  also known as the “Tram Street”. While from the Buda side, make sure to walk aside the Szent Gellért street, which is the one next to the Danube River, and the Margit Híd, which is part of the “Tram Street” but from the Buda side. Besides, it’s close to one of the most beautiful spots in the city: Margit Island. Meeting people from east and west. Take note folks, if you are coming for a study abroad you want to make sure to be surrounded by people from all around the world. So; Do not get stuck with students that come from your same country, neither from the same university! In case you do please, make sure to include more people in the crew. The first weeks are crucial and if you get stuck with people from the same place that you come from then, it will be kind of difficult to meet and get really involved with new people. True that you can get better communication and understanding with people that speak the same language but becoming international it’s the whole point of the study abroad even about traveling. So, you can give a second thought about getting involved with as many people as you can. Don’t be shy, after all, you don’t know each other, and you can start with very cliché questions to break the ice like: Where are you from? […]

3 Kooky Things That Make Budapest a Gem

After I graduated from college, I circumnavigated the globe with my a cappella group. It sounds insane, and for good reason. It absolutely was. About midway around the world, we stopped for almost a week in Budapest, Hungary. Before arriving there, we had visited Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, and India; so, as you might imagine, Budapest actually felt a little familiar to me. However, as time continues to put distance between me and that unbelievably fun week in Hungary, I realize more and more how foreign Budapest actually is. It's more than a little crazy, its troubled but vitally important history nearly cleaves it into three clean eras (possibly more), and its people are out-of-this-world fun. Read on to find out my favorite three things about Budapest. An excellent example of architectural styles colliding 1. The architecture is like a map of Hungarian history: each building tells a story about the past. Budapest, pronounced “Buda-pesht” by the locals, is a city cleaved in two by the Danube and stacked with history that will blow your mind. Indeed, even the name of the country of which it's the capital, Hungary, is a misnomer that speaks volumes to this nation's hectic past: the country was originally inhabited by Magyars, pronounced “Mawd-yars,” and the nation's official name is Magyarország. How we got to “Hungary” from there, I'm not so sure! Hungary was on the losing side of both World Wars, which resulted in periods of political, social, and even architectural turmoil. There are some streets that have beautiful European-style houses on one side and stark, Communist-bloc style housing on the other. The House of Terror (Terror Haza) is a headquarters beneath the busy streets of Budapest that was first used by Nazis during WWII and then by Soviets during the Cold War. I was lucky enough to visit, and it is absolutely chilling. Nooses still hang in the torture chambers there – and all the while, locals live and chat on the streets above. History is woven into the fabric of this society, no matter how painful that history is to recall, and I really respected that during my visit. If you're more interested in a more traditional style of architecture, look no further than what lies along the Danube itself. Fisherman's Bastion is a wonderful sight to see and it's right on the water; from those bright-white walls you can actually see Parliament on the opposite bank of the river. Fisherman's Bastion is neo-Gothic in style, with white cones rising above the treetops lining the banks of the Danube, all of which are open to the public and free to walk around and enjoy. On a good-weather day, you could easily spend an entire afternoon here. If you're lucky, like I was, you'll even witness a local playing traditional Hungarian music in one of the parks set back from the Bastion! Traditional Hungarian Gulyas 2. Traditional Hungarian food is like a confused pile of nutrients […]

