7 reasons why I miss Budapest

January 9, 2015
St. Stephen's Basilica

I lived in Budapest for 2 months last year, and amongst all the adventures, countries and experiences I had during what I can call ‘the best and craziest year of my life’, this is the city that holds the deepest and most special place in my heart. It’s hard to express in words and explain how much this city grew on me for only 2 months, so much so that I can say, without a doubt, that I feel homesick from Budapest.

It was hard for me to pick a list of 7 reasons why I miss Budapest this much, simply because it’s a feeling that overcomes physical things, and something that only you can experience by yourself. And so, my mission is to make you feel like Budapest is something you CANNOT MISS in your life!

Architectural beauty

St. Stephen's Basilica

Overlooking St. Stephen’s Basilica

Budapest has one of the most impressive architectures I have ever witnessed in my life. You can find Art Nouveau in the Gellért Baths, Gothic Style in Buda Castle, Neo-Roman in Fisherman’s Bastion, and the list goes on and on. Even if you’re not an architecture nerd, the simple act of strolling through the city streets will let you staring at the buildings you pass by. Andrassy Utca, a Unesco World Heritage Site, is one of the main streets in Budapest, and one of the most beautiful in the world. Insiders tip: always look up when you walk in Andrassy. You’ll understand why.

SUNDAY MARKETS!!

Sunday Market Budapest

Sunday Market in the Jewish District of Budapest

Sorry, I got a bit too excited. For me, the sunday markets in Budapest are magical, and there’s no better way to spend a Sunday afternoon! Pick your poison: you have markets for almost anything. Fresh food, vintage items, clothing, you name it. This is a list of the ones you cannot miss:

  • Ecseri Market
  • Address: Nagykőrösi út 156, 1194 Budapest
    Opening hours: 08:00-13:00

  • Erzsébet tér Market
  • Address: Erzsébet tér, 1051 Budapest
    Opening hours: 08:00-14:00

  • Szimpla Farmers Market
  • Address: Szimpla Kert, Budapest, VII. kerület, Kazinczy u. 14.
    Opening hours: 09:00-14.00

Sunday Market in Budapest

Taking a break from making scarves during a Sunday afternoon Market

Off-the-beaten path day trips

Viségrad

Viségrad, a small town in the Danube’s Bend is 45 min. away by train from Budapest.

If you’re like me and you need a break from the big city time to time, Budapest is the perfect place for that. While many tourists visit Budapest and just stay in the city, there is an immense list of cities and small towns to visit very near the Hungarian Capital, and all of them are worthy of your time. These were my 2 favourite day trips from Budapest:

  • Esztergom
  • Distance from Budapest: 80 min by train
    Why should you go there: You can visit Slovakia if you go to Esztergom- if you cross Maria Valéria Bridge you set foot in Štúrovo, in Slovakia. The third largest church in Europe,The Basilica of Esztergom, can be visited here. On my day trip I witnessed a wedding inside the Basilica, maybe you’ll be as lucky as I was!

  • Viségrad
  • Distance from Budapest: 40 min by train
    Why you should go there: Viségrad has a castle that is only accessible by crossing the Danube on a ferry. This should be enough of a reason for you to visit! The unforgettable view of the mighty Danube, the green hills and the quiet villages you have from up there is worth the hike.


Hungarian food

Hungarian food

Hungarian food is one of the best traditional foods I ever tasted

If you are a food lover, Budapest will win your heart very easily. Attention vegetarians: Hungarian Cuisine (or Magyar Cuisine, the original name) consist mostly of meat: stews, casseroles, steaks, roasted pork, beef, poultry, lamb, and I guess you heard enough. But don’t worry, here’s a list of traditional Hungarian food you can try without meat in it:

  • Gombapaprikás – mushroom veggie stew
  • Túrógombóc – cottage cheese dumplings
  • Spätzle – egg dumplings
  • Tarhonya – large couscous

For the meat lovers like me, you cannot miss trying these:

  • Gulyás – chunks of beef, potatoes, and vegetables, plenty of paprika and spices.
  • Pörkölt – meat stew with paprika and onions, usually served with a side of Hungarian noodles called nokedli.
  • Halászlé – fisherman’s soup, made of paprika-spiced broth and thick cuts of river fish.

