Nine days in Budapest would seem like a good amount of time to be in a city while on a trip around Europe, but at the end of the nine days we were convinced that it was not.
I mean it was bad enough with having a low budget, meaning that we were limited to what we could do and we definitely couldn't venture outside of Budapest to see more of Hungary.
It was decided that we will be making another trip back to Hungary because there is so much to see.
Rather than jam-packing our plans into a couple of days so that we had time to do more things, we took everything slower than usual to really take time to enjoy the city and what it has to offer. So we saw what we could and left the rest for our next trip.
Here's a few things we enjoyed the most:
The Central Market Hall - Nagycsarnok
The Market was gorgeous and also a chef's dream. Chris was almost drooling walking through the market and wanted to buy anything and everything.
A lot of locals' shop at the market - due to the cheaper prices for fruits, vegetables and meats - but it is also a very large tourist attraction. Most people spoke English (or understood hand signals) and sell a lot of touristy things (keychains, trinkets, magnets, etc.) and many of them also sold Parprika souvenirs (being that it is a very popular spice in Hungary). If you find yourself at the market, make an effort to try the food from many of the food stands on the second level - and we don't recommend going to the restaurant with the glass enclosure (we found it less appetizing and more expensive). Also here you can try something called 'Hot Wine', it's spiced/mulled wine and this is where Chris became obsessed with it and finds himself making it at home.
Hospital In The Rock
Hospital In The Rock was an amazing - and cheap - museum. The tour of the museum was great because we really aren't huge fans of going to museums and reading so much that you end up forgetting everything you read at the beginning. The tour felt very realistic as the whole hospital consisted of wax figures and original machinery and tools from WW2 and the Cold War. It really felt as if you were there when it was used as a secret hospital back in the day of the war. You got to learn about the history of the hospital, how it was built underground as a hospital for the locals but became a secret underground war hospital, and also about how Hungarian people use to live during the war and how the military benefited greatly from the hospital. The staff were great, lively and very informative and knowledgeable about the hospital. We could not take pictures once we were inside the hospital itself, but here are a few we could take from the outside. They also offer a lot of really cool souvenirs for cheap, we bought our original Cold War gas masks for 1000 Forints ($4.50).
The Ruin Bars
The Ruin Bars are really cool and worth a visit, however they are a little over rated. They are completely taken over by tourists and not many people from Budapest actually go there for a drink any more. Almost every table we walked by had people speaking English or another language, but not Hungarian. It is worth going to see, because the set up and design of it is really neat and you can meet some pretty cool people there, most of who are travellers just like yourselves.
City Park Flea Market - Bolhapiac
This was by far one of our favourite activities - and best of all it's free! (Unless you buy something). It was so unique and different from a typical flea market in Ontario. We went on Sunday and spent 3 hours walking around, looking through all the tables and buying a bunch of souvenirs. They had everything from old war pins to telephones, shampoo, honey and herbs, old cameras, video games...pretty much whatever you can think of. A huge bonus for us that although it was jam packed, it wasn't full of tourists. Don't forget to bargain with them because you can always get a cheaper price.
We arrived when the market opened at 10am and when we left at 1:30pm it was like a there was another flea market outside with many locals selling stuff on side of the pathways. It wasn't there when we first arrived so when we left we excited about another 3 hours of looking.
The Invisible Exhibition - Láthatatlan Kiállítás
Once again another cheap but yet amazing museum. The Invisible Exhibition should be a must on everyone's bucket list. Imagine every single light went off and you cant see a gosh-darn thing. Well in this museum that's exactly what happens. You get to experience life as if you were blind. This museum was very interactive in the sense that you get to touch, smell and hear your way through different 'scenes' but you cannot see. The scene's include a park, the streets, a market, a log cabin and a kitchen (touching stoves and pots really made me realize how often I would burn myself if I lost my sight). Here you can really get a hint of what blind people go through on an everyday basis while also getting to learn about how the blind feel encountering certain situations. You are led by a guide through the entire exhibition, who is blind or partially blind, which helps you to appreciate your sight more. Our guide was amazing, he was very nice and was amazing on the computer - much faster than you or I! At the end of it all, as your last scene, you get to sit down in a bar (still in the dark) and order a drink. It was an unforgeable experience and would recommend it to everyone.
The Gellert Hill
The Gellert Hill had an unbelievable view. We were told that the best time to go is at night. It was amazing with all the lights of the monumental buildings all lit up, spectacular is all we could say. Although hard to get a good picture at night. Day or night it is a sight to see.
Szechenyi Baths and Pool
It was better then we expected. Super relaxing, so relaxing we could bearly walk home, we felt like our legs were made of rubber bands. Chris's favourite part was sitting in the cold water tub then running for the Sauna. That or the bath with the jets that push you around in circles. The only downfall was that there were too many kids, so were thinking the best time to go is at night.
EXTRA: Do not forget a good travel insurance before you go
We highly recommend to get a good travel insurance as most likely your standard health insurance won’t work abroad. We at Traveldudes recommend the awarded Travel Insurance by WorldNomads which you can easily purchase online for the exact time needed.
Travel tip shared by AFB