Places to enjoy the winter in Budapest

There is not much snow in Budapest nowadays, but when there is, it’s stunning. It feels like you are in a winter wonderland and all you want to do is run around like a little kid. Here are some places where you can get the most out of this beautiful weather. Just make sure you have warm clothes on! Normafa Probably one of the loveliest places to go on a hike and enjoy a gorgeous view of the city. You can simply explore the forest and the different routes, have a workout in the fresh air surrounded by nature, have a romantic walk or take beautiful photos. It is especially beautiful and peaceful in the winter so it is definitely worth an afternoon. The Elizabeth Lookout is also in walking distance which is the highest point of the city and is named after Queen Elizabeth who visited the mountain in 1882. You can reach this location in 20 minutes by bus line 21 from Széll Kálmán tér. Városliget (City Park) A huge green area in the middle of the city. If you’re in the city but you want some peace and nature, this is the place to go. This is also a popular spot for walking and running. In the winter you can also try the ice-skating rink which a great program with friends, family or even by yourself if you love skating or if you want to learn. Next to the skating rink you can visit the Vajdahunyad Castle or if you are feeling chilly and want to relax for a few hours you can walk to the Széchenyi Thermal Baths which is one of the biggest bath complexes of Europe and it has the most stunning and unique building among the trees of the park. Heroes’ Square Right next to Városliget there is the iconic Heroes’ Square which is the biggest square in Budapest featuring important Hungarian leaders and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. On one side of the square is the Museum of Fine Arts and on the other side you can find the Palace of Art so there’s plenty of opportunities to enjoy some art, too. Hop on to metro line M1 to reach the square which is the oldest metro line in continental Europe and has a lovely retro vibe. Andrássy Avenue From Heroes’ Square walk along the beautiful road of Andrássy Avenue and have a look at the spectacular Neo-renaissance buildings and the lights at night. If you are feeling cold from all the walking and sightseeing visit one of the many cafés lining the road. My personal favorite is Ecocafe which offers a wide variety of coffees and teas to warm you up and you can also fuel your body with sandwiches, baked goods and cakes. Or have a meal in a restaurant such as Kozmosz. It is a cozy little place located on Hunyadi Square, just a minute walk from Andrássy, offering delicious vegan dishes that anyone would love. Margaret Island […]

Budapest – Visiting Magical City On A River Danube

Three years ago I applied for a scholarship in Budapest to study the Hungarian language for one semester. Living in Budapest for 5 months was a blast! I met a bunch of foreign people from Egypt, France, Venezuela, Colombia, Russia, Ukraine, USA, Canada, Poland, Japan, Korea, China, Brazil, Argentina, Hungary. I was living in a dormitory and made a lot of friends. I'm still in contact with some of them and try to visit as much as I can. Hungarian language: My roots are from Hungary from my mother's side, so no wonder I'm madly in love with the city and I really like the sound of the Hungarian language. Most of the people to whom I would tell I'm studying the Hungarian language they would react, „Oh wow, that's a really hard language, and it sounds ugly and funny.“ Well, for me the language is not ugly, but I can agree it's hard but not impossible to learn. In my opinion to speak another language gives us the opportunity to find out more about the culture and traditions, to get closer to people, to listen to music and to watch movies without the subtitles, to read a book in an original language with no need to translate. The best thing in Budapest for me is the cafe bars where you can come, sit, drink your tea or coffee, take books from the shelf and just chill and read. Some bars offer souvenir shops where you can buy books, postcards, pencils, pens, notebooks with pictures or drawings of Budapest. Magical sightseeing in Budapest Fisherman's Bastion Heroes square Walking alongside the Danube especially in the night makes every sightseeing of Budapest beautiful and magical.  You can see historic sites like Buda Castle Hill, Matthias church, well known Citadella with beautiful view, Fisherman's Bastion on the Buda side. There are seven bridges, the best known are Margaret Bridge, Széchenyi Chain Bridge, Elisabeth Bridge, Pet?fi Bridge. Every one of them has its own uniqueness. On the Pest side, there is a magnificent and stunning Parliament. Heroes square is a huge square well known with its important national leaders. Near Városliget park, there is one of the oldest ZOOs in the world with 1072 animals to see. Central Market Hall is situated at the end of Liberty Bridge with quality meat, salami, pastry, seasonal products and some exotic spices. Of course, if you want to spend a lot of money go to overpriced shops, cafes, and boutiques in Vaci street. Living in the city of Budapest The life in Budapest is not expensive, you can come touristically for only 70 or 100€ (20 000HUF-40000HUF) depending on what you want to spend your money. There are a lot of cheap hostels, Airbnb is offering really nice locations and prices. I have used 2 times AirBnB and I was absolutely blown away by the flats and the owners who were really kind and helpful. There are a lot […]

