Introduction to Budapest
With the past staring at you from every corner, Budapest on the banks of the Danube is an experience like no other. Blessed with an abundance of hot springs, the eclectic, art nouveau city is a reminder of the city’s war-torn past – whether it is a WWII memorial or the shrapnel marks and bullet holes in the buildings. Historic, eccentric, and an explorer’s paradise, Budapest tends to surprise you at every turn.
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Places to See in Budapest
Budapest is a paradise for history buffs as well as those who don’t really dig it. Places to check out in Budapest include the palatial Buda Castle, the ornate Széchenyi thermal bath, the landmark 19th-century Chain Bridge, the WWII memorial of the Shoes on the Danube (dedicated to the Budapest Jews who lost their lives in WWII), the Hősök tere, the fortress of Fisherman’s Bastion, the St. Stepehen’s basilica, Margaret Island, Matthias Church, the Hungarian State Opera House, the Hungarian Parliament Building, the Vajdahunyad Castle, the House of Terror, the Dohány Street Synagogue, the Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden, the Hospital in the Rock, the Hungarian National Gallery, and many more. Check out this Budapest guide for all the places to visit in Budapest.
Food in Budapest
Budapest is also a foodie’s delight. Some of the must-try foods in Budapest include Gulyás a.k.a. Goulash (the national dish of Hungary), Paprikás (an absolute Hungarian essential), Jókai bean soup, Lecsó (a vegetarian soup), Paprikás Csirke (a Chicken Paprika Soup), Halászlé (a fisherman’s stew, the traditional Újházy chicken broth typically eaten at weddings, Lángos (a fried flatbread served with mashed potatoes, sausages, ham or sour cream yogurt), Kolbász which are Hungarian sausages, Rakott Krumpli (gratin), Pörkölts, Töltött Káposzta (stuffed cabbage rolls), Töltött Paprika, Libamáj (foie gras, Rántott Sajt (deep fried cheese), Túrós Csusza, Nokedli and Túrógombóc dumplings, and Dobos torta (Hungarian sponge cake), Gesztenyepüré (chestnut puree), Rákóczi Túrós (short crust pastry) and Kürtőskalács (chimney cake) to name a few.
Shopping in Budapest
Budapest’s main shopping areas are located in the city centre. One of the most famous shopping streets in Budapest lies in the Váci Utca (Váci Street) which is a designated pedestrian precinct running from Vámház körút (Central Market Hall) to Vörösmarty Square. The street has numerous cafés, restaurants and fashionable shops. Other great places to shop are the neighbouring streets of Fashion Street which links Deák Ferenc utca with Vörösmarty tér which offers a great shopping experience with big brand shops such as Lacoste, Hugo Boss, etc. Other major shopping areas are Andrássy Avenue which has high-street fashion with expensive and glamorous shops, as well as Rákóczi út and Bajcsy-Zsilinszky utca. Shops are open from 10 am to 6/8 pm (Monday-Friday) and 9/10 am to 1 pm on Saturdays.