Photo Credit: Michelle Lockwood
Today’s Wanderlust Wednesday feature is by Michelle Lockwood
Perhaps one of the overlooked cities in Europe, Budapest has steadily gained ground as one of the most romantic cities. Unlike Paris or London, Budapest is still relatively untravelled. The beauty in this city is the fact that you can roam the streets without too much chance of hearing your native tongue. There is something incredibly refreshing going to a city and plunging yourself head first without knowing what to expect. You can still see evidence from the Eastern blockade around the city, but it hasn’t stopped the charm from growing. Budapest is an incredible stop and an easy two hour train ride from Austria’s capital of Vienna. Here you will find the top ways to fill your weekend in Budapest.
- Spend an evening at the Bath house
The bath houses have come to be well known throughout Budapest. It is a favourite pastime of both locals and tourists alike. The warm waters offer relaxation and an opportunity to soak away your troubles. There are a few things to deliberate before you choose the best bathhouse for you. Same-sex or mixed baths? (Also this may depend on the day/time that your visit) Spa treatments as well? Healing and pampering? Traditional or Art deco? And on top of those decisions you have an opportunity to decide the best time to visit. Some of the bathhouses are open late (3am late) as part of club type atmosphere. Sort of strange luxury to see, but intriguing nonetheless. So decide if you want to get down to your bikini while sipping alcoholic drinks before you sign on for that activity. Some of the bathhouses also have outdoor pools open in the spring to late summer, so the time of year may determine whether you can have some of the best views you’ll find of the city.
Rudas Baths – Mainly men only, except on the weekends. Turkish vibe.
Gellért Baths – Art Nouveau style cathedral, open to both men and women.
Széchenyi Baths – 15 thermal baths and three swimming pools; the water temperature is up to 38°C.
Veli Bej Baths – Turkish bath, renovated in 2011, has five thermal pools and original clay pipes for pumping in the water.
Király Baths – Old pools, there are specific days for men or women only.
Lukács Baths – This spa is believed to have serious healing powers, so perhaps keep this if you are looking for the therapeutic properties.
Danubius Health Spa Margitsziget – Visit if you are looking for a bit of pampering.
2. Check out the Jewish Quarter
There is a large part of the city that is designated as the Jewish quarter, which shows a lot of the mistreatment of the Jewish people in the last century. The most notable place to visit is the synagogue. It is one of the largest synagogues in Europe and such a beautiful sight to behold. Note the closing times, as they observe Sabbath and other Jewish holidays. It is also probably the most eclectic part of the city, filled with trendy hipster shops to visit. Spend your day idly strolling the streets in this area and I am sure you will run into a cute coffee shop to sit and sip coffee while you notice the stranger characters passing by.
3. Enjoy a meal on the Danube
This is the type of activity that could potentially turn quite touristy, with set menu dinner and performance type evenings. The performances are incredible. If this is not your speed, make sure to ask your hotel/guest house for suggestions for dinner only evenings. If you are just looking for dinner only, the restaurant Spoon is quite elegant, with first class service from the moment you enter. The view at night on the Danube is absolutely stunning and not to be missed and what better what to do it than while dining on a boat?
4. Sip coffee at the New York Cafe
This is perhaps one of the most iconic cafes in Budapest. Known primarily for the architecture, but there are some great nibbles and drinks to enjoy while you admire the ceiling. There can be long lines, but I guarantee it is worth it if only to wander around gazing at the frescoes.
5. Aimlessly wander the city
One of my favourite things to do in any city, is to just get lost. Budapest could not be a better city to do this in. It has very easy to navigate streets and when in doubt, just find the Danube and wonder along it. Most of the most incredible sights to be seen are along the Danube. The houses of Parliament, the beautiful affluent hotels or Castle Hill can all be found situated along the Danube. This city is so enchanting and romantic even in the briskest cold it can be enjoyed.
Originally from the Cayman Islands, Michelle has grown with a passion for the local environment. From preserving the history and culture to the local sustainable management of the environment that we live in. After taking a course in University of the environment and legal management of it, Michelle has become a more active member in the community helping with the Save Cayman initiative. She also has a Master’s Degree in Environmental Science and Law from the University of Sydney, Australia. More recently Michelle has been dedicating her time to yoga and the power that she receives from breath control and the presence required for a yoga practice. You can usually find her in the sea on weekends.