I love travelling in Autumn. From crisp mornings sightseeing, to coffee and cake in cosy cafes and rainy days at museums, the cities of Europe have plenty to offer the low season traveller, all at lower prices and with fewer tourist crowds. This is certainly true of Budapest, Hungary’s stunning capital. A last minute trip this November gave me three days to explore this fascinating city and even in the wintry weather Budapest proved itself to be a real gem.
Budapest’s rich and culturally diverse history is reflected in the architectural splendour of the city’s mix of Gothic, Baroque, Ottoman and Art Nouveau buildings. This is illustrated in detail at The Budapest History Museum at Buda Castle, which takes you on a journey through time, and the periods of growth and destruction that shaped the city. Hidden in the cave system beneath the Castle, the Hospital in the Rock museum is a chilling reminder of the horrors of war and yet an intriguing insight into human ingenuity and fortitude. Guided tours provide a unique and eye-opening experience. While visiting Castle Hill, don’t miss Cafe Ruszwurm: already famous for its exquisite cakes and desserts, the delights of this quaint, understated tea room are well worth the queue.
At night, the most impressive monuments are lit with thousands of glittering lights, creating splendid views across the wide Danube river from any and every vantage point along its banks. Mulled wine is served in one of the fairytale turrets of Fisherman’s Bastion, providing a romantic spot to take in the dazzling panorama. By mid November, festive evenings can be enjoyed at the Christmas markets popping up around the city (try hot raspberry punch and lángos with Nutella) and at the City Park, where the Vajdahunyad Castle moat is transformed into a gigantic outdoor ice rink with a DJ playing into the night. Under starry skies, the outdoor pools of Szechenyi Thermal Baths are the highlight of an authentic Hungarian spa experience, which you will share with far more locals than tourists at this time of year.
Thinking of a last minute Autumn/Winter break? Budapest is calling.