Although the cold weather has already arrived and we can slowly start preparing for Christmas, before we throw ourselves into shopping and cooking, it is worth taking a walk around Hungary’s beautiful capital city.
The end-of-the-year rush is already in full swing. At this time of the year we tend to forget about treating ourselves to gifts as well. And what else could do better for our body and soul if not a pleasant walk or a museum visit on these sunny winter days? In our article we describe ten wonderful places in Budapest where you can relax a little in the last month of 2022.
- Kiscelli Castle
The castle is famous for none other than Elsa the Magnate, who went from being a poor girl to being the mistress of Max Schmidt, a rich Viennese furniture manufacturer. Her story is also very exciting because she was murdered by her housekeeper and the housekeeper’s lover out of envy. Rumour has it that the young woman’s grieving lover chose a resting place for her that could be seen through a telescope from his castle window.
- Várkert Bazár (Buda Castle Garden Bazaar)
The garden built on the slope of Castle Hill, designed in Neo-Renaissance style by the greatest Hungarian architect, Miklós Ybl, is a must-see tourist attraction. If we walk around the beautifully renovated buildings, we can not only eat at great restaurants, but also see exciting exhibitions or even attend film screenings. And now, let’s take you to our next stop, the Buda Castle, by escalator!
- Buda Castle
Even a quick walk around Szent György (St George) Square will give you an incredible experience, as it offers magnificent panoramas of the wonderful capital. However, if you venture inside the walls of the castle, you can discover interesting places such as the Hungarian National Gallery, where you can admire great artwork, including the pieces of the 19th century art exhibition. In addition, the National Széchényi Library and the Budapest History Museum are also worth a visit. From here, you can walk to our next destination.
- Fisherman’s Bastion
The 140-metre-long Neo-Romanesque lookout terrace, decorated with seven towers topped with spires, provide an excellent opportunity for a pleasant winter walk. This world heritage site offers a unique view of Budapest, and if you are lucky, your journey will be accompanied by the melody of the instruments of musicians playing there.
- Gül Baba türbéje (Gül Baba’s Tomb)
Another popular tourist destination is the Muslim memorial site at the Buda head of Margaret Bridge, called Gül Baba’s tomb and the Rose Garden attached to it. After visiting the exhibition and the terraced rose and lavender garden, you can relax in the teahouse of the pilgrimage site.
- Péter Mansfeld Park
If you walk a little higher up, we come across a cosy little park on Rózsadomb (Rose Hill), named after Péter Mansfeld, the youngest martyr of the retaliation following the 1956 revolution. In the summer, it is worth settling down here with some refreshments for a pleasant chat with friends. But you should not leave the park out in the winter either, as during a pleasant stroll across it you can admire the wonderfully illuminated Citadel, the Parliament and even Chain Bridge.
- St Stephen’s Basilica
And now let’s go back to the hustle and bustle of Pest: an unmissable stop of our winter ‘tour’ is St Stephen’s Basilica and the Christmas market in front of it. After visiting the Holy Dexter of St Stephen in the nave and venturing up to the top of the 96-metre-high cupola—from which, by the way, we are treated to a breath-taking view—, it is best to enjoy the wintry atmosphere of the market with a mug of hot chocolate or mulled wine.
- Budapest Park
And since it is wintertime, you should not leave ice skating out of your itinerary either! Budapest Park, which host concerts in the summer, is transformed into a huge ice rink in the winter months. Young and old can slide across the ice on an area of nearly 1,300 square metres. What is truly special in this great ‘ice world’ is that, in addition to the ‘ice corridor’, there is also a separate playing area available to the skaters.
- Nagy-Hárs Hill
The more daring can try themselves at a great winter hiking spot. Nagy-Hárs Hill, which is only ten minutes away from the city, is easily accessible from Széll Kálmán Square, and its circular hiking trail can be completed in around two hours—of course, you must be very careful, as the already steep paths can become even more slippery in frosty weather. On the trail hikers pass fabulous locations such as the Csanádi resting place, the Bátori-barlang (Bathory Cave), or the wooden bridge above the gorge, from which we can reach the Kis-Hárs Hill Lookout Tower. One of the main attractions of the trail is the Kaán Károly Lookout Tower, which also offers an amazing view.
- Rengeteg RomKafé (Rengeteg RuinCafe) Also Known as Míves 2.0
After so much walking and hiking, what else could make you feel better than a cup of delicious hot chocolate? Rengeteg RomKafé in Tűzoltó Street on the pest side is special not only because it is full of teddy bears, but also because it is impossible to find a flavour of hot chocolate that is not available. Don’t even bother looking at the beverage menu: the owner of the café can list at least six types only of dark hot chocolate by heart. Before ordering, it is worth chatting with him a bit and telling him what your preferences are, so that he can prepare a custom-made hot drink for you. If you ask us, we warmly recommend the chili flavoured dark hot chocolate, which really warms the soul!
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