Budapest is a scenic spa city that's perfect for a weekend getaway. Renowned as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, it's famous for its healing waters, historical sites and nightlife. From drinking in 'ruin pubs' to relaxing in thermal baths, via wine tasting and goulash guzzling, Alicia Drewnicki shows us 10 of the best things to see and do in the Hungarian capital.
1) Visit a spa
Budapest is known as the 'Spa Capital of the World', so take time to unwind in its healing thermal waters. Széchenyi Bath has indoor and outdoor natural pools, treatment rooms, steam rooms and saunas. It also hosts summer 'bath parties' for those who wish to combine pampering with partying.
2. Discover the ruin pubs
They look like abandoned buildings from the outside, but step inside a ruin pub and you'll enter a retro world of mis-matched furniture, exposed brick walls, weird artwork and fairy lights. Look out for random items hanging above you, such as trumpets, bicycles, vintage toys and plastic jellyfish! Szimpla Kert is the biggest and most popular ruin pub in Budapest.
3. Go on a dinner cruise
Cruise along the Danube River at night whilst enjoying a Hungarian buffet, listening to live music and admiring the views. A highlight is the Chain Bridge, which is lit up by hundreds of lights after sunset. Also look out for the magnificent Hungarian Parliament building.
4. Listen to live music
From talented street musicians to folk bands in ruin pubs, there's a thriving music scene in Budapest. Be sure to visit the lavish Budapest Opera House, where you can get seats in a Royal Box for a bargain price.
5. Explore Heroes' Square
One of the most photographed spots in Budapest, picturesque Heroes' Square is dedicated to the heroes who lost their lives for Hungary's freedom. There are lots of great attractions surrounding the square too, including two art museums and the city park.
6. Shop and eat at the Central Market Hall
Taste local food and buy traditional Hungarian products at low prices. This huge indoor market has everything from chocolates and spices to clothing and souvenirs. Head to the food stalls and restaurants on the second floor to sample famous dishes such as beef goulash.
7. Climb Castle Hill
Take the Funicular Railway up Castle Hill for panoramic city views and access to Buda Castle. The castle was built in 1265 and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Be sure to take a tour of the labyrinth beneath it.
8. Discover the Jewish Quarter
Explore the Jewish district which is home to excellent cake shops such Fröhlich bakery and historical attractions such as the Hungarian Jewish Museum. A must-see sight is the Dohány Street Synagogue - the largest synagogue in Europe and the second largest in the world.
9. Go wine tasting
Spend a romantic evening in a wine cellar trying some of Hungary's best drinks, including the famous Tokaji wine. Faust Wine Cellar is a great place to go for a tasting session – it's situated in the Hilton Hotel and was built during the middle ages.
10. Go caving
Grab your head torch and get ready to explore the underground world of Budapest. There are over 100km of caves that have been formed over millions of years by the thermal waters. Szemlohegy Cave is easy to get to from the city centre and offers daily guided tours.