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Hidden gems of Budapest; the best secret spots to visit in Hungary’s bustling capital city.
Full of baroque architecture, heartwarming Christmas markets, stunning churches, delicious food, and elaborate castles, Budapest did not disappoint.
Famous attractions including Gellert Hill, the Chain Bridge, Heroes Square, and the unparalleled sight of the glowing Parliament Building all turned out to be just as rewarding as photographs suggest.
Despite the bitterly cold weather, I felt infatuated with Budapest’s beauty.
Aside from the charm of Budapest’s major landmarks, the unexpected experiences I had with my friends were the best part of the trip.
Here are a few hidden gems of Budapest that other travelers might not know about!
Hidden Gems of Budapest
Every tourist in Budapest goes to the massive Szechenyi Bath.
We went there too, and it was great.
But it was the spontaneous visit to the smaller, less popular Rudas Thermal Bath that truly amazed us.
On Tuesdays, the Rudas Thermal Baths are exclusively for women. So we had the liberating privilege of being naked.
These baths, originally built in 1550, had a traditional atmosphere with rustic stone decor and a spacious, domed ceiling.
With one large pool in the center of the hall and four smaller pools in the corners, the baths ranged from 32 degrees Celsius to 42.
The calm warm water along with the steam rooms and saunas relaxed and revived our cold bodies after sightseeing in the rainy winter weather.
(I didn’t take any photos of Rudas Baths because I was too enveloped in the experience. But here’s the outside of the famous Szechenyi Bathhouse.)
Szimpla Ruin Bar
Another hidden wonder of Budapest is Szimpla, one of the city’s many ruin bars.
The dusty brick walls, dilapidated exterior and rustic piping revealed the obvious age of the ruined building.
But the graffiti, odd statues and figurines, and vibrant wall art brought the place to life.
I love the idea of turning damaged buildings from previous wars into something beautiful and functional.
Szimpla is actually one of the most popular ruin bars, so it might not be a hidden gem.
But when you step inside, it feels like you’ve discovered somewhere so cool that it doesn’t even matter if there are a few other tourists inside.
(Try a Ruin Bar pub crawl through Budapest to see all the best spots in addition to Szimpla!)
My favorite of all these hidden gems of Budapest was definitely the Sirius Teaház.
I think the most accurate way to describe this discrete little hideaway is a cozy playhouse for tea-lovers.
The first section of the Teahouse is an adorable dining room full of plants and trinkets.
But the real magic appears once you venture to the back of the teahouse, remove your shoes, and begin to explore the many areas of relaxation.
Soft, Persian rugs blanket the floors and tiny tables sit surrounded by cushions.
The edges of the room hold tunnels and ladders that lead to secret alcoves at different elevations.
The ceiling was painted a rich green with colorful flowers, and beautiful tapestries hung from the walls.
There was even a wooden wardrobe that you could enter to find a small stairway covered with a mosaic of mirrors.
After climbing around the rooms like cats and absorbing all the eccentric decorations, we ordered our drinks from the extensive menu of amazing tea selections.
We spent the afternoon lounging on the pillows and soaking up the zen atmosphere.
The Sirius Teaház was a heartwarming escape from the freezing city. I’m so happy we were able to find this little oasis of bliss.
Those are my three favorite hidden gems of Budapest!
Between the thermal baths, the ruin bar, and the teahouse, my trip to Budapest was one of my favorite trips of this year.
Most of my travels around Europe this semester have had a short time schedule. And I always have an intense urge to hit every important landmark while saving money.
Because this trip was longer and my friends are returning to the USA soon, we decided to slow down and treat ourselves more. This was a wonderful decision.
We were able to explore all of the city’s famous sites, and still had time to chill in the hostel making paper snowflakes with other travelers.
We meandered through endless magical Christmas markets as well.
One evening we stumbled across a local school performance where school kids sang awkward duets in Hungarian.
Another fun activity was a wine-tasting cruise on the Danube. We had seven full glasses of wine in an hour (not taster portions…FULL glasses) and still somehow made it home alive.
Budapest was beautiful, and the experiences I had were unforgettable.
Travel Insurance for Hungary
Don’t forget to buy travel insurance before you travel to Europe, or anywhere for that matter.
It is 100% worth it and you’ll be so grateful you have it on the off-chance that you need it!
I recommend Squaremouth Insurance because you can search for custom plans that include exactly what coverage you need.
They also have a really helpful live chat, and they reimbursed me 100% for my previous emergency medical expenses while traveling.
Visas for Hungary
If you’re traveling to Hungary or anywhere else in Europe, you may need a visa depending on your nationality.
Visit iVisa.com to check visa requirements!
To read about more of my travel experiences around Europe, check out these articles: