A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

A Photo Essay: Budapest, Hungary

Budapest, Hungary, has intrigued us for quite some time. From the beautiful architecture, to the magnitude of thermal baths and cave systems that run underneath the city, to the food and ruin pubs, and the storied history of the city, Budapest just sounded like one of those cities we would enjoy. And, I would have to say, our assumptions were more than correct. Budapest quickly became one of our favorite cities in Europe.

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

During our five day visit, we spent time relaxing in coffee shops, wandering around the gorgeous city streets, hopping around ruin pubs, taking a cooking class, visiting museums, ice skating, soaking in thermal baths, strolling through Christmas Markets, and attempting to explore the caves…more on that below. It was a wonderful time and I can guarantee we will be back again someday for another visit. Here are some of our favorite photos from Budapest, Hungary!

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

First up on the agenda was a soak in one of the many thermal baths that can be found throughout the city. It was so hard to pick which one we wanted to visit—so many of them looked wonderful—but in the end, we went to the Szechenyi Bath. The most popular thermal bath of Budapest won us over and we just had to see it for ourselves. We rented a private changing room and then made our way straight outside to brave the chilly weather for a soak.

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

The thermal baths outside were filled with steam rising off the water and the views of the surrounding buildings were fantastic. After soaking in both outdoor pools, we couldn’t leave without trying out a few of the indoor pools, as well. So, we made our way inside for a bit more pool hopping before making our way back to the hotel for the evening to stave off some jetlag.

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

One of our favorite activities during our time in Budapest was the market tour and cooking class that we signed up for. It was a private tour with Culinary Hungary, and it started out with a guided walk around the Central Market Hall market . While exploring the market, shopping for ingredients for our recipes, and getting to know our guide, Andrew, we sampled some traditional Hungarian foods.

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

Then, it was off to a Hungarian apartment to cook the foods we picked up at the market. . Andrew is a fantastic chef and we had a hands-on cooking lesson where we cooked potato soup with sausage and sour cream, chicken paprika, and Palacsinta, which is like a pancake type dessert. Everything turned out so delicious and it was fun to learn some new recipes that we can cook at home.

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

The main priority of our December trip through Europe was to check out a variety of Christmas Markets.  Well, we definitely accomplished that goal. During our time in Budapest, we visited markets every night and made our way through the markets at Vorosmarty Square, St Stephen’s Basilica, Erzsebet Square, and several smaller markets that we wandered by and never learned the names of. We listened to music, watched light shows, ate plenty of treats, and drank mulled wine. Even though most of the markets were pretty packed and busy, we still had a wonderful time soaking up the festive sights and holiday spirit.

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

It’s always important to learn about the history of a destination, so we made our way to the Museum of Terror one morning. The museum documents the history of communist and fascist regimes from 20th century Hungary. Inside, you will find exhibits related to Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, and it is also a memorial to the victims from those times. In the past, the building that houses the museum was used to torture, kill, detain and interrogate prisoners and citizens, and in the basement, you can see examples of the types of cells and rooms that were used to break people. It was a heavy topic but an interesting and important museum to visit nonetheless.

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

After the museum, we found a nearby spot to eat–Panineria Sandwich Street looked like a cute and quick option so we stopped in. The food was good, but what I loved most was this wall art! Ha!

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

That afternoon, we spent plenty of time wandering around the streets and just soaking up the atmosphere of Budapest. We made our way down to the Hungarian Parliament Building, and I was literally in awe over the architecture.

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

Near the parliament we spotted Szamos Café—I heard they had delicious desserts so we couldn’t resist stopping in for an afternoon snack. It was busy and a bit spendy, but our cake and coffee were delicious. I had the Esterházy cake and Micah had some sort of chocolate cake.

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

When we were finished with our treats, we went to the small Szamos Chocolate Museum upstairs. Honestly, I thought the museum was a bit overpriced for what was there, but it was still interesting to learn about chocolate and get a few chocolate samples. One of my favorite displays was actually located in the attached gift shop—a replica of the Hungarian Parliament Building made out of chocolate!

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

The rest of our day was spent racking up what felt like a million steps. We crossed the Széchenyi Chain Bridge and walked up the steps towards the Buda Castle. While we didn’t spend near enough time across the river in the Buda portion of the city, it was fun to wander around for the evening. The views of Pest from the Fisherman’s Bastion on Castle Hill were spectacular, especially after dark.

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

Throughout our visit in Budapest, we also visited several ruin pubs. Ruin pubs were started in the early 2000’s inside of abandoned buildings and outdoor spaces. These spaces have been transformed into sometimes maze-like bars with chaotic, eccentric and mismatched decorations and furniture. All of our ruin pub visits were during the week and earlier in the evening, so the atmosphere inside was much more relaxed than what I’ve heard about from others. But, that was perfectly fine with us, and actually almost preferred. We enjoyed the open spaces and ability to admire some of the eccentric decorations. In total, we checked out seven ruin pubs and a few of our favorites were Szimpla Kert, Instant, and Kuplung.

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

Our last full day in Budapest started with a visit to a cute coffee shop we had passed several times as it was just down the street from our hotel. D18 Café & Bar was such a relaxing spot to sip on coffee and grab a bite to eat. I loved the atmosphere and our breakfast and coffee were great.

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

The last adventure on our agenda for Budpest was caving. We were going to go on a 5 hour tour that sends you shimmying through tight spaces in the cave system that lies under the city. We hopped on a couple of busses and made our way out to the spot where our tour was supposed to depart from, and we were welcomed with a closed-up building and not a soul in sight. We tried getting in contact with the tour operator and after an unsuccessful 30+ minute wait, we decided to cut our losses and head back into town. I was really looking forward to this adventure and was so disappointed that we couldn’t go spelunking. I guess there aren’t many tours running in the winter, so maybe they had cancelled ours without notifying us. Either way it was a letdown, but I am determined to head back someday to give it another shot.

