The Best Time to Visit Budapest – St. Stephen’s Day

The Best Time to Visit Budapest – St. Stephen’s Day

The best time to visit Budapest is hands down St. Stephen’s Day, August 20th.

If you are planning a trip to Budapest and have some flexibility on when you go, I would urge you to consider spending your time celebrating Hungary’s National Holiday.

Looking for the highlights of Budapest for your trip? Check out my post The Best of Budapest.

best time Budapest

What is St. Stephen’s Day in Budapest?

St. Stephen’s Day is to celebrate the foundation of the Hungarian State, and is held on August 20th every year.

About a thousand years ago in the year 1038, St. Stephan was declared the first Christian King of Hungary. St. Stephan turned Hungary into a Christian state after a century of Paganism, therefore he is considered the state-founder of the country,

St Stephen's Day Budapest

Why is this the best day to visit Budapest?

There’s no better time to visit a capital city than it’s country’s own National Holiday.

St. Stephen’s day is the best day of the year to visit Budapest because it provides the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in Hungary’s culture. St. Stephen’s Day will introduce you to Hungary’s music, art, history, and most importantly – food, all in one day!

best time Budapest

How to keep up with the festivities.

The festivities largely are the same year after year, but the times may vary. The best resource for updated times are locations is here.

Várkert Bazaar in Buda – Music & The Street of Hungarian Flavors

This is one of my most favorite parts of St.Stephen’s Day! Food stalls full of authentic traditional Hungarian dishes like specialty stews or chimney cake line the Danube along the Buda side.

best time Budapest

Of course, you are in Budapest, so there is music and plenty of beer to drink in addition to the ample food choices. I had a fantastic strawberry cider that I still think about to this day!

Listening to Hungarian music makes everything more fun.

best time Budapest

Take advantage of the free museums

On St. Stephen’s Day, all the museums are free! However, beware – the lines are LONG. I would recommend choosing 1 museum that you’d like to go to on this day.

Here are some of my favorite museums that I would recommend visiting.

Hungarian National Parliament

This stunning Neo-Gothic style building is undoubtedly the most famous landmark of Budapest.

With it being the most famous building in Budapest, getting here early on St. Stephen’s day for a free tour is a must! Expect to wait a few hours if you are not there bright and early in the morning.

best time Budapest

The Hungarian National Gallery

The Hungarian National Gallery is a fantastic art museum to view. The gallery is located in the Buda Castle.

best time Budapest

When I went, they actually had a traveling Frida Kahlo exhibit that was quite expensive to view, so that was my “freebie” museum choice for St. Stephen’s day.

House of Terror

The House of Terror is a very emotional museum, and I would only recommend if you are interested in history.

This museum contains exhibits about the fascist and communist regimes that occurred in Budapest during the 20th century. The exact building was the site of countless murders and abuse and acts as a memorial to the victims.

Festival of folk arts

The Festival of Folk Arts takes place in Budapest’s castle district. It typically takes place over the course of a few days leading up to St. Stephen’s day.

Local artists from all around Budapest showcase their skills and crafts at this folk festival. It’s a great way to get an authentic sense of Budapest’s artistic roots.

Honestly doesn’t it look like an awesome time!? Someone get me one of those outfits!

Fireworks at the Parliament

End the night with stunning fireworks along the Danube in front of the parliament. Fireworks typically begin around 9pm (21:00.)

I hope you can see why St. Stephen’s Day is the best time of the year to visit Budapest.

You won’t find any other time of the year to experience Hungary’s culture all in one day!

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25 Real-life Places That Belong in a Wes Anderson Film

25 Real-life Places That Belong in a Wes Anderson Film

Just the other day, I was clearing out old photos from my laptop.

Through this process, I discovered I had an entire folder labeled “WES ANDERSON.” What’s this? It turns out, I had compiled dozens of photos over the years of places that looked like they belong in a Wes Anderson film.

I once had (and still do) great hopes of adventuring to some of these oh-so-symmetrical places.

If I’m being honest, I am a total Wes Anderson fanatic.

