Formed from the unification of three cities, Buda, Óbuda and Pest in 1873, Budapest is a city of contrasts. New meets old in the Hungarian capital as the city’s communist-era remnants rub elbows with more modern structures built post “Iron Curtain”. As a travel destination, Budapest is still a city that remains relatively affordable for tourists. While Prague and Dubrovnik have become popular getaways with escalating prices, Budapest has remained a city in which travelers can enjoy food, drinks, and a night out for a reasonable price.
Car enthusiasts will have plenty of reasons to descend on Budapest. The city is home to the Hungarian Grand Prix every Summer. The famed Hungaroring racetrack offers an amazing day out for car lovers. Whether it’s touring the racetrack or sitting in the driver’s seat for a driving experience, the Hungaroring won’t disappoint.
Local Favorite: GoulashNothing is more Hungarian than goulash, a dish you will find across Budapest, from ritzy restaurants to local diners. Herdsmen in the hills and pastures originally made Goulash as they needed a hearty meal to keep them going, and it had to be cooked over a campfire. Goulash varies per region in Hungary, but some items are staples of the dish no matter where you are. Budapest is no exception. Beef is combined with potatoes, carrots, herbs and spices, and Hungary's most famous ingredient, paprika. They are mixed into a meal that is too thick to be soup, but too runny to be stew. A proper goulash is served with freshly baked bread to help mop up every last drop.
Hungarian Parliament Building
Széchenyi Thermal Bath
St. Stephen's Basilica
Széchenyi Chain Bridge
Top Tourist Attractions
Buda Castle is one of the most iconic structures in all of Budapest. It provides the backdrop to some amazing photographs. Budapest is split into two parts. On one side of the Danube River is Buda, which is the oldest part of the city and where Buda Castle lies. On the other side of the Danube is Pest, which is the newer part of the city.
Buda Castle sits upon a hill that overlooks the capital. There is a funicular railway that takes visitors to the top. Next to the castle is the beautiful Matthias Church, which has been repaired over the last few years. Every year, a number of festivals are held on the castle’s grounds. One of the most popular is a Palinka (Hungarian fruit brandy) and sausage festival that attracts thousands.
The Hungaroring racetrack is famed for having continuous sequences of turns. Every year the circuit puts on a memorable Formula One race, and car enthusiasts can visit the circuit on a trip to Budapest.
Petrolheads are spoilt for choice at the racetrack. The 'Empire of Speed' track experiences give visitors the option to race around the 2.7mi circuit in one of the Hungaroring's many car options including Porsche, Ferrari, and Lamborghini. There are even options for rally-spec cars such as the Audi S1 Rally or the Mitsubishi Lancer IX. If sitting behind the wheel is too much pressure, the Race Taxi service will give the same speed thrill from the passenger seat. Finally, the track tour is a must for any F1 fan to see behind the scenes of this historic circuit
St. Stephen’s Basilica
St. Stephen’s Basilica is one of the most awe-inspiring attractions in the center of Budapest. Located in a square, visitors can tour the basilica for free before sitting at one of the many of nearby cafes for a drink and bite to eat.
The area is just as beautiful once the sun sets and visitors can enjoy a night out in the Basilica’s shadow. Inside the basilica, visitors will find a world of ornate imagery and beautiful statues. Visitors can ascend to the basilica’s cupola for panoramic views of Budapest.
Travelers can easily walk around parliament building and take in the views of the gorgeous structure. It is the third largest parliament building in the world and its size must be witnessed first hand to truly appreciate it.
Travelers can take the city’s trolleybus right to the foot of the building before disembarking and walking around the area. There are guided tours of the parliament building when the country’s politicians are not meeting.
Szechenyi Chain Bridge
The Szechenyi Chain Bridge stretches from Buda to Pest across the Danube River. Built in the 1880s and rebuilt after World War II, the bridge still possesses many of its original features. The bridge isn’t far from St. Stephen’s Basilica and it is easy to get from one to the other on a walking tour.
Visitors can walk across the 1,250-foot bridge in no time and explore the various sides of Budapest. The bridge’s ornate lions that decorate it are perfect for photographs, and its promenade is perfect for strolling at any time of the day.
Hungarian Railway Museum
The Hungarian Railway Museum showcases a collection of Soviet-era steam trains for visitors to enjoy. The park has a mini railway train that passengers can ride. Much of the park is outside, so visitors can explore the displays at their leisure.
Budapest has several outdoor parks that showcase the country’s USSR history. Unfortunately, due to being underfunded, the parks’ displays don’t receive the maintenance they should. Regardless, any railway enthusiast or history buff should plan a trip to the Hungarian Railway Museum.
Budapest is filled with history that stretches back centuries. It is a city of proud people that endured decades of Soviet rule and is still coming to terms with capitalism. The city has many great attractions and anyone planning a holiday to the Hungarian capital needs to plan carefully because there may not be enough time for it all.