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I went to Budapest on a whim. While studying in London I had wanderlust. I needed to get out and go somewhere in Europe. Somewhere I hadn’t been before. I literally just opened a map and pointed, Hungary it was. I didn’t know much about it, save that it was the home of goulash and paprika. So what was I to do in Budapest for 2 days? I decided to go on Sunday. I left Wednesday for my Budapest solo travel trip. Little did I know it would be one of the most wonderful random trips of my life.
A Budapest Solo Female Traveller
There’s something to be said for traveling alone. I never thought I’d want to do it, and this was my first trip alone actually. As a Budapest solo female traveller, I was nervous, sure, but I was determined to go and have an adventure. I was going to meet people and have fun and get out of my comfort zone. And I was right.
Trips to Budapest: Buda and Pest
Budapest is separated into two major areas: Buda and Pest. Buda is the historical side of the city while Pest is the more modern city. Each has great aspects about them, but as I’m a history nut, so I spent most of my time in Buda.
Budapest’s transit system is great and the metro isn’t too difficult to handle. I didn’t use it though as I walked everywhere. It’s a walkable enough city, though there were some long wanderings. It’s a great place to go because it’s not an immediate place you think of, but there are amazing places to visit in Budapest. And here’s just a taste!
What to Do in Budapest in 2 Days
If you’ve only got a weekend in Budapest, check out Castle Hill (Várhegy), it is the old medieval settlement of Buda that overlooks the Danube. It’s a gorgeous part of the city where you’ll not only get stellar views but can wander around archaeological sites, such as the Royal Palace (Királyi palota). The Royal Palace is a historical castle and palace of the Hungarian kings.
I’d also add you should visit the stunning Fisherman’s Bastion (Halászbástya) which is made to look medieval, but it’s actually Victorian. Built near the site of the old fisherman’s market and is named for the old guild of Fishermen. It’s a fantastic piece of architecture and I kind of felt a little like Harry Potter wondering around. Buda has the largest concentration of things to see in the city and is worth a full day on its own if you can spare it. There’s a grand host of museums there including the Szabo Marzipan Museum. Yes, a marzipan museum.
The Pest Side
The Pest side of Budapest has a few monumental places you cannot miss. The gorgeous Gothic architecture of the Parliament Building is a stunner. I actually never made it over there as I got the view from Castle Hill, but get up close, for me.
There was, and still is, a very large Jewish population in Budapest and the Jewish Quarter is a particularly pretty part of the city. It’s also home to the Great Synagogue and the Jewish Museum (Dohány utcai Zsinagóga). The museum is small, but it’s really worth your while. It should definitely be on your list of places to visit in Budapest. Having one of the largest population of Jews in Europe before WWII and the memorials for them are intense. The Tree of Life in the courtyard has the name of every Jewish person in Budapest who died under the Nazi regime. It’s something to be seen and take time to remember what happened.
Bathing is a huge thing in Budapest. Yes, bathing. There’s public baths all over the city as well as swimming pools. There are thermal baths that are more spa-like and most of them are open air, which is really nice on a lovely day. Gellért Baths in Buda are the most popular, surrounded by exquisite Art Nouveau architecture. Széchenyi Spa (Széchenyi Fürdő) is the largest spa in Europe. That’s reason enough to check it out during your weekend in Budapest.
On your trip to Budapest, don’t leave without visiting the Great Market Hall (Nagy Vásárcsarnok) at Fővám tér. These old markets are from a bygone era and are always a sight to behold. I’d highly recommend Budapest for solo female travellers and history lovers.