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  • Writer's pictureCaroline Watkins


Updated: Aug 23, 2021

I took this photo during my last night in Budapest from the Aria Hotel rooftop bar. Seeing the St. Stephen's Basilica at sunset was one of the most beautiful things I've seen.

Budapest is a magical place, and I encourage you all to visit it. Between the country's rich history, eclectic people and mesmerizing sights of the Danube River, everywhere you turn you are able to see something beautiful.

I was able to visit Budapest with my father during our European Trip following my high school graduation in the summer of 2017. When we were there for a few nights, we enjoyed visiting some of the landmarks and trying out the city's smorgasbord of different restaurants.

If a friend were to ask me what's the best thing to do in Budapest, I would definitely recommend visiting one of Budapest's famous bath houses.

The Szechenyi Baths

I chose to visit Budapest's most famous bathhouse, the Szechenyi Baths, which is seen above.

Budapest sits over a network of nearly 125 thermal springs, and the bath houses are a part of the Hungarian culture. Budapest, as a matter of fact, is referred to as the "City of Baths." While some of the baths are a legacy of the Turkish occupation, others are more modern, Art Nouveau destinations. Regardless, there's a plethora of baths to choose from, depending on your taste. Some baths are more intimate and indoors, whereas others, such as the Szechenyi Baths, are outdoors, and are primarily outdoors and more touristy.

A few tips before you go: be careful with which items you take into the baths. Although you can pay to use a locker, it's better to take minimal items with you, besides the necessities—a bathing suit, change of clothes, a towel and flip flops. Also, the hours of baths are very dependent on which day you go, and which bath you choose to visit; try to check the availability of whatever bath you visit online before you arrive on-site.

House of Terror

The next recommendation I would offer for someone visiting the Hungarian City would be to go to the House of Terror museum. Unfortunately I do not have any photos of this museum because they are pretty strict when it comes to taking photos, but I would implore anyone to go to this museum to make your trip more meaningful. Originally an Arrow Cross Party building during the 20th century, the building now stands as a museum that educates others on the different fascist and communist regimes that existed in Hungary during that time. Although the museum can be quite graphic at times, I found it to be incredibly moving and informative. Being able to see rooms that victims were detained, interrogated and tortured in was truly life-changing, and it was an experience that I will never forget.

High Note Sky Bar in the Aria Hotel Budapest

Please pardon the poor quality of this photograph; however, seeing this photo of my time in the Aria Hotel's bar brings me back to a night full of stunning sights.

For a more light-hearted activity, I would recommend for anyone to visit the rooftop of the Aria Hotel Budapest for stunning, sweeping views of the city. The hotel itself is stunning, and has a music theme throughout the entire building; the deign is contemporary, and features a variety of music-inspired artwork, instrument-inspired installations and live music concerts. My favorite part of the hotel, however, is definitely the rooftop. While half of it is covered by glass, the other is an open deck; the colors in the bar reflect the colors seen in the sunset photo above, making you feel like you are at a bar in the sky.


Here's a photo of me on the Buda side, on top of a hill overlooking the Danube with Pest in the distance (ft. my Mizzou shirt...M-I-Z, baby!)

Of course, the last obvious recommendation for someone visiting Budapest would be to spend time by the Danube River and visiting both sides of the city—Buda & Pest, separated by the Danube. While Buda, which is on the west side of the river, is more residential and historical, Pest is the more urban, modern side. Most visitors will stay on the Pest side, due to it's sprawling night-life and easier accessibility. As someone who has been on both sides, I would argue that you truly haven't seen Budapest unless you've seen both Buda and Pest.

Overall, Budapest is a stunning city—I can't encourage you enough to visit. In addition to these recommendations, here's a few other stops I would recommend you take if you visit:

  • Matthias Church (Buda)

  • Buda Castle

  • Budapest Evening Sightseeing Cruise

  • Gelarto Rosa (must!)

  • Bazilika Cafe & Restaurant

Gelarto Rosa

My incredible gelato from Gelarto Rosa near St. Stephen's Basilica (ft. my handy-dandy Eurail wrist pass).

Have you been to Budapest? If so, I want to hear what your recommendations are!

As always, thanks again for visiting Now Boarding...


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