All right, I can give million reasons why to visit this beautiful and old city. Budapest, which represents the merging of centuries old history and the modern beat of everyday life. Today, I like to share with you some of my favorite places and events in Budapest:
1. The Christmas Market at Vörösmarty Square:
At the end of November, this small, but very well placed square at the end of the high fashion Váci Street turns into magical winter land. Budapest usually has lots of snow, so it only adds to the experience. You have tiny, cottage-like booths where you can buy food, souvenirs and presents. We recommend their mulled wine, which comes in cute white-and-red hand painted mugs. So, order a mug of mulled wine, share a hot chimney-cake with your loved one and enjoy the life band playing chardas music.
2. St. Margaret’s Island
St. Margaret was the daughter of a Hungarian king, who decided to live a humble life. She lived in a convent built there, now an archaeological site. The tiny island is connected to the mainland by Margaret Bridge and it is located equidistantly from both Buda and Pest. It sports many amusing thing: a Japanese garden, a zoo with exotic birds, a music fountain, many rose-adorned lawns with picnic gazebos, pools and spa hotels. It makes the perfect get away in the summer and falls, where every inch of the island is covered with golden leafs.
3. Vajdahunyad Castle
This castle was built at the end of the 19th century, as part of the Millennial Exhibition which celebrated the 1000 years of Hungary’s existence. It incorporates architecture of many important Hungarian landmarks, mostly from Hynuad Castle in Transylvania; which was once ruled by Hungarian kings. The very name is derived from the Hungarian version (Hynuad) of the name of Corvin royal family. Today, you can stroll among the majestic edifices or take or enjoy a short break near the Castle’s small lake.
4. Gellért Hill and the Cave Church
Now we are moving to the Buda side of the city. This hill is very near the Castle district and overlooks the Danube and its many bridges. One of the most famous Budapest spas is located here-Gellért Baths. My personal favorite is the small cave church dedicated to the hermit St. Ivan, who used the mud and the thermal water of the spring that now feeds the baths to cure the sick people.
via flickr by Dennis Jarvis
5. Mathias Church
Originally dedicated to Virgin Mary, now it bears the name of the Hungarian king Mathias who ordered its renovation. Situated in the Castle District, it served as the coronation place for many of the Hungarian royals. It has many phases; today it bears the 13th century architectural features. This church went through several restorations, the latest finished in 2011. An interesting thing happened when workers restored a part of the roof-they found “time capsules” containing letters, photos and other memorabilia of the people who worked on the early 20th century restorations. An exhibition was made to present the finds of these time capsules.