Published by Johnny Ward on June 21, 2012
The Hungarian capital is a city that so full of charms that not only requires a few days of visiting it but also that might leave the arriving traveller with the difficult decision of what to do next. It’s a common occurrence to find someone on your travels that comes from another country and is living in a city away from his foreign country.
The inevitable question of “How did you end up here?” always rises and more often than not, the answer is usually “was travelling, came here, loved it and stayed”. This is probably the answer that you will get from most foreigners who live in Budapest, because the Hungarian capital is a city that has so much to offer, that a short stay during travelling is never enough to take it all in.
The first practical thing you need to know about Budapest is that, as part of the old Eastern bloc, tourism is a relatively new thing to them in comparison to other western European countries, so not only is it incredibly cheap there but also the locals are incredibly friendly and still haven’t been burned out by tourism. In terms of beauty, Budapest is quite simply the gem of Eastern Europe. Sliced in two by the river Danube, Budapest’s landmarks are almost all World Heritage Sites designated by UNESCO. Its architectonical beauty is easy to see, whether it’s the famous Parliament Building (Országház), the neoclassic architecture at Heroes Square (Hősök tere), Buda Castle and its surrounding areas, with beautiful views of Pest and the Danube from the top of the hill or the many avenues in the city centre, such as Andrássy út, with the famous Budapest apartments on each side which give it that unique look, almost as if time stood still since the golden era of Hungary during the Austrian-Hungarian Empire.
In terms of leisure, Budapest is famous for its thermal baths, ideal in the summer when the weather is hot. However, they are excellent all year long, since its hot waters can be especially comforting in the winter. The architecture of these baths is also unique, with the Art Nouveau of Géllert or the beautiful yellow tones of Szechenyi. Budapest is also famous for its great nightlife, with excellent bars where locals and foreigners mix together to some of the best clubs in Europe, including one which is on a boat on the Danube! Gastronomically speaking… well, where to start? Hungarian cuisine is exquisite. It doesn’t only confine itself to goulash but also to exquisite meat dishes and stews that just make you want more. Also, Hungary is very famous for its wine, and the capital is filled with wineries and wine shops that offer free tastings on many occasions. Also, if you venture out of Budapest, there are various vineyards and wineries that will offer you some of the best wine you’ve ever tried. And spirit wise, pálinka is the most famous Hungarian spirit, with unicum a close second only for the brave.
The people of Budapest are also very friendly and welcoming and will make your stay and any trouble that you may have with Hungarian a lot easier. After Budapest, what’s left? If you leave the city, you’ll find yourself saying to yourself “this is not as good” when arriving in other cities and, more often than not, you’ll be planning a return trip, perhaps even to stay for good.
There’s nothing quite like feeling like a local in a foreign city and there’s no better way of doing it in the Hungarian capital than by renting apartments in Budapest, which will give you all the comfort, independence and privacy you could wish for.