Drinking Your Way Around Budapest

I love drinking. Like love it, and European habits only added to a well-established Kiwi enjoyment of a cheeky brew or two. If you don't believe me, you don't have to scroll far through my Instagram posts to see one that features a wine bottle. I also love Budapest. Budapest is known by some at the 'Paris' of Eastern Europe, except unlike Paris everything in Budapest is actually affordable. Booze is cheap, accommodation is affordable and is a city filled to the brim with culture and history. Of all the places I've been while traveling, my favorite place to go out is in Budapest. Budapest, in general, is an amazing city. There's something here for everyone. It's beautiful buildings and structures that should be admired at in awe, it's got the famous bathhouses to soak in, the largest covered Market in Europe to peruse and a city full of really friendly locals. These are all the things that make Budapest amazing. As if that isn't enough, Budapest has a thriving nightlife. I'm here today to make you excited at the prospect of your night out in Budapest. Below are some of the ways that I enjoyed the drinking culture and nightlife over the three times I've visited the Budapest so far. Beer Bikes The responsible sober driver from our Beer Bike experience. Beer Bikes?  Beer and bikes? What could go wrong? Well, honestly, not as much as you think. You are supplied a sober driver to make sure you aren't a hazard to traffic, but it is the collective leg power of your group that compels the bike onwards. It really is the best of both worlds, enjoying a beer, exercising, music blaring and a different view of Budapest. After we had finished the two-hour ride, making the most of (what seemed like) the bottomless barrel of beer, we were free to humor some rowdy Australian's by attempting shoeys in the middle of Heroes Square. The beer bikes were an amazing way to start off the evening, and despite that physical side of the activity, it was a nice way to wind down from a hard day being a tourist and wind up for an amazing night out ahead. Prices with Beer Bikes Budapest start from 19.000 HUF but go up depending on the amount of time you want the experience to last. If you have a big group you might be able to negotiate a group discount. River Cruise The view of Buda Castle from the river If you are feeling a bit more refined a nice way to start of an evening in Budapest is with a river cruise. There are a number of different cruises, but if you can afford it I would recommend an evening one, for a view of Budapest from the river after the sun has gone down. Do a dinner cruise, most of these also include a certain amount of alcohol, and enjoy some local cuisine. Even if you […]

Pécs: 8 special spots worth seeing in the “city of culture”

About the city of Pécs Pécs is a marvellous city located in the south area of Hungary. It is commonly referred to as the city of culture, for many simple reasons: it is one of the oldest cities of the country, rich in (ancient) monuments; additionally, the first university of Hungary was the University of Pécs, founded in 1367, which made the city the most important stage of education for many years. If you are interested in cultural traditions, memorable monuments, and ancient buildings, Pécs is the ideal destination for your next holiday in the middle region of Europe. However, I would like to show you some of the unique and modern places of this magnificent city, which brilliantly combines the ancient traditions with a sense of innovation of our days – let's see a couple of the favourite places of students! Zsolnay Cultural Quarter Maybe this is the most well-known area of Pécs. Zsolnay Cultural Quarter is, as shown by its name, an important spot of culture that is worth visiting for foreigners just as much as for locals. As a part of the program 'European Capital of Culture', many buildings have been renovated a few years ago, but also the whole Quarter has been expended. And what can you exactly do there? Well, if you are in the mood, you might want to visit one of the several astonishing exhibitions, discover the secrets of the Universe in the Planetarium, or simply have a picnic sitting in the grass among colourful, extraordinary buildings. But you can also go for a walk in the Street of Artisans' Shops, which offers the unique products made by local artisans. Furthermore, an exclusive Hungarian speciality, Zsolnay Ceramics, is being produced here at an open workshop, which provides an incomparable experience for the whole family. Király Street and the Main Square Széchenyi István Square – that's the Main Square of Pécs, which is connecting to the most popular street (“King Street”). Both places are filled with restaurants, cafés, little, hidden shops – and a lot of people from the most different countries and cities. Personally, I prefer having long walks in this area, because there are many beautiful buildings (the Turkish Dzsámi for example), lovely statues, water fountains – surrounded by children and little dogs, who are playing with the flushing water in the summer – and of course, local students, foreign students and tourists who are getting to know each other spontaneously while drinking a coffee/beer/wine on one of the terraces of these restaurants or loveable cafés. In daylight, if you are near the Main Square, you will surely see a lot of families with their little or not-so-little children walking and playing around, very often accompanied by a dog also – of course it's not typical only in this area, but in the whole city to see little kids and dogs. As I often come to find out: Pécs is the city of students, freedom and little kids (with dogs). To make sure my statement […]

