Budapest is a very popular destination in the summer, and with good reason. The capital of Hungary has lots of things to discover and everyone will find something to their liking.
The Buda side of the river is full of eye-catching monuments. Perhaps the most photogenic of them all are the towers of Fisherman’s Bastion. Don’t miss to visit the beautiful Matthias Church as well when you are up there, with its impressive stained glass windows.
If you feel up to some workout, hike your way up to the top of Gellért Hill, where you will find the Citadella. The old fortress was finished in 1854 and it’s easy to find with the imposing Liberty Statue looming over the horizon.
The Buda side also has the Gerard of Csanád Monument, which is worth a look.
One of the first things that people associate with Budapest are the thermal baths.
Perhaps the most famous one is Gellért, situated in a beautiful 1918 Art Nouveau building at the foot of the Gellért hill where the mineral hot springs originate from. The outdoor pool feature a popular wave machine and there are lots of small indoor pools with varying levels of scorching temperatures.
Széchenyi is almost as popular, easy to recognize by the yellow building. It also has large outdoor pools as well as smaller indoor ones. In comparison to the venerable Gellért, Széchenyi feels more like an amusement park.
Rudas is another popular alternative, where the dim Ottoman chambers provide a relaxed atmosphere.
Ah yes, perhaps one of the things that many young people associate with Budapest. It all got started when creative people saw the use for old abandoned buildings in the 7th District. This area was once a part of the Jewish ghetto, crumbling after the horrors of WW2. Soon others followed and alternative spaces started to appear around the city.
These so called ruin pubs turned out to be quite popular. Today these crumbling water holes offer a great variety of decorations and crowds.
There are too many to mention, but the original Szimpla Kert from 2002 is a great start. Note that it is quite large, so be there early to scout the premises before the crazy crowd arrive. Then move on to Doboz (the one with the evil red-eyed robot in the tree), Fogas Ház, Instant, Red Ruin and many more.
But don’t forget to eat as well! There are lots of dining options ranging from tiny streetfood vendor carts to upscale white-cloth ballrooms. An example of the latter without costing a fortune is the New York Palace Café (Erzsébet krt 9), which you may have seen in shows such as Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown or season seven of Homeland.
At the turn of the century it was arguably the most beloved coffee house in Budapest, and as you enter you can see why. Under the high ornate ceiling and lavish interior you can have breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks, or all at the same time.
If the sweet tooth just can’t get enough, I recommend multiple visits to Café Gerbeaud (Vörösmarty tér 7), a traditional coffeehouse opened in 1858. They have several interesting confectionery, such as the beautiful “cherry bomb” which goes well with a glass of sweet Tokaji.
Last but not least, the cheap but lovely pleasure of just walking around in a large city and soak up the atmosphere.
Walk across the Széchenyi Chain Bridge, marvel at the city view from the Buda Castle, show your respects at the Shoe Monument, stroll through the Városliget park and have an ice cream at Gelarto Rosa.