Budapest has a lot going for it, from world-famous thermal baths to award-winning modern architecture. But there’s also a quirky side to the city that often gets overlooked, especially by tourists.

If you want to get a feel for Budapest’s everyday life, visit a local grocery store. This is a great way to see how Hungarians live and what they eat, as well as try out their cuisine. The city’s best grocery stores are CBA and Metro, which are both chains with locations all over the country.

Hungarian food is a mix of Eastern European traditions and influences from Western Europe. This is reflected in the culinary scene as well, with many restaurants offering both traditional and contemporary dishes. To experience the full range of flavors, you should make sure to try a variety of meats and cheeses from the region, as well as the local wine.

The city’s many museums also offer an opportunity to discover Hungary’s culture. For example, the National Gallery displays paintings from Hungary’s top artists. You’ll find works by Karoly Ferenczy, who led an impressionist art colony in Nagybanya; pieces from the Nyolcak group, which influenced fauvism and expressionism; surrealist paintings by Lajos Vajda; and the proto-abstract sculptures of Tibor Vilt.

Another museum worth checking out is the Palace Quarter, which features pre-war mansions and quaint courtyards. The area was once the most desirable in town, and though it suffered under Communism, it’s now springing back to life with upscale cafes and restaurants.

One of the most memorable things to do in Budapest is watch the Changing of the Guard. This choreographed ceremony happens right in front of the Hungarian Presidential Palace and attracts plenty of onlookers.

On your trip, you should also explore the Castle Quarter, which offers a glimpse of the city’s tumultuous history. You can tour the Royal Palace itself, and you’ll also find famous landmarks like Fisherman’s Bastion and Matthias Church. A walking tour is the best way to take in all of the sights around Castle Hill, and it’ll give you time to stop at the poignant Shoes Memorial on the Danube Bank.

Then head across the river to check out the Parliament Building and Liberty Square. The massive Gothic Revival structure was built during the city’s golden era, and a guided tour is the best way to appreciate its lavish interior. You’ll also want to see the poignant Shoes Memorial on the riverbank and the dramatic buildings surrounding Liberty Square.

For more sightseeing, you can hop on the M4 subway line to explore the modern side of Budapest. Its crisscross system of exposed concrete beams and playful lighting solutions create an unusual and interesting look. Two of the stations—Fovam Square and Szent Gellert Square—even won a prestigious Architizer A+ design award. things to do in Budapest

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