Budapest 150 – Let’s celebrate with our personal favorites!
Our beloved and charming capital, Budapest celebrates its 150th birthday this November. The cities Buda, Pest and Óbuda – each with a long history – were united in 1873 to form the new metropolis we know nowadays as Budapest.
For this special occasion we collected our favourite places, events and attractions of Budapest – to show you what our amazing capital means to us.
My favourite place in Budapest is Margaret Island, because we go there a lot with my family to relax or to have a picnic.
Today’s name comes from Princess Margaret of the Árpád family, the daughter of King Béla IV, who was later canonized as a saint, and who occupies a special place in Hungarian history with her life and miracles.
Margaret Island is the green heart of Budapest. It lies in the middle of the Danube between Margaret Bridge and Árpád Bridge. Apart from a couple of hotels and sports facilities, there are no buildings on the island – it’s a huge recreational space with promenades, benches, cycle paths and a jogging track. It’s a great place for a date or a picnic. There are countless attractions, however, the most special one is the largest musical fountain in Hungary, which has a diameter of 36 meters and whose central water jet shoots more than 25 meters into the air.
BUDAPEST WINE FESTIVAL
Being a wine lover, my favourite festival in Budapest is the Budapest Wine Festival. It is a great opportunity to taste award-winning Hungarian and international wines, champagnes and cavas, try the local gastronomy, or just relax and admire the fantastic view from the terraces of the Buda Castle with a glass of delicious wine.
The festival takes place every year in September and besides many concerts and performances, it features a fascinating harvest procession to enjoy our wines even more.
THERMAL BATHS OF BUDAPEST
One of the greatest pleasures of Budapest are the city’s spectacular thermal baths. Hungary’s thermal-water reserve is one of the largest in the world, and as a result Budapest is rich in world-class healing baths. Most of the thermal-heated baths have a history dating back to hundreds of years, keeping spa traditions still alive in the city.
As winter approaches, my personal favourite at the moment is the Széchenyi Thermal Bath. Nothing compares to diving into the warm outdoor pool while it is cold and snowing and the water is magically steaming. No visit to Budapest is complete without a thermal bath experience, so you should pick one for your next trip.
To get to work, I take tram 2 every day. During the 30-minute journey I always marvel at the beautiful city I live in. It takes me along the Danube, passing by nearly all the main attractions of Budapest. My special favourite is the enchanting “light tram” of the advent season: the illuminated tram in the wonderfully decorated city centre creates a perfect festive mood. Plus, vintage or old-timer trams are quite often in service on this line – consider to hire one privately to offer a very special sightseeing tour for your next group.
Hard to explain, but my favourite is something that not yet exits. When I moved to Budapest in 1996, as a student, the area between Károly Boulevard and City Hall had small, brown and dirty buildings on one side, hiding the parking lot of the City Hall from the public. It was called “Karoly Boulevard Arcades”, and were home to small shops and boutiques. Later, these buildings were demolished, giving place to a small and simple park, used for Christmas Markets and smaller events. This is now “City Hall Park”.
For the 150th birthday of Budapest, the parking lot of City Hall will be added to this park, so the area between Merlin Theatre, Karoly Boulevard and City Hall will be finally open to the public. The new park, event space and pathway are created using modern, creative and eco-conscious methods – and the idea of creating a new green area is something that must be my favourite. I hope that groups arriving in Budapest during next year will enjoy and love this park, too.
This castle, which seems to come straight out of a fairy tale, is proudly located on the banks of the Lake of the City Park. It was built to commemorate the 1,000 years of the settlement of the Hungarian tribes in the Carpathian Basin. Several buildings were built here representing the different architectural styles of Hungary at the end of the 19th century and inspired by emblematic monuments of the country. The castle was inspired by that of Hunedoara, a castle in Transylvania (in Romania today) which served as settings for numerous films such as “The Cursed Kings” or “Jacquou le Croquant”.
This peaceful place located in the heart of Budapest is ideal for strolling and for a little romantic break. The magic is even greater on winter evenings when it is possible to skate on the frozen lake while admiring the illuminated facades of the castle.