Elegant like Paris, cosmopolitan and alternative like Berlin – Budapest, the pearl of the Danube, is a magical city that should be on every traveler’s bucket list. So says Italian blogger Antal Gambino, a wandering soul who, like many before him, has fallen in love with the Hungarian capital.
Here is a list of 25 things to do in Budapest away from the typical tourist traps and overpriced attractions:
1. Visit Terror Haz, a former political prison now converted into a museum, and find out more about the Nazi and communist regimes that oppressed Hungary during and after the Second World War.
2. Spend a couple of hours relaxing at the spa. You’ll find many of them scattered around the city but Széchenyi, Rudas and Gellert are by far the most popular.
3. The park near Heroes’ Square (Hosok tere) is a beautiful green oasis right in the heart of the city – it’s definitely worth a visit. And in winter, you can even go ice skating there!
4. Learn how to dance the Csángó: move your right foot, then the left…and twirl!
5. Climb up to Corvin Teto, a bar located atop the Corvin shopping center, and enjoy a drink on the magnificent terrace that overlooks the city.
6. At night, go for a stroll along the river and stop to admire the beautifully lit building of the Parliament.
7. Spend the day exploring the grounds of the Buda Castle, which many say was Sissi’s preferred residence.
8. While you’re near the castle, stop by the Fisherman’s Bastion and visit the church of Santo Stefano.
9. If you have a couple of hours to spare, check out the Hungarian National Museum (Korut). In the museum’s garden you’ll also come across a statue of Garibaldi.
10. If you wish to see a collection of statues from the communist era, visit Memento Park, a park located just outside the city.
11. Hop on a tram and go back and forth along the Danube.
12. Want to escape all the noise and commotion? Grab a train out of Budapest and spend a day in the charming village of Szentendre.
13. Take your time strolling down Andrassy Ut. This beautiful boulevard is full of retro cafés and restaurants. It’s the perfect place to stop for lunch!
14. Spend an evening at Szimpla, the third most beautiful pub in the world according to Lonely Planet.
15. If you want to see more of Budapest’s “ruin pubs”, head over to Fogashaz, another spectacular bar full of charm and history.
16.Try authentic Hungarian dishes at Spinoza, a restaurant located in the Jewish Quarter.
17. Local street food might be a bit heavy on the stomach, but it’s incredibly delicious. Try “lángos”, fried bread topped with grated cheese and sour cream.
18. Drink a shot of Palinka, a local fruit brandy.
19. Visit Europe’s largest synagogue.
20. One of the best places to experience the city’s rich nightlife scene is the Jewish Quarter. Make sure you check it out!
21. Take the time to discover the fascinating vintage shops scattered throughout the Jewish Quarter.
22. Buy souvenirs or fresh veg at the Great Market Hall, the largest and oldest indoor market in Budapest.
23. Travelling to Budapest in August? Then you must go to Sziget, one of the best music festivals in Europe.
24. Watch an aerial acrobatics show near the Danube.
25. If you like alternative music, the underground bar and club Vittula will undoubtedly delight you.
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