Budapest, the pearl of the Danube, is undoubtedly ranked as one of my top 10 favorite European cities. It is not as widely visited as other western European cities but definitely worth a shot. It was always on my wanderlust since I was a student in West Germany during the cold war era. There was no internet, cell phones, and definitely no Google to search the internet for information; at that time, the only source of information I got was from my classmates who reportedly escaped from the eastern communist regime like Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia. With whom I spent an enormous amount of time gathering stories that fascinated me as a traveler.

Since then, I have visited Hungary a few times, and every visit surprised me with its stunning architecture, a culture that can be unique; Budapest truly lives up to its well-deserved reputation as a captivating and enchanting city. With its unique charm and allure, this magical destination should undoubtedly find its way onto every traveler’s bucket list. Offering something a little off the beaten path, Budapest beckons those seeking an extraordinary experience. Prepare to be entranced as you delve into the hidden gems, immerse yourself in the rich culture, and embark on unforgettable adventures in this remarkable city.

Budapest, Hungary
From Buda Castle a view of Pest and the Chain Bridge on the Danube river

Getting Around

Budapest’s extensive transit network features subways, trams, and buses. Public transportation is inexpensive and quite easy to navigate. Since the city is relatively small, many attractions are within reasonable walking distance. The 24hr or 72hr Budapest card gives travelers unlimited use of public transportation, free entry into 8 museums, and entry into the St Lukács Bath.

Budapest, Hungary
Random shot while going to Buda Castle

Things To Do And See

Budapest is home to a few UNESCO heritage sites, so there are many things to see. Most attractions are within walking distance, making seeing the city easy in just a few days. The three main areas are; Castle Hill, Gellért Hill and Citadel, the Pest side of Budapest, and Heroes’ Square. Here is a list of things to do in Budapest, away from the typical tourist traps and overpriced attractions.

Visit Heroes Square

The park near Heroes’ Square is a beautiful green oasis in the city’s heart – it’s definitely worth visiting. And in winter, you can even go ice skating there. The Millennium Monument dominates the heroes square. Its highlight is a column topped by Archangel Gabriel holding the Hungarian Holy Crown. Behind that are two curved columns with states of Hungarian historical people. Heroes Square is a world heritage site and sometimes a gathering spot for political events.

Budapest, Hungary
Heroes Square is a world heritage site and sometimes gathering spot for political events

The City Park and Szechenyi Spa

Another great place to visit is The City Park, right behind Heroes Square and the Szechenyi spa. (behind Heroes Square) to Széchenyi Spa. Perfect place to visit after a long day of sightseeing; you’ll appreciate a soak at Budapest’s most famous spa.

Vajdahunyad Castle and the Museum

Visit Vajdahunyad Castle, which is located close to Heroes Square and houses the Museum of Hungarian Agriculture. Right behind the Heroes Square are the Vajdahunyad Castle and the Museum of Hungarian Agriculture

Budapest, Hungary
Right behind the Heroes Square is the Vajdahunyad Castle and the Museum of Hungarian Agriculture

Enjoy The Unique View Of Budapest By Night

Budapest looks extraordinarily beautiful at night when historical monuments are lit up along the River Danube. So at night, go for a stroll along the river and stop to admire and take pictures of the beautifully lit buildings along the Danube River.

Budapest, Hungary
A night view of the Buda from the Hotel’s outdoor restaurant!

Spending a Day Exploring The Buda Castle Hill

Embark on a captivating journey as you spend the day exploring the magnificent grounds of the Buda Castle. From its regal perch, revel in the breathtaking panorama that unfolds before your eyes, offering a splendid view of the bustling activities along the Danube river and the vibrant cityscape of Pest. Immerse yourself in the rich history and architectural wonders of this iconic landmark, all while being treated to a mesmerizing vista that will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression.

Budapest, Hungary
Now Buda Castle is the home to Budapest History Museum & Hungarian National Gallery

Enjoy The View of Budapest from Fisherman’s Bastion

While near the castle, stop by the Fisherman’s Bastion and visit the church of Santo Stefano.

A view of Budapest from Buda Castle Hill
Fisherman’s Bastion, budapest
Fisherman’s Bastion on top of Buda Castle Hill

Explore Gellert Hill and Citadel (Citadella)

Perched majestically atop Gellert Hill in Budapest, Hungary, the citadel reigns as a formidable fortification. Referred to as Citadella in Hungarian, this architectural marvel stands as a symbol of strength and resilience. From its elevated position, the commanding presence of the Liberty Monument graces the city’s skyline, serving as a poignant reminder of Hungary’s hard-fought liberation from Nazi rule at the culmination of World War II. Unveiled in 1947, this monumental tribute, consisting of three statues, finds its home within the walls of the Citadella, offering a perfect vantage point to immerse oneself in the awe-inspiring inner Buda city view. The sight of the Liberty Monument, visible from virtually every corner of Budapest, not only captivates the eyes but also stirs the hearts, embodying the indomitable spirit and resilience of the Hungarian people in the face of adversity.

Liberty Monument -Budapest, Hungary
The Liberty Statue is a female figure holding a palm leaf, symbol of victory and success, above her head.
Budapest, Hungary
A view from Liberty Monument

Enjoy Roadside Local Food and Drinks

Immersing oneself in the vibrant atmosphere of Budapest while indulging in local cuisine is an ideal way to spend an enchanting evening. As the sun sets, take a seat at one of the charming outdoor establishments, where you can savor the flavors of Hungarian delicacies. To enhance the experience further, be sure to accompany your meal with a selection of local beers. This delightful combination of delicious food and refreshing brews will undoubtedly elevate your evening to new heights of enjoyment.

Budapest, Hungary
Having local food in one of these roadside restaurants
Having my late lunch after a long day of exploring

Bonus To Do List: Danube River Sightseeing Boat

A sightseeing river cruise is a great way to see the city and around the Danube River.

Danube River Cruise
A view of Chain Bridge connecting Danube River Cruise

Where to stay in Budapest, Hungary

InterContinental Budapest, an IHG Hotel

The InterContinental Budapest enjoys an excellent location on the banks of the Danube next to the Chain Bridge. Therefore, all important sights are within easy walking distance. The Váci shopping street, the Central Market Hall, and the Gellért Baths are also nearby. In addition, Tram stops can be found right outside the hotel. The elegantly furnished suites and rooms at the InterContinental feature sleek interior design. Some offer stunning views of the river and the castle. Guests can savor Lebanese dishes or modern fusion dishes at the on-site restaurant.

Gateway Budapest City Center

With all studios in the 5th district, Gateway Budapest City Center provides a central location, air conditioning, and free WiFi connection. The self-serviced apartments are located in recently renovated buildings, featuring a flat-screen TV and a fully equipped modern kitchen. Several restaurants, bars, and supermarkets are within a 5-minute walk from the Gateway Budapest City Center. In addition, the Nyugati Railway Station, the Grand Boulevard, and the Westend Shopping Center can be reached within 15 minutes on foot.

My Opinion and Last Word

Have you been to Budapest, Hungary? Any cool tips to share?

loved being in Budapest, Hungary, and want to go back again. I hope my story has motivated you to visit Hungary.

Please leave a comment below! I’d love to hear from you to improve my knowledge. 

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Hasan Mahmud

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