When I visited Budapest in April of this this I didn’t know what to expect; however, it turned out to be one of my favourite places that I’ve visited in Europe. It’s been dubbed the ‘Paris of the east’, although since I’ve only ever been to Paris when I was a child, I’d definitely have to visit as a 20-something to see how it compares to Budapest.
There is such a huge amount to do in Budapest – I went for 4 days but I could have easily spent a few more days there. Visiting the ‘House of Terror’ was one of my highlights (even if it does have a sensationalist name… like I’ve mentioned previously about Dachau, places with a disturbing history such as these do not need the dramatics, the places say plenty as they are!). Anyway, I’ve always found countries with a history of communism fascinating and yet Budapest appears to have recovered well. Certainly driving into the city centre from the airport the buildings are reminiscent of it’s past in the Eastern Bloc. Even the ‘apartment’ where we were staying seemed run-down from the outside, although the interior felt much more homely and welcoming. Generally I found the locals to be very welcoming and chatty if you made an effort to talk to them, although not overtly outgoing like you may find in other countries.
Another highlight of mine was visiting Szchenyi baths; I would absolutely love to go back one day in the winter to truly appreciate the heated pools, as it is difficult to appreciate them when the outside air doesn’t feel much cooler. We spent a good few hours here before spending the rest of the day walking (plenty of walking!) and sightseeing. Budapest has such grand architecture and a vast array of beautiful views. One of my favourite views was looking across the Danube to Pest from Buda Castle at night. In terms of nightlife, the ‘ruin pubs’ are a must see. I visited a couple, including the famous Szimpla Kert which was so quirky with a totally relaxed atmosphere.
I’m sure there’s plenty that I’ve missed out since it was a good few months ago that I visited, but overall I would definitely recommend Budapest. It is a beautiful city which exceeded expectations in all areas. I’ll leave you with some pictures, which of course don’t do the city justice…