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Budapest Part I: a day in the city of castles, hot springs, and spas

Part I: a day in the city of castles, hot springs, and spas.

As one of the fastest-growing cities in Europe, Budapest is also considered an International Spa City.

Budapest is a city where some fairy tales come true – or, at the very least, a little magic happens.  Its picture-perfect castles, lush towering hills, and tales of legendary, love-struck knights have inspired many – even a Hollywood movie.

As one of the fastest-growing cities in Europe, Budapest is also considered an International Spa City. More than 1000 unique hot springs run through Hungary, and many are in Budapest. Lying close to the earth’s surface, they are extraordinarily rich in minerals. Hungarian doctors routinely send their patients to mineral baths for many ailments, and there are countless tales of miracle cures.

This week, with Margaret de Heinrich, founder of the noble anti-aging skincare line Omorovicza, as our guide, BWB is taking you on a three-day tour of this supernatural city. We’ll start with the perfect list of activities to make for a fairytale getaway.

Recommended spots in Budapest

Explore The Great Market ( “Nagyvásárcsarnok”) for the most exquisite displays of fresh fruits and vegetables that come straight from the farms each morning. And, if you know the right stalls to visit, you can get the most amazing Russian caviar very cheap. Upstairs you will find lovely local gifts ranging from beautifully embroidered table clothes and blouses to chessboards, Hungarian crystals, and porcelain.


Café Pierrot is a charming, small restaurant up in the Var (otherwise known as the Castle District). If the weather is good, ask to be seated in their garden. They also offer a great dinner selection. Visiting this neck of the woods is a must – Mathias Church is stunning as are many of its old homes and museums.


Café Kor is my favorite spot, a real local’s hangout. Gabor, the owner, is there every night ensuring the food is delicious. For your main dish, try the goulash, a yummy Hungarian dish with spiced meat and vegetables. For dessert, order the palacsinta, delicious Hungarian crepes made with sweet jelly. Finish off dinner with a small, chilled glass of Unicum Liqueur or Pálinka Brandy.

A day trip

Visit Godollo and take a tour of the summer palace, then visit a nearby ranch with Lippizanar horses before heading to Szentendre to take a speed boat back to Budapest. – At Lake Balaton, explore an old Benedictine abbey, rent a luxury sailboat (managed by Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace), and have lunch on the water.

Or, try a wine tour in Etyek, a small village surrounded by vineyards. Kúria Winery is very close by and makes wonderful sparkling wine.  – The best tour guide is Kati Czellar, though she gets booked quickly… ( Kati’s contact for booking: +36308598862 )

A must-see destination

The Ruin Bars (Szimpla is the original) have popped up in old gardens or in ruins of ancient buildings where there are disco balls in the shape of boars heads, nd where you can have cocktails in old Trabant cars.

Also, there is a lovely place called the Writer’s Villa, a magical house laden with history and furnished for royalty. Managed by the folks from Brody House, this little getaway will not disappoint.

An overnight stay

The original Brody House is the coolest place to stay in town.  It’s also a private club where, on any given night, you might be hanging out with movie stars, rock stars, artists, in addition to just generally cool folks.

Best mineral springs

The Rudas is quite special. Call ahead to schedule, as some days are co-ed, and others male or female only.

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