Fishermans bastion | Photo by Olena Kachmar
Fishermans bastion | Photo by Olena Kachmar

Luxurious Budapest

by Elizabeth Jones
Stripes Europe

Situated on opposite sides of the Danube River, the once-separate cities of Buda and Pest make up what the world now knows as Budapest, the capital of Hungary. The city is known for being a relatively cheap destination allowing travelers the chance for a splurgy vacation filled with lavish experiences from dipping into mineral waters, touring exquisite landmarks, immersing in the city’s high-end café culture and much, much more!

Unwind in Budapest’s best thermal baths

People from all over the world flock to Budapest for a chance to immerse in the city’s famous thermal baths for their apparent healing waters. For a top-of-the-line experience, make a stop at the popular Széchenyi baths that hold the title of the first hot spring palace on the Pest side of the city.


Photo by: Elizabeth Jones

The Tuscan-sun-colored palace boasts 18 various pools filled with mineral waters that provide medicinal relief to various types of problems associated with the body and mind. The Széchenyi baths also offer many spa services and a drinking well to enrich your body with the best mineral waters. www.szechenyispabaths.com

Go underground and find the thermal springs of Gellért Bath Spa, an Art Nouveau masterpiece with splashes of colorful, mosaic tiles. Relax in their 12  different bath units found inside and outside of the spa. Choose services ranging from Swedish massages to mud baths for a self-indulgent experience. www.gellertspa.com

Cruise the Danube River

To relish in the most romantic display of Budapest, take a luxury river cruise along the Danube River. There are many high-end cruise companies in Budapest to reserve with that offer a fabulous dinner, Hungarian wine and live music. This experience also provides the opportunity to snap the best riverside photos of the impressive Parliament Building.  Be sure to book your luxurious river cruise tickets in advance www.budapestrivercruise.com

Tour the intricate Parliament Building

Speaking of the Parliament Building, this spectacular example of Neo-Gothic architecture should not be missed!


Photo by: Elizabeth Jones

While the outside of this iconic landmark is easy on the eyes, the inside of the Parliament building is even more astonishing. Marvel at the grandeur of the building with its lush carpet, gold decor, high ceilings and stained glass windows. Since the building cannot be toured without a guide, splurge a little on booking a private tour well before your trip. www.latogatokozpont.parlament.hu/en/home

Wander through Castle Hill

Peruse along the cobblestone streets passing Baroque houses, hole-in-the-wall cafés and historical monuments that can be found in the Castle Hill district that sits 170-meters above the Danube. A top attraction includes Fisherman’s Bastion, a 19th-century fortification resembling a fairytale-like lookout tower. Enjoy panoramic views of the sparkling river below and the rest of historic Budapest from the tower’s intricately-designed turrets.

Just a short walk from the Fisherman’s Bastion is Buda Castle, also known as the Royal Palace. This must-see attraction is waiting to share its vast amount of history from previous centuries. The palace is open daily for tours providing ample opportunity for you to bask in its perfection. www.budacastlebudapest.com/buda-castle-tour/

Witness a show at the Budapest Opera House

Don’t skip out on visiting Hungary’s largest opera house that will surely captivate you — not only with its fascinating ballet and opera performances but also with its magnificent architecture. The inside of the opera house is filled with 1,200 red velvet seats, high balconies lined with golden accents and a high ceiling featuring Karoly Lotz’s stunning art illustrating Olympus and the Greek gods. Treat yourself to a show or take a guided tour during the day, either way, you’ll find yourself in awe of the Budapest Opera House. www.opera.hu/programme

Enjoy the best of Budapest’s café culture

While Budapest has a lengthy list of extraordinary cafés, the New York Café takes the cake over them all.


Photo by: Elizabeth Jones

Noted as the world’s most beautiful café, a visit to this extravagant place is a must. No matter what you’re in the mood for – a savory or sweet breakfast, rich coffee, hearty lunch, afternoon tea, delicious dinner or decadent dessert, New York Café has an impressive menu waiting for you. http://www.newyorkcafe.hu/

Transport to the world of ruin bars

While it may not be the most luxurious thing to do in Budapest, missing out on Budapest’s unique ruin bars would be a shame.

     
Photos by: Elizabeth Jones

From the outside, these bars are unrecognizable with no lines, booming music or crazy, bright lights. Once you step inside the bars, find mismatched, flea market furniture, graffiti from local artists and a very specific atmosphere catering to each of the bars’ individual, quirky themes.

Peruse through Christmas Markets

If you’re visiting during the holidays, the world famous Christmas markets of Budapest are a must to partake in! Whether you go to the market in Vorosmarty Square or by the Basilica, you’ll witness the city transform into a winter wonderland. Delight your taste buds with chimney cakes, potato dumplings, sausages, mulled wine and much more! The entertainment is endless at these markets with free concerts, ice skating rinks, light shows and folk dancing.

From architectural masterpieces,  fancy river cruises,  magnificent thermal baths, stylish cafés and fascinating, historical sites— there will be nothing but grand experiences awaiting you in Budapest! 

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