Once upon a time, I thought the Grand Budapest Hotel was an actual hotel until I literally went all the way to Budapest only to be horrifically disappointed.

I know, I know. I can feel your cringe staring at me through the screen.

Letting all those years of collecting photos that I forgot about, must not go to waste. So, grab your pastel-colored turtle neck and a bottle of bubbly, because we are about to embark on a rabbit hole of nonsense.

25 Real-life Places That Belong in a Wes Anderson Film

Naturally, as somebody who has handmade their own Lobby Boy (woman) costume, finding a whole folder dedicated to places that look like they belong in a Wes Anderson film, isn’t all that surprising.

25 Real-life Places That Belong in a Wes Anderson Film

What keeps my faithful love fueling for sir Wes Anderson? Why I’m glad you asked.

Not only have I put in my fair share of hours watching his films, but I also follow these incredible Instagram accounts – @accidentallywesanderson and @wesandersonplanet.

If you love traveling and Wes Anderson, then these are the perfect Insta accounts for you.

Alright let’s get to it –

Here are 25 Real-life Places That Belong in a Wes Anderson Film

1. Edificio España | Madrid, Spain

The Edificio España opened in 1953 and is the 8th tallest skyscraper in Madrid. The historic building has 25 floors and incorporates a 20th-century Spanish architecture in the neo-baroque style.

The building is a hotel but has a mix of offices, shops, and apartments. Designed by architect Julian Otamendi, it was “the symbol of prosperity” during Francisco Franco Bahamonde’s ruling.

Address: Plaza de España 1, Madrid, Spain

25 Real-life Places That Belong in a Wes Anderson Film
photo by @poealan via @accidentallywesanderson

2. Vernadsky National Library of Ukraine | Kiev, Ukraine

The Vernadsky National Library of Ukraine is one of the largest libraries in the world. It serves as the main library and science information center for all of Ukraine. The building has 27 floors, and contains about 15 million items.

Address: Holosiivskyi prospekt, 3, Kyiv, Ukraine, 03039

25 Real-life Places That Belong in a Wes Anderson Film
photo by @myshuulee via @accidentallywesanderson

3. Wheelers Oyster Bar | Whistable, England

Wheelers Oyster Bar prides itself on being “the oldest restaurant in town!”

This quaint, family-owned Oyster Bar has been passed through the owner’s family for generations. The restaurant is famed for its delicious seafood, and even has an award-winning cookbook, “The Oyster Seekers”.

Address: 8 High St, Whitstable CT5 1BQ, United Kingdom

25 Real-life Places That Belong in a Wes Anderson Film
photo by @tonia.fest

4. Royal Oxford Hotel | Oxford, United Kingdom

Built in the 1930’s, the Royal Oxford Hotel screams Wes Anderson with it’s bright mustard yellow paint and symmetrical details.

Address: Park End St, Oxford OX1 1HR, United Kingdom

Fairytale City of England
photo by @pursesandplanes

5. Pfunds Molkerei | Dresden, Germany

“The World’s Most Beautiful Milk Shop.” In the 19th century, a farmer traveled from Reinholdshain with his wife and six cows to Dresden in order to supply the city with healthy milk. Through this journey, Pfund dairy was established and is still serving fresh milk to this day.

The interior of this humble beginnings milk shop is elaborately decorated with hand-painted Villeroy & Boch ceramic tiles, all accented in blue and gold.

Pfunds Molkerei is actually a real filming location that was used in Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel for the interior of Mendl’s Confectionery.

Photos are not allowed in Pfunds, unless you are press and have been granted special permission.

Address: Bautzner Str. 79, 01099 Dresden, Germany

25 Real-life Places That Belong in a Wes Anderson Film
photo via interior.gamersta

6. Húsavík Lighthouse | Husavik, Iceland

The Húsavík Lighthouse was built in 1956. It is located on the Húsavík cape and stands at 49 meters, or 160 feet, above sea level.

With its bright yellow structure and desolate background, this lighthouse definitely belongs in a Wes Anderson film.

