I love Budapest! I lived in Budapest while hosting a TV show, a game show called ‘Call & Win’ for Australian television. I also did a few shows for the same brand for Canadian television. Not my best work I can assure you!
As I am a seasoned traveler, relocating to a new county is not overly difficult, I often do so with ease. Budapest, in particular was a very easy transition for me. The people are very polite, very hospitable and friendly. Some people speak English, but not everyone. Those who don’t still make an effort to help. People here say ‘Please’ and ‘Thank-You’ and also open doors for one another.
Note: Hungarian is a notoriously difficult language. Learn a few words at least when planning to visit Hungary.
Thank-You = köszönöm thank you (kur-sur-nurm)
Please = legyen szíves please (ledge-en see-vesh)
Hi and Bye = szia hi, hello, bye see-ah This is a little like “ciao”.
Oh, also I’ll add, Budapest is pronounced Buda-Pesht (s is pronounced sh in Hungarian). I’m sure most already knew that one, although I didn’t before living there!
Budapest is a central European city and the people are well-mannered, which made it more a much more comfortable transition.
Budapest is a melting pot of gothic and modern. The city is rich in culture with stunning architecture and a great variety of restaurants.
I lived in Budapest for three months so got a great feel for the city and quite quickly felt like a local.
Here are my top 10 reasons to visit Budapest:
- Beautiful city-scape. Set on the Danube, its just absolutely beautiful.
- Very well-priced and affordable compared to other parts of Europe, mainly they are still on the Hungarian Forint and not yet on the Euro, Hungary is affordable, yet still great quality.
- Great pubs, bars and nightlife. Start with ‘Warm-Up’, a dog-friendly cocktail bar to ‘warm-up’ before a big night and head on to Anker’t, a large ruins pub/club with a great outdoor area.
- Spas & Thermal Baths. I love hot springs and this is the only place in the word I can think of that has hot springs and thermal baths right in the city. Szechenyi Spa Baths is the largest thermal baths in Europe with 15 indoor baths and 3 large outdoor baths. Do not miss this when visiting Budapest.
- Walk-ability. Budapest has a great tram system, however the city has fantastic walk-ability, its very easy to hop from Buda to Pest just by walking over the Chain Bridge. Highly recommended. Not only great exercise to banish the ‘travel bloat’ from the long-haul flight and European carbo-dense cuisine, you see more when you walk.
- Galleries and the opera. Famous for Opera, many visitors to Budapest from other parts of Europe visit the city just for that. If art is you bag, then the Hungarian National Gallery is worth a look, housing works from famous Hungarian sculptures and painters. Very easy to spend an afternoon wandering through. The HNG holds different exhibitions, I’m personally going back to see a Picasso Exhibition next month.
- Location, location! Budapest is in good proximity to other parts of Central, West and Eastern Europe. 2 hours to Austria, 5 hours to Italy and 2 hours to Croatia. Slovenia is a neighboring country and worth a look, in particular ‘Lake Bled’ is beautiful and only a 2 hours drive from Budapest.
- Helpful and friendly locals. Hungarians are very friendly, polite people. Many people do not speak English but communication is nit a problem and definitely wont be for you. Hungarians love their dogs, so they have won me over early.
- Variety of food and restauratns. To my pleasant surprise there was a lot of food variety in Hungry. Initially I thought it would be all schnitzel and sausage. There is great sushi and many other cuisines here from Italian to Chinese. There are a few michelin star restaurants, like the well-known ‘Onyx’ which is well worth the one star. Fine-dining modern Hungarian at its best.
- Palaces and cathedrals. You don’t see palaces everywhere in the world. The palaces and cathedrals in Budapest, especially Buda Castle, are breathtaking. You have to see them for yourself! The best views of Budapest are from Buda Castle.
Budapest is a scenic, warm and dog-friendly city! What’s not to love?! I hope you enjoyed this post on Budapest and Hungary and my Top 10 Reasons to Visit Budapest.