Buda + Pest = Great City! – Budapest, Hungary

Top Backpacking Destinations Ranking: 8.5/10

Budapest is an incredible city and fully warrants its title as the Paris of Eastern Europe. It is the kind of place that can please any visitor, whether you’re looking for a quiet getaway or going on a raucous stag do. It’s also easily accessible so there’s no excuse for missing it out on your backpacking trip if you’re in Europe.

And once you arrive it’s easy to. The transport network is wide ranging and you can take your pick from the many on offer when heading across the city – Pest is even renowned as being great when explored by skateboard! If you’ve got the skills i guess…

Castle Hill will likely be high on your agenda when you arrive. As well as providing stunning views across the city its also home to the Royal Palace and a variety of museums that make it worth the trek up the hundreds (and thousands!) of steps. From there it’s definitely worth hopping on board a boat for a trip down the river. It’s an easy way to take in both Buda and Pest as there’s plenty to see on both sides and this is a great way to pick out the ones that catch your eye.

Once you’ve dried off your boat feet you should head to downtown Pest (on your skatebaord?) which is home to much of the stunning architecture the city has to offer. The neogothic parliament building and St Stephen’s Basilica are just a couple of the stand out attractions though there is enough there to keep you busy for weeks. If you get tired of wandering around and need a break then fear not, there are plenty of beautiful parks spread around the area, unsurprisingly for somewhere likened to Paris.

And we haven’t even got on to the food and drink yet! Budapest is strewn with unique eateries that really make dining an experience and allow you to do something different every night you’re there. My favourite was a medieval banquet we ate with our hands which left my sat at the table, as stuffed as i’ve ever been, with a board so full of food it looked like we hadn’t touched it! Needless to say we had a good packed lunch the next day.

And, of course, drinking will certainly not be an issue when you’re backpacking in Budapest. Many visit the city to do just that and forget about the rest. The Hungarians know how to drink a beer and are always very welcoming in inviting backpackers under their wing and showing them the best night spots. Just don’t get fooled by some of the local scams that have started popping up where you get invited into bars by generous locals and then slapped with an unscrupulous bill which you weren’t expecting…

Budapest is a stunning city with so much to do you’ll almost certainly leave feeling like you missed a bit. Don’t worry though, you can always go back, i have and still feel like that when i leave. I’m always left with one nagging thought though – are all city names split by the river? Pra and Gue anyone? Answers on a postcard…