Budding Budapest: Europe’s Up and Coming DestinationBy Shannon Carey -
The appeal of a European city break has grown considerably in recent years, with many destinations promising unforgettable experiences for a more than affordable price. Budapest definitely takes its place among these cities, having proved itself to be a hidden gem within Europe. With a range of activities, breath-taking views, and a cuisine everyone needs to try at least once, there are plenty of reasons why Budapest should be your next vacation.
One of the things that makes Budapest so special is its division into two unique halves: Buda, placed on the western side of the river Danube houses historical sights and a hilly terrain perfect for extraordinary views, and Pest, laying on the other side of the water, boasting a buzzing atmosphere of trendy restaurants and an urban nightlife. Whether you choose to spend your time on one side, or split between the two, the opposing parts of Budapest provide something for everyone and create a real Tale of Two Cities.
The big must-see sight in Budapest is Buda Castle. Built in 1265, the castle stores an extensive history with a range of architectural styles, varying from Baroque to Medieval. However, as impressive as the views of the castle itself are, they have nothing on the views from outside. The height of the castle gives a perfect birds-eye view of the entire city and is one you will remember for the rest of your life – and provides the perfect backdrop for a holiday snapshot! There are lifts throughout the castle, such as one located on Palota Utca (the street that runs south-east along the castle), allowing everyone a chance to reach the top and catch their own glimpse at Budapest's beauty in its entirety.
Buda Castle is not the only historical treat the Hungarian capital has to offer: the nearby Fisherman's Bastion is a perfect complement to the beauty of Buda Castle, while the Chain Bridge is a brilliant connection between the Buda and Pest halves of the city, providing a worthy route for travellers to take. Or, if you wish to venture into Pest for your sights, Budapest's government buildings are equally impressive, and conveniently close to the main hotel district of Budapest, making them easy to reach and enjoy. It also holds the title of the biggest building in Hungary, making it more than worthy as a city landmark. These tourist landmarks are also wheelchair accessible, allowing sightseeing at ease.
If you need a break from all that sightseeing, Budapest also houses multiple spas, quirky cafes and atmospheric bars. A trip to Budapest wouldn't be complete without some of the local delicacies, with many restaurants selling Hungarian favourites, such as goulash, dumplings and the mouth-watering cakes and sweet treats that Hungary is famous for. A personal highlight was the many cat cafes available in Budapest, giving your lunch a quirky twist with the company of some furry friends. Just be careful that you don't end up sharing!
If you want something a little extra with your getaway, Budapest is also home to the famous Sziget festival, held between the 10th and 17th August. With headliners such as Rihanna, Muse, Sia and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Sziget boasts some of the best musical talent in the world. Day tickets start from 59 euros, or if you don’t want to miss anybody, a week long pass costs 249 euros. Sziget is fully accessible for disabled festival-goers – more information on access, plus a special map of the campsite, can be found at http://szigetfestival.com/info/festival_info.
With Budapest named as one of the cheapest European cities in the 2014 Post Office Travel Money survey, and plane tickets going for as little as £80, you get plenty for your money in this historic yet dynamic destination. There are more sights than you could wish to see even in more mainstream Europe, and beautiful, accessible architecture for everyone to enjoy. So, if you're looking for a getaway that doesn't break the bank but still captures your attention, Budapest might just be the perfect fit for you.