Budapest- The City of Wonders

In Hungary

Budapest is a gorgeous city of history and culture that combines old with the new, traditional with modern. There are so many things to do, see and try that you can never really run out of things to do. Even after spending a whole semester in this city in Hungary and trying to do as much as I could, I still haven’t gotten to know everything the city has to offer. Still, I managed to try so many new things and go to many places and I loved every minute of it.
This is the top 10 list of things to visit when in Budapest

1. Go to Szimpla

One thing you definitely can’t miss when in Budapest is Szimpla, one of the biggest and loved ruin bars in the city. Ruin bars are something really unique and specific for Budapest and are the heart and soul of the Hungarian nightlife. Before you are going to a club, or when you just want to relax with your friends and have a beer, ruin clubs are the perfect place. Fancy sitting in a bathtub, or underneath a bicycle? Then Szimpla is perfect for you, as it gives you that and much more. The weirdness is all part of the package and never knowing what you will encounter is what makes it interesting. There is always something happening there, so be sure to get there early as possible and get some seats.

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Szimpla Garden

2. Go to Margaret Island

When the weather is beautiful, taking a stroll along Margaret Island is the best way to spend the day. Have a picnic in the shades, enjoy the beautiful flower gardens, ride a bike along the shore. There are so many things you can do on the island that you can never get bored. There are many sporting facilities and a pool for recreation, as well as cafes, restaurants, and stands for those wanting to have a snack or refreshment. Additionally, there is a small zoo where you can play with horses and rabbits, ducks and many birds. And to top it all off, there is a huge fountain at entrance( from the Margit Hid Bridge) that has a musical repertoire, light show and effects that are in synch with the water .

3. Go to Villa Bagatelle

Situated somewhere on the Buda side, Villa Bagatelle is a perfect place for eating breakfast, enjoy delicious-looking desserts or just sip a cup of coffee. Although it takes a while coming from the city center it is definitely a place that is worth the visit. The delicious food and beverages , extremely friendly staff and peaceful atmosphere make you feel like you are in a movie set or in a café along the Seine. The lunch menu is also really appetizing and flavorsome and mainly consists of French dishes.

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Boeuf Bourguignon

4. Go to Solinfo Café

The “lamp-café” as the locals call it, is one of the best places in town for those craving a healthy and tasty breakfast. Since it is part of a business that sells lamps, the whole place is full of gorgeous lamps in every shape, size, and color, giving it a well-lit and open appearance. The caramel cream macchiato is one of the best coffees in the city, and there is a variety of fresh fruit lemonades to choose from. For just one euro you can eat a cheese French toast with a side, or enjoy one of their fresh bagels. For those wishing to work or study, I would definitely say this is the perfect place to do so. There are always numerous students at the place that found their place at this stunning café.

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Caramel Cream Macchiatto

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5. Go ice-skating in the City Park

If you happen to find yourself in Budapest during winter, you’re in luck! Apart from the chance to see the whole city decorated and going to the traditional Christmas market for a glass of mulled wine, you can go ice-skating at the biggest outdoor skating ring. Placed behind the Heroes Square and at the edge of the enormous park, the ring gives you a chance to enjoy your time in Budapest while taking in the beautiful surroundings. Afterward, you can have a drink or dinner at Varosliget, a beautiful restaurant located above the ring from where you can see the whole scenery.

6. Go to the Parliament at night

The biggest Parliament of Europe is a sight for sore eyes- it is beautiful no matter what time of day or year it is, always there to welcome you in its glory. Still, I have to say that there is nothing more breathtaking than seeing the building at nighttime when it is bathed in lights and illuminated from the street lamps. For those wanting to gain the real experience of Budapest and Hungary, this is something that will leave you with a lasting impression.

7. Go to the Buda Castle

If you want to see the whole of Budapest in one stunning view, then head to the Buda Castle. A place full of history and culture, the Castle is just one of those places that you cannot miss. You can see the Royal Palace, museums, churches and spectacular architecture. Even walking along the Castle is an adventure of its own, there are so many twists and turns that you never know where you may end up. Even with all of this, the best thing is when you come during the night and enjoy the view of the whole city of Budapest and its numerous lights, as nothing can really compare to this.

8. Go to Kisuzem

This relatively small set-in-stone place is loved by locals and offers a unique experience. With stone walls and round tables, it has a medieval sort of appeal that draws people in. Delicious teas and coffee that accompany the food and occasional gigs add to its value. If you are looking for a full breakfast that isn’t on the light side, then this is the place for you (also perfect for a hangover ).

9. Go to Vintage Garden

If you are into girly and romantic things then you need to check this place out. With beautiful decorations, tasty food and never ending choice of flavored lemonade, Vintage Garden is something worth the visit. The décor changes sometimes, as they always write different cute messages on the framed black canvases that hang around the place. The food is really good and healthy, especially the Chicken Nugget Burger and Oreo Cheesecake( best one in town). Just be sure to call in advance, it’s almost always full.

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Vintage Garden

10. Go to Kelet Café

I cannot begin to describe how stunning this place is. Just across the Pest side, you can find this café and “library” that is a mix of both of them. Kelet is a place where you can work or study, read one of the many books and magazines they have or just come to enjoy their dishes. With a variety of coffees, teas, and hot chocolate, it is unlike anything you have ever tried before. They also have a number of sandwiches and soups, with a hint of Moroccan influence that will keep you full and satisfied. For all those who love a good cup of coffee alongside a good book, this place has what you need.

