THE HILL OF MARTYR
origin of Budapest stems from the union of three cities, Obuda, Pest and Buda.
Obuda was established on a first Roman settlement located to the northeast of
the city and known as Aquincum. Pest was a flat city located on the left bank
of the Danube river and finally, Buda was a city founded on the right bank of
the Danube, above several hills. That said, we can already imagine that the
best views of the city of Budapest are found on the hills of the old Buda. But
to get unrivaled views, not any of these hills will do us any good ... If we
want to enjoy the most sublime perspective of Budapest, we will have to climb
Gellert Hill. Come with us to that height!
Hill is named after Bishop Saint Gerard, a Venetian monk who was invited by the
first Christian King of Hungary, Stephen I (later canonized as Saint Stephen),
to become the tutor to his only son Emericus, who, thanks to Gerardo´s good
teachings, lived very Christianly and was even beatified after his early death.
King Stephen appointed this monk "Bishop of Csnad", a region that was
still very pagan and in which the bishop served as a missionary, converting the
pagans of his diocese. The holy king achieved the Christianization, forced on
occasions, of the Hungarian tribes and among them, that of the Magyars. After
the death of Esteban I, fights arose between his incompetent successors and
some revolts arose that threatened to return to paganism with Saint Gerard
being the victim of one of them. There are several versions of how he suffered
martyrdom, the most famous being the one that states that on September 24, 1047,
the pagans put him in a barrel with spikes and, from the top of this hill that
today bears his name, they rolled him to the river.
Gellert is the second highest hill in the city. Thanks
to its 235 meters of altitude, it has been used throughout history as a
surveillance point. Even the Habsburgs built a fortress on its top, nowadays
transformed into a museum. This hill is also known by locals as the Mount of
Witches, because in the Middle Ages, witches came here to cast their spells and
make potions. We will not find any witch in the area ... but we will find the
place with the most impressive views of Budapest! From Gellert, we will not
only see Pest, the Danube and its bridges, but also the part of Buda where the
castle and the famous bastion are located.
In addition, in Gellert we can admire the Statue of
Liberty up close, a great bronze sculpture that represents a woman carrying a
palm leaf in her hands and that can be seen from anywhere in the city thanks to
its 14 meters of height. It was part of the set called the Liberation Monument,
inaugurated in 1947 and which commemorated the liberation of Hungary by the
Soviet Navy after World War II and which also honored the memory of the Russian
soldiers who fell during the fight against the Nazi army. For this reason,
initially there was the figure of a Soviet soldier in front of the Statue of Liberty,
but after the fall of the communist regime in 1989, the soldier was taken to
Memento Park. However, neither the Statue of Progress nor the Statue of
Fighting Evil were touched.
Don´t miss out on this must see! We assure you that it
will not be its steep climb that will take your breath away, but the
spectacular views of the city and more if the visit is at night. That is
because Budapest is a real night show thanks to its wonderful lighting. And
remember to carry your camera loaded ... it will be impossible not to take
dozens of photos of these views!
VERY CLAIMING, HUMBLE RECIPE
When we think of Hungarian cuisine, automatically the
first thing that comes to mind is goulash, a dish that we can find in several
Central European countries, such as the Czech Republic, Austria and Hungary. So,
what nationality does goulash really have?
