Hands down, one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, Budapest is a perfect amalgamation of Eastern and Western Europe. Home to the most extensive World Heritage Sites, namely the Millennium Underground Railway, the Buda Castle Quarter, banks of the Danube, Heroes’ Square and many others, Budapest is an ideal destination for couples, backpackers and families alike.
Whether it is exploring some of Europe’s finest Catholic and Jewish temples or relishing the local food and drinks while swaying to some gypsy music, or simply appreciating the magnificent views of the Danube connecting the cities of Buda and Pest, there is no dearth of activities to do or places to see. And to say, that is not all, Budapest has around 80 geothermal springs, the world’s largest thermal water cave system, the second largest synagogue, and the third largest Parliament building that entices a good number of tourists every year.
But then again, like any other gorgeous city, Budapest too has some secrets, carefully hidden, waiting to be explored. How do you lay your hands on these hidden gems, you ask? Maybe you could get hold of a good Budapest travel guide, who will surely have a chapter on hidden gems in Budapest, or simply go through this comprehensive article that will help you plan your trip to Budapest!
Szabo Ervin Library
Like a well-kept secret, the gorgeous library of Szabo Ervin is left out of most guidebooks. Tucked away in the busy section of the city, this rustic library transports one back to the bygone era. Built by Count Frigyes Wenckheim, a famous Hungarian aristocrat, towards the end of 19th century, this gorgeous place is set in a humungous mansion. The library is a main repository of Budapest’s public library system, with access to 1000 periodicals, 930,000 books and 66,000 audio-visual and digital items! Do not miss out admiring its neo-baroque architecture which makes up for a stunning backdrop.
House of Hungarian Art Nouveau
Built by Emil Vidor in the year 1903 for the Bedő family, the House of Hungarian Art Nouveau – the Magyar Szecesszió Háza is an unruly museum. On display are decorative objects, contemporary furniture, paintings, and instruments that give visitors a glimpse of the conventional life of Budapest. When you are done exploring all of it, stop by the museum’s quaint little café to take a break.
Generally overlooked by travellers who make a beeline for the famous Matthias Church in the Buda Castle district, Cave church, is a church inside a cave under Gellert Hill. We recommend that you do not miss out having a look at this rather strange, yet pretty church of the Hungarian Pauline order, which might take you a half an hour detour if you are visiting Gellert Bath, but is definitely worth it. Once in the neighbourhood, you may want to stop by at one of the oldest literary cafes in Budapest, Cafe Hadik, which is located on Bartok Bela Way.
Veli Bej Bath
Gellert Spa or Szechenyi Baths or Lukacs Baths, been there done that? How about taking a dip in a comparatively lesser-known yet a guaranteed soothing and nice thermal bath? Veli Bej Bath is a recently restored Turkish bath in Budapest, and is the least known amongst all thermal baths of the City of Spas – Budapest. Unlike its spacious counterparts, Veli Bej Bath is small yet cozy, with a historical vibe from the 16th century.
Visit the famous Szimpla Kert Ruin Bar
Who doesn’t like the aroma of home-made jams, the crunch of just-out-the-farm veggies, and a generous spread of honey on freshly baked bread?! We all do, right? What if we tell you, that you will find all of that, and more, at an unusual location, which doubles up as a farmers market and a peculiar bar, off the beaten path! Make time for a fun-filled visit on any Sunday to the Szimpla Kert ruin bar, one of the top ruin bars in the world, where the atmosphere is relaxed, and you can really get hold of some of the best organic produce in Hungary. When you are done shopping, you can chill with a drink or two, or relish some mouth-watering local delicacies, all at the same place!