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Budapest, the city of wonders

In Hungary

Dear Visitor,

It gives me a great pleasure to write my first travel guide about a city that I grew up in. First I want you to know that I absolutely love Hungary and Budapest, and I am thrilled that the tourism is booming right now, at least in the capital city. In the next few minutes you will read the most important things to know about Budapest, through a university student’s eyes. (I study Tourism and Hospitality at the Corvinus University of Budapest.)

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Budapest’s finest destinations and events

Having my university in the heart of the city, I get to see almost every sightseeings in Budapest every day. In my honest opinion the unis in Budapest are also worth visiting, because they are magnificent with their 100 year old architectural cultures. Of course, they are not the main attractions. One of the the best experience might be crossing the Liberty Bridge. It starts from Buda from the amazing Gellért Hotel and Baths, and it is located right next to the Gellért Mountain, so you get a perfect view of the mountain from the bridge and also from the Pest side of it. I love this area, because apart from The Great Market Hall, which is a “must” to visit, there are also countless restaurants, cafes and bars with the perfect Hungarian vibe. This is also the square, where the famous Váci Street begins, where you can find any famous clothing shops that you desire. I must add that this area is filled with tourists all the time, so if you are not into that, you might exclude the Váci Street from your list. Going past the extremely long Váci Street, you finally arrive to the gorgeous Vörösmarty Square, where every year there is a huge Christmas Market, which is breathtaking with all the christmas lights and shops.

The next sightseeing I would like to focus on is the St. Stephen’s Basilica and its great area. The third largest church in Hungary stands gracefully in all its enormous glory and seduces almost everyone inside. Though it is truly gorgeous I thinkthe more interesting thing is the nightlife in this area. Close to the church there is the huge Deák Square, which is the meeting point for every young people, who go out to party, because every cool party place is located near the Deák Square and the Basilica. My favourite places are ‘Ötkert’, ‘Kraft’ and the so called ruin pubs. If you are to partying, you should definitely visit one of our ruin pubs, nowadays they count as a huge attraction because of their unique interior designs, they have become the most hip places for tourists and hipsters to drink at, but if you are into more fancy and posh places I can recommend the ‘Mini Bar’ or the ‘Kiosk’ also located near to these places. The nightlife on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, especially during the summer, is really crazy, the Pest side of the city is filled with youn party people. If you would rather rest on the weekend, you should not book an accomodation close to this area, because it gets really busy and loud. If I can give you a good tip, please visit us during the summer. Every year in August one of the most popular music festivals is held in Budapest, called Sziget Festival. This is the most crazy and memorable experience that you can get in Hungary, people from literally all around the world come together for this unbelievably successful festival. I have also been last year for 7 straight days and I got to see artists like Ellie Goulding, Major Lazer, Robbie Williams, Florence amd the Machine and the list could go on for a while. Just unforgettable, you should try it once in your life.

Continuing our Budapest adventure I encourage you to try street food places during the day, they are really awesome. I do not care what anyone says, the so called and heavenly delicious Chimney Cake is a traditional Hungarian dessert and it is not from the Czech Rep. When you are filled with our delicious treats, you should go and check out the Hungarian Parliament. I must admit, ten years ago it was not that pretty as today. Luckily the whole area got renovated and it all looks stunning now. The parliament to Budapest is like the Eiffel Tower to Paris. Everyone associates it as the utlimate sightseeing. Here is what you should do: Hop on the tram number 2 at the Liberty Bridge and the tram takes you all the way to the parliament offering an amazing view of the city and the Danube river, but you might as well just walk the distance, as you prefer. The tram stops at Jászai Mari square, which is really close to the Margaret Island, another great destination while visiting Budapest.File_003

The Margaret Island is located in the middle of the Danube river and the main entrance is located in the middle of the Margaret Bridge. This magical island is home for several concerts during the year and other big events, it is just amazing and lively, especially during the summer. Perfect place for a picnic and you also can visit a small zoo with indigenous animals of the country. Basically it is the Central Park of Budapest.

Closing our destination tour there is one place that I cannot leave out from this article. I mentioned before, that we have Váci Street for cool clothing shops and restaurants. Now, the Andrássy Avenue (Andrássy út as we call it) offers almost the same services but on a much higher level, you see the Andrássy Avenue is all about the luxury. It is the Champs-Elyseés of Budapest, interestingly it was designed after the avenue in Paris. Not only luxury shops like Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Gucci or Armani are located on this avenue, but also the Hungarian State Opera, The Palace of Arts, the Museum of Fine Arts and the incredibly famous House of Terror. The road connects the Elizabeth Square and the Városliget, as we get to the end of the avenue you arrive at one of the most visited sightseeings in Budapest, The Heroes Square. Almost every tour bus rides across the Andrássy Avenue, but I think it gives you so much more if you walk the not so short distance to the Heroes Square. Beyond Heroes Square there is the amazing Városliget with the National Zoo and an amazing lake, where you can go boating in the summer and ice skate during the winter.

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I hope you liked my little tour about the most hip places in Budapest, I really like living here, and I interact at the uni with lots of foreign students and basically everyone loves this city. The most tourists come from Germany, UK and France, but it is nice to run into Australians and Americans every now and then. Hope to see you soon in Budapest! All the pictures are my own and for more please visit my Instagram page, @armells_world, where you can join my journeys. 🙂


Aaron Vitos

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