budapest, hungary


Our first stop in Central Europe was Budapest, Hungary!

A few weeks prior, our friends Jon and Paul—two of Patrick’s roommates from Notre Dame—were both in Europe for different reasons. Paul was assigned for work in Germany and had the long holiday weekend off (it was Labor Day weekend in this part of the world). Jon just finished medical school and had a break before orthopedic residency starts in June at Vanderbilt! He was on a Euro trip and was able to come meet us for the weekend. It was so much fun that this came together in the last few weeks and all worked out!


Budapest is a big city! It is a fun one, too. The city has some wild history, amazing sites, and great food. We learned a lot about the Habsburgs, the Austria-Hungary Empire, and the impacts of both World Wars. Hungary was on the wrong side of both wars and they are not proud of it. But they still remember the ones who suffered and acknowledge their troubled past. It was fascinating to learn about World War I & II from their perspective.


Buda & Pest are the two sides of this city separated by the Danube River. We were shocked at how different they are. Pest is the flat, crowded city center. Buda is the hilly, green suburbs. Here is what we did on each side…


  • We stayed on the Pest side in a very artsy place called the Brody House. They also have a Soho House-esque clubhouse called Brody Studios where they host events for artists and their guest can hang out 
  • The Hungarian Parliament building. It is the most recognizable building in Budapest and the third largest parliament building in Europe. We walked by it every day and had to stop and stare every time. On the final day, we took a tour of the inside. The building contains 40kg of gold, the Holy Crown of Hungary and other amazing relics. We also got a kick out of the gold, numbered cigar holders in every hallway. There were no cigars allowed in the chamber, but back in they day you could smoke in the hallway. If someone was saying something worthwhile, they would leave their cigars and say the speech was "worth a Havanna."
  • The House of Terror, which is Buadpest’s museum related to the fascist and communist regimes in Hungary, was worthwhile. Although somber, it was super interesting and eye opening.
  • With all of the fighting in the world wars, a lot of buildings were damaged, bombed, and or abandoned. One cool thing that locals have done with these buildings is turn them into Ruin Pubs. Filled with graffiti and decorations that looked like a result of dumpster diving, these are not your traditional pubs. They are more like garages and the locals (and tourists) flock to them for the live music and cheap beer. Our two favorites were Szimpla Kert and Kandallo. 


  • Buda is full of beautiful buildings and lot of hills! We did an electric bike tour of the city and it made the hilly experience an absolute breeze! The views of Pest from the top of these hills are hard to beat. We spent a full day exploring the Buda Castle District, Fisherman’s Bastion, the Hospital in the Rock, the underground labyrinth, and more. 
  • Going to a bath is a very typical Budapest experience. We chose the Gellert Spa. MK thought it was no different than a public pool, but Patrick, Jon and Paul enjoyed it!

Margaret Island is also a beautiful park in the middle of the Danube River that separate Buda & Pest. It used to be a hunting ground for Hungarian nobility and it is now filled with gardens, trails, biergartens, and pools. It reminded us of Central Park in the summer. We had fun walking and biking around the park! 



Paul Mickan & Jon Savakus



  • Buda Castle District
  • Fisherman’s Bastion
  • Gellert Spa & Bath
  • Lunch - Deryne Bistro


  • Hungarian Parliament Building
  • St Stephen’s Cathedral
  • Hotel
    • Brody House
  • Restaurants
    • Hilda
    • Kiosk
    • Bestia
    • Mozel Tov
    • Brody Studios
  • Ruin Pubs
    • Szimpla Kert
    • Kandallo
  • Coffeeshops / Breakfast
    • Central Coffeehouse
    • Szimply

Margaret Island


  • E-Bike tour: I Like E-bike 
  • Parliament Tour (book in advance!)
  • House of Terror Museum
  • Margaret Island bike and scooter rentals