You don’t need to use public transportation

Budapest

There’s a reason why Budapest is considered one of the 10 most walkable cities in Europe: because it really is. In my 2 months there, I never used the metro apart from 2 times when I decided to go out on the other side of the city. Walking from Castle Hill to Heroe’s Square covers most of the city center, and it doesn’t take more than 60 minutes. Plus, you will miss out on the beautiful architecture if you take public transportation!

You are in the center of Europe

Sarajevo

Sarajevo is only a bus ride away.

It’s not by mistake they call Budapest the Heart of Europe. Living here gives you the opportunity to easily visit a wide number of European countries that are simply a train or bus ride away. Here is a list of the closest European cities you can visit:

  • Bratislava – 2 hours and 30 minutes
  • Vienna – 3 hours
  • Sarajevo – 10 hours
  • Krakow – 4 hours and 30 minutes


The unique nightlife

Budapest friends

Going out with some friends in Budapest.

The nightlife in Budapest is something out of this world. There’s nothing I can compare it to, because I never experienced something like it. The truth is that every night is a party in Budapest. You don’t need to pick a certain day to go out, whether it’s Monday or Saturday, you can make sure you’re going to have a blast of a night! One of the unique things Budapest nightlife offers are the ruin bars: old buildings transformed into friendly, pleasingly chaotic bars, with furniture or old items hanging from the ceiling. You’ve never seen something like this, believe me! These are the 3 ruin bars you MUST visit while going out here:

  • Szimpla Kert – one of the most popular ruin pubs in the city, it attracts both locals and international young travelers.
  • Csendes Társ – home-like feeling, small, with outdoor picnic tables and chairs, the menu offers hundreds of wines and simple dishes.
  • Anker’t – my favourite ruin pub in Budapest. It’s the largest garden bar in the city and is made up of huge, connecting courtyards.


The most important reason why Budapest is such an amazing city is a very simple one: the people. Who you meet is what you make of a city, and Budapest has a hidden magic when it comes to this: it helps people connect with each other in a way that no other city I’ve ever been in can. This is something that is hard for me to explain, but that you will understand once you make your way there!
I hope my list has helped you in picking out the best things to do and see in Budapest, and I’m sure it will steal your heart the same way it stole mine.

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  • travelgeekery

    I love Budapest but whaaat.. heart of Europe? Prague is the heart of Europe 🙂

    • One of the nicknames of Budapest is “Heart of Europe” 🙂

      • travelgeekery

        We’ll have to settle that dispute in Kerala! 😉

      • Balt

        It seems from the map (and from the history): rather “Heart of the Carpathian Basin”.

        Better known: “Queen of the Danube”.

  • Escaping Abroad

    Budapest looks like a blast! Great guide.. easy to see why you enjoyed those 2 months so much!

  • Claire Robinson

    Now I want to go to Budapest – looks like a lovely city 🙂

    • why shouldn’t you want to? best city in europe in my opinion ! 🙂

  • Oh, yes! Budapest is beautifil, amazing, astonishing city! I’ve spent there 5 days but I felt this atmosphere! This is the city I could live in for longer. 🙂
    But don’t you think that it’s a little bit underrated? People are so amazed by Paris or London but I reckon that Budapest equally deserves the attention!

    • I totally agree with you. Not underrated in terms of who visits it, but in the number of people who actually go there. 9 out of every 10 people I met (australians mostly) name budapest as their favorite city in Europe!

  • I only spent a few days in Budapest but I totally agree that there is something special about it! I loved the Hungarian food and the ruin bars were really cool. Also I really enjoyed the baths!

    • Oh the ruin bars.. The name is definitely appropriate ahah

  • Budapest looks awesome! We moved back to Europe last year and are trying to catch up on all our European travels – looks like Budapest is another one to add to the list!