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

Instead, we decided to lift our spirits and ended up at the café that has been dubbed “the most beautiful café in the world”, aka the New York Café. I wasn’t sure if it would be worth the hype, but wow. This place was indeed beautiful. Micah and I each ordered a setting of coffee and sat in awe staring at the details of the building. We also lucked out and caught a show of Christmas music put on by some amazing musicians. It definitely added a festive vibe to the entire experience!

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

Later that evening, we strapped on some ice skates and went for a spin on the frozen lake in front of the Vajdahunyad Castle. It is Europe’s largest outdoor ice skating rink and the scenery was top notch to boot. Now, I just need to work on improving my ice skating abilities!

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

Before heading to the train to make our way north to Bratislava, we stopped for a square breakfast. The donuts at The Box Donut were shaped in squares, and they were tasty, too! I especially loved the melted snowman water bottles on sale—a quirky sense of humor gets me every time.

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

We logged many miles during our visit to Budapest, and walking was definitely one of the best ways to see the city. I couldn’t help fawning over both the historic architecture and the trendy new design of many cafes, restaurants and shops we visited. The mix of old and new captured our hearts and left us dreaming of returning again someday. I definitely see several more thermal baths, ruin pubs and cafes in our future!

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

A Photo Essay, Budapest, Hungary

Have you been to Budapest? What’s your favorite thing in the city?

A Photo Essay: Budapest, Hungary
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13 Comments
  • Carol Colborn
    Twitter:
    Posted at 04:09h, 17 December Reply

    Wow, what a collection of photos…the architecture, the thermal bath, the Christmas market…spectacular Budapest!

  • Les Petits Pas de Juls
    Posted at 11:35h, 17 December Reply

    Been to Budapest twice to visit a friend and can’t wait to go back again! It’s such a lovely city but I don’t think I did half of what you did during both of my visits! Making a list for next time!
    Les Petits Pas de Juls recently posted…Time to ChangeMy Profile

  • Medha
    Posted at 14:09h, 18 December Reply

    Somebody once told me there isn’t much to do and see in Budapest so we should skip it and we did. But from your post I can see there’s actually a lot ! The Christmas markets look amazing, I’m in Vienna right now and they’re prettt awesome too. And Hungarian food looks really yummy !

  • Kiyoko
    Posted at 07:34h, 19 December Reply

    First of all, your photos are fantastic!

    Second of all, I would just absolutely love to visit this city! I could probably spend a couple of days just walking around the city and enjoying the architecture! Then I would definitely have to go wind down in that Szechenyi Bath. That looks absolutely fantastic.

    Great post!
    Kiyoko recently posted…A Dreamer’s Guide to Trip Planning: Trip Research and Creating an ItineraryMy Profile

  • Carol Perehudoff
    Twitter:
    Posted at 16:26h, 19 December Reply

    Isn’t it a fabulous destination? This post brought back great memories. I’m all about the baths and agree that Szechenyi is probably the most beautiful, though I loved Lucas because it was a bit more neighbourhood-y. I loved them all! I love Budapest! Glad you loved it, too.

  • Lauren
    Twitter:
    Posted at 19:43h, 19 December Reply

    So, I have wanted to go to Budapest for a while…it always seemed like such a charming place, but I never could quite put my finger on why I wanted to go there. Your blog post totally reaffirmed and added reasons why I need to get there! Winter seems like a good time for the Christmas markets, too.
    Lauren recently posted…Boston in a Day | 24 Hours in Boston Travel ItineraryMy Profile

  • Sandy N Vyjay
    Posted at 21:48h, 19 December Reply

    These are stunning pictures that capture the ethereal beauty and charm of Budapest and bring them alive in vibrant colour. WhatI love about the photos are the fact that they are not merely focused on the main sights of the place but capture a slice of life of the city.

  • Punita Malhotra
    Posted at 07:41h, 20 December Reply

    Photography that brings Budapest to life, not just the city but its people, its history, its heritage and its culture. The Christmas festivities have added to the charm of its stunning city… which I believe is highly underrated.

  • Marinel de Jesus
    Posted at 08:25h, 20 December Reply

    I love the thermal baths and the food there looks amazing, not to mention the buildings and the atmosphere. I’m a mountain girl but I think with these photos I’m now leaning to add Budapest as a must see city or even live in!

  • Alli
    Twitter:
    Posted at 10:36h, 20 December Reply

    Just wow. These photos are all stunning. Those outdoor pools look absolutely magical and the food looks like an absolute dream! You have certainly did the city justice, it looks like! Wonderful post, one that I now have bookmarked!

  • Mike from TravelAndDestinations
    Posted at 12:53h, 21 December Reply

    Great pics! i’ve been to Budapest once before and loved it! I want to go again and also head to the Széchenyi thermal bath as I missed that last time.

  • Jennifer Melroy
    Posted at 21:11h, 21 December Reply

    A city full of thermal baths. That sounds like an amazing way to spend a couple of weeks. Just try a different terminal bath every day.

    I love visiting thermal baths when it is cold outside. It best time to relax and just enjoy the heat while your head is a little cold.
    Jennifer Melroy recently posted…A Kiruna Winter Itinerary – Five days in Swedish LaplandMy Profile

  • Kyli
    Posted at 02:49h, 03 January Reply

    I can think of nothing better than a blissed out, love up trip at the moment, and this would be top of my list!!

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