Dissecting Budapest neighborhood by neighborhood
We travel, neighborhood by neighborhood, the European city of fashion
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Dissecting Budapest neighborhood by neighborhood © Getty Images
No matter how many years they go through it. Neither their communist past nor the traces of wars suffered matter, nor that, like the big cities that have something to say, it is divided into two halves: Buddha and Pest. The Hungarian capital is a sculpted jewel that, although we find it hard to believe, It always manages to shine more and more.See 15 photos
These are the 15 best destinations in Europe of 2019
With its decadent air, the same that combines perfectly with the aura of romanticism emanating from each corner, Budapest keep as many personalities as we want to imagine. And there is a city for every taste. For each stage. For every moment. And we are willing to discover them all.
Let us say that this district, located at the top of Buda hill and overlooking PestIt's one of our favorites, it probably won't catch you by surprise. Who has not been in the Hungarian capital and has spent long hours strolling through this neighborhood?
Castle District, Budapest © Photo by Nick Night on Unsplash
And it's easy to understand: here is the imposing castle It governs much of the sights of Budapest. The building declared Heritage of humanity by unesco, it houses the Castle Museum, essential to understand the past and recent history of Budapest, and the Hungarian National Gallery.
An essential? Without a doubt, the Fisherman's Bastion, the most beautiful and charming viewpoint of all as much as you can imagine. Raised in 1905 by the same architect who designed the Matthias church -Yes, the same one that is right next door and that has a colorful and spectacular roof-, it is best to wait until sunset to contemplate the picture that composes the building of the Parliament next to the Danube, on the other side of the river, in all its splendor.
Budapest Fisherman's Bastion © Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash
A secret corner? Yes: Labirintus. Enter the bowels of Buda Hill, a real tangle composed of passageways and underground tunnels that make it a Gruyere cheese, it's something you won't forget. Thus you will learn about the different uses that have been made of these throughout history.
An advice? Wait until 6 pmWhen the tunnels turn off their lights and the visit is done alone with the only help of an oil lamp, it is, at least, terrifying. Eye: they say that in these caves he himself was imprisoned Vlad Tepes - aka Dracula - for more than 10 years…
And for eat? Fekete Holló, at number 10 in Országház, is the ideal place to taste authentic local cuisine. Didn't you feel like try the mythical goulash? EahWell, this is our site.
GELLÉRT AND TABÁN HILL
Stop there! Do not leave the west bank of the Danube yet, much remains to be discovered. On this occasion we stayed in Gellért, a rocky prominence of about 235 meters high from which you will enjoy, again, some unforgettable views of Pest and the river.
Here is one of the emblems of Budapest: the Monument to Independence, an immense sculpture of 14 meters high built in the mid-nineteenth century as a tribute to the Soviet soldiers who died when they liberated Budapest.
An essential? We will have to prepare the swimsuit, that here, of course, are the hot springs of the mythical Gellért Baths. And we don't talk about anything: in this style building art nouveau You will hallucinate while swimming - or relaxing - in what we might consider the closest thing to a cathedral.
It has eight thermal pools, some decorated with mosaics and sculptures that could well be in a museum, and whose temperatures oscillate between 26 and 38 degrees.
Gellért Baths © Alamy
A secret corner? Do not hesitate to go to the metro station of Kelenföld and then get on bus 101 -or 150-. Only 10 kilometers from the city center is Memento Park, what we could call a real cemetery of socialism.
And there are no people who are buried here, much less: they are up to 40 busts and sculptures of the socialist era - some of them of immense dimensions - banished, after the fall of socialism, to this park.
Where to eat? We stop at him 1111 of Bercsényi Street, in a flirtatious cafeteria, the Ponyvaregény coffee, full of bookshelves with old books and black and white photographs lining the walls. Here you can rest having tea with cakes, chopping a guacamole with nachos or, why not, delighting yourself with a tasty cocktail.
The flirtatious café of Café Ponyvaregény © Café Ponyvaregény
Like any capital worth its salt, Budapest also has its typical street full of business in which the big brands and boutiques show off, in big shop windows, their unattainable products. In this case it is called Vaci utca and forms the very heart of Pest, the east side of the city.
This is where the most quoted properties of the capital and the most select restaurants. That is why touring the Belváros neighborhood is contemplating that other Budapest, less decadent, bustling and wealthier, which also exists.
An essential? He Central Market will show you the most authentic Budapest. Here all the social classes are mixed: those of Belváros and those of beyond.
Budapest Central Market © Getty Images
The specialized positions in meat, fish, sausages or cheeses they alternate with those others where what they show are souvenirs that tourists can take home. If you are tempted to fly back with one of the typical Hungarian sausages, This is the right place to get them!
A secret corner? Also in Vaci utca, in number 9 specifically, an old florist shop is located in which the degree of cuquismo reaches unsuspected limits: Philanthia. It opened in 1906 and maintains the Interior decoration and original art noveau style furniture.
The same goes for its façade: it has remained since the 1930s. In addition to flowers of all types, colors and sizes, in Philanthia you can find old decorative objects and Christmas decorations.
Where to eat? Just for contemplating the beauty of the palace of the late eighteenth century in which it is located, it is worth reserving a lunch or dinner in Karpathia. And not only the environment is noteworthy: so is their food, a mixture of traditional recipes and modern presentations that, in addition, are enlivened by the typical Hungarian music that is performed live every day.
ERZSÉBETVÁROS AND JEWISH NEIGHBORHOOD
And this time, yes: if we were to stay with only one of the districts of Budapest, it would be with the Jewish quarter. The authenticity of its streets and businesses, in which it seems that history has been recorded in every inch, will make you fall in love with just putting one foot on any of its streets.
