After my week in Dubrovnik, I headed north to Budapest for a week. The Hungarian capital, with its cheap drinks and intricately tiled buildings, has been on my bucket list ever since I ate my first chicken paprikash as a young girl. I took the overnight train from Belgrade which was a bit of a traumatizing experience but was happy that I had a friend with me so we could look out for each other. But also, never again! Budapest is divided into two parts by the Danube River, hilly Buda on one side, and the flat Pest on the other. We booked an adorable Airbnb in the Jewish Quarter, which was my favorite area in the city. Although it is now full of ruin bars, design shops, and trendy cafés, this area is filled with painful memories from WWII.
The first thing I did in Budapest was a stroll along the Pest-side of the river, with its views up to Buda, the bridges, and Parliament Building. It is a massive Gothic-style construction from the turn of the century, dominating the skyline and impresses from virtually every angle. Parliment is the largest building in Hungary and one of Europe’s oldest legislative buildings, with over half a million precious stones embedded in the design.
Further down the river, the memorial, Shoes on the Danube, commemorates the Jewish people who lost their lives in the 1940s. They were forced to strip naked on the banks of the Danube and face the river; a firing squad then shot the prisoners at close range in the back so that they fell into the river to be washed away.
I strolled along the Danube River to The Széchenyi Chain Bridge, the first permanent bridge to link the two sides of Budapest. After crossing the Danube over to the Buda side of the city took me to the Gellért Baths, a pristine and natural bathing complex that is considered to hold many healing properties. The baths have been present on this location, albeit in different forms since the Ottoman Empire conquered this region many hundreds of years ago.
After the baths, I went to the splendid, wrought-iron Great Market Hall for fresh paprika and foodie treats. You have to try lángos, a delicious, doughy, deep-fried flatbread topped with sour cream and cheese. YUM!
Although I ate all the chicken schnitzel, shakshouka, goulash, paprikash, and hummus my heart desired, my favorite fancy spot was New York Café. You can read all about the New York Café and if you’re into decadence and grandeur, visit to get your caffeine fix!