International in scope and youthful at heart, Budapest’s style, fascinating history, exploding nightlife, and affordable quality of life make a visit to this city a no-brainer addition your European itinerary. Seriously, don’t miss it.
I wish I could say that I did everything on my Budapest “must see” list. But to be completely honest, I didn’t even come close. A place of both obvious and hidden treasures, it is a matter of time, curiosity, and determination to truly understand it’s potential. To that end, my must-see list was lengthy and impossible to complete in one trip. I never made it to Castle Hill, I never saw the inside of the Parliament Building or St. Stephen’s Basilica. I never even made it to City Park. At face value, my trip seems to be a complete failure.
But instead, the reverse was true. My trip was brimming with food (Centrál Kávéház, Hummus Bar, Koleves Vendéglo), fun (Jewish Quarter, Andrássy Boulevard), friends, culture (The Great Synagogue, Museum of Ethnography, Freedom Square) , and – of course – nightlife (Szimpla Kert, Rudas Thermal Baths).
I admit my youth leads to a overpriority on nightlife when I travel. During wintertime travel, the result is an overwhelming reduction of my daylight touring hours and traditional sightseeing activities. But if there is any city to focus on nightlife, it is in Budapest. Not partaking in Budapest’s robust nightlife means not truly experiencing what makes this city unique. Thousands of young, international tourists fill the streets after dark, exploring the city by night with the help of new friends and word of mouth about the underground nightlife scene, including a never-ending supply of ruin bars, expanding every notion you’ve ever had about what to expect from a bar or club. My favorite was Szimpla Kert, a place defining the unexpected, boasting a multi-level open floor-plan with a maze of staircases, balconies and small rooms, of which the cherry on top of the randomness was a pile of giant peeled carrots on the bar, and a copy machine in the middle of one of the main rooms downstairs. Another unforgettable night was the party at the Rudas Thermal Baths, which are open until 4am on Saturday night. We showed up at 1:30am.
I could go on and on, but I’m not going to ramble. Instead, I am going to let some of my pictures speak for themselves. And I’m also expecting you to go…asap. Because there’s more where this came from. And you know, the best part about having leftovers on my “must see” list? I have to go back soon…
Slide show of my favorite Budapest photos.
Best of Budapest, a set on Flickr.