Traveling with his mother and grandmother, they went sightseeing, shopping and enjoying the day. Then they flew, but now with the highways you can get from Berlin to Budapest in less than 8 hours. And you can always stop in Prague on the way. Separated by the Danube in the middle of the city, Budapest is the fusion of two cities; Buda and Pest. The country is one of the oldest cities and capitals in Europe with the city’s first settlement dating so far inhabited by Celtic tribes. During the first century AD, Roman fortifications were built in the area and as such it became an important center of trade. In the 13th century, the region was conquered by the Mongols, then by the Ottomans and finally by the Austro-Hungarians. With so many rich and people claiming Budapest as their own, the cultural make-up of Europe’s most unique city with the influences of the three rich still marks the capital.
Budapest is a unique place with a unique language and culture that can’t really be found elsewhere on the continent. While not as thriving as a tourist destination as places like Paris or London, Budapest offers a youthful atmosphere, world-class nightlife, and beautiful quaint architecture that makes you feel like you’re living in a fairy tale. Budapest also offers a lowest cost of living that tourists will certainly like compared to Western European capitals. So take a walk along the banks of the Danube in Buda or Pest, and discover some of these great things to do in the Hungarian capital.
Treat your sweet tooth at the Budapest Chocolate Museum
The Budapest Chocolate Museum is a bit on the outskirts of the city and is like a trip to see Hungarian Willy Wonka. It turns out that not only the Swiss and Belgians are masters in chocolate making, and Hungary also has a rich history in chocolate making. The Budapest Chocolate Museum is a nice place to learn and eat Hungarian chocolate. Take a culinary tour through the history of chocolate, take a tasting lesson and even make your own chocolate treats or dip marzipan in their huge chocolate fountain. The Budapest Chocolate Museum also has a collection of several Hungarian paintings, all of which are the main thing – chocolate.
Admire the iconic St. Stephen’s Basilica
For the traveler on a budget looking to get a dose of culture, head to the beautiful St. Stephen’s Basilica. The church is perhaps the jewel in the crown of Budapest. The church is named after the first king of Hungary who ruled from 975 to 1038. The church is one of the largest in the country, accommodating nearly 9,000 people and housing an interior with lush and intricate paintings and murals adorning the walls and ceiling. Guests can even take a walk on the dome and get a beautiful view of the city or visit the reliquary where St. John’s right hand is said to be.Stephen can be seen. Concerts of classical music and organ are often held here, so you can always make a performance (which sometimes goes out even on the street). If you are going to visit keep in mind that it is still a place of worship so dress a little modest.
Discover Buda Castle
The absolutely massive castle complex is one of the largest examples of Baroque architecture in the country. Completed in 1265, the castle is the historic home of Hungarian kings and monarchs. The castle is now a UNESCO World Heritage site and although it was largely finished during World War II, the castle has been rebuilt and now houses several important things to check out, such as the Hungarian National Gallery and the Budapest History Museum. The complex is huge and you can spend a whole day visiting the various museums, shops, restaurants and even hotels on site.
Have a drink at Szimpla Kert
Although the bar only opened in 2001, the concept of Szimpla Kert is one that you can find in several other places in the city. Szimpla Kert is one of the most popular of the “ruin bars” which are a cultural phenomenon of turning unconventional hangouts such as ruined buildings and empty spaces into strange and eclectic bars and nightclubs. Szimpla Kert is one of Budapest’s first “ruin bars” and it’s a maze of rooms filled with kitschy decor, weird souvenirs and inexpensive drinks. Szimpla Kert moved to the city before finding its permanent home in the Jewish quarter in 2004 and now the space operates as a farmer’s market during the day and a bar at night, as well as hosting live music evenings and film screenings.
See the strange open-air museum of Memento Park
In the 1950s, Hungary was one of the first countries to revolt against the Soviet regime, and since the end of World War II, it was under the thumb of the Soviets. During their time at the head of the country, they built tons of statues of things of Russian soldiers of the Second World War in leaders like Stalin and Lenin. When the wall collapsed in 1989, the country suddenly found itself with a set of statues that Hungarians felt did not really represent. So the government decided to save the images instead of finishing them, and that’s how Memento Park was born.
Located minutes from the city center, Memento Park is an open-air museum that houses more than 40 statues from the Communist era. Although many do not necessarily look at the time with love, Hungarians still see it as part of their history and the park therefore wants to take a neutral approach to the statues, neither honoring nor ridiculing them. One of the most interesting pictures is Stalin’s giant boots. In October 1956, the inhabitants of Budapest demolished a statue of Stalin and left only his boots, which are now in the park.
Enjoy the view of the Fisherman’s Bastion
A striking structure of the Budapest skyline is located directly on the Danube and is a historical part of the city. Fishermen’s bastion, built in Romanesque revival style and was built between 1895 and 1902, for the thousandth anniversary of the Hungarian state, too. The building consists of seven towers that represent the seven chiefs of the Magyars who visited Hungary in 895 BC. founded. The original purpose of the structure was to protect the Buda Castle located near an enemy attack while the fisherman’s bastion overlooks the river and sits high so that the defenders could see the enemies coming from afar. Legend has it that it was a guild of fishermen who protected the bastion so the building was named after them.