I knew very little about Budapest when I boarded a plane headed there. When I first started my internship in London, I had hopes of venturing to Scotland, actually, but then I realized that Budapest was cheaper and far more different than anywhere else I’d been before, so I took the leap!
It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with the energy and history of the city—along with the architecture. I often caught myself staring up at buildings rather than focusing on the bumpy cobblestone streets. Although I knew very little about the city before I explored Budapest, here are a few things I can share with you about my experience:
- The people are friendly. Most people speak English, which is super helpful and were all happy to help with directions or restaurant recommendations.
- Favorite part: visiting Buda castle. The castle is a sight to behold -- and who knew that Budapest had its own version of the changing of the guard?! Definitely not me. Also, to get there there we took the Funicular, which is a sort of cable car that goes up the side of the mountain. 10/10 would recommend, because I love traveling in all modes possible. This was also very close to Fisherman’s Bastion, which had some amazing views.
- Fisherman’s Bastion is very close to the castle, too, along with St. Michael’s Chapel. Not only is this part of the city gorgeous, but the Bastion offers breathtaking views from above Budapest.
- Baths are integral to this city and if you go during the summer, you should definitely put this on your to-do list. I went to the Szechenyi Thermal Bath, which was an experience unlike anything I'd had before. It reminded me of Bath, England—except there were people in these baths! That, and the building was so vibrantly colored, between the blue waters and sky, with a pop of yellow between the two.
- Learn from my mistake! I really wanted to do a boat tour. Slowly gliding along the Danube River, particularly at night, sounded ideal and looked like an amazing opportunity. Unfortunately, I did not book in advance and therefore wasn’t able to make it happen because these cruises fill up fast. *heartbroken emoji*
- The public transportation here is highly recommended. We took the underground trains (aka, the Metro) all over. I also recommend taking one of the many yellow cable cars around the city. This was an amazing way to discover Budapest and something unique to the city as well. I got a pass for the whole weekend and it was definitely worth the investment. I also was lucky to happen upon a couple leaving Budapest at the airport who gave us their passes for a day – so we definitely paid it forward and passed ours along when we left, too!
- Forint – that’s their currency here. I had been doing an internship in London before I went to Budapest, so I was still trying to convert my U.S. dollars to British pounds and then into Hungarian forints. And I’m bad at math, anyway!
Budapest had a unique ambiance about it, a magnetic energy and atmosphere. But don’t take my word for it – go experience it for yourself! Search CEA's new Budapest study abroad programs.
Rachael Brown is the Admissions Counselor.