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    12 Things You Should Try In Budapest Which Might Not Be In Your Guidebook

    Hungary's capital through the eyes of an expat.

    1. Puzzle-Escape Rooms / Exitgames


    Your group/team gets locked up in a basement or room and you have a certain amount of time to find your way out. The first one (ParaPark) was created in 2011; since then, these interactive entertaining facilities became trending and widespread, first in Budapest, and then later in other European cities. Nowadays, you may find numerous types of these places differing in themes and types of puzzles. Some may require Hungarian knowledge, so ask in advance which would be the one for you.

    2. Ferris Wheel, Erzsébet Square


    The American invented “pleasure wheel” is located in a park where the locals have been gathering during the summer for years now. As it's a place where there is always something happening, it's appreciated by tourists too. People just sit and chill in the grass: talking, playing music and enjoying the summer air. The Ferris wheel takes you above this nice scenery and grants you a look of the magnificent city.

    3. Concerts


    Some of the places offer high quality music on a daily basis for those who prefer audible experiences. The reincarnation of the Ukrainian stone-carrier ship on the Danube, A38, became not only a club, but a cultural project. The Dürer Kert, by the side of the City Park, also likes to host concerts, just different genres. Or you can check Kobuci Kert, Budapest Park, and so on.

    4. Spas and Türkish Baths


    Take a dip into the steaming waters of 400-500 year old Türkish architecture and large old medicinal baths and watch them transform into the wildest party scenes on certain nights! Or just enjoy a chat with friends after a night of partying in Rudas' octagonal pool under the ornamental cupola during a Friday or Saturday night.

    5. Festivals


    Sziget. Ozora. Balaton Sound. These festivals have gained so much popularity amongst foreigners, that they focus mostly on them as customers. Hundreds of thousands of visitors approve that Sziget is one of the largest and most significant events with its colorful lineup, which has improved but also commercialized since the first “student” party held in 1993.

    6. Ruin Pubs


    Along with Sziget, recent tourist guides probably also list ruin pubs, starting with the first and most recommended for tourists, Szimpla. Not only do you find the most foreigners here, but also those Hungarians who want to meet foreigners; meanwhile, you can check out how the designs show the essence of this style.

    7. Rooftop Bars


    Unlike Szimpla, these things are so new, that even the locals are only getting used to them the past couple years. Except for Corvintető, which also has its traditions, but has been a long running favorite. We recommend the Gozsdu Sky Terrace if you're looking for a younger crowd, or the 360Bar if you want a more relaxed atmosphere and a great view of the city!

    8. Architecture

    Via Flickr: 37578663@N02

    Why don’t you take a visit to the Museum of Applied Arts? After the visit, you might be more aware of where and what to look for on the old streets of the city. There are a few Gothic and Renaissance style buildings, and much more Baroque style and Classicist. But what offers the real eye-candy in Budapest is the Art Nouveau style. These “pieces of art” buildings are scattered around the city, but if you make a plan in advance and rent a bike from the newly established public bike system called Bubi (yes, it’s pronounced like boobies) you’ll probably be able to track down most of these gems. You’ll be surprised how the locals take it very natural that they live in such marvelous buildings without being aware that their houses could be just as much of a popular sight as Gaudí’s work in Barcelona.

    9. Gastronomy


    The odds are against you if you wish to try genuine Hungarian cuisine. The best dishes like stuffed cabbage take a long time to prepare and they are barely available in restaurants in proper quality, so unless you are couchsurfing with a Hungarian, you would have to rely on fancier restaurant’s reinterpretations of these. Or, you could try the Trófea chain which is an all you can eat buffet, but they offer a nice variety of these dishes. Also, check out the markets and try their lángos, which is fried bread dough, combined with a dairy product Hungarians eat regularly, tejföl. Watch out, it can be addicting! If you’re looking for something sweet afterwards, grab a Túró Rudi, a dessert of cottage cheese covered in chocolate.

    10. Riverside Fun


    The EU’s longest river, Danube, divides Buda and Pest how the Mississippi divides the Twin Cities in Minnesota. You may take a ride with your pass or ticket on the local transport company’s (BKV) boats sailing along the city and get off at the summer resort of Római-part: check out the land-art statuettes or stay for a garden party at Fellini. The riverside also offers great places to hang out by the iconic Chain Bridge.

    11. Water Sports


    This year Budapest is hosting the European Water Polo Championship. Hungarians are crazy about this sport, just like Canada loves ice hockey or England loves cricket. Get a ticket and enjoy the atmosphere of the matches in the cheering crowd at the open pools on Margaret Island. Or, you might as well join in, if you are interested in the internationally trending underwater rugby or underwater hockey, their teams are familiar with playing with expats, exchange students, and so on. Either way, Budapest is a great location if you have a thing for water sports. Did I mention that you can do diving in flooded mines of Kőbánya?

    12. Critical Mass


    This is somewhat exceptional compared to the previous points. Budapest’s cycling groups have been organizing CMs in between 2004 and 2013, and they became the largest CMs and bike marches of the world quickly, making it a grand celebration with as many as 80,000 participants in 2008. The organizers have later claimed that the demonstration has fulfilled its purpose and became obsolete, but you may still find Minimal Masses and NightRides if you would like to try what it feels like to cruise through the city in a larger group with style. Or just ride without a cause :)

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