Balaton in the summer…always a perfect choice

Balaton at the summer…always a perfect choice Balaton, the lake in the in the west-north part of the Hungary, also well known as Hungarian sea, surprises us during the last days of this August 2016. We decided to travel with my husband Jair for a prolonged weekend and after a few times thinking about choosing this destination, we booked the pension. Honestly, we were curious about the biggest freshwater lake in the Europe, since we already talked about the idea with our friends many times. Most of the time, the same rule apply for the travelling…the company and the mood count the most:) Balaton at the summer We were approaching the Balaton through the highway, by seeing the lake for the first time through the car window, I realize, that spending two and half hour in car was worthy. The first view on the Lake was breath taking, the color was so turquoise and made you feel like, your somewhere at the Mediterranean sea. Our final destination within the Balaton lake, was the north shore, called Balatonfüred. The view at the Balaton lake, which has 5,174m2 of fresh water. When I opened the door from the car, first what I realized, how neat look the environment there. Beside the fresh air, the landscape is flat, but mostly cover by a lot of trees and grass. The weather was back then quite hot and sunny, exactly how I love it .We accommodate at the pension, which name is Zsuzsa and headed straight to see the lake. We felt so excited just to jump and swim in there. Our partner on the road, while we are travelling, is our chihuahua, Charlie, that has almost 6 years. He couldn’t miss his first walk over there with us, so we changed to our swim baths and put shorts and T-shirts on us. The Balaton and the places around the shore, I believe, are so magical, that will get you anyway and you will fall in love with it quickly.Our trip started at the typical csarda, where we ordered halaszle, soup made out of the fish meat, in this case, cod fish and the second plate was the fish dish for two persons. Wine festival Balatonfüred  Borhetek Oh, if I forgot to mentioned, Hungary and Balaton aswell of course, is the wine region with the great scented wines and the food starting from the fishes to meat, are just delicious. While eating in csarda our food, we were having the view straight for the lake, while seeing the sunset. It was very romantic and relaxing. Just a perfect get away, when you just want to escape the work and catch the last sun rays of a year. Once we finished our dishes, the water of the Balaton lake got colder, so we reconsider to leave swimming for the next day. We enjoyed the walking at the shore a lot, especially at the Tagore promenade. They were having the wine festival there, called Balatonfüred  Borhetek, which means […]

The monastery ruins of Salföld -Lake Balaton, Hungary

Destination: Lake Balaton- Káli basin In September we decided to take off for a long-weekend to Balaton, Hungary along with our dog. I was very excited about this trip and not just because Balaton is the largest lake in Central Europe. Even though it is a much frequented holiday destination, it has a lot more to offer than beaches, buffet food and beer. Not so long ago I heard about a hidden monastery in the woods that once belonged to the mysterious monks of The Order of Saint Paul. Just like any other nation around the world Hungarians also have their own legends and mystery. A big part of it is in connection with the monks of the Order of Saint Paul. Even though their Order belonged to the Catholic Church, they are believed to have been the keepers of the ancient knowledge and magic of the Hungarian tribes.  I am fascinated by legends and mystery especially when it comes from my own culture so I couldn’t wait to pay a visit. Balatonakali We stayed at a friend’s house over the weekend about 37 km away from Salföld, where the ruins of the monastery are. The town we stayed in is called Balatonakali which is situated on the Northern coast of the Lake.  Balatonakali is a vacation spot with a decent beach with paddle boats and a water-slide.  The lake side is flanked by Sycamore trees and clean bathrooms, changing cabins and tiny wooden food stands. During the season, entering the beach has a cost of about 2000 HUF (9,35 AUD)/day, but off-season the lake side is opened from 6 am until 1 am to the public and is mainly occupied by fishing locals. There are a few things to do in the village of Balatonakali during the summer like going to the open air cinema, or so-called “garden cinema”, a typical Balaton attraction that can be found all around the lake. The village is neat with traditional Balaton-style houses and a tiny main square with two churches and an adorable lavender garden. There are a few restaurants in town that offer traditional Hungarian dishes as well as local specialties. We had a good time walking our dog on the narrow streets then going to the bar near the beach to grab a beer. Balatonakali Fish Festival The Town Hall organizes events all year long and we were lucky enough to be there when the fish festival took place. We tried the local Balaton-style fish dishes made from freshly caught fish. The deep fried bream was amazing but they also had mixed fish soup and fish burgers as well which I learned was a novelty this year. There was an honesty box system, a jar was placed at one of the tables among the food and drink stands where anyone could honor the food and drinks. It was an amazing experience for us to spend some with the locals, seeing how they all knew each-other. Kids and dogs were also […]

