I’ve been in Prague for five weeks now and gone on 3 trips outside of the Czech Republic. I’ve been to Ibiza and Munich (for Oktoberfest of course) however my favorite city so far is Budapest. Ironically when my friends and I arrived in Budapest we hated it instantly. It was cold and wet, the rain would not stop and it was 6:30 AM. We tried to check into our hotel but the lobby didn’t open until 9:00 AM so we waited out in the cold, finding some shade underneath the tent of an outdoor restaurant. Even then we couldn’t check in until 2:00 PM so we stood in the lobby in soaked clothes, girls and
guys changing as quickly as we could because we had to leave ASAP since the lobby was packed.
This is when our first adventure began. Although it was pouring we decided to climb up many hills to go see the castle a top. This was hysterical (although at the time muddy and gross) because we were basically slipping and sliding everywhere. Some of my friends decided to veer off the path and into a mud trail and ended up falling and sliding all the way down and we videotaped the whole thing. Once we reached the top, the view was beautiful and the museums and sights a top were full of grandeur.
Don’t get me wrong Prague Architecture is beautiful. Nothing makes me happier than seeing those red roofs but something about Budapest was just enchanting. A lot of the architecture is more baroque which has a really nice touch to it. The views from the top of Budapest are similar to Prague with the water front and everything but there’s something refreshing about the close by mountains and the eerie mist.
My friends and I visited a few churches, the citadel, and the parliament building as well. My favorite site was the Terror Museum based on Nazi and Communist occupation in the Hungarian Lands. The museum was very informative and easy to navigate. Perhaps the most haunting aspect was seeing the actual torture bunkers in the basement. To be honest it was horrifying to see the conditions dissidents had to live in.
Particularly I remember seeing the solitary confinement chamber, which was a small room probably 2 feet by 3 with no windows, just a tiny slit for air and pitch darkness. The thought of someone staying in there for days or even weeks lingered in my mind for a long time after.
Moving on to happy thoughts however, the night life was great. Budapest is mostly known for bars but one of my NYU friends is actually from there and he recommended a great club. The music was really good and my friends and I had a great time just dancing. Budapest also has a great selection of wine and beer alike, so you’re basically set at any restaurant.
On our last day we visited T.G. Italiano. Its ranked the 3rd in Europe and surprisingly it wasn’t too expensive and the food was on point. The mushroom risotto was the best risotto I’ve ever had, and truffle fries were amazing as well. My friends got a variety of dishes from lasagna to shells with goat cheese and pesto. The chocolate molten lava cake was delicious for dessert. This restaurant is definitely something everyone should visit when in Budapest.
Overall I really enjoyed Budapest for the atmosphere of the city. It was laid back and fun, and simply a great place for young people. There’s something for everyone including the out-doorsy which isn’t something you find in every city. I’m sure it’s a fine experience later in life, but if you’re young and in central Europe definitely visit this city. You’ll have a blast and learn a lot about the culture.