Hipster’s guide to Budapest

10 places to visit in Budapest

Some years ago I traveled to Budapest with my best friend. I live in Sydney now, and I haven’t seen my best friend in a little over a year. We both had notebooks on us while traveling and we were writing down everything we thought might be useful for anyone who planned to go to Budapest. Here are our tips.

If you are going to Budapest and need a place to stay, you will not go wrong if you go to 1. Apartments Vivaldi. They are a bit more expensive, but perfect if you are looking for comfort and kind owners. It is just about 45 minutes of slow walking till you get to the city centre, but everything in the whole district is so gorgeous that you just end up getting distracted by a beautiful building or an amazing antiques shop! Which brings me to the story of the most adorable little 2. antiques shop, situated at the corner of Dandar Utca.

The antiques shop

And yes, I am aware that by now all the adjectives I’ve used so far were “incredible, amazing, most adorable ever” and the like, but TRUST ME ON THIS. You go where I went, you kiss the ground I walked on and you say my name 3 times every night before sleep — I am kidding of course, –you can say my name only once every night before sleep, and you will be just fine. If you have at least tiny bit of hipsterish blood running through your veins, you will love this shop. No more talking, take a look at the pics I have chosen for you and you will fall in love with it as much as I did.

After spending (approximately) an hour in this adorable little shop, we were on our way again, and our list of things to see we called “The route” (makes sense, right) and our map showed next 3. The Dohány Street Synagogue…

Stop for a second. No. That is not where we went next.

Next we went to find me a cup of coffee! I was so not appreciating anything until I got my hands on some coffee. I mean, common, how can a normal person be jolly and excited to explore something before having some coffee first? That is just crazy. On that note, the Vivaldi Apartments have one of those water heaters and some gorgeous mugs, so if you bring your own coffee (later that day we bought 2 in 1 and 3 in 1 yyeeeesss) you can have a beautiful cup of coffee to start off your morning, if you are a coffee addict like me. So on our way to the Synagogue there was this Arabic place that had a sing “WE HAVE COFFEE TO GO” and I walked in, like I was being guided by some invisible force, my arms in front of me like Frankenstein’s monster, whispering coffee coffee coffee muuuust have coffee!

And they did not lie; they did have coffee to go. But apparently, in Arabic restaurants of Hungary (or at least in this one in particular) you get coffee to go made specifically for elves or children (if we lived in a world where children drank coffee), I mean it was THE SMALLEST CUP OF COFFEE humanity has ever seen. And usually I drink coffee from something my mother refers to as “the pot” and for me is just a regular sized cup of coffee, so imagine my surprise when instead of my usual 3 liters of coffee I get something so tiny it looks like a water bottle cap, tiny even being held by my own tiny hand? Ridiculous.

tiniest cup of coffee ever

Now, we get back to the number 3. The Synagogue. We did not go in, but it was pretty impressive to see a building like that one even only from the outside.

The Synagogue

4. Shoes on the Danube Promenade (Cipők a Dunaparton)

On the Danube bank there is a memorial, a monument to Hungarian Jews who were shot and thrown into the Danube river by members of the fascist Arrow Cross Party in the winter of 1944–1945. The memorial consists of 60 pairs of old-fashioned pairs of shoes. I googled it a bit and found how the Arrow Cross murderers would often force their Jewish victims to remove their shoes before shooting them into the Danube because shoes were a valuable commodity during World War II. Hungarian film director Can Togay conceptualized this memorial, and the shoes were made by a sculptor Gyula Pauer in 2005.

Shoes on the Danube Promenade

If you found this interesting, read more here.

Not far from where the Shoes are, there is 5. Hungarian Parliament.

the Parliament

It is this beautiful enormous building that (if you are from Serbia or a country which is even poorer) it makes you remember how there is no building even remotely beautiful in your own country, how even the most regular church on a random street in Budapest is 10 times more beautiful than that Catholic church in the city center of Novi Sad I was always admiring and loving and showing it off to people from other countries.

So, me and Stefan sat there for a while, our feet up on one of those things that are there on the river bank, and looking and the beautiful Parliament on one side, and Buda on the other.

And our minds were just kind of processing all the beauty around us. It was, of course, one of those moments you sit next to each other, deep in your thoughts, staring some place in the distance, wind in your hair, tears for no reason kind of in your eyes, and then you take a selfie, because you want to remember it, and Stefan says “Can we please have one moment you don’t really need to immortalize?” And the answer is no. No we can’t. I must take a photo of everything, deal with it. And he had to.

Then we went to see 6. St Stephen’s basilica (Szent István Bazilika)

Stefan at St Stephen’s basilica

And 7. Margaret Island which was also very beautiful and we recommend going there and visiting, but no photos, sorry, we got busy taking selfies there so you can’t really see the Island…

Of course we visited the Buda part of Budapest, and the view of Pest was amazing.

But Buda was also brutally gorgeous. While there, you have to see 8. Fisherman’s Bastion.

Somewhere along the way we visited the shopping street. (My notes say “Shopping street Vito or Yeti something like that”. The name is Vaci Street (Vaci Utca). I know right, Vito is at least kind of close, but Yeti hahaha I just do not have any idea how I came up with it. Annnyways, if you, my dear reader, find yourself in Budapest one day, please make sure you go and visit this beautiful Christmas store situated on the Yeti street. Photographing inside is forbidden, but if you are anything like me, the fact that it is All Christmas should be enough to get you to go and check it out.

The last place we visited was 10. The Heroes Square (Hősök tere). Here is a photo of me trying to take a photo.

I went with my best friend Stefan, but you can choose whomever makes you laugh until you wee in your pants in the middle of Budapest (what, who did that svašta not me whaaat). All seriousness now, choose your travel companions wisely to maximize the fun.

Finally, here are some of my favorite random moments of Budapest. If you have a chance, go and visit this amazing city. You will too fall in love, I promise.