Budapest is a classical, monumental and elegant European city. But there is another side to Budapest that is not so well known, it is less conventional, more avant garde and extremely interesting. Here go some of those places that you should know, aside from some of the essential, well-known monuments of the city.
· Ruin Bars. We have already mentioned them in this blog. Ruin bars, as suggested by their name, are bars and/or restaurants in a poor state of conservation and with eclectic decoration but with a great atmosphere, plus drinks at cheap prices. Most of them are in the Jewish Quarter and should not be missed.
· Hospital in the Rock: Excavated under Buda Hill and using caves that already existed, the Hospital in the Rock is a very long gallery with a number of rooms that was used as a hospital during World War II and the 1956 Revolution. Afterwards it was ‘officially’ closed, but it continued in operation during the Cold War, unknown to the population and ready to enter into operation in the event of a nuclear attack. Today it is depicted as it was thanks to 100 wax figures representing doctors, soldiers, wounded people and nurses. The tour includes a visit to a Cold War nuclear bunker—it is something truly different to see.
· Private classes of Hungarian cuisine: In the famous Central Market of Budapest, which is something no tourist should miss, make it a point to go to the top floor of the building and go into the Bridge-Tours Restaurant, where you can take part in a Hungarian cuisine class: you can make your own goulash, prepare cottage cheese crepes, poppy strudel (in Hungary they call them retés). This is a whole new experience!
· How about some speleology? Under the hills of Buda there are around 160 caves with galleries up to 20 kilometers long. Some of them, for instance Pál-völgy (the biggest cave in the world), Szemló´-hegyJózsef-hegy and Mátyás-hegy, can be visited. You can take a bus there from the city center. Pál-völgy is famous for its stalactites and also for its bats. If you suffer from claustrophobia this is not going to be something you like.
· Children’s Railway: One of the many different things you can do in Budapest is travel on a train managed by children. It takes you along the hills of Buda thanks to a diesel locomotive at a speed of around 20 km/h, and it takes 40 minutes to cover the whole route. Of course not all the work is done by children. For obvious safety reasons the train driver, the mechanics and the head of the station are adults, but kids sell the tickets, check that passengers have paid their ticket and take care of the signaling. Click here to visit the website and check the schedules and prices.
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