Hungary’s capital Budapest is considered one of the most beautiful metropolises in Europe. Millions of tourists are attracted to the city on the Danube every year. And Budapest is also not lacking in sights. But what if you’ve already been to Budapest or you’re just looking for something different? Even then you should not be bored with the city. Budapest offers many alternative attractions that will not let you get bored during your stay. Check out these Budapest alternative places and things to do.
Bridge porn Budapest – Many beautiful ways across the river – and back
As is well known, Budapest consists of Buda – here comes the surprise – and Pest. Logically, the two former individual cities are separated by the Danube. Buda is in the west, Pest in the east. Clearly for me as the author of the blog Wild East, I like the East better, of course. In Berlin it is so, in Istanbul also and in Budapest anyway. But nevertheless, the bridges in Budapest are also a real highlight and it is worth to use the bridges for a walk.
I especially recommend the way there over the Chain Bridge, the classic among the bridges over the Danube and the way back over the Margaret Bridge. Friends of mine are particularly fond of the Freedom Bridge. However, I did not make it there during my visit because of a sprained foot. But maybe it will come. From the Margaret Bridge you can also go to the Margaret Island and there wonderful walk.
The Hungarian parliament – great place with a little bummer
The Parliament building in Hungary is one of the most beautiful buildings in Europe. It is modeled after the Palace of Westminster in London. But I find it even more beautiful. No matter what time of day or night – it is always a great photo opportunity. On a guided tour of Parliament, you can also see the beautiful interiors. The picture is unfortunately marred only somewhat by Viktor Orban, who also has a seat here.
Ruin pubs – ruining especially your liver
Budapest has a special feature, which is also known in a different form from Berlin. Those who can still remember the now closed Tacheles will surely enjoy a visit to the Szimpla and the Szimplakert, probably the most famous ruin pub in Budapest. All of the ruin pubs in Budapest are housed in old houses that are semi-derelict. Not only that, makes them probably the best alternative sights in Budapest. Some are also more just beer gardens.
Also nice: the Ellato and the Ellatokert (kert means garden in Hungarian, by the way). The best place to discover them all is in the Jewish Quarter in Budapest. But the bottom line is that because there are so many, the ruin pubs are especially ruinous for my liver. But what does one not do everything for the research.
Icarus, metro and streetcar – nostalgia for free
For me riding an Ikarus bus still brings back memories, as they used to be the school buses I took when I was a kid. There are still hundreds of these old Ikarus buses from Hungary here. I was pretty happy every time I saw one and could even take a ride. If you grew up in the West or abroad, you should still take a ride. The Ikarus buses are typically Hungarian, they were built here and most of them still look like they did back then – including the nut-brown leather seats.
However, if you are more into subways, you will find many old cars here. On some lines you can still find trains from Soviet production. They also have a special sound when driving. I like it. It sounds like the sounds of other Soviet metros, like the Kyiv Metro.
Last but not least, I don’t want to leave out the Budapest trams. They look much older than the Ikarus buses. But they are still in great shape and a ride is a nostalgic experience for the price of a local transport ticket (just under one euro). Please get on board!
Ottoman Budapest – Gül Baba utca takes you to the Orient
The Hungarians are not particularly well disposed towards the Turks – after all, the Ottomans took the city, murdered many Hungarians, occupied it for years and had a good time here for a while. In return, they built and left behind quite a bit when the Habsburgs came and drove them out. That’s why you can still find one of the cutest streets in Hungary in the old Turkish quarter. Gül Baba utca is picturesquely located in Buda. Here it really looks like Turkey or other once Ottoman countries. A real alternative to the other sights of the city. Right next to it is the tomb of Gül Baba, an Ottoman poet. The tomb is the northernmost Muslim pilgrimage site in the world, as he is revered as a saint by many Muslims.
Baths in Budapest – Turks know how to build baths
But Budapest also owes probably one of the most important sights of the city to the Turks. The Turks also brought their baths with them, which can still be found in the city today. I was also bathing in one of them. The insider tip here is the Veli Bej bath right near Margaret Bridge on the Buda side. It is much smaller, but also has much fewer visitors than the Gellert bath or the Széchenyi. Here you can relax just fine for 9 euros and bask in the mineral-rich water from the springs in Budapest. If you don’t come out of there relaxed, it’s your own fault.
Food in Budapest – Not all goulash is the same
Already during my first visit to Budapest I had to learn painfully that not all paprika is the same. But not all goulash is the same. Because what we know as goulash, is actually called Pörkölt in Hungary. But it tastes just as delicious there as it does here or in the Czech Republic. Now you might be wondering what you get instead when you order goulash in Hungary. That’s easy: a soup. While in our country goulash is eaten on flat plates with dumplings, dumplings or potatoes, in Hungary it is a soup rather with bread. But even the goulash soup is delicious and a little different in every restaurant. Only one thing must not be missing: paprika. By the way, if you are not so fond of goulash, you can also try lángos or the Hungarian stick bread, called Kürtöskalács.