By Lexi Donnel |

After I had lived in Budapest for only a few days, my mom, sister and fiancé came to visit me for a weekend. I had only three days to show them everything I could in Budapest with the minimal knowledge I had of the city. I decided to plan their trip by using a mix of tourist checklists and locations my group visited on a bus tour of Budapest. If you are thinking of enjoying a quick trip to this amazing city, here are nine places I recommend you visit.  

  1. Budapest Central Market Hall: Packed full of any food you desire, as well as an Aldi grocery store in the basement, the Market Hall is a great place to visit in Budapest. The market sits inside a massive building and is crammed with stands selling different types of foods, craft items and knick knacks. You will find stands for meats, cheeses, spices, chocolate, candy, fresh fruits and vegetables, honey, and so much more. There are restaurants on the second floor if you find yourself hungry while browsing all of the food.  
  2. Széchenyi Chain Bridge: The Chain Bridge has such a beautiful view of the Budapest Parliament you may find yourself standing in the middle of the bridge, unable to leave the sight. You need to cross this historic bridge at least once. It was the first permanent stone structure to connect the cities of Buda and Pest when it finished construction in 1849. In 1945, at the end of World War II, the German soldiers destroyed all the bridges in Budapest, including this one. The Chain Bridge was gone, but the columns remained standing. The bridge was rebuilt and reopened in 1949. I recommend walking this bridge around sunset or late in the evening.  
  3. Buda Castle District: The Buda Castle district is home to the beautiful Matthias Church and Fisherman’s Bastion. The Bastian is a white, gothic, castle-looking terrace that overlooks Budapest and it is a great spot for photos. You can pay a fee to go to the top of the terrace, but we did not and still have great pictures. There is also a restaurant you can eat at and a bar at the top of the Bastian.  
  4. Buda Castle: I would recommend riding the Funicular to travel to the castle. The Funicular makes the trip up and down the hill quick, easy and fun. It has been taking guests up to the castle since 1870. The Buda Castle is the royal palace now used as the National Gallery and the Budapest History Museum. You can take a two-hour walking tour of the Buda castle and the castle district. They offer these every day from 2-4 p.m. and costs $11.39 for adults and $5.70 for children. 
  5. Gellért-Hegy: If you are getting tired from the hustle and bustle of the city and craving something more natural, a hike on this hill will be perfect for you. The walk up is strenuous as it is steep, however, being surrounded by trees and wildflowers may be worth the experience. When your hike comes to an end at the top, you will be rewarded with a breath-taking view of Budapest. There are multiple stands on the top where you can purchase a snack, beverage or souvenirs. I recommend buying a Nutella-filled chimney cake to eat while enjoying the view.  
  6. Thermal Baths: A famous staple of Budapest, you will find thermal baths on almost every visitor’s checklist. These baths are full of minerals and the warm water will feel great on a chilly a day or night. Don’t worry about the name, you will not be naked in a bath with others. Swim suits and flip flops are the required attire. We visited the thermal baths on the same day we hiked up Gellért-Hegy, and it felt great to lay back and relax in the warm water. My back and feet that were aching before, felt so much better after relaxing in the spa. We went to the Széchenyi Thermal Bath, which is located on the Pest side and is a top spot for visitors to Budapest.  You will find a whirlpool, saunas, cold pools and a lap pool if you need more exercise. 

    Photo Credit: Joshua Crum
  7. Parliament: Budapest’s Parliament Building looks stunning on both the outside and inside. If you are looking for beautiful architecture, a tour of Parliament will be perfect for you. In this building you can see the displayed Holy Hungarian Crown, which was given to Hungary’s first king, St. Stephen, in the year 1000.
  8. Szentendre: This endearing little artists’ town sits along the Danube River and is about a 30-to 45-minute commuter train ride from Budapest. The cobblestone streets are lined with old, multicolored buildings which are used as stores, restaurants, ice cream stands and cafes. Szentendre is a great place for shopping as there are many stores with homemade Hungarian such as art, clothes, bags, food and so much more.  
  9. Trófea Grill: This popular and delicious buffet is a must during your trip to Budapest. They have a few locations, but I highly recommend the original as it provides a fun, cultural Hungarian experience. There was live music in which the whole restaurant joyfully joined in song, showing love and pride for their shared Hungarian culture. The employees danced in traditional Hungarian clothes, and even brought in patrons to join the fun. As Americans, we did not understand what they were saying, nor the context, but we thoroughly enjoyed watching. We felt as if we were part of the experience. The food was amazing, they had meats, cheeses, sushi, soups, breads, Goulash, dumplings, desserts, and more. Joshua Crum, my fiancé and a recent Baylor graduate, accompanied me to the buffet.  “It was an amazing time where I got to experience Hungarian tradition up close,” he said. “I witnessed a people that are proud of their identity and it was a joy being able to do it while also experiencing Hungarian cuisine.”   The address for the original Trófea grill is:  1145 Budapest, Erzsébet királyné útja 5-7.  Prices:  $24.34 per person is what we paid on Saturday night. Hours: Monday-Thursday: 12:00 – 23:00 Friday-Saturday: 11:30 – 24:00 

    Sunday: 11:30 – 20:30 

    Photo Credit: Joshua Crum