    • skip the rest, go to budapest first! don’t leave the best for last 🙂

  • Kate-Frankie Brennan

    All reasons I would love to love in a city. The architecture does look incredible! I’ve heard about ruin bars too and some off the less well known places you can explore nearby. Budapest is definitely on my list now

    • thank you kate! warning – if you go there you won’t want to leave 😉

  • Mary Hickcox

    Wow! Never been but now it’s on the list. I need to stay away from blogs as my travel wish list is getting longer and longer by the day!

    • ahah, it’s good to have a long list mary! you have time to fullfill it 🙂

  • Marilia Ribeiro

    I live here since February and I totally agree!!! I love this place!!!

  • Mojito

    Budapest is a very nice and pleasant city with some unique things like baths. You are under a good impression if you stay here fore some months. If you live here for more years, you will start seeing other sides, like segregation and criminalization of poverty, as well as difficulty for being a foreigner (starting a business, renting a flat etc.), and quality of the food. But initial cultural shock is usually positive 🙂

    • Kory Dobos Mészáros

      Why not move then Mojito

    • Charlotte Hendershot

      What kind of segregation? Quality of food? Could you explain please?

    • Alejandro

      Budapest is a fantastic city, no question about that, but I agree that once you stay here long enough you begin to see the darker side. Having lived here for almost 2 years now, I study here, and almost all Hungarians I know want to leave the country. Dozens are even ashamed of being Hungarian due to the government and its international image, as well as the attitudes of the Hungarian population as a whole. I loved the terribly biased commentary too with regards to not having to use public transportation. The average Hungarian wage is 150,000/month, almost as much as an entire months rent; it automatically assumes everyone can live in districts V and VI, most Hungarians cannot and that bothers them terribly. There is a lot of antagonism towards foreigners because Hungarians are quite jealous in their nature and want the same priviledges and luxuries that foreigners have, hence the mass exodus of talent that is leaving the country for better opportunities abroad. Those who stay either do it out of strong family roots or simply because they do not have the opportunities to make it abroad. Racism is alive and well in Hungary, ask ANY black person who lives in Budapest and I guarentee that all of them have experienced that on almost a daily basis. Additionally, it is very hard for foreigners to establish companies here since there is what I like to call the “Hungarian mentality” which is very similar to that which I have found in Eastern Europe (ironic since Hungarians try so hard to distinguish themselves, yet their behaviors are oddly similar), which is trying to get the most out of any situation, through schemes or simply ripping people off. Countless taxis have ripped off friends of mine (usually tourists), apartment complexes charge exhorbient fees to foreigners, and everyone assumes that “foreigners are wealthy so who cares”. It’s very hard to do business here, not to mention the terribly corrupt government the Hungarians have voted for. And to any Hungarian who tries telling me that Hungary isn’t xenophobic, racist, misogynistic, or homophobic, then how do you explain why 20% of the population voted for a far-right Neonazi political party?

      • St. John Smythe

        “And to any Hungarian who tries telling me that Hungary isn’t xenophobic, racist, misogynistic, or homophobic, then how do you explain why 20% of the population voted for a far-right Neonazi political party?”

        You’re absolutly right! The governing Fidesz party is hardly any better. The two together got 64% of the votes. This is one of the reasons why I am ashamed to be a hungarian these days.

        • Frank Fentangeli

          te fasz, te!

          • St. John Smythe

            Google translate: you prick, you!

            I think you are the prime example of the type of person we are talking about! Bravo!

          • Tarzi

            He is right.

      • Viktor Csongradi

        Some factual corrections: The official average Hungarian wage is 230 000 HUF, not 150K (yr.2013). If you’re paying 150K rent, you’re living in a palace, or in a sizeable apartment on the Pest side of the Danube with a full view of the Castle Hill and/or Gellerthegy.
        It’s relatively easy to find an apartment for one or two for 60-70K/mo. Albeit there are rip-offs of foreigners by a particular group of people, but it’s not PC to identify them, so that you’ll have to figure out on your own.

