When anybody tells you that a weekend is enough to see Budapest, they do not know what they are talking about. A week will probably give you a quick taster of this place and the feeling that you must return for more. The turbulent history of this city, the terrors of 40 years of Soviet occupation and communism and all the heart aches of foreign invasions still did not manage to destroy the natives ‘joe de vivre’ and all of the beautiful architecture this old city has to offer.
Budapest, is not about the ‘Heroes Square, or the Váci Utca! I would like you to see much more than that!
You can wine and dine away your stress in the numerous restaurants Budapest has on offer. It has all the usual international cuisine with a strong bias to Italian, Mediterranean, Spanish, not forgetting the spicy Hungarian cuisine. From the stylish bite on Fashion street by the Kempinsky Hotel to the cobbled street of The Royal Palace or Obuda, they all have different food and ambiance on offer. From the most elegant of Gresham Cafe to the humblest Deryne Bistro, you will be treated with great hospitality. The world-famous wine of Tokay can be tasted at special events throughout the year.
As for spas, Hungary, and, especially Budapest, has more than 30 and occupies the number one spot in the world. Among the most coveted are the baths of Szècheny and Gellèrt. My favourite is not the Gellèrt, which everybody has heard of, but the Szècheny Bath, a Neo-Baroque wellness mecca, situated in the ‘Vàrosliget’ = City Park (a large green park just behind the Heroes Square. Here you can have lunch, rest, feed the ducks and if you are still left with some energy left, go into the mini version of a Disney Park for a spin, giving thrill-seeker extra hours for flipping, soaring, whirling and tumbling until well after dark during the summer months.
In the winter, there is a very large ice skating rink, just behind the Heroes Square where you will have a unique experience complete with a view of a mock Medieval Castle.
Culture Vultures will feel the heat, and not been able to choose from the many attractions this place has on offer. From classical music to opera and operetta, rock and jazz, it is all there for the taking. The new concert hall, the Palace of Arts has one of the best acoustic designs in the world. Anyone for Mozart?
The Hungarians celebrate the 20th August, with spectacular fireworks, dancing, eating and much joviality, this is to mark the first king, St Istvan settling in today’s Hungary in 896. All the bridges are lit up along with the Royal Palace & the Statue of Freedom.
The Budapest Summer Festival is a regular occurrence, an ongoing series of concerts, drama performances on at the Margaret Island Open-air Stage. Every Friday and Saturday night guests can enjoy live jazz in the open air at Casino Holdudvar, Margaret Island.
The city and its surrounding are also rich in architecture and historical buildings. Budapest has one of the most famous and largest Basilicas in centre Europe, only to be beaten by her big sister in Esztergom, which is even larger. To see this you would need to take a half-day boat trip up the River Duna. Talking about boat trips, Szentendre is another place on the river Duna, much favoured by artist, painters and sculptors alike. It is only a short trip from the city, with its old cobbled-streets and lovely old restaurants; and is one of my favourite places where I return year after year. The old medieval, painted houses support each other in a Cezanne like painting, piled on top and next to each other as if they are drunk with the mighty river view thrown in for free.
One must not forget the health and well-being services this city has become well-known, namely, there are more dentist in this city than flower shops, the cosmetic industry following close behind. You can save something like 60% on the UK prices.
For those on the honeymoon, the luxury homes in Buda or Pest is the best place to visit. The awesome views from the top of the Royal Castle, candle lit dinners with views to the Danube combined with the City’s romantic atmosphere will stay with them until the rest of day life.
With innumerable homes to select from, you will be confused which one to choose. You can select from a wide variety of apartments depending on your budget. But be sure to choose an apartment with panoramic views. The luxury end of Budapest homes represent style and glamour. Luxuries like a swimming complex, 24 hour security and secure parking place is no longer the privilege of rich people, but available to all. Try it and live like the other half!