Well, originally it was a humble dish of the shepherds
of the Great Plain of Pannonia. The word goulash is believed to come from the
term that referred to the shepherds who tended the "gray cattle", a
Hungarian breed of calf. At first, it was the cauldron that these shepherds
used to cook meat with vegetables and that they put on the fire for several
hours to soften the meat, which used to be from some old beef. Paprika, or the
paprika that gives flavor to all Hungarian dishes, arrived later, after the discovery
In the XVII century, the Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II,
the brother of Marie Antoinette (indeed, the one who lost her head at the
guillotine), initiated a series of educational and ecclesiastical reforms that
sought to impose the Germanic language and customs on those that existed in the
empire. He intended to put all the kingdoms, including Hungary, under the same
identity, the Austrian, and to unify the administrative system. The Hungarians
did not like these impositions, who reacted by emphasizing all those customs
that made them unique, such as their language, their traditional costumes and,
of course, their goulash. This is how this recipe went from being a humble
shepherd dish to a noble dish, as it began to be consumed at parties and
So, goulash is Hungarian? It seems so. It appears that
later on, this dish became very popular among the soldiers of the
Austro-Hungarian Empire thanks to a group of Hungarian shepherds who performed
military service in the city of Vienna. And from Vienna, it spread to the rest
of the countries of the empire.
Depending on the city we are in, or even depending on
the restaurant in which we taste it, goulash can be rather dense, similar to a
stew or a stew, or less thick, like a meat soup. The main ingredients of a good
goulash are beef or pork, butter, onion, cabbage, carrot or peppers, a sour
cream called Tejföl and, above all, lots of paprika. The secret of a good
goulash lies in a slow and long cooking, of more than two hours. We can find this
recipe in any restaurant in the city and it is a very rich dish, but not very
So, to speed up your digestion, we advise you, after a
good goulash, to have a glass of pálinka, a very typical Hungarian fruit
brandy. It has a high alcohol content, between 37º and 86º, which is why it is
also called “fire water”. Hungarians say that it cures everything and they have
a saying that goes on to say: "Pálinka in small quantities is medicine, in
large quantities it is a remedy." Even in ancient times the Magyars used a
greeting that read like this: "Pálinkas jó reggelt!" or: "Good
morning with pálinka!"
If what you are afraid of is getting fat during your
visit to Budapest, here we propose a solution. In the pedestrian street that
starts in front of the Basilica of San Esteban, you will find the bronze
sculpture of a policeman with a big belly. It is a tribute to those policemen
who, in moments of peace, had no one to arrest and spent all their time eating.
According to legend, anyone who touches the belly of this nice statue will
never get fat again. Problem solved! Nothing will deprive you of a delicious
goulash in the city of paprika.
THE MARKET OF SURPRISES
In Budapest there are numerous shopping centers and
many streets with shops and brands that we also find in any other place in the
world. But if what we are looking for is an authentic place, where we can
observe the residents and where we can learn about local crafts, that place is
undoubtedly the Central Market of Budapest.
The building of this large market was built at the end
of the XIX century. At the same time, four more markets were built in the city
with the purpose of controlling the quality of food and improving its state of
preservation, the Central Market being the largest of the five. Even a few
years later, one of its wings was enlarged, giving rise to a pier where the
fish market was installed. Later, after the serious damage caused by the
bombings of the World War II, the Central Market had to be restored. Since
then, it has received several awards for its beautiful architecture.
The first thing that surprises the visitor is its
beautiful neo-Gothic façade. Its interior is divided into two floors, in which
we will find a wide range of local products. In addition, it is an excellent
place to get to know the daily life of the residents of the Hungarian capital.
On the first floor are the fish, meat, vegetable,
fruit and bread stalls. It is the ideal plan to observe closely the simplicity
and tranquility with which the life of the locals passes. Here we can also find
many of the typical products of Hungarian gastronomy, and among them, the
famous condiment so widely used in their dishes… We are talking about the
famous paprika, which comes in different packages, both sweet and spicy. We
will also find in these stalls the delicious Hungarian foie gras, and that is
because Hungary is the second largest producer of foie gras in the world, after
France, and the first to produce Libamáj, the most exquisite and most expensive
goose foie gras in the world. Another of Hungary´s most acquired gastronomic
products is its excellent Tokaji wine. A gem yet to be discovered in the world
The upper floor of the market is more colorful. Here
are the souvenir shops, so it is the perfect place to buy a nice souvenir from
Budapest. Among the most treasured souvenirs are the beautiful Hungarian
embroidery, which make a perfect gift in the form of aprons, tablecloths or
shirts. Other highly valued items are the beautiful hand-painted wooden
objects, such as jewelry boxes that have a secret place for love letters. We
can also buy miracle creams with the properties of Hungarian hot springs,
beautiful matryoshka dolls or the great Rubik´s Cube, the famous
three-dimensional mechanical puzzle invented by the Hungarian Enrö Rubik in
The second floor is also perfect for tasting some of
the traditional Hungarian dishes, in case hunger strikes between so many
purchases ... A food fair with Hungarian specialties is held here, a perfect
place to socialize a bit with tourists. as with residents.