        As far as the labels you’re throwing out, they are transitory, dominant culture dictated opinions, which changed into what they are today over time, and WILL change into something ELSE over time.

        A little sociohistory is in order; everything is transitory, and local culture modified. Your social mores are applicable ONLY to YOUR social/cultural group.
        You may like beef, but a Hindu will think you’re a barbarian. Polygamy is the norm in some societies it’s a no-no elsewhere. The South Sea Islanders’ sexual practices were considered scandalus in most Western countries until fairly recently. And so on, and so forth.
        The problem is, that you SHOULD NOT apply YOUR cultural precepts to another culture/society, no matter how wrong (or right) it seems to you.

        Your culture’s belief system has been formed by your society’s experience, religion and philosophy. The society (you are criticizing) has been formed by THEIRS – of which you likely know nothing about.

        The intolerant is really YOU – applying your biases on a totally different people, nation, culture.

        • Tarzi

          +1

  • Zoltán Varga

    It’s so cool you people like my hometown 🙂
    To whom it may concern: there’s a Facebook group called ‘International Meeting Point Budapest’, if you happen to visit the city and you are looking for somebody (Hungarian and/or foreigner) to hang out with, feel free to join. There are more than 8800 members so far and still counting 🙂

    • Thank you for the info Zoltán!

  • Renata

    Spätzle..? It’s a German word and we do not use it in Hungarian. It’s called nokedli or galuska. 🙂

    • Ups, sorry for the mistake! Totally thought you said it the same way 🙂

  • Helga

    I am always happy when bloggers or travellers just come to Budapest and leave with far more than expected and fall in love. I was born here, lived in other cities also, as Berlin last year (the vibe is a bit similar and some locations), but when I come back home I feel overwhelming.. Even with the really bad sites: many homeless people, bad quality of public transportation, and the fact that most of the inhabitants cannot enjoy all the things you did as their financial situation is very sad and unfair, not to mention our politics..

    • brekk

      Public transportation in Bp is one of the best in the whole world, just sayin’.. Ask any foreigner who uses it, despite the recommendation of this article 🙂

    • I agree that public transportation is good, although I never used it. Homeless people? I didn’t really notice that many

  • Sounds like funnnn! I’ve never been, but I know the feeling of missing “home” abroad! Great post 🙂

  • Mohamed Shawki

    The first time i came to budapest was in 2005 for 2 month..then i went home…couldnt stay much longer away from budapest..now i live and work in budapest

    • That’s probably what’s gonna happen to me!

  • ken kh

    None of u can feel me. I grew up in Budapest.
    N now I moved to Washington DC.
    U ‘ll always miss Budapest. Hopefully Viktor urban is not gonna ruin it.

  • Federico Fioravanti

    Sarajevo is only a bus ride away?? it’s 14 hours by train, time enough to go to Thailand by plane on the other side of the planet

    • Ilona Horvath

      My Son is traveling between Budapest and Sarajevo almost every week,by car it takes much less time.

    • Federico, it’s very hard to get to sarajevo by bus from any country. What I said it’s true, I didn’t say how long it would take. I’d rather go to sarajevo than thailand any day of the week 🙂

      • Federico Fioravanti

        I definitely loved that city, but i agree with you that it’s hard to reach Sarajevo from any of the countries around Bosnia and Herzegovina, . Joao I hope you didn’t take my comment personally … I just wanted to highlight the fact that it’s not a bus ride away to get there from Bp, nothing more, it was not a critic to what you wrote. I have been living in Budapest for more than 3 years and what I noticed is that yes everything seems close on a map, but then when it’s time to reach a place it takes a life without a car, inside the country or outside the borders … so true, Hungary it’s located in a quite special & logistic position in Europe, but transportation (even though efficient on a time schedule point of view) it’s really slow sometimes compared to other countries. Have you been in Thailand? there are a lot of beautiful spots in there, and I would love to visit that country again as soon as possible. I don’t get the point of your last sentence … it was just an example.

