16 Fun Facts About Budapest
Is Budapest, Hungary on your list of places to go? It better be! This Eastern European capital is full of arts, history, thermal pools, incredible markets, and home to some of the best bars in the world (yes, really!).
Over the years, Budapest has turned into a burgeoning beer and foodie capital and is often overlooked for cities like Prague, Berlin and Zagreb! Don’t skip over Budapest, take a trip, and to inspire you, here are a bunch of little fun facts to help entice your next trip. Ummm, did we mention the food and drinks, yet? Home to some of the best bars in the world, you won’t want to miss out on the favorable exchange rates and expansive dining menu and markets across the city.
Also, don’t forget to take a look at our upcoming Oktoberfest trip here that starts in Budapest!
Now, let’s kick it off with some fun facts!
1) Szimpla Kert (Cafe) was rated the Third Best Bar in the World and #1 in Budapest.
This bar is pretty wild. It’s big, large, and awesome. Not to mention SUPER cheap. One of the best bars in the world, according to Lonely Planet. I cannot say enough good things about this place, awesome beer, you can smoke hookah, tons of crazy stuff on the wall, and just….awesome. Go here when you’re in Budapest. It’s in the Jewish Quarter and was rated the best bar in Budapest. Go here, you’ll see why.
Check ‘em out here, too: https://szimpla.hu/
2) Budapest was created when three cities joined together
Kinda crazy, but when Óbuda, Buda & Pest were all growing together, they decided to join together to form, ‘Budapest,’ originally named ‘Pest-Buda’ and later changed to appease the public. Buda was known for stately quarters and high class, where Pest was where most regular denizens lived. Both cities were then connected by the magnificent bridge of Széchenyi (known as the ‘Chain Bridge’).
3) Rubik, the inventor of the famous Rubik’s cube, was born in Budapest
I still never have solved one of these…..anyways, now you know.
4) Budapest has the second biggest synagogue in the world
The Dohány Street Synagogue is the largest synagogue in Europe, seating 3,000 people and is the center of Judaism in Hungary, It was built in 1854 and finished in 1859 in the Moorish Revival style based from the Alhambra in Spain.
5) Budapest has the oldest subway in continental Europe
The subway has been in constant operation since 1896. Impressive, to say the least. Only London’s metro is older, having been constructed in 1863.
Read more about Budapest’s metro here. But, you should also know it offers FREE public transportation to all senior citizens in the EU over the age of 65. That includes buses, trams, above-ground trains, the funicular, chair-lifts and boat trips to public places are ALL included.
How cool is that?
6) Budapest is known for its ‘Ruins Pubs’
The Ruin Bars of Budapest have been quietly known for having been turned around from former ghettos into lively pubs and restaurants after young people of the city decided to renovate the Soviet style abandoned houses with gardens and anything else they could find on the street. Today, they are epicenters of the city’s youth, often holding parties, festivals, and all the nightlife you could want, with little to no rules and cheap food and drinks.
7) No one knows where the Hungarian language came from
Along with Finnish, Mandarin Chinese, Russian and Arabic, Hungarian has often been proven to be one of the most difficult languages in the world to learn - and no one knows where it came from since it mirrors nearly nothing known on the planet and follows no specific rules.
I mean….you try pronouncing that….for real!
8) The tallest buildings in the city are 96 meters tall - for a reason
The tallest buildings in the city are the St. Stephens Basilica and the Parliament: both are 96 meters tall. This is a reference to the year Hungary was founded, in 896. No building can be taller than this.
9) Paprika was invented in Budapest
Legend says Hungarians eat more than 500 grams of Paprika per year. That is a lot of Paprika….
10) Budapest was not the first capital of Hungary…
Budapest is not the first capital of Hungary. It was once Esztergom! (See the picture below)
11) Budapest has a true underground
Beneath the city of Budapest lies a hidden subterranean world, a maze of over 200 caverns and tunnels. The caverns are the result of the large number of geothermal springs in the area from thermal activity.
Many of these caves are open to the public for guided spelunking adventures. The most interesting one of the is the underground labyrinth located right beneath the Castle Hill, in Budapest Old Town. The 6-mile long Budavari Labirintus has a very tumultuous history, as well. From a refuge for prehistoric people, to a cellar and a prison in medieval times, a bomb shelter and a military hospital during World War II, and a command post during the Cold War, the Labyrinth had many functions. In more recent times, the Labirintus has been turned into a museum that displays Budapest’s rich history.
12) Budapest has more thermal water springs than any other capital city in the world
Hungary has an incredible abundance of underground hot water sources. There should be no surprise that people consider Budapest the thermal bath capital of the world. I mean, just look at the video down below! Apparently they also have magical healing powers, too.
There are dozens of spas and baths in the Hungarian capital, some of which are in magnificent buildings, like Szechenyi, Gellert, or Kiraly Baths. The chemical composition of the waters differs from bath to bath and is absolutely unique in the world.
Not to mention, during the summer months they have ‘Spa parties’ with lasers, DJ’s, and so much more….make sure to add that to your bucket list!
13) There is a Church Cave in downtown Budapest
Few of the visitors of Budapest know of the little church in the rock under the Gellert Hill, in Budapest Old Town.
Truth is that Sziklatemplom (‘Rock Church’) enjoys very little fame, being surrounded by so many grandiose churches. If you happen to be at the Liberty Bridge (the green metal one), you can take a look at this strange chapel founded by a group of Pauline monks in 1926.
14) The Parliament Building is the Third Largest in the world - and cleanest
The Parliament in Budapest is the third largest in the world, and trust me, it looks absolutely spotless.
Little did I know, there is a massive army of 150 people that work tirelessly every day to keep it in tip top shape. That includes locksmiths and craftsmen who manufacture every replaceable fitting and fixture ON-SITE. Workers who inspect every flag for damage or tatters and replace them immediately to keep the building looking flawless, year-round.
Not to mention the cleaning of every roof tile twice a year. Impressive to say the least!
15) Are Those Bullet Holes? Yup
While walking through the streets of Budapest and admiring the buildings, you may think to yourself, “hmm… those sure do look a lot like bullet holes.” That’s because they are 100%.
If you’re unaware, there was a nationwide revolution in 1956 that originated in Budapest against the communist regime that was violent. Due to the intense fighting in the streets, a lot of buildings still bare the scars from that struggle. I personally loved seeing them and knowing what they represent. I hope they’re never covered, as it remains a testament to what Budapest has gone through.
16) The northermost holy place of Islam is in Budapest
As if having the world’s second-biggest biggest synagogue wasn’t enough, Budapest is also home to a Turkish dervish, named Gül Baba, who came to Hungary during the Turkish invasion in the 16th century.
He was honored as a holy man and after he died in 1541 his tomb in Buda became an Islamic sacred place and a site of pilgrimage. The chapel, built between 1543 and 1548, is one of the few remaining Turkish buildings in Budapest. Other noteworthy buildings include the Király and Rudas Turkish baths.
All of these fun facts are designed to help you open your eyes to the fascinating this about Budapest! With so much beer, food, exploring, shopping and more to be found, Budapest should really be at the top of your list. The history of a city like this is expansive to say the least, and as we make our way further into the 21st-century, Budapest seems to be coming more alive with each passing year.
Skip over the usual hot spots of Europe and make your way into Budapest as soon as you can! Have you been? Leave us a comment down below and let us know what you think of Budapest!
See you out there! Support VRX by buying a shirt in the links down below!
~ Cam // firstname.lastname@example.org