And a little tip… Before leaving this bustling market,
don´t forget to take a look at its majestic structure from the upper level. It
Vámház körút 1-3
Budapest, 1093 Hungary
from Monday to Friday from 6:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. and Saturdays from 6:00 A.M. to
THE BEAUTIFUL BASTION OF FAIRIES
To get a spectacular photograph, we are going to go to
one of the best-known viewpoints in Budapest and, therefore, one of its most
visited places. It is the Fisherman´s Bastion, a terrace with seven very
striking neo-Gothic towers. With these seven towers they wanted to pay homage
to the seven Magyar tribes who arrived in the year 896 from the Urals and who
founded the first city here, and later, the Kingdom of the Magyars.
In general, a bastion is a defensive and military
construction, but the Fisherman´s Bastion is a purely ornamental building,
which was inaugurated in 1902. In fact, it looks like a fairy castle full of
stairs, terraces, passageways and beautiful arches. The name
"Fishermen" refers to the profession of the inhabitants settled in
this part of the city who were in charge of defending the wall during the
Making a gap between the tourists, we can approach one
of the wonderful arches of the Fisherman´s Bastion. We will put our best pose
and we will let ourselves be photographed. This photograph will undoubtedly be
the certificate of our visit to the Hungarian capital. Let´s say it´s like
stamping our passport as "Tourist in Budapest".
But in addition to taking the classic photograph, we
can take the opportunity to take a look between its arches, and it is that from
this beautiful terrace you can see the best views of the Parliament of
Budapest. This perspective will allow us to verify that the tallest buildings
in the city are the Parliament and the Basilica of Saint Stephen, both with an
exact maximum height of 96 meters. And what will be the reason for this strange
coincidence? Well, the reason is purely historical, since the height of these
two buildings of 96 meters reminds us that in the year 896, there was the
conquest of the Kingdom of Hungary. That is why 96 is considered the lucky
number in the history of Hungary.
Enjoy the moment! Forget the high number of tourists
that you will find in the beautiful Fisherman´s Bastion and do not miss one of
the best photographic corners of the city.
Budapest, Szentháromság Tér
Szentháromság Tér stop, buses 16, 16ª,116, 5 y 78
A WORLD HERITAGE SITE THAT IS NOT A MONUMENT
The treasure that we want to present to you at this
point is not a monument in itself, despite having been declared a World
Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2002. It is Line 1 of the Budapest Metro, the oldest
in the continental Europe.
The best thing about this metro line is that, despite
being the longest-lived in continental Europe and the second oldest in the
world after the London Underground, it is still in operation. It is one of the
four metro lines that the city has, but the only one that has been in operation
for more than a century, being inaugurated in 1896 to commemorate the
millennium of the birth of Hungary. In addition, it was the only metro line
that existed in Budapest until 1970.
Traveling Line 1 of the Budapest Metro is a real treat
thanks to its picturesque stations that still retain their beautiful wooden
lockers. In addition, this line is only three meters underground, since the
means of the time did not allow digging much deeper. Its dimensions are also
much smaller compared to the other three lines, as Line 1 runs through a tunnel
only 6 meters wide and just 3 meters high. That is why the wagons of Line 1 had
to be specifically built with special measures, much smaller than those of the
wagons of the rest of the lines.