        Boa sorte para tua viagem

        • hey federico , no I did not take it personally at all! I’m sorry, maybe you misunderstood my comment.
          Safe and positive travels to you ! 🙂

  • karvakg

    I know exactly what you are talking about 🙂

  • Came for 6 months in 1989. Still here 26 years later … to coooooool 🙂 🙂

    • Awesome Steven! I can see you really liked it 🙂

  • Lilla

    I loved this article, but here is a little correction: Visegrád is not a remote island on the Danube, so you can go by bus or car too 😉

    • I never said it was an island! If you arrive by train to Viségrad, the only way to get to the other side of the river is by ferry 🙂

      • kovareg

        No train goes to Visegrád. From Budapest runs a suburban railway line to Szentendre, from there you can only travel with bus. The railway line is on the other side of the Danube.

  • Mert

    awesome city miss it

  • F

    Krakow is not capital, the polish capital is Warsaw. 🙂
    Anyway, Budapest is the best! <3

    • I never mentioned Krakow was the capital ahah. Although I do prefer Krakow over Warsaw any day. Nasdrovie!

  • Leonardo Firenze

    I lived in Budapest for 1 year and 7 months and it was an majestic experience, the whole city is wonderful and is full of funny and interesting people; so nice every pubs, clubs and i love a lot the river’s bank of the blue Danube!!! There are great and the biggest bridges of the the whole world and the parlament building is really magnificient; i will come back in Budapest in every moment 🙂 i love it!!!!!

  • aak

    Spending a few weeks (lessly some days) every year can to fill up miraculously. The Danube river, Rakpart, Castle, Metro stations and all type of statues (notabilities, memories or even dogs) along the streets, hundred year buildings and trees will take part of the heart.

    • Couldn’t have said it better !

  • Dotty

    Budapest is also a city where the elderly can feel comfortable . I am 73 and walk with a cane. Although we did a fair amount of walking , the public transport is invaluable and cheap if you buy a weekly or monthly ticket.The trams come about every 5 minutes the buses maybe 10. We have traveled extensively in Asia and Europe but we wish we had re-discovered Budapest sooner (we were there for a few days in 1986). We spent 2 months there last year and are already planning our next trip around the opera season. We saw the Verdi Requiem for $5 at the opera house and spent a similiar amount at the Budapest Jazz Club. The people of Budapest really love their city. They restore their old buildings instead of replacing them with impersonal glass monoliths. I have seen people picking up the trash of others and although many seem to smoke you never see a cigarette butt .Well behaved dogs are everywhere and you never see evidence of their passage. I have never had to stand on a bus. People notice instantly and jump up and beg you to take their seat!
    But the real treasure of Budapest is its citizens. I feel as if I have already made a number of good friends that I can contact via email and am learning Hungarian. A man at a market told me it is a difficult language in the beginning and then it gets really hard. Anyway people appreciate the effort and try not to laugh at my attempts.

    • I’m very happy to hear Budapest has a place in your heart as well Dotty! I tried learning hungarian as well, but gave up pretty fast ahah

  • AnitaV

    It was nice to read your post about our city. Thanks a lot for your nice words. 🙂 Wish you good luck for your journey in Europe!

  • Petra Mazalin

    travel with public transport every day or try to walk on the streets of the centrum where tram 4/6 travels, you cant move from smokers and ignorant higheducates hungarian citizens.. sorry some years ago everything was different

  • OCM

    Budapest is a very nice city, and I agree with the items on this list. And precisely because the list only talks about the nice things in Budapest, it doesn’t talk about its people. I lived and worked there for 2 years, and was amazed by the level of racism, intolerance, ignorance, rudeness and delinquency. The policies of the governing parties just goes to show in which way the majority of Hungarians think.

    Hungarians (and people in Budapest are no different) still argue in favour of the “Great Hungary”, which caused that my French friends and I (I’m not French) were harassed and insulted on the street at night several times because of speaking French. I also heard so many things against Slovaks, Romanians, gipsies…

    Additionally, I was robbed in every possible way over the course of those 2 years: someone broke into my apartment, they opened my car, my bank card details were stolen, I was pick-pocketed…
    And in the workplace we had problems with people stealing, cheating, bribing…….

