About Jennifer W
Lives in Budapest, Hungary
Since Jun 2007
25-34 year old female
I'm a serial expat, I love to travel slow and really get to know a city. I grew up in Budapest, but moved back a couple of years ago. Returning to the city as an adult has made me fall in love with Budapest once again and I love exploring and discovering new secrets about the city. I work as a travel writer specialising in Budapest, both at home and abroad. I'm a staff writer at We Love Budapest (www.welovebudapest.com) and I'm a restaurant critic and culture writer for the Budapest Times. I'm passionate about architecture, local life, quirky stories about the city, and this is often reflected in my writing. I've written about the story of Budapest's Yellow Star Houses (BBC Travel), its subterranean world of caves, underground churches and nuclear bunkers (CNN Travel), a Transylvanian-style garden city inside the city limits (Huffington Post), an abandoned art deco powerstation (Atlas Obscura/Slate), behind Bauhaus doors (Untapped Cities) and Budapest's ruin pubs (Viator Travel).
Points of Interest & Landmarks, Historic Sites
Historic Sites, Thermal Spas
Other Outdoor Activities
Architectural Buildings, Operas
Crowning Budapest's iconic Castle Hill with winding steps and neo-Gothic arches, and intertwined with white fairytale turrets, Fisherman's Bastion (Halaszbastya) is one of my favorite lookout points in the whole city. Nothing beats the view of the Danube, the Houses of Parliament, and the city of Pest — it doesn't get much more romantic than this.
Budapest is a city full of thermal spas ranging from authentic Turkish baths to art nouveau spas, making it hard to choose which one to visit. If you have to pick one on a romantic getaway, I would suggest a dip in the iconic fin de siècle masterpiece that is the Szechenyi Baths. Cuddle up in the Champagne-bubble waters in one of the outdoor pools overlooked by the canary yellow neoclassical colonnades or warm up with a game of chess in the hot steaming waters at the other end of the complex.
From the outside this might look like a quirky design shop, but this Provence-inspired restaurant tucked away in the busy heart of District VII is the ideal spot for a romantic lunch or dinner. The restaurant offers a nouveau take on French dishes fused with Hungarian flavors and cooked with the freshest local ingredients. If you want a quiet, intimate night with candlelight shining through the bars of a vintage birdcage, this is the place. The shabby-chic feel of the restaurant also makes it the perfect precursor to a visit to Budapest's nearby ruin bars (pubs housed in formally abandoned buildings, a popular concept in this city)!
At the top of Andrassy Avenue, just off Heroes Square, City Park (Varosliget) is the green lung of the city and home to the famous Szechenyi Baths, the Zoo and Vajdahunyad Castle. In the summer it makes for a perfect spot to picnic or grab a lángos (deep fried flatbread) on the go. In the winter, head down to the ice rink and skate under the romantic Transylvanian-style castle lit up at night.
The New York Cafe might not be Budapest's cheapest or best dining venue, but it's worth stopping in for a luxury coffee just for the place. With curved marble columns, frescoes and walls gilded with goldleaf, this former literary hangout is truly beautiful.
For an amazing view across Budapest, make a beeline to Gellert Hill. If you're after a scenic hike, start at the steps by the waterfall and wind your way up, but make sure you stop and take in the views on the way. When you make it up to the top to the Citadel, you've officially reached the highest, and, according to some, the best view over the city center. Make sure you check out the peaceful Philosopher's Garden while you're up there.
While the Szechenyi is the most famous bath in Budapest, the Rudas is one of the oldest, dating back to the 16th century Ottoman occupation. This beautiful Turkish bath is the perfect place to soak, and while it's only co-ed on the weekends, on Friday and Saturday nights you can also come for late night bathing. Plus, don't miss the gorgeous spa complex and rooftop jacuzzi!
Set in a quiet plaza that could be found somewhere in the backstreets of Paris, the Gerloczy Cafe is the ideal place for a romantic date. Start the day with a continental breakfast with fresh croissants or excellent homemade bread, or join later for lunch or dinner. Indulge in oysters or some bistro classics if you fancy something special.
No romantic trip to the city is complete without taking in a show at the Hungarian State Opera, one of Budapest's most beautiful buildings both inside and out. Dress up for the night and walk under the chandeliers and vaulted ceilings to one of the gilded boxes, and enjoy the performance. Make sure you take your glass of champagne out onto the terrace during the interval for views over Andrassy Avenue.