I love to travel. There is pretty much nothing more that I love in the world (okay, maybe running). When I am in one place for a long period of time I start to get bored. So I figure a good way for me to get my travel fix in every week is by profiling a new destination that I want to go to every week. That way, when I’m rich (ha!) I can start to travel to these places. This week’s travel destination is one I have visited a few times before, but a place I would like to go back to. My family is from here as well. Welcome to…
Budapest is the capitol of Hungary. The river Danube separates the Buda side of the city from the Pest side of the city. There are so many wonderful places to visit in the capitol. Because of the economy, Hungary is not yet on the euro, so it is a relatively inexpensive visit as well, with one euro equaling 287 Hungarian forint. Meals can cost between 400-600 forint, so less than 5 euros a meal. The city is very used to tourists, and almost all menus will feature translations into German, English or both.
Hungary as a country has only had independence since 1990 — and has been ruled over by many other countries and empires. Therefore its cultural attributes, people, and attractions are a wonderful mix of traditional Hungarian values and external influences.
Places to See
Fisherman’s Bastian/Buda Castle/Halászbástya and Matthias Church
Built sometime between 1895 – 1902 Fisherman’s Bastian was built with seven towers representing the 7 Magyar tribes that settled in the Carpathian Basin in 896. You can see panoramic views of the Pest side of the river from the top of the castle, and for those who are athletic the walk up to the top (or jog if you’re brave) provides a great workout. Bullet holes remain in the siding of the walls and fortress from the near destruction of the monuments during World War II.
Hungarian National Museum/Magyar Nemzeti Múzeum
The Hungarian National Museum is the one museum that is a must see for a visit to the capitol. It has translations into German and English, so everybody can learn about the very interesting and complex history of the land from 400 000 BC to the present day. It has a very easy to follow format that is set up as a timeline, and its complicated history is broken down for even the most amateur history buff to enjoy.
An interesting fact about the Hungarian National Museum is on the very steps of this museum the catalyst for the Hungarian revolution took place…. so when you visit you are literally stepping on a piece of history!
The Market in Pest/St. Stephens Basilica
The market in Pest is one of my favourite places to go, and I usually couple it with a visit to St. Stephens Basilica, while walking through the shopping district. The Pest market’s first floor is entirely dedicated to food markets, and a large portion of the local population and restaurants shop here daily.
This gorgeous basilica is well worth the day trip. Donations are appreciated and appropriate clothing is recommended (shoulders covered for women, no tanks for men). It is the biggest church I have ever set foot in, and you have to back all the way up across the square to get the entire thing in a photo.
At the market, after perusing the local foods for sale, I recommend heading to the upper floor for some Lángos. Lángos is a Hungarian food speciality, a deep fried flat bread made of a dough with flour, yeast, salt and water, and you can choose from ENDLESS toppings.
The Lángos in Pest market is the best I’ve ever had (save for my own grandmother’s), and I am convinced I gained five pounds from eating it my last trip to the capitol.
Honestly I’m nearly drooling thinking about eating it right now.
Hero’s Square/Hősök tere
There are at least four squares in Budapest named Hero’s Square, but this particular monument is the largest and holds the most significance for local Hungarians and those who live abroad (such as myself). The monument lies at the end of Andrassy Ut (Street), and backed by City Park and a number of other monuments and museums and a famous castle (The Palace of Arts/Kunsthalle Budapest, the Museum of Fine Arts, and Vajdahunyad Castle). The central site of Hero’s Square is the Millenium Memorial, which features statues of the seven tribes that founded Hungary and other outstanding figures of Hungarian history. The memorial was constructed when the one thousandth anniversary was celebrated in 1896 but was finished in 1900.
There is also a lovely thermal bath in City Park. The baths at the Gellert Hotel on the Buda side are more well known, but I prefer the Széchenyi Baths in the park. They are less expensive and definitely more local!
Bring your flip flops! The baths are wonderful in summer or wintertime and give you a very good view of what local Hungarian life is like!
Food in Hungary
The five things I think every tourist should eat while in Hungary. In no specific order of awesomeness.
1. Lángos (Lawn-go-sh)
3. Hungarian Palacsinta
4. Bejgli (Bog-lee) is my ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE DESSERT and dobos torte (dough-bosch-torte-a)
A 5-layered sponge cake of chocolate buttercream, caramel, and ground nuts. Dobos Torta.
5. Chicken Nokedli/Csrikepaprikás (paprika chicken) with nokedli (Hungarian noodle dumplings)
Honorable mention: Cabbage Rolls
Now that I’ve shared with you my favourite things about my the country where my family is from, where is your favourite place to visit? Favourite food or location from there? I hope you enjoyed all the food pics — I am now on my way out to buy a ridiculous amount of Hungarian food ingredients because this has made me miss my grandparents and Hungarian food SO much! Have a great Tuesday!