After your first few European adventures you tick off London, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam and Rome. You cover the big famous tourist sites. You climb the Eiffel tour, you drink beer in Germany, you visit the Colosseum and you take cheesy snapshots with Big Ben. Then you start looking around – where is the next adventure?
My suggestion would be Eastern Europe! It’s exciting, it is so very different and it is considerably cheaper than the Euro-zone countries.
My tour of Eastern Europe adventures took me to the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Croatia. I absolutely loved my time in Budapest, Hungary and here is my pick of the top six must dos in Hungary!
1) Do a boat tour along the Danube river
The Danube is the second longest river in Europe and is the division between Buda and Pest which form the city Budapest. It is such a fun experience with music playing, drinks flowing and beautiful views to soak in.
There are some great landmarks to spot along the way too! The building below on the left is the Hungarian Parliament. It is the third largest parliament building in the world. Rumour has it that Michael Jackson attempted to buy the Hungarian Parliament. It was not for sale.
2) Drink like a local
This stuff is dangerous! This makes Vodka taste/look like a drink for baby girls. Hungary left fancy flavoured vodka to Poland and took up their own crazy potent drink. And this crazy drink is called Palinka. This stuff is pretty much flavoured moonshine- it burns your throat and warms your chest. They call it traditional fruit brandy- don’t believe them – it’s moonshine! But when in Hungary you drink Palinka!
My recommendation would be to have a good chaser on hand (to put it politely). Palinka can be made from any kind of fruit- and Hungary goes out of their way to test that theory. When shopping for palinka you’ll be shocked with the number of choices. The most common palinkas are made from apricots, pears, and plums.
The Palinka name is trademarked to regions in Hungary (Like Champagne is trademarked to Champagne in France) – so you know you’re drinking a truly local spirit! Enjoy! Egészségedre!! (cheers in Hungarian)
ps- beware the deadly hangovers!!
3) Party in the Ruin Bars!
Now that you’re drinking the right stuff your tipsy ass is going to want to go out.
From outside, these bars don’t look like anything. They look like normal homes or abandoned buildings. There’s no line to get in, no noise booming out and sometimes not even a name sign. But, once your inside you’ll understand what I’m talking about.
Ruin bars are crazy bars filled with ugly antiques, bath tubs for chairs, fairy lights thrown everywhere and lots and lots of people. And Ruin bar is a giant collection of cheap shit thrown together with a great vibe, cheap drinks and happy people.
We visited Ruin bars were an elderly gentleman walked around selling carrots (no idea), where an owl with boobs hung from a wall above the dance floor. where a myriad of rabbits flew above your head and where drinks were sipped in a giant boat. Absolutely fantastic! Absolutely unique to Budapest! And such a party!
4) Visit the Budapest CastleCross the chain bridge with its beautiful lions to get to the Budapest Castle. The chain bridge is the first bridge to connect Buda and Pest. The Caste offers amazing views over to the Pest side. If you arrive on the hour between 8:30 and 5pm you can also watch the changing of the guard. Not quite as spectacular as the changing of the guard in London but still fun to see.
Hungarian food is delicious and seriously hearty. Make sure to fill up on some of the Hungarian dishes whilst visiting Budapest. Chicken Paprika is absolutely delicious and often served with nokedli which is a type of pasta. Goulash soup is another favourite which includes mini meatballs and vegetables.
My favourite for those of us with a sweet tooth is Langos – its a little like a giant flat bread and a doughnut all in one. And it is seriously delicious! The giant savoury doughnuts are fried in oil and served fresh and warm. Not very healthy – but so worth it! Langos can be served with many toppings – we opted to try the sour cream langos and the sugar langos. Both delicious but the sugar langos won!
Budapest is called the City of Baths so your visit would be incomplete without jumping in one! We visited Szechenyi which is the largest medicinal bath and one of the largest public baths in Europe. The architecture of the baths was incredibly beautiful and it was wonderful to relax after a day of running around Budapest. Szechenyi boasts 3 outdoor pools, 15 indoor pools and several steam baths and saunas.
BONUS: If you’re looking to get pregnant find this statue of a policeman and rub his belly. This apparently is a done thing in Budapest. I stayed far away from his belly.
What have I missed? What are your Budapest must dos?
With such a great city its difficult to keep track of them