I’m very fortunate to have special requests all the time to customize Budapest tours according to my travellers’ preferences. Today we had the chance to visit the Pálvölgyi caves, which is actually the longest cave in Budapest. The visit is about 60 minutes and you can see different stone formations, unique dripstones and prints of primeval shells.
Another advantage of hiking in the caves is that the temperature is constantly 11 degrees Celsius / 52 degrees Fahrenheit, so it’s relatively warm in the winter and pretty cool in the summer.
When we are touring the Danube Bend I usually try to include the visit of the Castle complex including the Upper Castle and the Royal Palace, too.
The miracle that we are able to see how royals lived in the 15th century is due to a passionate Hungarian archeologist who had discovered the ruins of the palace in an orchid, we are tremendously grateful to the archeologists who recreated the lavish interiors of the Gothic-Renaissance palace.
The barely 5.000 sq feet stone house built in the 1300’s was rebuilt and extended several times and transformed to a fabulous royal residence with 350 rooms by King Matthias. Legend is that marble fountains were filled with red wine in the 15th century. The Gothic cloisters, Renaissance loggia, living quarters of our kings and queens, amazing fountains and gardens are to be seen in the Palace as well as items and relics from the Middle Ages.
Although Füvészkert seems to be hard to pronounce but it’s surely woth a try, as it’s a true hidden gem in the 8th district of Budapest. The oldest and largest botanical garden of the city is from the 1770’s and is home to more than 7.000 plant species on a 3-acre-area. The 150-year-old Chinese gingko is the oldest tree in the park. You can admire the tropical and subtropical plants in the Palm House, Amazonas water lily in the Victoria glass house and the rich collection of palms, cactuses, bromelias and orchids. It’s one of the major locations in Ferenc Molnár’s ‘Paul Street Boys’, a famous Hungarian novel.
I love the evening tours, I tell my guests all the time that Budapest has two entirely different faces as it looks different during the day and during the night. My favorite building is the Parliament, it looks like a magnificent gingerbread cake with all the lights and colors of the night.
To show how much local people love the Széchenyi baths, I can tell you that we also have a nickname for it and call it simply ‘Szecska’. It opened in 1913 and has a total of 18 indoor and outdoor swimming pools. It’s one of the most richly ornate buildings of the city with an architecture combining Neo-Renaissance and Classicist elements. One really has to see the main foyer where both the statues and mosaics are all realted to water and bathing culture.
I only recommend going to the Szecska in the summer for those who don’t mind crowds but it’s really quiet and enjoyable in the winter. I can take you to the Széchenyi if you book the Baths of Budapest walking tour with me.
More information about prices and opening hours.
Bathing and bathing culture have always been an important part of our everyday life. According to a survey I’ve just read 30% of the locals go to the baths regularly. It’s fun, very relaxing and has healing effects, too. I can show you some of the most authentic Budapest baths if you join me for a tour.
The Gellért bathhouse is the most elegant bath complex of Budapest. The building is one of the most amazing pieces of the Budapest Art Nouveau and opened in 1918. When you have a look at the richly ornate facade of the building its hard to imagine that before the construction of the elegant hotel, the place had been referred to as to the muddy baths, where both people and animals had their regular bath.
The thermal baths are fed by the mineral hot springs of the Gellért hill. The water is rich in calcium, magnesium, hydrocarbonate and sulfate. The water temperature varies from 35 °C to 40 °C.
Don’t miss the Turkish section where the walls are so nicely decorated with colorful mosaics. The bath can be visited throughout the year, if you happen to be in Budapest in the summer, you can also take advantage of the outdoor wave pool.