The capital of Hungary, Budapest, is a city divided by the River Danube. On one side lies Buda and the other Pest, this is how they are commonly referred to. With much of the embankments of both sides now UNESCO World Heritage sites and so much to see, you’ll need to plan your city break carefully. Luckily cheap hotels and flights are available so getting there and having a comfortable stay should not be an issue.
You can’t miss the many architecturally interesting buildings or the nine bridges that span the River Danube but there are a few things which aren’t so obvious that you might want to see:
The Labyrinth beneath Buda Castle
The labyrinth of tunnels beneath the Buda Castle go on for miles and include huge rooms once used as air-raid shelters. You’ll also find those two most necessary stops for tourists, a café and a shop.
Museum of Terror
Once the home of the Soviet Communist Secret Police who carried out their torture and interrogations here.
Also capturing the Communist era is the collection of art to be found in this park. Forty two pieces in total all dating from 1945 – 1989 that include monuments and statues of famous persons of the communist regime such as Lenin, Marx and Engels.
The Statue of Liberty
Not the more famous New York one but the one that denotes the liberation of Hungary from German Occupation at the end of WWII.
Left from the time of the Turkish occupation of Budapest, the Rudas Baths are thermal and have been used since the 16th Century. They sit below a 10 metre dome.
There are four pools with warm temperatures at these Turkish baths in the city, again dating back to the 16th Century.
The most famous Turkish baths in Budapest are housed in the Gellért Hotel an Art Nouveau building at the bottom of Gellért Hill. Quoted as ‘like taking a bath in a cathedral’.
Zwak Unicum Museum
Unicum is a thick, brown medicinal liquid sold as an aperitif and first made by Franz Joseph. It contains 40 herbs and is 42% alcohol but is rather bitter-tasting. Here you can learn all about it and if you like the taste, purchase some at the museum shop.
The Marzipan Museum
Located in the Castle District in the Hilton Hotel the marzipan museum recreates landmarks in marzipan – the Fisherman’s Bastion, Matthias Church and a full-size model of the Hapsburg Queen Elizabeth.
60 metal shoes
Sixty pairs of metal shoes set in concrete on the banks of the River Danube, commemorate the mass executions of Budapest Jews during WWII. They are a stark reminder.
One of the largest flea markets in Europe, good to visit on Saturdays for treasures from the past.
Rent a bike or a segway to see the sights or take a walking tour. One thing’s for sure, there is so much to see you’ll need to come back!
The Statue of Liberty
60 Metal Shoes