1 has a length of 5 kilometers in a straight line and connects the city center
with the municipal park, running underground throughout Andrássy Avenue. There
are 10 stations from the first, called Vörösmarty Tér and in whose vicinity are
the Pest Theater and the commercial pedestrian street Váci Ütca, and the last
station, called Mexikói út. During its route, Line 1 has stops that are very
close to several of the most important monuments of the city, such as St.
Stephen´s Basilica, the Hungarian National Opera, the Paris Shopping Center,
the House of Terror, Ferenc Liszt Memorial House, Heroes´ Square, Budapest
Museum of Fine Arts and Széchenyi Spa.
all this that we have told you, what are you waiting for to get your metro
ticket and travel this historic metro line?
EL AMBIENTAZO DE LOS “BARES RUINA” THE
SETTING OF THE "RUINA BARS"
Next, we are going to introduce you to the strangest
and most surprising bars in Budapest. These are the ruins bars or, what is the
same, "ruin bars", some places that leave no one indifferent ...
The ruin bars are bars converted into halls of worship
and frequented by both locals and foreigners. They are somewhat decadent,
hipster-style corners, where locals and tourists gather to have fun at night.
Actually, they are entire buildings located in the Jewish quarter and that were
abandoned after the World War II. These buildings were saved from being
demolished and were awarded to groups of young people to create cultural
centers where they could listen to concerts, watch movies or simply meet and
have a few beers.
These constructions, which generally have interior
courtyards, were re-inhabited with limited resources and turned into very
original, creative and alternative places. For its decoration, all kinds of
strange and useless objects were used, for example, old and rusty bicycles,
lame chairs, old televisions and radios or even old engines. All these objects
are hanging on the walls and creating very particular corners full of
Inside the ruins bars there are several rooms, each
with its own decoration and filled with neon lights and graffiti. All totally
different from each other! They may seem somewhat confusing spaces, but once we
get used to that "overdecoration", the lights and the confusion, the
best thing is to look for the bar, order our favorite drink and sit at a table,
car or bathtub ... and enjoy a different night, worth remembering. Just so that
you can fully enjoy tonight, we will tell you a curiosity ... In Hungary it is
not well seen to toast by clinking beer mugs. How can that be? We will tell you
When the Austrians won the War of Independence against
the Hungarians in 1849, the Austrians celebrated their victory by clinking
their beer mugs, while the Hungarian generals were executed. For this reason,
the Hungarians swore that they would never toast by clinking their beer mugs.
But the most curious thing is that this only happens if you are drinking beer!
With any other alcoholic drink, you can toast by clinking glasses without any
The most famous ruins bars in Budapest are:
· Szimpla Kert. It is one of the oldest, largest and
most famous. Located at Kazinczy utca 14
· Fogas Haz. Although its translation comes to say
"house of dentists", it is, above all, a place where you can admire
art and listen to concerts. Located at Akácfa utca 51.
· Instant. The perfect dastardly bar to dance the
night away. Located at Nagymezo utca 38.
All of them open from Monday to Sunday, from 12 P.M.
to 3 A.M.! We wish you an unforgettable evening. Don´t forget to tell us what
you think ...
A VERY EMOTIVE SYNAGOGUE
Budapest had one of the largest Jewish communities in
all of Europe, so large that it represented 23% of the city´s population before
World War II. In general, the Jewish population enjoyed great prestige, it was
very mixed with the rest of the population and, in addition, it was very
nationalistic, always showing itself as a great defender of Hungarian identity.
Hungarian Jews, moreover, were not as orthodox as in other countries and showed
a more modern ideology, something that can be seen in the Great Synagogue of
Budapest, also known as the Dohány Synagogue and located in the Jewish quarter
of the city.
