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.
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
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, Petőfi 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 of different cheap and good stores for buying food (LIDL, TESCO, ALDI, SPAR). The best thing about this city is that you have 0-24 stores (RONI ABC) at Astoria. So if you are out at 2 am, or 5 am and really hungry, don’t worry you always have RONI who will feed you really good. If you don’t want to cook at home, you can always go and eat outside in Hungarian, Greek, Turkish, or Japanese (WOK at Astoria is the best one) restaurants.
Budapest public transportation
If you come to visit Budapest you can easily use public transportation BKK Centre for Budapest Transport (buses, trams, metros, trolleybuses, bicycles, little scooters). When I first traveled to Budapest, I traveled by plane for the first time. The flight was only 20 minutes long, not to mention we had 40 minutes long security check. Budapest traffic is well organized. Every time you think you are lost you can always rely on the river Danube. Cost of single ticket is 350HUF (1€), you can buy a daily ticket for 24 to more hours (13€ to 26€). From spring until autumn there is boat service on the Danube. The city offers new MOL Bubi green bike system which is situated at 76 stations around the city. You can choose a) 24, 72-hour, or seven-day ticket, b) a 180 or 365-day pass. The cost goes from 500HUF to 12 000HUF (1.6€ – 38.6€) and first 30 minutes are free. The best way to fully experience the city is to take a bike and just explore every corner of Budapest, really felt it, smell it, taste it and maybe randomly meet new people and just have fun. You will become a lot more enriched with new stories to tell.
What nightlife can Budapest offer?
The hottest nightlife district in Budapest is the 7th district. There are a lot of fun, unique ruin pubs „romkocsma“ in Hungarian, mixed with restaurants, street foods, art-galleries and design stores. Most popular ruin pub is Szimpla Kert decorated with vintage eclectic decor, a Trabant car, old phones, you can sit on the cut bathtub with pillows around it, read books, watch some weird shows on the old TVs hanged on the wall, listen to a different kind of music, drink beers and just chill. There are also Gozsdu udvar (Gozsdu Court), Fogasház (’Teeth House’), Corvin tető (Corvin’s roof) to visit. Budapest is a multicultural city. If you want a latino vibe you should definitely visit House Bar. One night my friend took me there and I was blown away. The bar has a very vibrant, positive, fun and latino energy and the staff treats everyone like family. You can chill with your friends, the prices are cheap and the drinks are great, you can learn a little bit of salsa before the party, dance through the night, have fun and meet people from Latin America to Europe.
Your visit to Budapest will definitely make a remarque on your soul and your life and you will want to return again.