Budapest: Five non-mainstream things to do in the heart of Europe

Budapest, the capital of Hungary is a huge and lovely city – probably not as big as Paris, but yet, it could take at least three-four days to visit the mainstream touristic sights one by one. I know, I have lived there, I have wandered around the streets and seen many things touristic eyes cannot see – so here I would like to give you guidance to go a bit deeper and see the side of Budapest many foreigners do not see. Square of Roses Most of the people have no idea about it, but there is a beautiful and peaceful park hidden just a few minutes away from Keleti Railway Station. The square called Square of Roses or Rózsák tere in Hungarian is reachable on foot from Keleti, or by trolley 73 and 76 as well; where you can find a small park surrounded by houses remaining from the old, pre-war Budapest. This park is never crowded, and a perfect place for staying a bit away from the noise of the city, resting a bit on our sightseeing tour. Small benches and stone tables surround the Elizabeth Church, an amazing old lady, a Gothic church just as beautiful as the well-known Matthias Church of the Castle area – though this one is forgotten by many. From here on you can wander around the VIth district , one of the nicest ones, or make your way to the River Danube, which will be our next stop now.   Sightseeing tram Another thing many people do not realize is that you can do a sightseeing tour not only ont he expensive tourist buses, but also by tram number 2. While tourist buses and sightseeing tours mostly cost hundreds of Euros, this is a trip you can do for only about 300 HUF, a rough sum of 1€. You can buy tickets at any tram station basically, and you can catch the tram  anywhere ont he east side of the river. I would siggest to start the trip on F?vám tér, at the Great Market Hall, as this way you will get a sight of the Gellért Hill with the Statue of Liberty on it, and the Castle Hill with the freshly renewed  Várkert Bazár (currently cultural centre), the Buda Castle, the Matthias Church  and the Fishermen’s Bastion on the western side of the river; the Chain Bridge, one of the most beautiful bridges connecting the two parts of the city; plus you will go around the Houses of Parliament, the main attraction of the eastern riverside as well. Your trip will end just at the entry of the Margaret Island, another nice place to take a rest on your trip. If you do the tram-ride by nighttime, you will also see the real beauty of the city, highlighted with millions of lights, and getting off for the way between the Chain Bridge and the Elizabeth Bridge  you will have the nicest walk of your life! Panorama view Once you are done with […]

Traveling on a Budget in Budapest, Hungary

*All monetary amounts are in USD, unless otherwise marked* My boyfriend and I recently completed a two month bicycle trip around a significant portion of Europe. Because we were traveling for two months, and are recent college graduates, we wanted to keep our daily expenses as low as possible. That meant hunting for bargains wherever we could find them. And the countries with the lowest prices were Hungary and the Czech Republic. Göcsej Völgye Kemping The first night we arrived in Hungary, we stayed at a place called Göcsej Völgye Kemping, a campground run by a very sweet couple, Margit and Atilla. The campground was located near the Hungary/Slovenia border. When we arrived, Margit and Atilla welcomed us graciously, got us set up in one of their tents (we had our own, but they said not to worry about the effort of setting it up when theirs were already ready for guests), and then walked with us down to the local lake. Since it started to storm while we were in the lake, they told us we should move our stuff into one of their cabins instead, so we did. We still used our own sleeping bag, but got to sleep in a real bed — which ended up being very nice, as the weather was terrible that night. In addition to providing us with a cabin, they gave us dinner and breakfast. Dinner consisted of fresh, thick-cut bacon that we cooked ourselves over a campfire, and pálinka (a strong Hungarian alcohol) made by Atilla’s father. For breakfast, we had Hungarian French toast (Hungarian toast?), which was bread dipped in egg and then cooked in bacon grease. Super tasty! All of this ended up costing €30 (or $34), which is an amazingly good price for a cabin and two meals. And the company was excellent! Although it is pretty far out of the way if you are spending your time in Budapest, if you can find your way over to Göcsej Völgye Kemping, I would highly recommend it. From Göcsej Völgye Kemping, we made our way over to Budapest, where we stayed in an AirBNB a bit outside of the main part of the city. (Because we were traveling with our bikes, we had to be very strategic about where we were staying. While there are some great hostels in Budapest, we needed a place to keep our bikes, which meant that we usually stuck to campgrounds, AirBNBs, or Couchsurfing and Warmshower hosts. But more on that on a later post.) We stayed with Csaba (you can find his listing here), who was such a wonderful host, providing us with transportation instructions and restaurant recommendations. He also helped us get our bikes and all our luggage up the stairs. The entire apartment was ours for the time we were there, and it was only $26 per night. Budapest City Card Once in the city, we bought the 24 hour Budapest City Card for €17 per person. This got us free […]