This great Hungarian Jewish temple is the second
largest synagogue in the world, behind New York´s. Its great beauty is
surprising, since its decoration and construction have nothing in common with
the rest of the synagogues in the world. It was built in the mid-XIX century
with a total mixture of styles, and it is that on the outside we can
distinguish the neo-Mudejar style thanks to the brick and its neo-Romanesque
arches, mixed with a large neo-Gothic rose window.
interior can be visited, and the first thing that surprises when entering is
that, inside, it looks more like a cathedral than a synagogue. It has three
naves completely decorated with majestic lamps, with beautiful stained glass
windows and a coffered ceiling that is spectacular. It also has an organ that,
curiously, is played by a "non-Jew" because, according to Judaism,
Jews cannot work on Saturdays.
its courtyard, the famous Memorial to the Hungarian Jewish Martyrs stands out,
a beautiful monument in the shape of a weeping willow, tremendously emotional
and beautiful. Each leaf on the tree is reminiscent of one of the Jewish
victims of World War II, and the unnamed leaves represent all those who could
never be identified. Another of the curiosities of this courtyard is that it
has a cemetery ... We must remember that, unlike Christianity, in Judaism the
dead were not buried near the temple, but unfortunately, during the year 1944
so many people died from hunger and cold, which, faced with the impossibility
of removing so many bodies from the ghetto, ended up being buried in this
we can also see plaques with the names of some of the people who risked their
lives to help save thousands of Jews. Among these plaques is that of Ángel Sanz
Briz, a Spaniard who was nicknamed "the angel of Budapest" for having
saved more than 5,000 Hungarian Jews during World War II. We take the
opportunity to recommend a book entitled, precisely, "The Angel of
Budapest", by the Jewish author Martín Alarcón, so that you can learn more
about this valuable story.
miss a visit to the Dohány Synagogue! You will enjoy one of the most impressive
and most beautiful monuments in Budapest and learn much more about the history
of this city.
Synagogue of Budapest
Intersection of Wesselényi and
Astoria Station of Line
2 of metro
fee: 3,000 Hungarian forint (8,5 euros). Open from Sunday to Friday from 10:00 to
16:00 and until 18:00 during summer months.
A WALK THROUGH
A WORLD HERITAGE SITE
The banks of
the Danube in the city of Budapest are one of the treasures that are part of
the World Heritage Site. What is so special about these shores to have been
declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO? Well, nothing more and nothing less,
than dozens and dozens of statues on its banks, in addition to the ten bridges
that the Hungarians built to join the two banks of the river, each with its own
history and curiosities. And let´s not forget the wonderful views of the Buda
hills that these banks give away ... So, how could it be otherwise, we are
going to do our walk in Budapest along one of the riverbanks ... Come with us to
walk along the shore, right of the Danube!
On this route
we will travel the 3 kilometers that separate the Freedom Bridge from the
Parliament, a wonderful walk in which we will be able to portray the different
bridges, enjoy beautiful views of Buda and leisurely contemplate the life of
the Hungarian capital.
Bridge, Szabadsághíd in Hungarian, is the second most portrayed bridge in
Budapest, after the Chain Bridge. Inaugurated in 1896 by Emperor Franz Joseph I,
this impressive green bridge features proud and protective Turul birds perched
on its masts. These are the mythological birds that, according to Hungarian
legend, guided the Magyars on their journey from the Urals to Budapest. The
next bridge that we will find on our way is the Elisabeth Bridge, a name it
received in honor of the Empress Elizabeth of Bavaria, better known as Sisi and
so loved by Hungarians. Right from this bridge we will have one of the best
views of the Liberty Bridge, the Chain Bridge and the castle area.
walking along the bank of the Danube and, before reaching the most famous
bridge, we will see a nice bronze statue sitting on the railing that protects
the tram. It is the Statue of the Little Princess, which symbolizes the freedom
of the country since it was built in 1989 to celebrate the end of communism.
And after a few meters we will reach the most iconic bridge in the city, the
Chain Bridge, guarded by lions that have the peculiarity of not having a
language. This bridge is also the oldest in Budapest, because, before it was
inaugurated in 1849, the Danube could only be crossed by boat.
