There are many cities in Eastern Europe which fulfill the criteria that most travellers are looking for. Most notably, Prague, Belgrade, Dubrovnik, Ljubljana, and Krakow. They all have a colourful history, medieval and magnificent architecture, a unique culture, and insanely cheap beer! When considering all of these together, Budapest just about tops the list and is well recognised as the most livable of the lot. It’s a city that really has it all, and maybe more importantly, is a short and cheap hop away from all the other aforementioned cities. Whether you’re ticking off your cultural hotspot bucket list or trying to get a little off the grid, there’s plenty to do and see in Budapest.
Find out why Budapest has been nicknamed the ‘City of Baths.’ A quick search of Budapest on Instagram would no doubt feature a few shots of the famous Széchenyi bath and its iconic yellow architecture. But there are plenty more thermal baths found all over the city to take a break from the city and indulge in a public bath.
A building might look like a building in any other major city, but you won’t be able to say that in Budapest. From the intricate bridges that connect the two sides of the city to the majestic parliament buildings, it’s hard not to be enamoured every time you look up. Don’t miss the Fisherman’s Bastion - a photographer’s dream - for an incredible view over the Danube to the bustling downtown of Pest.
Krakow has all the trademarks of a quaint european city. The castle on the hill, the cobbled old town square, and the vibrant nightlife. It’s rather small, and easily navigated on foot (or horse and cart if you prefer!). It’s only a 6 hour bus from Budapest so makes for a nice weekend getaway and a change of culture and scenery.
This city’s unique appeal comes from some rather somber but arguably far more important reasons than other relatively similar european cities. An hour drive from the idyllic town square, lays the site of one of the largest humanitarian atrocities in recent history. There’s nothing quite like walking through the grounds of Aushwitz to instil a feeling of overwhelming gratitude for the life and world you were fortunate enough to be born into. You can also visit and learn the story of Oskar Schindlers Factory which was the inspiration for the film “Schindlers List”.
One the joys of life in Europe is how accessible the rest of the region is. From Budapest you can catch a flight to Berlin, Amsterdam, Venice, and Dubrovnik, all for less than $100 return. While you're over here, it would be rude not to tick a couple of them off the bucket list right?!
Just beyond the city limits, there is even more incredible natural beauty to be explored. Lake Balaton is one of those places. With rolling hills, Europe’s largest freshwater lake and vineyards to explore. Head into the historic town Szigliget and wander through the medieval castle. Or head to the volcanic hills surrounding the area for a picturesque hike.
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