Hungary, The 5 reasons why I love Budapest

One of the questions I am always asked when I meet new people or old friends I haven’t seen for a long time, is why do I like Budapest, in Hungary so much? I must admit it; I feel completely confused in front of this question. How can I describe this feeling of being happy, of being whole, this feeling of belonging here? So I thought it over, and little bit by little bit the picture became clearer in my mind and this is why I love this city. But don’t get me wrong; it is not an exhaustive list! And also, it is my point of view. Budapest, The town of Freedom? Szabadság szobor in Gellért hill – Image by Roxy Let’s start with the most difficult part! I love Budapest, more precisely I am in love with Budapest because I feel free here. Easy to say, not easy to explain though. This sensation of freedom comes from the fact that many things are possible around here (even though it is not a perfect world, don’t misunderstand me, this is just how I feel about it). From doing art project by dancing with clothes – for learning more about that check the Grey Box Project led by Anna Ádám and Sally O’Neill – to swimming in the great Danube (not everywhere though because of the strong stream in the inner city), it is always possible to find a suitable match according to what you are looking for. Also, Budapest is much less restrictive for me than where I come from. Waiters won’t push you to consume, you can bring your own food in many bars, there is no dress-code in most of the places I go. In a way, you can just be yourself in Budapest. Eventually, this idea of freedom comes from all the great people I have met here, who are doing amazing, creative things and are so happy to tell you more about it and to make you part of their projects. On my way back home On of my favorite moment in Budapest, is when I come back home biking from the area called Római-part. It is located after Óbudai sziget, along the Danube on Buda shore. On your way back to downtown the river is making a turn, therefore comes one specific moment where you discover the whole panorama of Budapest. It is even more beautiful at night, the famous buildings are all nicely lit up. On your left, you will find the magnificent parliament, on your right the fisherman’s bastion, Mátyás church and the castle. This view is completely breathtaking. Even though I have seen it several times, I still feel lucky every time I have the chance to contemplate this amazing landscape, to be there. Without going all the way from Római part, you can already have a taste of this view from Margit bridge or the Chain bridge. View of the Parliament from Margit – Image […]

Budapest: City of Friends

“Budapest is the world’s melting pot of Architectural styles. From Roman amphitheaters and Gothic-styled cathedrals to traditional Turkish baths, Budapest has it all.” -Lust for the World Budapest is arguably one of the most varied cities I have visited, along with Hungary as a country itself. It beckons you from afar as you enter the city with neon lights reflecting off the buildings to captivate approaching travelers, new to the cities aurora, like a glowing beacon. It may at first seem intimidating as a city from the central station, yet after a few minutes walk towards the center the city reveals itself as a not so hidden gem of Eastern Europe. Having never visited this area of Europe before at first I was unsure on what was seen as normal and what was not, yet after 24 hours in the city I realized it had a warming anything goes attitude. The first night was spent sampling Mexican food next to one of the famous ruin bars of Budapest. This was due to an unexpected huge queue forming outside Szimpla Nightclub and after 6 hours travelling from Zagreb, there was a mutual agreement that we would wait until the next night to sample the nightlife. However the Mexican food proved promising, much to everyone's expectations. Széchenyi thermal bath and Historical Monuments  The following day was spent at the parliament buildings and famous spa baths. The thermal baths are one of the highlights of Budapest and a must see for the city even if you are only spending a few days there. Make sure to check out all the different rooms at the baths including the 100 degree Celsius sauna that is followed by the 18 degree Celsius bath as prescribed by the locals. However those not used to these sort of temperatures from regular visits to saunas may find the temperature difference quite extreme! A must see for the city is located on the east bank of the river Danube in the form of copper shoes put together from director Can Togay. This shows how during World War 2 those of Jewish faith were lined up at the river asked to remove their shoes and shot by Arrow Cross Militiamen so when their bodies fell into the river the only thing left would be the shoes. A chilling reminder of the capabilities of dictatorship from the past that we need to make sure are not probabilities for our future. Ruin Bars One of the most unique things about Budapest is the acceptance of variation and difference, this can be seen through from the buildings to the attitudes of the people including the famous ruin bars. Ruin bars as the name suggest give a good vibe on what to expect on arrival, the whole trend began in the early 2000’s when in the Jewish quarter of the city bars began to open in half ruined buildings, hence the name. Szimpla is recognized as the pioneer for this trend which has continued on […]
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