Kempinski Blog Article
Ornate, laid-back and filled with cheer, Budapest is a fantastic city break destination, offering sights, tastes and experiences as exciting and diverse as its rival European capital cities.
Straddling the Danube, the famous Hungarian destination is regularly listed as one of the most liveable places in Eastern Europe, and has lots to offer, from relaxing riverside bars to beautiful architecture. Grand, luxurious hotels like Kempinski Hotel Corvinus are right in the centre of the city too – perfect for travellers looking to enjoy a short stay. For additional information on sightseeing, please click here.
Here is everything you need to know about getting the most out of a city break to Budapest.
Budapest is divided into two sections – Buda, located to the west and featuring its namesake castle, and to the east, Pest, marked by the pretty Parliament building. Getting across the city is easy, thanks to an extensive, reliable and inexpensive public transport system, and an urban layout that lends itself to strolling from points A to B.
Possibly one of the continent’s most beautiful parliaments, the Hungarian Parliament building is the largest building in the country and the tallest building in the city. Built in the Gothic Revival style, it is completely symmetrical, has 691 rooms and curiously features two parliamentary chambers – one for the government, the other for sightseers!
The Parliament building is located at Kossuth Lajos Square station on metro Line 2. Going inside requires booking a tour.
With a history going back to the 1200s, and the current structures dating to the mid-18th century, Buda Castle is unmissable, and offers some of the best views of the city. A maze of halls, chapels, staircases and parlours, there is plenty to see, and the Hungarian National Gallery and National Széchényi Library are also located in the complex, making it the place to go if you want to learn more about the culture and history of Budapest and Hungary.
The wider Buda Castle District is also home to a great collection of museums, including the Budapest History Museum, the Golden Eagle Pharmacy Museum, Museum of Military History, the House of Houdini and the Museum of Music History.
Getting to the District is easy – just head to Clark Adam Square in the city centre, and take the funicular railway to the top of the hill, or if you are feeling like a little exercise, take the steps up, to appreciate the view.
St. Stephen’s Basilica
Fabulously grand, Budapest’s biggest and best Catholic basilica is one of a kind, with walls plastered in marble reliefs and ornate carvings, and rich, domed ceilings covered in gold. As well as being a delightful place to wander and admire, the Basilica also hosts choral and orchestral concerts throughout the week.
St Stephen’s Basilica is located a short, five-minute walk north from Kempinski Hotel Corvinus.
Restaurants and bars
Budapest’s nightlife and dining scenes are first rate. Here are some of our favourite spots.
If you are looking for a cool and interesting place to drink with a mix of locals and tourists, head to one of the many ruin bars that dot the city. Places like Ellato Kert & Taqueria and Szimpla Kert now occupy previously derelict spaces in the city (particularly in the Jewish Quarter), turning their courtyards and maze-like interiors into vibrant hubs of trendiness.
Budapest’s best Asian fusion restaurant, Nobu at Kempinski Hotel Corvinus offers a selection of delicious Japanese-South American flavour combinations, cooked by some of the best chefs in the city.
Comme Chez Soi
Serving up modern, Mediterranean dishes, Comme Chez Soi is the current darling of the Budapest food scene, with critics praising its delicious food, attentive staff and surprising affordability. The experience speaks for itself – at the time of writing, Comme Chez Soi is the best-rated restaurant on TripAdvisor.
New York Café
Grand architecture and interiors are a common sight in Budapest, but arguably the finest interior can be found at New York Café. Simply order a coffee or small plate, sit back, and take in the wondrous, golden interior as you relax.
Goulash is supremely popular around Budapest, and even if you dine on this hearty, meaty stew often at home, it is worth enjoying a dish in the place that cooks it best. One of the prime places to sample goulash is the Opera House’s Opera Café, where you can enjoy bowls of the rich dish amidst majestic surroundings.
There is so much to do in Budapest, even when you are done sightseeing, including plenty of short activities that won’t take too much time out of your city break.
Visit a public bath
Hungary is known as the city of spas, and it is common for locals to spend their evenings and weekends relaxing at one of the city’s palatial bathhouses. Gellert Baths is a particularly good choice, featuring thermal pools and a grand interior, but for outdoor bathing, Széchenyi Baths is far grander, and has 15 indoor baths and 3 outdoor pools, plus Europe’s largest medicinal bath. Széchenyi also hosts summer night spa parties, just in case you have never partied in a pool before.
Take a stroll
Walking is one of the best ways to get around Budapest, and one of the nicest trails is along the southern banks of the Danube. Start at the Ziggurat, enjoy the views, then head past the National Theatre towards the Budapest Bálna mall – it’s not hard to miss, given it’s shaped like a whale!
Ever wonder what happened to the countless Soviet-era statues after the fall of the Iron Curtain? While imposing and at times unsettling, most of Budapest’s ended up at Memento Park, an intriguing open-air museum 20-minutes’ drive from the city centre. Lovers of curiosities will enjoy wandering beneath the otherworldly statues, which are an interesting reminder of Hungary’s dark, Soviet past.
A fantastic location, Budapest makes for an enviable city break destination. Contact the staff at Kempinski Hotel Corvinus to organise your trip today.