I visited a lot of cities in Europe, some were more impressive, others more entertaining, but I gotta admit ... for now ... that Budapest became my favorite european city. I first discovered the beautiful capital of Hungary last summer in July 2014. My first trip lasted 5 nights, and after that short trip, I knew I had to turn back. So I booked another flight to Budapest for September 2014. After those 2 trips last year, I'm heading back this summer in August 2015.
There is so much to discover and to enjoy in Budapest. The city is packed with delicious restaurants, beautifully designed bars, and lots of historical sights. The main attractions are located centrally. Most parts are reachable by walking distances, so public transportation isn't needed. For the 10 days i spent in the capital, we always had the best weather.
Let's start with the north of the city-center, where the Budapest City Park Városliget is located. You can spend a couple of hours in that part of city. The beautiful park is surrounded by historical buildings & castles, the famous heroes square, a big pond, and a bunch of restaurants. I'd recommend the restaurant "Robinson" and its charming outdoor dining area, where you can try some delicious hungarian dishes, and a panoramic view of the pond the park is included with your hungarian goulash. :) Inside the park, there's the famous and biggest thermal bath of Budapast "Széchenyi". It's an eyecatcher for sure, and you will feel like taking a bath in the 19th century. Every weekend they organize an open-air party at the Széchenyi thermal bath. Even if it's cold or raining, the warm temperature of the water, will put you at ease.
If you're booking a hotel room, I'd recommend looking for the area nearby the St. Stephen's Basilica. In my opinion that's the very center of the city. You can reach anything within walking distance. Just in front of the basilica starts the Zrinyi Street, which is packed with restaurants, and some of the most popular clubs and bars of Budapest. The Erzsébet Square is only 3 minutes walking away from the basilica. The square is a beautiful and hip place to hangout all day in summer time. People are cooling down their foot in the small pool, you can have food at the nearby open-air dining area, or you just go clubbing at the Akvarium Club which is located below the square in the basement floor.
The southern part of the city, which is located on the BUDA side of the Danube river, is reachable within 20 minutes. Just pass the Széchenyi Chain Bridge, and follow the path to the top of the Buda Castle, or the less tiring option would be the elevator. From the top of the hill, you can enjoy the the beautiful skyline of the PEST side of the city. You get pretty much the same view from different areas of the BUDA side. The Citadella fortress on the south-east side is totally worth the hike. It's even higher than the Buda castle, and on the top there's beautiful botanical garden (during summer time), once you walk down the citadella hill, you will reach the famous thermal bath Gellert. Passing Gellert, and moving over the bridge back to the Pest side, you will hit the Central Market Hall, which is worth a visit.
WHAT KEEPS ME GOING BACK TO BUDAPEST ...
• it never gets boring. I guess i've seen most of the main attractions, but just walking through the streets of Budapest is totally enjoyable. Everyone is super friendy, and everyone I met speaks english, even the older generation.
• it's cheap ! Like many eastern-european cities, food & drinks are half the price than central Europe. It's a great city, to go out dining in a restaurant everyday. Expect to pay around 10 euro [13 Us$] for a starter, the main dish, a coffee, 2 softdrinks and a glass of wine. Half a pint of beer is around 1 euro, gin&tonic is around 3.50 euro, and a cocktail around 5 euro.
• it's a lively city. I've only been there twice, but during those trips there was a biiiig beer festival in the mainstreet of the center, a food festival, parties on the cruising-ship, parties at the thermal bath, a techno party at the Margit Island... Budapest people know how to enjoy life. The city has a big diversity of bars, wine bars, restaurants... boredom never comes up.
• it's easy to meet people in Budapest. Not only locals, but during summer season, there are lots of tourists and students all over the city. Is it annoying ? Not really, there are so many different places to hang out that you won't notice the huge amount of tourists in the city. Budapest women are very pretty as well ! Classy, and good looking... Sorry girls, I can't tell about the men. :)
I had such a great time in Budapest, that it keeps me from visiting the beautiful city of Prague. Both cities often get compared with each other, that's why I'm afraid of not enjoy Prague that much, after I fell i love with Budapest.
• Here's a gallery of the photos I took during my trip : Budapest