The Brilliance of Budapest

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Why is Budapest such an essential city to visit?

Budapest isn’t exactly a secret, especially at university. It seems as if every society decides to go on tour there once every few years, so chances are the opportunity for you to go will probably present itself during your time in Southampton. I’ve been lucky enough to go to Budapest twice, and it has impressed and amazed me both times. From my personal experience it really is a must-see city that is on another level to anywhere else I’ve ever been in my life, and this article aims to tell you why.

So what is it that sets Budapest apart? Why is it such a unique and incredible city to visit?

Budapest is an inexpensive city and you can certainly enjoy all it has to offer without spending too much money. It really is refreshing to be able to go to a bar and only spend the equivalent of £1 or £2 for a beer or spend under £1 for public transport. But whereas some places are cheaper because they create a less desirable tourist experience, Budapest is just as big, just as beautiful and has just as many great things to offer as any of Europe’s great, and expensive cities. It has been dubbed the Paris of the East for a reason, and the moment you arrive it is crystal clear why you choose to travel to this beautiful city.

Szechenyi Chain Bridge and Royal Palace. Credit: Paul Mannix

I’m not sure if there’s anything more relaxing than visiting Budapest’s famous baths. I could spend days in the warm water, with beautiful buildings surrounding; it really is a unique and memorable experience. Szechenyi baths, pictured below, are perhaps the most amazing outdoor and indoor baths in the city, but saying that, Budapest offers an array of thermal baths which are perhaps its most distinctive tourist attraction. Budapest’s baths really set it apart from other cities; not many places can offer an experience as spectacular.

Szechnyi Baths, and Budapest’s other thermal baths, are a significant part of the city’s attraction. Credit: Petr Šmerkl, Wikipedia

Budapest’s nightlife is another aspect of this city that really sets it apart from anywhere that I’ve been before. Its characteristic ruin bars are uniquely weird; it really is difficult to describe them sufficiently. My favourite, Szimpla Kert is packed with artwork, fairy lights and random objects such as bike wheels and masks that provide an interesting atmosphere. Like many places to go out to in Budapest, it has great character, plays great music, serves great drinks and provides an awesome and unique way to spend your time.

The wonderfully weird Szimpla Kert. Credit: Daniel Edwins

From my personal experience, I’ve found Budapest to have not just an interesting nightlife, but a genuinely friendly atmosphere surrounding it, making the whole experience more enjoyable. Unlike some places I’ve been, Budapest, even with an influx of tourists, retains its character and flair and somehow creates an environment where both locals and tourists get along and are amiable to all, at least from my experience there.

There are lots of great cities to visit in Europe that have a lot to offer to their visitors: Prague, Berlin, Amsterdam, but, in my opinion, Budapest really sets itself apart from these places and never ceases to amaze. Societies organise trips to Budapest quite often and I would encourage anyone who gets the chance to visit this spectacular city to snatch it up. I promise you won’t regret it.

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