Among all the grandiose architecture of imperial Budapest, there’s a new boy in town. A modern sleek building locally known as the Whale is Budapest’s new cultural center.
The thermal waters coursing under Budapest have been in use as far back as the Romans, but Budapest’s bath culture is often associated with the Ottomans who occupied Hungary in the 16th and 17th centuries. There are three historic Turkish baths still in operation in Budapest.
Although Budapest is one of the less expensive cities in Europe, there is so much to see and do that expense soon starts to mount up. The best way doing justice to the myriad museums, galleries and sights of Hungary’s capital is to invest in a sightseer’s Budapest Card.
Before I took the Private Budapest Communist History Walking Tour, I knew very little about life behind the Iron Curtain. As a small child, I’d seen Soviet life depicted on television reports, but I questioned the accuracy of the black-and-white footage of people queuing up to buy bread that was so frequently showed in the west. All I really knew that Hungary’s “Goulash Communism” that dominated from the 1960s onward was more lax than what was found in other parts of the Eastern Bloc.
I love hot springs, and make a point to visit them whenever I travel. I’ve soaked all over the world, from ancient Roman baths to rudimentary stone springs in the forests of the Pacific Northwest, but when it comes to hot springs, nowhere compares to Budapest.