One of the best cities I got to see on my trip was Budapest. It is a magnificent city with beautiful wide boulevards and many historic sights. There are many great areas I would recommend like the Schzenyi Baths, the Parliament, Buda Castle, House of Horror and the ruined bars.
Budapest has many beautiful building such as the imposing Saint Stephens Basilica which dominates the centre of Budapest. I would recommend walking from there across the Danube via the Chain Bridge up to Buda Castle. From the former Royal Palace you get a good view of the city. That whole area is quite beautiful if a little touristy. For an even more spectacular view head up to the top of Buda Hill. A not that exhausting hike rewards you with stunning views of the city, as well as Budapest’s Lady of Liberty.
If you want to learn about Budapest’s Communist history then I would recommend the House of Terror. It’s located in the former office of the secret police (which was in turn located in office of the Arrow Cross, the Hungarian Fascist party during the Second World War). It is a deeply informative museum focusing on the terror the Fascists and Communists unleashed upon Hungary. It contains many personal recollections and preserved interrogation cells. One hallway is composed solely of the pictures and names of not the victims but perpetuators of the torture and terror, in a case of name and shame. Interestingly almost all of them are still alive. One flaw of the museum is that only about half of it is in English, unfortunately there were many exhibitions that looked interesting but I couldn’t understand. I tried to reach the Memento Park, a graveyard for Communist statues. However, I got hopelessly lost and none of the locals I asked knew where it was. This is because they never visit the Park as Communism was so unpopular they never want to see it again.
You cannot visit Budapest and not go to the Turkish Baths. The Schzenyi Baths are particularly spectacular. It has many outdoor baths and a whirlpool well worth checking out. There are many indoor pools ranging from freezing cold to the scorching hot. The pools have various minerals added to them and many are essentially swimming pool sized hot tubs. They are a great place to go relax and enjoy yourself. With saunas and steamrooms as well you can easily spend the whole day there.
A big thing in Budapest is the so called ruin bars. These are bars that have been set up in abandoned houses. They still look derelict on the outside and many are not marked but inside is a thriving nightlife. The most famous one is called Szimpla. The food is also great in Budapest. Make sure to try out a Langos (also called a Communist Pizza). It’s very greasy and very tasty.
All in all Budapest is a wonderful city that everyone who visits seems to fall in love with. Probably one of the best cities I got to see on my trip its definitively somewhere I would love to go again