When you think about Budapest, you may think about some of the better-known tourist hotspots, like cruising down the Danube or checking out the ancient baths. But Budapest has so much more to offer other than the familiar. If you’re a tourist who prefers looking off the beaten path for hidden jewels and activities, Budapest offers shopping, architecture, art and even fun as part of the city’s rich history and old-world charm. Check out some of the best ways to spend your time off the beaten track in Budapest.
The city of Vac is about 25 minutes outside of Budapest, where you can find a sleepy village that is open to tourists looking for out-of-the-way tourists. Look for the winding bike path that runs along the Danube, which could make for a gorgeous afternoon in Danube Park. Vac also offers a number of architectural sites, which makes it the perfect place for walking and looking through the city on foot. Don’t miss the small shops and local food, which will give you a real taste of life in Hungary.
Whether you’re traveling with kids or are simply a kid at heart, take some time off from your serious sightseeing to visit Medve Otthon, the bear sanctuary. There, you’ll find a number of bears who have retired from the limelight as animal actors and are enjoying that retirement by interacting with locals and tourists alike. You can even buy honey from the sanctuary and feed the bears yourself. There’s also a wolf pack and weekend attractions for the kids. You can easily hop a train and you’ll be there in about 45 minutes, making it well worth the ride and your time.
If shopping is more your think, Budapest offers rich fabrics and ornate jewelry. Lokalwear is a shop owned by an American designer living in Budapest and translating some of the city’s colors and textures into wearable pieces of art. You’ll find ornate earring, printed tops and luxurious scarves for a low price, allowing you to come home with some gorgeous mementos of your time in Budapest.
Budapest is famous for its churches, cathedrals and architecture, but you may not see Cave Church on the tour brochures, since it’s often overshadowed by the more famous Matthias Church and St. Stephen’s Cathedral. But if you make the stop at Cave Church, you won’t be disappointed. It’s a church of the Hungarian Pauline order and is situated near an old library café and ancient architecture that is worth a second look. While you may be focused on visiting the Gellert Bath, Cave Church is just a 30 minute trip out of the way and worth the extra time.
Margit Kovács Museum
There are plenty of museums to visit in Budapest, from art to history. But one of the most important, interesting and oft-overlooked museums is likely the Margit Kovács Museum, located in Szentendre. The late Margit Kovács was a ceramic artist who focused her attention on some of the daily life of living in Hungary. The museum is about a 45 minute train ride from Budapest, but could be some of the best education you receive while visiting the city. The museum is situated among local shops and restaurants, so you’ll be able to take in the sights and grab a bite to eat after checking out the ceramics collection in the museum and before heading off to where you’re staying to get some shut-eye.
While Budapest has plenty to offer, don’t forget to toss the tour book in favor of checking out some of the city’s hidden jewels – you may be surprised at what you find.
Author: Ashley Williamson is a freelance writer with an interest in lifestyle and travel blogging. When she is not working she likes to travel and read as much as she can. If you have any question feel free to leave a comment.