24 Hours in Budapest

Image via Pixabay

Budapest, the capital of Hungary, sits on the Danube River and is steeped in history and tradition.

It is also a vibrant and contemporary city that is often the location of short city breaks for Europeans wanting a couple of days away somewhere a little different. Berlin, Madrid and Rotterdam may feel like more obvious, cosmopolitan destinations, but Budapest should not be discounted as a unique and exciting experience.

It is packed with Gothic architecture, as well as hints of Roman and Renaissance styles too. On every corner, there is a place of interest for travellers, and yet by night, it becomes a modern and pulsating city offering something for everyone.

So, what should you do with your 24 hours in Budapest?

Image via Pixabay

In the morning, you would be foolish not to hunt out the New York Café for your morning coffee. It is world-famous and situated in the New York Palace. It oozes elegance and class, with opulent furnishings and expansive high ceilings. Grabbing a coffee may be a very 21st-century thing to do, but whilst in the New York Café, you could be back in the Austro-Hungarian Empire period.

After that, it is time to see some sights, and Budapest is packed with them. Saint Stephen’s Basilica is the most important religious building in the city and, like any major European city, is well worth a visit with your camera. The parliament building is a hugely famous sight; it is a neo-gothic design and houses the crown jewels.

Image via Pixabay

Another great destination is Buda Castle, but only if you have plenty of time on your hands. It houses the Hungarian National Gallery and The Budapest History Museum, both of which could take up a significant portion of your day. You may also choose to visit the Labirintus, a labyrinth below the castle which is once said to have held Dracula. The character of Dracula has been popular across many genres for years, including horror, comedy and cartoons. Perhaps one of the most famous renditions of Dracula came from Gary Oldman in the 1992 film Bram Stoker’s Dracula, but there have been many others. A movie listicle by Foxy Bingo explains how comedian Adam Sandler voiced the character in the film Hotel Transylvania, whilst Christopher Lee is perhaps the critics choice of most iconic. The popularity and widespread use of Dracula imagery makes a trip to Buda Castle even more relevant, by bringing physicality and realism to the age-old vampire story.

After all of that, some food might be wise, and Budapest is teeming with great places to eat. Time Out notes that Mazel Tov is one of the finest, offering a hybrid of Israeli-Mediterranean cuisine, and cocktails for those travellers looking to carry the meal on into the night. Borkonyha also comes highly recommended, it is Michelin starred, so prices are at a premium, as is the quality of the food. If you are looking for something a little more authentic, try the family-run Rosenstein, an iconic location specialising in Hungarian-Jewish dishes, such as goulash and paprikash. It is affordable, but still incredibly alluring.

Image via Pixabay

After dinner, it is time to sample the pulsating nightlife of Hungary’s capital. The nightlife is usually subdued until late in the evening, so perhaps take a stroll to the top of UNESCO World Heritage Site Castle Hill and find Fisherman’s Bastion or Halászbástya in Hungarian. From there, you will have a great view of the Danube and its many bridges as the sunsets.

Finish off with a trip to the Jewish quarter, where you can locate any number of ruin bars, which are once-abandoned buildings and warehouse repurposed for nightlife. UdvarRom is a low-priced bar inside a pre-war building without the furnishings of the more upmarket bars. It is very popular, as is Csendes, which offers a more laid-back vibe for the traveller wanting to relax and talk about their day, rather than dance the night away.

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