Lion hunting in Budapest
Of all places I have been lucky enough to visit, I must say that Budapest is definitely the place for (career) lions. They are absolutely everywhere, at the abutments of the famous chain bridge, on doorknockers, at the side of fountains, and on buildings. You name it and they have decorated it with lions. This fact actually makes it a lot of fun to go lion hunting in Budapest. I know I definitely had fun doing so. With that said, here are ten more reasons why Hungary's capital deserves to be on your travel wish list.
Walk the walk
One of Budapest’s many pros are that all highlights are more or less walking distance. Which is fortunate since Uber has not yet made its way to this city. On the other hand, this means more opportunity to enjoy the scenery and pretty buildings. So far I've managed to walk over 40K in only two days. I definitely do not mind burning a bit more calories, so I can eat even more hehe.
Art Nouveau architecture
The 19th century architecture style of Art Nouveau was very popular in Hungary. Architecture geeks can eat their heart out in Budapest when it comes to buildings. On every street, there is some impressive building from this era that one can admire and enjoy.
Of course, a city trip is not complete for engineers until you've crossed an amazing bridge. Luckily for us civil nerds, Budapest has many bridges that cross the Donau River. The highlight of the bridges is the famous Chain Bridge that connects the Buda side of the city with the Pest side. This bridge is also decorated with some lions that are supposed to be the protectors of the bridge. More lions are obviously winning in our opinion.
Workout with a view
Castle Hill is the home of Buda Castle and the Matthias church. One can get to the top of the hill by taking a trip with the funicular. Worried about not getting enough squats in during your trip? Try and walk uphill, burn in the peach buns guaranteed. I certainly know I felt the burn. Once you're up there don't forget to enjoy and take in the beautiful view over the river and the Pest side skyline.
Coffee and kitsch
Once you're tired of all the walking, make sure to take a coffee break at the New York Cafe in the Bosco hotel. The interior is the mother of all kitsch, with lots of gold and ceiling paintings. Make sure to make it a coffee break with a piece of cake, as they offer a wide and yummy variety. If you're lucky, there is even a live classic orchestra to take the art nouveau experience to the next level.
Hungarian wine o’clock
After a coffee break, it's wine o'clock. Hungarian wine that is. White, rose, and red local wines have been a staple this weekend. Not only do they taste great, but they are also dirt cheap. A bottle of wine is sold for approximately 1500 forint, which equals €5. While I haven't been impressed with the fashion shopping here, the cheap wine has me contemplating on checking in an extra suitcase so I can stock up.
Hipster hotspot: Ruin bar
The nicest places to drink those nice wines are the ruin bars. A ruin bar is basically an old venue that has been turned into a very hip drinking spot where old-timers and green plants are part of the interior. It makes for very Instagram friendly decor and pictures. The ruin bars can be found all over the city.
Dance at Hello Baby
A spot that even takes the old building revamp to the next level is Hello Baby bar, one of Budapest's best nightclubs. It is a nice place to have a drink and dance. Funny fact is that the place was crowded with Dutch people on both nights we went. I think I've spoken more Dutch than English all night.
Relax in traditional thermal baths
The day after a night out, it's great to enjoy the thermal baths. Not only is it the perfect excuse to sit out a possible hangover, it is quite the cultural experience. It's a nice way to relax and give your blood circulation a boost. The one we visited was Szechenyi, which is located in the city park.
Harry Potter vibes throughout
Last but not least, Budapest has many beautiful buildings that would directly fit into the Harry Potter realm. The towers of the Parliament building look like they come straight out of Hogwarts and central station has some King's Cross vibes. To make sure to fit right into the theme I was wearing my Harry Potter sweater (even though I told my travel buddy it was just for comfort haha).
I have been (and still am) loving my time in Budapest. It definitely does its reputation justice for being one of the most beautiful cities of Eastern Europe. What are your thoughts on the Hungarian capital? Did it make it to your travel bucket list and what are your travel tips for this