Address: Vitaslóð 1, 640, Húsavík, Iceland

25 Real-life Places That Belong in a Wes Anderson Film
photo by @Matthjsvmierlo via nylon

7. American Radiator Building | Manhattan, New York City

Built in1924 by architects Raymond Hood and Andre Foulihoux, the American Radiator Building is a 23-story landmark building located in Midtown, Manhattan.

The structure is actually based on the famous Tribune Tower in Chicago, but with a Gothic Art Deco twist. The color of the building is rumored to symbolize coal, and when it lights up at night it is said to look like a giant ball of glowing coal.

Although black isn’t technically a color Wes Anderson would embrace, I think the style of the building is undeniably something that would pop-up in one of his films.

Address: 40 West 40th Street Manhattan, New York City

photo via designyourtrust

8. Stylenanda Pink Hotel | Seoul, South Korea

Despite the misleading title, the Stylenanda Pink Hotel is actually a 6-level store, designed as a hotel.

The popular pink store is located in Seoul and is filled with wondrous rooms of makeup, clothing, accessories, and “Instagrammable” set-ups such as fake pools or an art-deco hotel lobby.

Address: 37-8 Myeongdong 8-gil, Chungmuro 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

9. Bloom & Bean | Liverpool, United Kingdom

Bloom and Bean is a quaint coffee shop in Liverpool decorated from the inside out with chic pale pink and forest green. This little shop looks like the ultimate Wes Anderson cafe experience!

Address: 6a Victoria St, Liverpool L2 6QE, United Kingdom

10. Miami Beach | Florida, USA

The iconic south beach lifeguard towers have become staple landmarks of Miami Beach.

The classic art deco towers started popping up in the 1990s shortly after hurricane Andrew hit. The towers were part of the effort to revive the area from the devastation. Many more have been constructed since the first few from Architect William Lane.

The towers symbolize the rebirth of the city.

Address: Various towers along the coastline of Miami Beach from the tip at South Pointe Park up to 87th Street.

photo by @mijookim_studio

11. TWA at JFK Airport | New York, USA

The Trans World Flight Center was constructed for Trans World Airlines by Finnish-American architect, Eero Saarinen.

The design of the terminal represents a flight wing and incorporates a concoction of architectural styles such as Neo-futuristic, Googie, and Fantastic. The terminal was originally built in 1962 but has since been renovated, and is now owned by the TWA Hotel.

The luxurious red carpet and narrow symmetry match Wes Anderson’s style perfectly.

Address: Terminal 5, John F. Kennedy International Airport, Queens, New York 11430; United States

photo by @mikeraz212

12. Muzeum Narodowe | Warsaw, Poland

Muzeum Narodowe, or the National Museum of Warsaw was constructed in 1862, and was unfornately damaged and raided by Nazis in WWII. It has since recovered and is one of the largest museums in Poland.

Address: al. Jerozolimskie 3, 00-495 Warszawa, Poland

photo by @tantejohannes via @accidentallywesanderson

13. Moritzburg Castle | Saxony, Germany

Moritzburg Castle is a Baroque-style palace built in 1546 in the state of Saxony, near Dresden.

The castle features 4 round towers and was built on a symmetrical artificial island. Originally, the palace was a hunting lodge for Moritz of Saxony, the then Duke of Saxony.

Address: Schloßallee, 01468 Moritzburg, Germany

photo by marie_ohh_marie via @accidentallywesanderson

14. Eastern Columbia Building|Los Angeles, California

The Eastern Columbia Building was built in 1930 by Claud Beelman. It is known as the “benchmark of deco buildings in Los Angeles.” and the “Art Deco Jewel of the West.”

The building was originally built as the flagship building for Eastern-Columbia Department Store until they went out of business in 1957. It is now more commonly known as “Eastern Columbia Lofts.”

Johnny Depp owns 5 penthouses and it was also used for the filming of iCarly.

It’s prominent glossy turquoise, gold trim, and symmetrical features make this statement building perfect for a Wes Anderson film.

