Why you will love Budapest!
Split down the middle by the Danube, Budapest is a strangely unspoilt city. It is quite cheap to visit here and the city’s lack of money shows in the way that so many areas still seem unchanged by the last 100 years, aside from the fact that their exteriors are visibly crumbling. In addition to which, the end of communism saw a new generation convert the most condemned buildings into what has become known as ‘Ruin Pubs’, squatter-chic establishments that dot the Pest-side of the city. This all makes for some seriously low-rent romance in my opinion. I went in February when it was freezing with snow, and still lapped up the atmosphere of the place! Whilst Budapest has a similar sized population to Barcelona, its central area is comparatively smaller and pretty easy to navigate on foot, so it makes a great destination for a weekend trip.
Watch out for:
- Crumbling buildings: in certain parts of the city you see scaffolding-like structures sitting in front of the buildings with signs warning you to look out above. These structures aren’t holding the building up, they’re catching falling bricks. It’s kinda scary, kinda amazing in a “what is health and safety?” sense. Same goes for some of the Ruin pubs to be fair – the buildings have been condemned – so watch your step inside.
- Ruin pubs like Csendes Vintage Bar and Szimpla Kert
- The Széchenyi and Gellért Thermal Baths
- Breakfast at Fruccola Kristóf Square
- Coffee at My Little Melbourne and Lumen
- The Széchenyi Chain Bridge at night
- Riding the vintage funicular up Castle Hill
- The Jewish Quarter – a really beautiful area to stay in. Some of the apartments have been really well preserved, including the one I rented
- Shoes on the Danube Bank - an incredibly moving memorial to the Hungarian Jews killed during WWII