9 things you definitely must try in Budapest as a digital nomad
1. View from Fisherman´s Bastion
The Fisherman’s Bastion is the perfect destination for you if you like working with a beautiful panoramic view or you would like to upload a few similar pictures to your Instagram. These were originally watch towers and this is why they offer the best view. On top of that, you can enter 7 towers free of charge. The upper part of some towers can be visited for a small amount of money in high season.
And if this is not enough for you, you can walk up to the 700-year-old Matthias Church. This cathedral was built in Gothic style. The roof is decorated with special colors. It is worth mentioning that the inside of the church is just as majestic as its outside.
2. Relaxing in the Széchenyi Baths
In the Széchenyi Baths, you can even work by typing on your laptop near the water pool. This place is so quiet that some people even play chess on the water. And the water jet is perfect for relieving stress. Just stand under it and let the water massage your neck, back and shoulders.
No wonder that this is one of the most popular baths: two thermal springs provide hot water for 20 pools. Their temperature is between 18 and 40 degrees. The springs also carry a high therapeutic value: they are great for treating inflamed joints as well as orthopaedic and traumatological problems. (Dad, did you hear that?) Saturday evening you can also attend a pool party, often accompanied with a lightshow.
3. Travel on the Danube river
You can find loads of pleasure and dinner boats to cross the town with at night and you can enjoy the most beautiful lights from the Danube while having a glass of wine or a tasty dinner. If you like water life, you can even sign up for half-day or even longer trips.
4. Parties at Budapest ruin bars
In these extremely special bars you must definitely taste some pálinka, the national drink of the Hungarians. If you like sweet stuff, ask for cherry pálinka, which is full of various fruits, just like cognac. You will feel this right away as you roll down your shot. People drink pálinka typically before or after meals.
Each ruin bar has its own atmosphere. They are opened in abandoned buildings. Maybe you don’t even realize at first that this is a bar, but once you step in, you’ll enter a totally new world. Most of these bars are in the seventh district. Szimpla Kert is one of the oldest and most famous ruin bars. As these bars get full quickly, it is worth getting there and booking a table before 11 p.m. to make sure that you can place your order.
5. Take the Budapest Eye ferris wheel
The Budapest Eye ferris wheel is a breathtaking experience. It is decorated with more than 10,000 coloured lights every night. From the top of this mobile wheel, one of the largest wheels in Europe, you can see the ships on the Danube, the Buda Castle and the church towers on the Pest side. You can get a ticket from HUF 3000 and the wheel is open almost all day long: from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. for sure, but also until midnight, except for Mondays. You can find it at the address 5th district, Erzsébet tér 4 (it is visible from Deák tér).
6. Climb to the top of St. Stephen´s basilica
If you like walking upstairs or you want to muscle up your butt while having a spectacular view, 365 stairs will give you all this experience. (Don’t panic, if you are on the comfortable side, just like me, you can also take the lift for only HUF 600 from April to October.)
Have your camera at hand because you will surely like the sight of the city from here! You can also go up to the observation deck for only HUF 400. To get an idea of the full cost, you should add a donation of HUF 200, which is not obligatory but it is a very nice gesture.
7. Do you love strolling?
If you prefer walking, your opportunities are almost endless.
The Chain Bridge was built in 1849 in Classical style and it is guarded by two lion statues. It is an interesting fact that the retreating German soldiers blew it up in 1945 but it was rebuilt in 1949, on its 100th anniversary. This bridge connects Buda and Pest. At summer weekends and on certain bank holidays the bridge is closed down for vehicles and is given to the pedestrians. This is the right place for you if you love taking night photos or a time lapse!
The Hungarian parliament is the third biggest one in the world and the largest building in Hungary. The size is well shown by the fact that it was built for 17 years and completed in 1902. Even its designer, Imre Steindl, died before the opening ceremony. The building has exactly as many small or big towers as the number of days in a year (365). It has a very special heating system: a boiler house placed in a nearby building provides hot steam (!) for circulation. If you time your visit perfectly, you can see the change of military guards. You can visit the inside of the parliament if you book a ticket a few days before as the visitor number is limited and the tours are booked in advance.
Located in the 14th district, Heroes’ Square is a gem stone of Andrássy út and the largest square in Budapest. It is decorated with numerous important Hungarian historical personalities and Archangel Gabriel, who rests on a huge stone pillar. You can also find the epic City Park nearby, offering a romantic environment with its lake, statues, gardens and buildings. You can also find here a huge skating rink in winter.
Talking about romance, it is worth mentioning the Danube bank where you can often see mooning couples. (The Danube flows across ten countries and it is the second longest river in Europe.) With its gang-boards and stairs, the river bank offers a calm, relaxing atmosphere. In addition to restaurants, bars and parties, you can also find here the “Bálna”, a huge shopping centre built from glass. (This may also be interesting for photographers.)
8. Culinary delights
The Great Market Hall is located in Vámház körút, between the Danube Bank and Kálvin tér, in the ninth district, and it looks like a railway station. (But it’s not. 🙂 ) It takes up 10,000 m2, which makes it worthy of its name. (Local people also come here to do their shopping.) You should come here when you get hungry as you can taste a large variety of Hungarian foods.
You can try Hungarian spices (like the famous Szeged paprika), cheese, honey, fish, mushroom (also truffle), scone, stuffed cabbage, Goulash soup, pastries and alcoholic beverages. If you prefer mushroom, try the wild grown ones as they are always tastier.
The lavender stand also offers you surprises. A lot of lavenders grow also in Hungary, mainly around abbeys. Please note that this place is closed on Sunday.
9. A few alcoholic drinks that make everyone feel great with us
One is pálinka, which we have already mentioned. If you like its taste, you will realize that the Hungarians can make pálinka from almost any fruit. Also from strawberry. Plum is the most frequent basic material, you can get it almost everywhere.
The story of the fiery water dates back to the 12th century. At first, it was distilled from wine and used as medicine. Sometimes it was used externally combined with herbs or bacon. Spirits became popular in the 16th-18th centuries. Today, almost all regions of the country have their own special type of pálinka: plum pálinka from Szatmár, apricot pálinka from Kecskemét, plum pálinka from Békés, apple pálinka from Szabolcs, apricot pálinka from Gönc, sour cherry pálinka from Újfehértó, pear pálinka from Göcsej, grape marc pálinka from Pannonhalma.
Another famous Hungarian drink is Unicum, it was first made in 1790 to cure the permanent stomach complaints of King Joseph II. His court physician, Dr. Zwack, made a bitter drink for him from 40 different herbs. The emperor emptied the glass and exclaimed: „das ist ein Unikum!”, which means this is something special.
Since then, the recipe for the drink has remained a carefully kept secret of the Zwack family.
Today Unikum comes in several versions. If pálinka turns out to be too strong for you, the good news is that Unikum is somewhat lighter.