But, although the past is perennially present, that has not slowed that in recent years it has become the epicenter of hipster businesses, alternative bars and nightlife. Do you sound famous ruin bars? Well here are the majority.
An essential? The Great Synagogue, the largest in all of Europe - and the second largest in the world after New York - it's a symbol of Budapest. Visiting with a guide is worth it, if only for knowing all the legends and stories linked to this iconic place.
Interior of the great synagogue in Budapest © Getty Images
It was built in the mid-nineteenth century and its interior is spectacular. In fact, they also call it "the Jewish cathedral" for including in its ornamentation elements such as the huge rosette, more typical of Christian churches than synagogues. In the 90s it was renovated and Estée Lauder, American but of Hungarian Jewish roots, donated a whopping 5 million dollars. Almost nothing…
Oh, we are very sorry, but we cannot contain ourselves and we want to propose another corner of the Jewish quarter: the famous House of Terror, a complete museum that shows the atrocities that were committed during the fascist and communist dictatorial regimes of the 20th century in Hungary and that honors all its victims. Another must to include in your list.
A secret corner? It is not easy to find the building, but it will be worth the effort. In Hollo utca you will find a bit of the past that remains intact: a 30-meter stretch of the original wall that once surrounded the Jewish ghetto.
Juedisches Viertel in Budapest © Alamy
To access you must try through the door in the Király utca 15. It is probably closed, but if you wait for a neighbor to leave, or try your luck by calling any of the intercoms, you may be able to access. At the bottom of the common courtyard you will find this little piece of history.
Where to eat? Well, since we're in the Jewish quarter, the ideal is to cheer up with Jewish cuisine, isn't it? In Mazel Tov - "Good luck" in Hebrew- you will find a huge building renovated in 2014 in which the live music It will be the best company to the wide proposal of Israeli dishes that includes its menu.
PARLIAMENT AND SURROUNDINGS
And what postcard is more typical of Hungary than the one that shows the beautiful Parliament of Budapest on the banks of the Danube? Well, it's time to visit it! Designed by Inre Steindl at the end of the 19th century, the imposing building mixes many different architectural styles: from neo-Gothic to neo-Romanesque, through neo-baroque.
To visit it you have to be cautious: you will need to book the tickets in advance if you want to secure a gap. A 45-minute guided tour and teach some of his 700 rooms, as one of the vaulted halls or the Dome room, a true work of art.
Parliament, an essential classic © Getty Images
An essential? It is the turn of another of the most emblematic buildings - and a few are already - in Budapest: St. Stephen's Basilica, The most important Catholic temple in the whole country. And why is this so?
Among other things - among which one could highlight its enormous beauty both inside and outside - because it is in it the most revered relic of Hungary: the mummified right hand of St. Stephen, your employer Climbing one of its towers and contemplating the views from this other side of the Danube is more than obligatory.
A secret corner? It's really not that secret, but we want to highlight it: the shoes created in cast iron that rest next to the Danube halfway between Parliament and Széchenyi István square, make up one of the most emotional tributes that have been made in honor of the Jews who were shot and thrown into the river by party members Arrow Cross in 1944. The name of the monument is “Shoes on the Danube” and sitting next to them to rest and, incidentally, reflect, will be a great idea.
Where to eat? An ideal corner to disconnect after a day of sightseeing in the city is the Budapest Jazz Club, at number 7 of Hollán Ernö utca. Here, while you snack on some typical Hungarian food and enjoy a good wine from the land - eye, the Hungarian wines are delicious -, you can enjoy an exclusive jazz concert with the best national and international musicians. Take a look at the programming and decide!
CITY PARK AND BEYOND
Walking along the great Andrássy utca you will end up in the immense Heroes Square, an esplanade of enormous dimensions in which the Millennium Monument.
What do we mean? Yet 36 meter high pillar With numerous columns on both sides designed at the end of the 19th century to commemorate the thousand years of the Magyar conquest of the Carpathian Basin. At the top of the pillar, San Gabriel, which is offering the Hungarian crown to San Esteban.
At the base of the column is located the Heroes Monument, who honor all those who gave their lives for the freedom of the people. In the same square there are two of the most important museums in the city: Fine Arts and the Palace of Art.
An essential? Just behind the immense Heroes' Square is the City park, the place where a pastel-colored building is located that looks more like a wedding cake than it really is:s Széchenyi Baths. And we don't talk about anything! With 15 indoor and three outdoor pools, They are the largest thermal baths in Europe and the best place we can think of so you can literally soak.
Széchenyi Baths © Getty Images
By the way, here it will be very easy for you to bump into one of the most iconic and authentic scenes of the Hungarian capital: with the body submerged in the water, the Hungarians take advantage of this moment of socialization to play the occasional game of chess. More genuine, impossible.
A secret corner? One of the most peculiar art nouveau buildings in the entire city is located in the number 14 of XIV Stefánia utca. Its about Budapest Geology Institute and was designed by Ödön Lechner in 1899. The most striking of the facade? If you look closely, at the top of the blue-tiled roof, you will see three curved figures under the weight of a balloon. Curious, don't you think?
Where to eat? If there is the right place to enjoy a delicious Sunday brunch, that is Gundel, at heart of the City Park. From 11:30 to 15 hours you can give yourself a real banquet choosing between exquisite hot and cold dishes. Tradition and modernity merge in their recipes, perfect to leave the city with the best taste. Of course, keep in mind that you are in one of the most elegant restaurants - if not the most - of the whole city. So, watch your pocket!
“Shoes on the Danube” © Getty ImagesSee 15 photos
These are the 15 best destinations in Europe of 2019