Plunging in the pools of history is very easy in a city like Budapest, where experiences are right beneath the surface, available to whoever is ready to walk its elegant avenues. There are secrets, though, that escape the naked eye but are worth being unveiled: a night at the opera, shopping in Váci Street, spending an afternoon with your children at the City Park… Budapest is itself an unforgettable experience.
Experiences in Budapest: What to do
- Shopping in Váci utca: Váci is one of the liveliest and busiest streets in Budapest. Lined with exclusive and modern boutiques, shopping centres with a zillion gift shops and coffee houses, it is the ideal place for a shopping spree, a coffee and a good book, or just looking at passers-by.
- Going up Buda Castle Hill on the funicular: Taking the Budavári Sikló is a must if you are visiting Buda. A night ride affords amazing views of the Danube and great panoramic snapshots when you reach the summit, with all the city lights reflected in the water. The funicular operates until 10pm. There is a trail to go up and down the hill on foot too.
- A night at the opera in Budapest: The Hungarian State Opera House in Budapest puts on shows almost every day, with the greatest performances being held at weekends. Tickets are quite inexpensive, and the building is one of the most beautiful opera houses in Europe, rivalling Vienna’s State Opera or Paris’s Opéra Garnier. There are guided tours that provide useful information on the building’s history.
- Eating goulash at the Great Market Hall: Goulash is one of the most delicious things you can taste in Budapest, and one of the best places to do so is the Great Market Hall. The largest market in the capital of Hungary draws lots of tourists and locals every day, who come here in search of typical fruit, vegetables, meats, cold cuts, desserts and whatever delicacies they can think of.
- Discovering Pálvölgyi Cave: Spending a day visiting this old, old cave can be a great family experience. The cave is 29km long, but the tourist route is just 500m long, which are done in one-hour guided tours that show the impressive formations created by water through the centuries. There are companies organising spelunking adventures too.
- Tea at Café Gerbaud: Visitors with a sweet tooth must stop at Gerbaud, one of the greatest and most traditional coffeehouses in Europe. If you are coming to Budapest in autumn or winter, try one of its scrumptious pies with a cup of hot chocolate.
- Sailing up the Danube on a cruise ship: A cruise up the river Danube is one of the things you will always remember about Budapest. The views of the city on both banks of the river are breathtaking, especially at sunset, when the majestic buildings become shadowy silhouettes. There are all kinds of cruise deals, from one-hour trips with a free beverage to boats where you can have dinner and listen to live music, the perfect choice for a romantic getaway in Budapest.