Budapest in Hungary has become my favourite place in the world. I have been to many cities in Europe and other parts of the world and every city has its charm, but let me tell you why Budapest is beautiful and why you will never go hungry in Hungary.
Hungry in Hungary?
Food is key when visiting any city. It not only stops you from feeling tired but it also gives you a feel of the culture. We tried many cuisines in Budapest and I dare say that I was never disappointed. I even tried the Street food which I rarely venture out to do.
On the Pest side, where we were staying, we ate delicious risotto and pasta at an Italian Osteria called Osteria. Budapest is close to Italy so has many fine Italian restaurants. We enjoyed listening to the live singer and pianist playing Michael Buble and Beethoven Classics. Quite a romantic night out!
On the Buda side, my favourite place to eat good Hungarian food is called Pest Buda. I still cannot stop thinking about the Chicken Paprikash with Buttered noodles, the traditional goulash soup and the stuffed cabbage. It was my favourite meal in Budapest as it gave me a great feel of Hungarian food. What I love about Hungarians is that they love their meat! They eat meat with every meal, and eat meat with meat. Meat is stuffed with meat or “vegetarian” style dishes are garnished with meat …. or bacon….!
Did I mention that the Hungarians love meat? Well, they also do a great Kransky and the best one that I tried was made by a street vendor next to our hotel, the Le Meridian (highly recommended by the way!). The aromas were enticing as we walked past these streets vendors and we could not resist sampling the menu in between lunch and dinner. If you want to have a taste test, I suggest that you wash it down with some freshly brewed apple cider.
Did anyone say Castle?
If the food doesn’t entice you, then the Castle district will. The Castle district is located on the Buda side of Budapest. The Buda castle is not as beautiful as it once was as it was destroyed in the war but the Castle districts remains Budapest’s main treasure. The Castle district has such a fairy tale feel to it. The best part of the Castle district is the view of Budapest from the Buda Castle, Fisherman’s Bastion and Matthias Church.
Just a stroll in the park
Although it rained a little during our visit, we didn’t mind because the walk around Budapest is scenic. The parks are clean and the streets feel safe and because it is Spring, the flowers were in full bloom.
We especially enjoyed the atmosphere around St Stephen’s Basilica. St Stephen’s Basilica is named after the first King of Hungary. Since we visited in Easter, St Stephen’s Basilica was closed, but it would have been interesting to see the mummified hand of King Stephen which is stored inside. Either way, St Stephens is definitely a sight worth seeing in Budapest, if not just to sit and enjoy the architecture.
We even spent some evenings strolling to the Chain Bridge to just enjoy the view of the Castle district. The city has a completely different feel at night, especially next to the Chain Bridge. We sometimes stood by the Danube River and looked out into the Castle district feeling a sense of calmness. It’s definitely the most romantic spot in the city!
Hungarian Kings and Bath Houses
Where in Budapest can you see some Hungarian Kings and visit a Bath house? The Pest side of Budapest of course! When we made our way to the bath house, we made sure to stop by Heroes‘ Square. When we first set eyes on Heroes’ Square, we were amazed at how grand the Millennium Monument was. The Millennium Monument was built in honour of the 1000th anniversary of the Magyar conquest – Budapest was initially settled by 7 Asian tribes called the Magyars. I really enjoyed looking at the statues of Hungarian Kings and famous Hungarians and could feel the pride that Hungarians have in their culture and history (whether good or bad).
After admiring the Heroes at Heroes’ Square, we then made our way for a relaxing time in one of Budapest’s famous bath houses, Szechenyi Bath and Spa. The bath house has indoor and outdoor pools. Though the indoor pools were warm and relaxing, I had the most fun in the outdoor pools. The outdoor pools are fitted with a spa and on that particularly day, the spa was working overtime and was causing a whirlpool… so we swam round and round and round… until we could swim and laugh no more! If you decide to go, keep an eye out for the old men playing chess in the pool and don’t forget to bring your slippers as the tiles are cold!
The Opulence of the Opera
After a fun day at the bath house, we went back to our hotel and got changed for the Opera. The Budapest Opera House is one of the most famous Opera Houses in the world and has many magnificent shows all year round. The design of the Opera House is impressive on the outside as it is on the inside.
I remember standing outside the Opera House in anticipation for the Ballet. Then when I stepped inside the Opera House, I was even more amazed by it’s opulence. The Opera House had a royal feel with grand red-carpeted stair cases, interesting statues, marble pillars, chandeliers and high ceilings. We spent some time wandering around until it was time to find our seats, and enjoy a magical evening at the Ballet. I loved watching the ballerinas effortlessly tell a story through dance while appearing to defy gravity. It was definitely a night to remember and the best end to a beautiful long weekend in Budapest!
Next stop is Barcelona! Can you recommend any nice places to eat there?
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