Budapest: off the beaten track

Budapest: off the beaten track

Exploring hidden Budapest

Budapest overflows with charm. With its 19th Century architecture and elegant skyline, it’s easy to see why it’s been a cultural hub of central Europe for years. Bohemian cafés and restaurants spill out onto the pavements, giving way after dark to an amazingly varied and unique nightlife scene. Combine this with its incredible public transport and tranquil, clean streets and it’s clear that Budapest is an utterly unmissable stop on your European adventure.

There’s no end of fantastic things to see and do during your time in this beautiful city, but if you want to escape the crowds, hang out with the locals and get a real sense of the city, this is the place to start…

 

Try traditional Hungarian food, soviet style:

In the castle district you’ll find plenty of touristy shops and cafes, but for a typical Hungarian experience, head to an “önkiszolgáló étterem”. This is the hungarian word for ‘public cantine’ and refers to self service eateries which were originally soviet-run. It’s not gourmet but it’s tasty and quick, and you’ll get a taste of Magyar cuisine for only a couple of euros. Try the Castle District Cantine (Fortuna utca 4) where you can grab a meal for around 800HUF (£2).

Wander the West City Centre:

Take a stroll towards west city centre, leaving the tourists behind at St Steven’s Basilica in all its gilted glory. Near the houses of parliament (modelled on our very own in Westminster) you’ll find plenty of trendy cafes and shops which are off the tourist path, not to mention the surrounding gardens. This tranquil quarter of Budapest is also home to the Hungarian house of Photography, an under-the-radar gem where you can while away an hour or so looking at the work of local photographers.

Parks and Recreation:

Continue from the West City Centre on to Margaret Island. Here you can hire bikes – or if you’re feeling flashy, an electric buggy – to explore the greenery. This island floating in the middle of the great Danube is a great place for a picnic or just a calming break from the bustling city. While there are a few tourists here, being a little further out of the city means that it remains mostly home to locals relaxing and playing sports.

After a good night out you’ll need to refuel and unwind – you can’t go to Budapest and miss out its delicious food and famous baths. Rather than flock to the rammed cafes around Deak Ferenc Ter, head to Hummus Bar on Bartok Bela Utca for a delicious, healthy lunch (a steal at around £1.50!) and prepare for an afternoon of relaxation.

While hundreds flock to the enormous Szecheni spa in City Park, if you want to avoid the crowds and save a few forint you might be best staying on the Buda side. Our favourite has to be the Rudas Baths – nestled just below the liberty statue and citadella, this network of pools, thermal baths and terraces is a little piece of heaven which remains below the tourist radar. For the perfect end to your trip, head to the spa after dark (at the weekend there’s even an option to go from 10pm – 4am) and sip a cocktail in the bar before making your way up to the rooftop pool to admire its stunning views of the city at night.

Lunch and Leisure:

After a good night out you’ll need to refuel and unwind – you can’t go to Budapest and miss out its delicious food and famous baths. Rather than flock to the rammed cafes around Deak Ferenc Ter, head to Hummus Bar on Bartok Bela Utca for a delicious, healthy lunch (a steal at around £1.50!) and prepare for an afternoon of relaxation.

While hundreds flock to the enormous Szecheni spa in City Park, if you want to avoid the crowds and save a few forint you might be best staying on the Buda side. Our favourite has to be the Rudas Baths – nestled just below the liberty statue and citadella, this network of pools, thermal baths and terraces is a little piece of heaven which remains below the tourist radar. For the perfect end to your trip, head to the spa after dark (at the weekend there’s even an option to go from 10pm – 4am) and sip a cocktail in the bar before making your way up to the rooftop pool to admire its stunning views of the city at night.

This magical experience really is the best possible way to end your time in Budapest, avoiding the crowds while leaving you rejuvenated and refreshed for the rest of your trip!

Budapest is one of our most popular destinatons – with most of our routes running through it there’s no excuse not schedule it into your Euroventure today!

Words by Catherine Livesley

 

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