Exactly one month from today, my flight will be landing in Budapest! My feet have been itching to goooooo. The best part is that I get to spend some much needed time with one of my very best friends in the world, who is studying there now. Squee! I’m over the moon excited about this trip.
Now, I’ve never been to Budapest and, outside of the George Ezra song, my knowledge is extremely limited. So, I’ve started researching.
According to on the internet, here are the top things (for tourists, probably) to do in Budapest this summer:
1. Walk along the Danube: The Danube River runs right through the middle of Budapest and walking along the river has tons of history and beauty. I’m 100% sure this will be the first thing I do upon arriving.
2. Soak in a thermal bath: I’d never thought much about thermal baths before reading up on Budapest. Apparently Budapest is also the “City of Spas” and is home to over 100 natural thermal springs. People spend whole days soaking and relaxing in the many thermal bath houses around the city, and you bet your ass, I’m going to cannonball right in and join them.
3. See the Great Synagogue Royal Palace, Parliament, and the Basilica of St. Stephen, etc: Budapest is famous for having some of the most beautiful architecture in the world. I will only be there for 5 days, so there is no way to see it all. However, I’d love to spend one whole day just checking out the stunning buildings.
4. Drink in Szimpla Kert: Apparently, this is Budapest’s first “ruin bar” and only tourists go here at this point. But, hey, I’m a tourist, and I want to drink in a ruin bar filled with music and oddities.
5. Eat cheese at Paneer: The world’s first cheese bar! The first thing you should know about me is that cheese is my number one favorite food. If I could only eat one thing for the rest of my life, it would be cheese. I’m looking forward to some great melty melty cheese.
6. Visit Memento Park: Home of a f*ck ton of communist and socialist history, this park houses dozens of old statues of Lenin, Marx, and Stalin after all depictions were knocked down when the Iron Curtain fell.
7. Terror Háza (or House of Terror): This was previously the headquarters of the secret police and is now a museum erected to remember the atrocities of the fascist and Stalinist regimes, among other historical horrors.
8. The Franz Liszt Academy of Music: I mean, I’m dating a pianist. I can’t NOT go to the music school founded by one of his heroes and get a memento.
9. Eat Beef Goulash: I know it will be hot in the summer, but just thinking about trying actual Hungarian beef goulash is making my mouth water. Made with slow-cooked beef and lots of paprika, I’m hoping to eat it for every single meal, probably.
10. Legitimately any of the things on this list!
Things to know as an American traveling to Budapest:
1. Safe travels: As a woman traveling alone, my first thing to check (after pretty photos of architecture) are any additional safety precautions I should undergo. The State Department says that travel to Hungary is pretty safe, with excellent public transportation, and to watch out for pick pocketing and scams. Box, checked.
2. Bring a swimsuit: So. many. thermal. baths. I’m going to relax SO HARD!
3. Don’t cheers with beer: When the revolution against the Hapsburgs was defeated, Austrians celebrated in Vienna by toasting and clinking beer glasses. Hungarians vowed not to cheers with beer for 150 years. Even though 150 years has passed, they’re still not into clinking those beer glasses. If you’re cheers-ing with a different beverage, make eye contact.
4. No Euros!: The national currency of Hungary is Forints, not Euro. The exchange rate for the US Dollar is 1 Forint to .0036 US Dollar (or 276.78 Forint to 1 US Dollar). There are exchange kiosks all over Budapest and exchanging is apparently easy to do.
5. Tipping is 10-15%. But many restaurants include the service fee, so check your bill.
Other things to know can be found at this great list!
Have you been to Budapest? Any advice? Let me know!