    Yes, it’s a nice city for tourism, but I sure don’t want to live there again.

    • Csaba Dávida

      Yes, this guide and the comments are a way nicer than it’s actually is, but far away not that bad, what you experienced. Trust me, thousands of Hungarians feel sorry about your story. So am i.

    • Tündi

      Sorry that you had such a bad experience. It´s your opinion and no one can change it but you – and I hope you´ll give another chance to the city. Although, after travelling around the world in the last 5 years, Budapest is still my favourite place – and not because I´m Hungarian.

    • I’m sorry for your bad experience. I lived for 2 months in Budapest, and I must say I really have nothing to complain about. After two weeks I was not a tourist anymore, I had a normal job as anyone else, and I didn’t feel any of those things. I hope you get the chance to come back and that it goes better !

    • Andi

      I am sorry that you had such bad experience there, I can’t blame you. I have to say, it’s funny that you mentioned both the crimes that happened to you, and the gipsies (who are considered Hungarian citizens, and mainly came from Romania) You also said, Hungarians may hate them. Well I think mostly just afraid if them, for the same reason why you had bad experience about the country. Believe me, it’s a huge problem for us too…
      About harassing your friends because of speaking French… well that is really rude indeed. I don’t think that’s common, and I can’t even imagine why would somebody do that. I am really sorry for that.

    • Zeta

      Wow mate, I have a magnet for bad experiences, really. I’m living in Budapest since 1 year and… ok, there are rude hungarians, but generally (excepting the crazy homeless ppl in Blaha or Szell Kalman Tér) hungarians are educated. I see they don’t keep attention to foreign people but never insulted to me or my friends. I never was robbed, even my friend neither when they fallen asleep in the public transport. I just want to invite you to travel in Rome or Barcelona and tell me how many pick-pocketers there are… The only one thing it happened to me and some of my friends in some pubs they gave us wrong change when we bought a beer (so… it’s important to pay attention). Unfortunately I heard about stealing cars but in a job, a normal job (I don’t know what you worked here) people are friendly. My hungarian workmates sometimes gave me Túro Rudi (typical hungarian dessert) or other chocolates and they are very nice people.
      And I should say I don’t like romanian gipsies neither… Parisian inhabitants hates foreign people, ask to your friends what they talk about Spain…

    • Tarzi

      lol

      I think there is a high chance that you were robbed/pick-pocketed by a (maybe romanian or local) gypsy gang/mob.

  • Sara SOS

    I live in Budapest since 2009. I can see the bright and the dark side of Budapest. I am Hungarian. My boyfriend lives here since 2013, he is French. He was never insulted because of his nationality. I agree, that the level of racism is high, unfortunately. But please stop to say that the Hungarian citizens are intolerant, ignorant, rude…I have a lot of friend from different nations. Between my friends the nationality, identity, color of skin is never a question. And it is hurting a bit to read this stereotypes. Maybe you met a few a..holes, but please do not include all the Hungarians.

    • I never had any act of racism towards me in the 2 months that I lived there, neither towards anyone that I met, and since I worked in a hostel I met people from every country of the planet. Sometimes people just have a bad experience and make the norm out of it, unfortunately..

    • ddd

      Ugyan ez csináljátok a románokkal , általánosítani szoktatok

  • Saci

    Nice, nice, but 2 months in Budapest is not enough to really discover what it is… Maany spots you meantioned only visited by tourists by now….
    OCM! I am Hungarian and I don’t live in my country because of many reasons you mentioned…:( But it is still bad to hear what you wrote 🙁 “Hungarians (and people in Budapest are no different) still argue in favour of the “Great Hungary”..” Why do you generaze? You could say many Hungarians instead! And yes, ppl in Budapest are a bit different, read a bit before you make comments, locals in Budapest were always more liberal and more progressive than ppl from other parts of Hungary…

  • Saci

    Btw, in my opinoin you would have mentioned the thermal baths… I really miss them!!!

