• Spike

Budapest - Hungary

Updated: May 4, 2020

I really enjoyed my time in Budapest, and it has become one of my favourite European cities. It's quite a large city, but it was easy to get around by walking or using the very old metro, which is an attraction in itself. There are two sides to the city, Buda and Pest, which are connected by the stunning Chain Bridge, which I highly recommend walking across at least once.

What to see

Fisherman's Bastion

On the Buda side of the city is possibly the most beautiful architecture in the city. The only problem is the amount of tourists in the area. This prevented me getting some spectacular photographs, as every where I tried to take a photograph, a tourists head would pop up blocking my view. I'd suggest visiting Fisherman's Bastion as early as possible to avoid the crowds. I'm certain that this would be a beautiful place to visit at sunrise.

There are seven turrets to represent the seven tribes who founded the present day country. It's free to walk around, but there is a fee to enter the turrets. There is also a chapel within the walls, which again is free.

There are some truly amazing views of the city from here, including the stunning Hungarian Parliament Building.


Hungarian Parliament Building

Another amazing piece of Architecture in Budapest is the parliament building. This grand building is the seat of the National Assembly of Hungary, it sits on the Pest side of the city. For a reasonable fee there are guided tours if you wish to explore the interior, which from what I understand is also quite a stunning experience. The tours usually last around 45 minutes and have good reviews, although I myself was happy with admiring the outside.


Shoes on the Danube Bank

On the Pest side of the city, near to the Parliament you'll find shoes sculpted from iron. They are a memorial in remembrance of the Jews who were killed during World War II. Jews were ordered to take off their shoes and then shot on the bank so their bodies would fall into the river. A somber feeling engulfs you as you stand here, but I think memorials such as these are here for a reason, lest we never forget.


Thermal Baths

There are several thermal baths in Budapest, Szechenyi and Gellert are probably the most popular. To say I didn't have time to visit a bath would be inaccurate. I certainly could have made time, I was just a little unsure about wanting to share non chlorinated water with so many strangers. I've heard reports that these waters can get quite dirty, but I now regret not trying it. If I return to Budapest then I will be sure to give this a try. Many of the baths are open during daytime and nighttime, and there are even club nights during the summer evenings.


House of Houdini

As a magician I really enjoyed this small museum, but I'm sure this will appeal to non magicians of all ages too! Although he spent most of his life in America, Houdini was actually born in Budapest, which is the reason for the museum being based here. Upon entrance, an American family and myself were greeted with a short and interactive magic show. This added a really nice touch to the tour I was about to begin. I was then given a private tour around the museum by a beautiful young Hungarian girl. I knew a fair amount about Houdini, but I learnt a lot of new facts and information about the famous escapologist. The staff were very welcoming and friendly, and were happy to answer any questions I had about Houdini. The owner is actually the famous escapologist and magician "David Merlini". He even gave me a small free gift as he recognised I was a magician the moment he saw me. If you want to experience something a little different whilst in Budapest, this is the place to come.


Labyrinth

The Labyrinth is actually under Buda Castle, and is a separate attraction to the castle. I have no idea why, but this place actually scared me. Maybe because I was alone, the creepy music, the cheap looking waxworks scattered around, or maybe it was a combination of all of this. The caves and tunnels are actually hundreds of years old. Although there is plenty of information scattered around on plaques on the walls, rather than a historical and insightful attraction, it's become more of a novelty horror type attraction. The caves are low lit with blue lighting, as fog and smoke fill the passage ways. And there is haunting music as you try to work your way around the maze to find a way out. It actually took me quite a while to find the exit, I found several dead ends and randomly placed props before I made it back to daylight. I would say this was a little overpriced, and not too informative about the caves themselves, yet there was something about it I really enjoyed.


Heroes Square

A little out of the city centre on the Pest side, and not far from Szechenyi Thermal Baths you'll find Heroes Square. A large square filled with statues of Hungarian heroes and leaders, including the Seven Chieftains of the Magyars (which the seven turrets of Fisherman's Bastion represent). It's worth checking out if you're in the area, or if you have time to kill while in Budapest, but I wouldn't consider it worth travelling to if you're only going for the square itself.

Citadella

A fortress on the Buda side of the city, Citadella is a lot larger than I had assumed. It took me quite some time to go around it, which in fairness I'd rather have spent at other sights. Although it's quite impressive, I didn't feel as though the amount of time I spent hiking here was as well spent as in the other areas of Budapest. If you're limited for time in Budapest, I would certainly suggest Fisherman's Bastion over this, but if you have the time then by all means check it out. There are some great views here, and there are many guided tours of the area, which I'm sure would be very informative and cater for many different tourists.


Ruin Bars

You'll find these bars in the old Jewish quarter of the city, built in the ruins of old abandoned buildings. If you're interested in nightlife then you have to check these out. "Simpla Kert" is probably the most well known and it was the ruin bar I visited. The interior is awesome! Filled with various items, bathtubs, a disused Trabant car and with a market and garden. You can buy food as well as drink, and there are various rooms you can explore. What I found most surprising was a girl walking around offering free carrots. Apparently carrots help nullify the acid in the alcohol you have drunk, which means you're able to drink more.

Columbo Statue

Just one more thing. If you're a fan of the famous US Detective Columbo, then you'll find a statue of him on Falk Miksa Street. Why is there a statue of Columbo I hear you ask? Well there is a rumour that the actor Peter Falk was related to Miksa Falk, whom the street is named after. Why there isn't a statue of Miksa Falk instead, I don't know. Still, if you're in the area and you're a Columbo fan, then make sure you get a photo with his statue.











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