Are you ready to explore a tale of two cities? No I’m not talking about the famed Charles Dickens novel, I’m talking about Budapest, Hungary!
Budapest, Hungary is a wonderful example of old world charm. Located in the heart of Europe, the city is split down the middle by Europe’s second longest river, the Danube. One reason this city is so scenic is because Buda is on one side and Pest is on the other. Buda has more of a “hilly” landscape and tends to be more rural. Here you can find some famous must-sees such as the Royal Castle and Fisherman’s Bastian. Pest on the other hand is more of an urban city area. It is on this side that you can find the Parliament Building which is the largest one in the world! While the two sides used to be separate, in 1873 they unified to become one of Europe’s most culturally diverse cities, Budapest.
While there are obvious stops to be made while visiting this historic area, getting involved and entrenched into the culture is the best way to get the most out of your trip. Walk the streets and take in the views, visit local restaurants and cafés to taste authentic goulash or sausages, talk to a local to find out where the best spots are located, and when you are done you can relax and unwind by having a roman bath in the Gellert Hotel; the list goes on and on.
For those that don’t remember, earlier this year we wrote a blog, “The Top 5 Places to Visit in 2016.” Number five on that list was Budapest, Hungary!
One of the best ways to see Budapest is by taking a cruise down the river. The Danube River splits both sides of the city, and offers some of the most scenic views of the city. Many would agree that there are few better ways to sit back and relax after a day of sightseeing than by floating down the river and taking in the views. Take your pick from a plethora of different river cruises to choose from depending on what you’re looking for, from a romantic dinner cruise to a wine tasting or cocktail cruise!
The Chain Bridge is one of the most iconic and symbolic sights to see in Budapest. It was the first permanent stone bridge to be constructed which connected Pest and Buda. Built between 1839-1849 by William Tierney Clark, Chain Bridge has gone through a couple rebuilding periods in order to remain properly functional. The bridge is littered with photo opportunities, street vendors, and several stone statues. Try walking the bridge at night when it is all lit up for a nice romantic stroll!
Grand Market Hall
If you are looking to get lost in Hungarian culture, this is the place to be. The Grand Market Hall is one of the best places to find authentic Hungarian food, spices, folk, and art. That is probably because it is the oldest and largest indoor market in the city. Its architecture and design is quite unique as it is three stories tall and fit with colorful tiling, large windows, and open spaces. On the ground floor you can find everything from meats, to spices, to spirits. The second floor offers souvenir shops and eateries. And in the basement contains butcher shops and a fish market. The building is located on the Danube and is over 100 years old!
Located next door to the Royal Castle and St. Stephen’s Church (who was the first king of Hungary) is the iconic Fisherman’s Bastion. This terrace was built between 1895-1902 and includes a whopping 7 towers! Part of the attraction to Fisherman’s Bastion is its location. Located on the Buda side, this terrace offers magnificent views across the Danube, most notably one of the best views of the Parliament Building. Try going here at dusk to see the lights of the Parliament Building as well as the surrounding city.
No matter what time of year you are visiting Budapest, a visit to the Szechenyi Baths should be on your itinerary. Known as the largest medicinal bath in Europe, the Szechenyi Baths are supplied water by two thermal springs below Hungary. Because of the natural chemicals in the water such as sulfate, calcium, magnesium, etc. it has been said that the waters can help degenerative joints, joint inflammation, and some orthopedic post treatments. These baths are not like anything you have ever seen, as they are from the Victorian Era with Neo-baroque styled architecture surrounding the “heated pools”. There are 18 pools in total, ranging from a large outdoor pool, to smaller indoor pools and spas all ranging in temperatures and characteristics such as different jets.
Now that you have some ideas of where you should be traveling in the upcoming year, don’t forget to protect yourself by getting Travel Insurance. As stated in a previous blog, “Tips Everyone Should Follow When Traveling Abroad”, it is important to have proper travel insurance coverage in case of an unexpected emergency while traveling abroad. Our Insurance Specialists have the knowledge and experience to offer advice or help select the best insurance plan for your needs. Visit mhginsurance.com or call +1 954 828 1819 or +44 (0) 1624 678668 for help in selecting the plan that fits you best. Safe travels!