Budapest is one of the most underrated, vibrant, and hip (or as some say “uniquely alternative”) cities in Europe. Some even call it the Paris of Eastern Europe (though it is actually part of central Europe).
Budapest is two separate cities, Buda and Pest which are divided by the Danube River. The friendly rivalry among those from Buda and Pest is still alive to this day.
Buda is the more historic and hilly side which lies to the north east.
Boasting some of the greatest views of the city and the Buda Castle, Buda would be the place to impress your parents.
On the other hand Pest is where the fun really takes place.
Being the more commercial and night life infused counterpart, Pest is where all the college students roam. As the Hungarians say: party in Pest and sleep it off in Buda.
Pest has one of the most unique nightlife scenes in Europe. In the jewish ghetto many of the houses were abandoned during the 1940s. Locals eventually began going into these houses and selling alcohol, the government then gave the property rites to these individuals, and the ruin pubs were formed.
If the sound of a rave in an old jewish mansion doesn’t sound hip enough, I may have forgotten to mention that during the day some of these clubs are turned into local farmers markets. The ruin pubs during the day or night (or both) are a must see.
Budapest is also well known for their thermal baths. The most famous being the Széchenyi. After a night of partying, what sounds better than a relaxing day in all natural warm spring water?
Aromatic steam rooms, saunas, or sixty minute full body thai messages for 4000 forint (2o dollars), you can’t go wrong. You will even find old Hungarian men playing chess in the baths. All thanks to a 140 year Ottoman occupation.
If Buda, booze, and baths are still not enough, you can check out the Hungarian grand market for a crash course in Hungarian cooking.
Whether it’s Goulash, Turkish fusion, or doused in paprika, Hungarian food is insanely delicious and definitely worth a bite…or two.
One famous Hungarian street food dish is Lángos, deep fried flat bread topped typically with cheese, sour cream, and garlic.
Besides having one of the oldest underground railway stations in the world (just walk down 15 steps) and a beautiful parlament building, Budapest also has a fascinating history.
Occupied by the Roman Empire, the Turks, the Hapsburgs, the Nazis, and the Communists, Budapest today is an independent city going full speed in the right direction.