Address: 849 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90014

photo by @elizabethdaniels01 via @accidentallywesanderson

15. Hawa Mahal | Jaipur, India

The Hawa Mahal is a pink and red sandstone palace in Jaipur, India. The five-story pyramidal shaped palace was built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh.

The famous honeycomb latticework was originally built to allow royal ladies to observe the daily life of the city from above without being seen since they could not go out in public without face coverings.

Address: Hawa Mahal Rd, Badi Choupad, J.D.A. Market, Pink City, Jaipur, Rajasthan 302002, India

photo by @wesleympeterson

16. The Ultimate Picture Palace | Oxford, United Kingdom

The Ultimate Picture Palace opened in 1911 and is the only surviving independent cinema in Oxford. The historic theater has gone through a series of owners and renovations over the years.

In 1996 it’s neoclassical facade was restored and it officially opened under the name as The Ultimate Picture Palace.

The theater is known historically in England for being “a rare surviving example of a simple early cinema.”

Address: Jeune Street, Oxford OX4 1BN

Fairytale City of England
photo by @pursesandplanes

17. Sands Club | Treasure Cay Abaco Island | Bahamas

The Sands Club is a chic farm-to-table beachfront dining experience in Treasure Cay. It’s iconic long dock with pale pink accents make it a Wes Anderson wannabe classic.

Wes Anderson Film
photo by maryschlacter via @accidentallywesanderson

18. The Bathrooms in the British Library | London, United Kingdom

The British Library is the national library of the UK, and has the largest number of cataloged items in the world. These mustard colored walls and sink symmetry are the perfect stylized film aesthetic!

Address: 96 Euston Rd, London NW1 2DB, United Kingdom

Wes Anderson Film
photo by @pursesandplanes

19. Budapest, Hungary

Budapest is decorated throughout with Baroque and Art Nouveau style buildings. While these are the most obvious architectural styles, you can also see eclectic, gothic, and soviet influences throughout the city.

Several monuments in Budapest are famous for their unique architectural styles such as the Parliament Building, St. Stephen’s Basilica, and The Fisherman’s Bastion.

If you are planning a trip to Budapest, check out my guide – The Best of Budapest!

photo by @zsolt_hlinka

20. The National Gallery of Ireland | Dublin, Ireland

The National Gallery of Ireland was established in 1864 and opened when it had just twelve paintings. The gallery is nearly as beautiful as the artwork it contains, as it’s stunning symmetrical layout features pastel colors and minimalist design.

Wes Anderson Film
photo by @pursesandplanes

21. Grand Hotel Europa | Innsbruck, Austria

The King of Bavaria called it “the finest hotel in Innsbruck.” The Grand Hotel Europa was established in 1869, making it the most historic hotel in Innsbruck. Golden colored walls and ornate chandeliers decorate the interior of this glamorous hotel.

Address: Südtiroler Pl. 2, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria

Wes Anderson Film
photo by @joemanderton via @wesandersonplanet

22. Havana, Cuba

Havana is a melting pot of several different architectural styles. When you walk around the city, you will see just how different all of the buildings are – but I that’s what makes Havana so unique!

Havana’s bright-colored buildings largely come from Spanish Colonial influences. Other known styles in Havana are Baroque, Neoclassical, Art Nouveau, and Art Deco.

To see more Cuban architecture, check out my post The Colorful Country of Cuba

Wes Anderson Film
photo by @pursesandplanes

23. Gellért Thermal Baths | Budapest, Hungary

Gellért Hotel was one of the main inspirations behind the design of Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel.

When the hotel opened it’s doors in 1918, it’s iconic Art-nouveau architecture and panoramic mirror entrance quickly made it known as one of the most luxurious hotels in Hungary. The hotel’s ancient thermal baths have been used since the middle ages.

Address: Budapest, Kelenhegyi út 4, 1118 Hungary

24. Estádio do Pacaembu | São Paulo, Brazil

The Estádio do Pacaembu is an Art Deco stadium located in the Pacaembu neighborhood of São Paulo. The stadium was established in 1940 and named after the national celebrity Paulo Machado de Carvalho.

