Budapest is best seen in winter, when you can explore the ‘Paris of Eastern Europe’ by day or night, relax in the centuries old turkish baths and celebrate the new year on the river Danube. Here are the top 5 reasons to visit Budapest this winter.
Top 5 Reasons to Visit Budapest in Winter
1. Turkish Baths
Some of the cities warm Turkish baths date back thousands of years to when the city was under Turkish rule. Since then, there have been others built which date back centuries, some including the Szechenyi Baths – where you can enjoy a late night outdoor swim in the warm pools, after a relaxing massage, or head indoors to the thermal springs pools for the health benefits of mineral baths.
2. Ruin Bars
Ruin bars are a phenomenon unique to Budapest, where the old jewish grottos have been transformed into nightclubs with a twist. These night clubs have been built within the abandoned grottos, which have been decorated with all things strange and interesting, on the walls, floors, ceilings, and even balconies. The most widely ranked number one of these Ruin Bars is the Szimpla Pub, located on the Pest side of the Danube. If you are looking for an experience that is only found in Budapest, that would never be recreated anywhere else in the world, you should definitely visit the Szimpla pub and enjoy a night you will never forget!
3. New Years Eve on the River Danube, Budapest
Budapest is a city that knows how to celebrate bringing in the new year! There are many ways you can party the night away in this town including, the Szechenyi Bath Party: where the outdoor thermal pools transform into a nightclub full of dancing, DJ’s and swimming in the warm pools to keep warm on the sub-zero degree night – certainly an excitingly original way to bring in the new year! If you prefer to stay dry, you can always attend the Budapest Street parties. They are free to enter and occur in three main points around the city including Vorosmarty Square, Oktogon Square and Eiffel Square. These squares fill up with street party goers, bringing their own drinks and meeting with friends to view the spectacular new years fireworks on the River Danube.
4. Great Market Hall and Szimpla Sunday Farmers Market
The Great Market Hall of Budapest is over one hundred years old and was built to house the many over populated outdoor markets which were booming at the end of the 19th century, with the creation of Budapest. The market is decorated by strings of paprika and garlic and offers a fine selection of hungarian salamis, pastries and wines. If you are looking for a smaller market feel which is not so overwhelming, then head to the Szimplar Sunday Farmers Market to sample some of the local produces and see the Szimplar ruin bar.
5. Hungarian Castle Day Trips
Hungary is home to some of the most spectacular castles from Bohemia. Godollo Palace is a beautiful royal palace located just a 45 minute train from Budapest. The palace is famous for being the favourite of Queen Elizabeth of Hungary, and is a fantastic historical site presenting a look into the last 300 years of the country’s history. The palace and its gardens are open for the public to explore either by guided tour or at your own pace. This is an ideal opportunity to drive out of Budapest and explore more of the Hungarian countryside.