    • The thing is I don’t really miss them Saci! I don’t really like standing in one place without moving or doing nothing ,ahah

    • Sue

      Hi We are going to Budapest on Thursday – Which Thermal bath is the best to go to ( 4 Women 40yr olds but like quirky architecture etc !)

  • Igor Jose Nunhez Sanabria

    I’ve been living there for 6 months I wanna come back every day of my life nagyon szeretlek Budapest!! Greetings from Paraguay 😀

  • Játékmester

    Hi João, a couple of more foods to try out: dödölle, prósza, lila káposztás disznótoros, rétes (meggyes, túrós, káposztás, mákos), palacsinta and tárkonyos raguleves! Your homework: find out what are these. 😉

    And a couple of more places not far from Budapest to visit : Őrség, Balaton, Zala, Mecsek, Bükk, Mátra, Szeged, Debrecen….;)

    So…dear travellers…come and visit us! 😉

    • thank you for the extra info! 🙂

    • Tarzi

      Good advice, but I think it will hard to try any restaurant where serve these authhentic foods even for a hungarian guest.

  • Minna

    It was nice to read your story, Joao. It reminded me about last summer when I visited Budapest twice (!!!), first with my girlfriends and then few weeks later with my partner. And how I enjoyed! So great (and cheap) theater, jazz, food, art, baths, views…. I’m from Finland and they use to say that Hungarian and Finnish languages are relatives from far, but it was funny to be in a country where you didn’t understand ANY written word.

    About this racism discussion, I think: unfortunately there are not many (or are there any) totally open minded nations or countries nowadays. Racism is everywhere, but that doesn’t mean that everyone or even most people would be racists. It’s an attitude that rises as the economy goes down and people feel threatened by “outsiders”. Still, in fact, most people lose their prejudices when they get to know better the other-ness. In most European countries the nationalist-minded parties are in rise, unfortunately…. Anyway, I didn’t feel anything else than friendliness in Budapest, and wonderful experiences 🙂 And as Dotty noted, it felt really safe to walk around at the night time, too.

    Dreaming of Budapest….

    • Hey Minna, how funny, I’m in finland right now! whereabouts are you from?
      I disagree totally with the racism comments, NO ONE EVER was racist towards me or anyone that I knew. Some people just tend to generalize because it happens once to someone.. Hope you’re doing well!

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  • Christian Koncz

    I used to hate Budapest and even though I grew up in Hungary (mostly) I haven’t been there for at least 7 or 8 years. What particularly used to rile me was the rudeness of the people and the unrelenting dirt, slime and bad smell. I went there this weekend and I have to say my impressions were overwhelmingly positive. Still a lot of homeless people, but the city centre has been cleaned up and looks better than most cities I’ve been to. I used to live in London and Singapore and I must say I much prefer Budapest these days. Service standards have improved tremendously, there’s a host of exciting new bars and restaurants, there are thousands and thousands of young people from Europe and elsewhere having a good time. It really is one of the most Beautiful cities in the world. I definitely see the improvement compared to a few years ago and it is clearly headed in the right direction. As for racism, well, rural Hungary has quite a lot in common with rural parts of the American South, with de facto segregation and quite a lot of homophobia. Budapest though has become very worldly and cosmopolitan and I do not think it is any more racist than other parts of the world. Nobody here gets shot by the police because of their skin colour and racist murders are exceedingly rare by American or even by British standards. I think there was only one documented case in the last decade or so. The main difference I feel is that Hungarians are very un-PC and will tell it like it is, which can come as a shock to someone from the US or Western Europe, who might harbour similar thoughts privately but would never say them out loud.

    • Thank you for your comment Christian. I cannot comment on how Budapest used to be 7 or 8 years ago, since my first visit was last Summer. What I can say is, even after all the countries I’ve visited so far (more than 35), budapest still remains as my number one city to live in, and I’d go back there in a blink of an eye given the opportunity to do so 🙂

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  • Judy

    what is the cost of living compared to The United States? Looking to live overseas part time