When you are planing your travels for this year, don’t forget to check out Budapest and book a ticket. This city is getting more and more popular and it deserves the attention. You shouldn’t miss it, and I tell you why!
I guess you expected something less practical and more touching as a first point, but don’t worry, those points will come too. We all know that traveling can cost shitloads of money, so it matters that Hungary has very reasonable prices for anyone who is visiting from the western countries. (Not for us. Politics are crap here.) By very reasonable I mean like approx 3-4 euros for a main course or a long drink for example. Pretty good deal, ah?
It offers you the best food
For those affordable prices you can get a wide range of high quality and creative dishes of like every culture. Budapest is a true melting pot of gastronomy. There are some prominent trends: we have the best burger scene, incredible street food options, while also amazing high end restaurants, and nowadays vegetarian, thai and vietnamese, and paleo confectionery are also growing fast. But you can find anything you would like to taste.
Oh, and hungarian food is fantastic too. Believe me. (No, it’s not just gulash.)
It has the most enjoyable nightlife
Have you heard about ruin pubs? It’s a nightlife phenomenon started in Budapest and while some other cities also try to experiment with it, we are still the masters. The 7th district of the city (where the ghetto was located in the World War II) was full of doomed, not so tempting buildings. A dead, unpopular area. When some guys came up with the idea to open a bar in it – and instead of renovating the building first – kept its special vibe.
Nowadays there are pubs and restaurants in every gateway around the area, which all have their special facets. You can have a drink (for cheap of course) in a bar where some hippies are playing guitar next to you and then have the next somewhere where people are dancing salsa around you, and finish the night at an indie party in some fancy basement. Because yeah, we also have great parties. And concerts.
Oh, and I have to mention that we have very delicious hand-crafted beers and wines. You haven’t lived till you tried some Tokaji Aszú. *takes a break from writing to pour a glass of wine
It has rich history
Budapest and the Hungarian nation experienced a lot through history and these events all left a mark on us. Budapest was part of the Roman Empire and therefore we have Roman heritage sites. We had a very eventful Mediavel Age that left its fingerprint on our wonderful Buda Castle. (Note: it’s not just a single castle. It’s a whole district with a system of buildings, above the city, winking on the Parliament on the other side of the river). We were ruled by the Ottoman Empire, which led to our wonderful turkish baths. We suffered from the World War II but fortunately still have a very vivid Jewish community whose stories are worth listening. We were part of the Soviet block and built the tipical block houses, but also started a revolution in 1956 and you can still see the bullet holes on some walls. And of course everything left its visual sign on the architecture of Budapest. You can find buildings from every era.
There is no touristy bullshit
You won’t be harassed on the streets at every mayor attraction to buy some crappy souvenirs like a little metal Parliament or Castle. If you want one, you have to go to a shop. You also won’t get harassed to buy flowers/umbrellas in case of rain on the streets. Most of the tourist scams you won’t find here. Well, unfortunately not all of them: you better check the bill if you travel by taxi and for God’s sake, do not eat on Váci street unless you checked the restaurant in advance on Tripadvisor or Yelp. (Here’s a restaurant I can recommend!) But mostly you can spend your time calm and enjoyable without people trying to trick your money away from you.
You can do anything
Budapest offers a varied selection of indoor and outdoor activities. It has its urban, classic big city part with the pubs, artisan cafés and traffic, but also has the Buda hills if you would like to go to the nature and enjoy hiking. I already mentioned the baths, and in the summer you can also go to some beaches. The Danube is a nice river to take a boat cruise. You can find very interesting museums, sometimes with exhibitions of the world’s most famous painters. You can just get lost in the city streets and parks, or join walking tours. And all the activities are just easy and fast to reach, all in one city. In winter you can even go skiing very close to Budapest.
Easy to reach
Once you are in Europe it’s just so easy and cheap to fly to Budapest. Or visit it by train. Bus. Car. There’s no excuse to skip it!