Further on and
very close to the Parliament, we will come across one of the saddest monuments
in Budapest. We are talking about the Shoe Sculptures, which represent 60 pairs
of iron shoes placed on the edge of the Danube to remember the Jewish victims
who, during World War II, were shot and thrown into the river.
Our walk ends
here, at the foot of one of the most impressive buildings in the city ... its
majestic and magnificent Parliament! To be able to check its colossal
dimensions in situ, it is best to go around it. At 268 meters long and 118
meters wide, it is the third largest parliament in the world. Since we have
come this far, why not take the opportunity to visit its interior? It is just
as spectacular as its exterior thanks to its 691 rooms! Of course, to ensure
entry, we recommend reserving it in advance online.
monuments make this walk like walking through a movie set. A fascinating
journey that, without a doubt, they will have to repeat again. How about doing
this tour again at night and from a boat ...?
A SOAKING BREAK!
We are going to make a stop to watch life go by in one
of the most unusual places that one can imagine, although precisely in
Budapest, it is just one of its most emblematic places ...
Let´s take a break in one of the nine spas in this
beautiful city. Budapest is considered the "capital of spas" thanks
to the more than 100 thermal springs found here. And it is almost mandatory to
visit one of these spas before leaving the city! In fact, the locals are true
regulars at these baths not only for the properties of its waters, but also to
meet with friends or to hang out. They even get together to play chess! Also,
it is something very common to see the inhabitants of Budapest playing chess
from within the pools of these spas. It is surprising to see it for the first
time. So… why not watch life go by while we take a relaxing bath in one of
these beautiful spas?
As we mentioned, there are nine public spas in the
city, all of them with several outdoor and indoor pools, massage rooms and even
mud baths. The important thing is to take the opportunity to relax while we
observe the behavior of the locals and benefit from the healing and
rejuvenating properties (according to the locals ...) of its hot springs. Here
we have some of these spas:
· Gellert Spa (Hotel Gellert, Kelenhegyi út 4). It is
surely the most beautiful of all, but also the most touristy. It has a central
pool that has a glass dome and is surrounded by columns that give the sensation
of bathing inside a cathedral.
· Széchenyi Baths (Állatkerti krt. 11). It is the
largest spa in Europe, with 15 geothermal pools, 3 outdoors and 12 indoors, all
of them mixed. It is the most spectacular spa of all thanks to its exteriors.
· Rudas Spa
(Döbrentei tér 9). From the XVI
century, it is very similar to Turkish spas, with a beautiful octagonal central
pool covered by a stone dome. It has several Turkish baths and an outdoor pool
with beautiful views. There are some days that only men can enter and other
days women, and it is only mixed during the weekends.
· Lukács Baths (Frankel Leó út 25-29). It is one of
the most frequented by the locals thanks to its hot springs, some of the
richest in minerals.
· Csaszar Veli Bej (Árpád Fejedelem útja 7). Spa of
Ottoman origin from the XVI century, despite being one of the most modern in
the city. It is not as well known as the first three, so it is quieter and less
The hot springs are wonderful at any time of the day,
but it will be an unforgettable experience if they are enjoyed at night. The
illuminated spa and the contrast of the warm waters with the cold of the night
create an incredible atmosphere. But pay attention! Sometimes these spas host
nightly music parties on the weekend, called Sparty or Magic Bath, in which people
bathe and dance at the same time.
Without a doubt, visiting one of these spas in
Budapest is mandatory. They will leave relaxed, charged with energy ... and
even rejuvenated thanks to its mineral waters! Remember that it is necessary to
bring flip-flops, a hat, a bathing suit and a towel, although they can also be
rented at the spa.
The spas are open from 6 in the morning until 8 or 10
at night and the price of admission ranges between 8 and 20 euros, depending on
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