For most people that I know, traveling to Budapest, Hungary is not number one on their “must do” list, and I can sort of understand why. At first glance, there is nothing extraordinarily famous to see, and it seems very similar to slightly more popular cities in its architecture and cuisine. In fact, its often called the “Paris of the east” when referring to its romantic vibe and night time scenery, which in itself describes a notion of repetition as a tourist destination in Europe. Some of you may ask, “Why would I travel to a city like Paris when I can just go to Paris?” Well, as someone who has been to both cities, I believe that I have the knowledge to tell you why, in my opinion, Budapest is worth it!
Being that I was there for a mere four days, I am not going to pretend that I am an expert on the city of Budapest. However, I can tell you the impression that it made on me during my stay while simultaneously hoping you don’t think I’m a pretentious know-it-all.
Budapest is Nice To Your Wallet
Firstly, Budapest is one of the most inexpensive cities that I have ever been to, and it’s not like we traveled like hitchhiking students either! We stayed in a very nice two bedroom apartment, went to a five star restaurant and experienced Budapest’s most famous thermal spa all on a fairly low range budget. In comparison with its “sister of the west” Paris, it would have cost us nearly five times the amount we paid in order to have the same type of experience. Therefore, just the cost alone made it quite an appealing holiday destination! Now, I am not claiming that Paris isn’t worth visiting because it definitely is, but if you’re looking for a fairly cheap alternative for the time being, then Budapest can be considered an unexpected contender.
I found that the most beautiful scenes of Budapest occurred at nighttime when the city was alight with a yellowish glow that nicely highlighted its statues, historic buildings and monuments. During the day, however, the buildings seemed large and impressive, but not nearly as picturesque as they are at night. Being that I went during the Christmas season, the Budapest Christmas Market was in full swing! It was nicely decorated with lights, there was live music and a lot of little stands selling handmade goods.
Sweet Christmas Treat
My all time favorite goody from the market was a pastry called a “Chimney Cake,” which was a flaky and doughy pastry in tube-like form roasted on a rotating spit and coated with sugar and other flavors. I tried the chocolate and the cinnamon (of course I needed more than one even though they were fairly massive), and they were both delicious! I would definitely recommend going around Christmas time for this reason alone.
Relax At The Spa
Budapest is also known for its thermal spas (often called “the city of spas”), which are basically large swimming pools filled with warm spring water that are believed to have natural healing powers. They are opened to the public year round, and you can pay for a one day fee or get a variety of different passes in order to use the facilities. Although I did not knowingly benefit from the healing powers of the spa water, it was definitely an interesting experience, which one should definitely try while visiting Budapest.
Final Thoughts: Budapest was definitely a destination that I would not have even thought of visiting before I moved to the UK, but being here has opened my eyes to the world in ways I never imagined were possible. The potential for travel opportunities here are endless, and Budapest is just one of the many new cities that I have discovered within the past two years. I hope you enjoyed my very brief description of my experience in Budapest, and I look forward to telling you more about other interesting cities in the near future!
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