Budapest is a gorgeous city of history and culture that combines old with the new, traditional with modern. There are so many things to do, see and try that you can never really run out of things to do. Even after spending a whole semester in this city in Hungary and trying to do as much as I could, I still haven’t gotten to know everything the city has to offer. Still, I managed to try so many new things and go to many places and I loved every minute of it.
This is the top 10 list of things to visit when in Budapest
1. Go to Szimpla
One thing you definitely can’t miss when in Budapest is Szimpla, one of the biggest and loved ruin bars in the city. Ruin bars are something really unique and specific for Budapest and are the heart and soul of the Hungarian nightlife. Before you are going to a club, or when you just want to relax with your friends and have a beer, ruin clubs are the perfect place. Fancy sitting in a bathtub, or underneath a bicycle? Then Szimpla is perfect for you, as it gives you that and much more. The weirdness is all part of the package and never knowing what you will encounter is what makes it interesting. There is always something happening there, so be sure to get there early as possible and get some seats.
2. Go to Margaret Island
When the weather is beautiful, taking a stroll along Margaret Island is the best way to spend the day. Have a picnic in the shades, enjoy the beautiful flower gardens, ride a bike along the shore. There are so many things you can do on the island that you can never get bored. There are many sporting facilities and a pool for recreation, as well as cafes, restaurants, and stands for those wanting to have a snack or refreshment. Additionally, there is a small zoo where you can play with horses and rabbits, ducks and many birds. And to top it all off, there is a huge fountain at entrance( from the Margit Hid Bridge) that has a musical repertoire, light show and effects that are in synch with the water .
3. Go to Villa Bagatelle
Situated somewhere on the Buda side, Villa Bagatelle is a perfect place for eating breakfast, enjoy delicious-looking desserts or just sip a cup of coffee. Although it takes a while coming from the city center it is definitely a place that is worth the visit. The delicious food and beverages , extremely friendly staff and peaceful atmosphere make you feel like you are in a movie set or in a café along the Seine. The lunch menu is also really appetizing and flavorsome and mainly consists of French dishes.
4. Go to Solinfo Café
The “lamp-café” as the locals call it, is one of the best places in town for those craving a healthy and tasty breakfast. Since it is part of a business that sells lamps, the whole place is full of gorgeous lamps in every shape, size, and color, giving it a well-lit and open appearance. The caramel cream macchiato is one of the best coffees in the city, and there is a variety of fresh fruit lemonades to choose from. For just one euro you can eat a cheese French toast with a side, or enjoy one of their fresh bagels. For those wishing to work or study, I would definitely say this is the perfect place to do so. There are always numerous students at the place that found their place at this stunning café.
Caramel Cream Macchiatto
5. Go ice-skating in the City Park
If you happen to find yourself in Budapest during winter, you’re in luck! Apart from the chance to see the whole city decorated and going to the traditional Christmas market for a glass of mulled wine, you can go ice-skating at the biggest outdoor skating ring. Placed behind the Heroes Square and at the edge of the enormous park, the ring gives you a chance to enjoy your time in Budapest while taking in the beautiful surroundings. Afterward, you can have a drink or dinner at Varosliget, a beautiful restaurant located above the ring from where you can see the whole scenery.
6. Go to the Parliament at night
The biggest Parliament of Europe is a sight for sore eyes- it is beautiful no matter what time of day or year it is, always there to welcome you in its glory. Still, I have to say that there is nothing more breathtaking than seeing the building at nighttime when it is bathed in lights and illuminated from the street lamps. For those wanting to gain the real experience of Budapest and Hungary, this is something that will leave you with a lasting impression.
7. Go to the Buda Castle
If you want to see the whole of Budapest in one stunning view, then head to the Buda Castle. A place full of history and culture, the Castle is just one of those places that you cannot miss. You can see the Royal Palace, museums, churches and spectacular architecture. Even walking along the Castle is an adventure of its own, there are so many twists and turns that you never know where you may end up. Even with all of this, the best thing is when you come during the night and enjoy the view of the whole city of Budapest and its numerous lights, as nothing can really compare to this.
8. Go to Kisuzem
This relatively small set-in-stone place is loved by locals and offers a unique experience. With stone walls and round tables, it has a medieval sort of appeal that draws people in. Delicious teas and coffee that accompany the food and occasional gigs add to its value. If you are looking for a full breakfast that isn’t on the light side, then this is the place for you (also perfect for a hangover ).
9. Go to Vintage Garden
If you are into girly and romantic things then you need to check this place out. With beautiful decorations, tasty food and never ending choice of flavored lemonade, Vintage Garden is something worth the visit. The décor changes sometimes, as they always write different cute messages on the framed black canvases that hang around the place. The food is really good and healthy, especially the Chicken Nugget Burger and Oreo Cheesecake( best one in town). Just be sure to call in advance, it’s almost always full.
10. Go to Kelet Café
I cannot begin to describe how stunning this place is. Just across the Pest side, you can find this café and “library” that is a mix of both of them. Kelet is a place where you can work or study, read one of the many books and magazines they have or just come to enjoy their dishes. With a variety of coffees, teas, and hot chocolate, it is unlike anything you have ever tried before. They also have a number of sandwiches and soups, with a hint of Moroccan influence that will keep you full and satisfied. For all those who love a good cup of coffee alongside a good book, this place has what you need.