Address: Praça Charles Miller – Pacaembu, São Paulo – SP, 01234-010, Brazil

Wes Anderson Film

25. James Smith & Sons | London, United Kingdom

James Smith & Sons is a historic umbrella store founded in 1930. It’s classic Victorian style storefront makes it a classic dreamy Wes Anderson feel.

Wes Anderson Film

Anderson undoubtedly is inspired by European Baroque, Art Deco, and Art Nouveau architectural styles. Although he and his designers do incorporate a lot of these styles, I don’t think they restrict themselves. Neo Classicalism, Gothic, and other influences can also be seen in his work.

For something to belong in a Wes Anderson it can’t just be a cool looking building. It has to have a story. The beauty of architecture is that it oftentimes reflects the struggle and/or prosperity of a city. What if walls could talk? They would have so much to say.

And there you have it! 25 Real-life Places That Belong In a Wes Anderson Film.

The style that Wes Anderson carries into his films is unlike no other. It’s worldly, historic, and it’s all in the details.

I would love to know, have you been to any of these places? And are you as obsessed with Wes Anderson films as much as I am!?

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Budapest Things to do – 7 Things you MUST do in Budapest

Budapest Things to do – 7 Things you MUST do in Budapest

This post is all about the BEST things to do in Budapest!

Budapest is quickly earning the title of one of the trendiest capitals in central Europe. You can spend weeks in this beautiful city and still have SO much to see.

Planning a trip to a city with so much to offer can be exciting and overwhelming! That’s why I’ve created this FREE Checklist to print off for your trip.

Want a FREE printable Ultimate Checklist for Budapest?

Tip: Visit Budapest for St. Stephens Day. It’s undoubtedly the most magical day of the year to visit.

fireworks over the Budapest parliament.

1. Tour the Budapest Parliament building.

This is actually something I did not get to do and it was such a bummer. I waited until the last minute and the tours completely sold out. Rookie mistake! I did, however, get many pictures of the building that is the emblem of Budapest.

Tip: Book your parliament tour plenty of days in advance, possibly even weeks. More info on booking Parliament tours here.

Budapest Parliament building
Budapest Parliament building

2. Visit The Fisherman’s Bastion

One of the most famous tourist attractions in Budapest! Located in the Buda castle, this whimsical bastion offers a stunning panoramic view of the city.

Fisherman's Bastion - Budapest
Fisherman’s Bastion
Budapest Fisherman's Bastion
Budapest Fisherman’s Bastion

3. The Shoes on the Danube Bank

Budapest is beautiful, but this city had to go through a lot of dark periods of history to shine like it does today.

This memorial was constructed by film director Can Togay to honor the Jews murdered by the fascist Arrow Cross in Budapest during WWII. The Jews were ordered to take off their shoes and were shot at the edge of the water. This memorial is terribly sad, but a beautiful tribute to remember those who had their life taken from them.

Budapest - shoes on the Danube
Shoes on the Danube Bank Memorial

4. Go to a Thermal Bath

This is the “thing” you have to do in Budapest! This was nearly another experience, like the parliament, that I was so close to missing out on because I didn’t want to go alone.

Fortunately, my friend ended up going with me, however, I urge you to go even if you’re alone! All you need to bring is a towel, a swimsuit, and some cash.

There are several popular Thermal bath’s in Budapest, but here are the top 3:

Széchenyi Thermal Bath – The most popular and most well known. This is definitely more of a pool party experience and would be a fun night with friends.

Gellért Thermal Bath – The most art deco. As your swimming in the stunning baths, you may recognize influence from the Wes Anderson movie, The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Rudas – Where the locals go. This is the most low key, cheapest, and relaxing thermal bath that you’ll find in the city. We opted to go here as many the locals recommended it. It was so nice and had a rooftop!

Rudas bath in Budapest
Rudas bath in Budapest

5. Go to a Ruin Bar

I would describe Budapest as “trendy grunge” and ruin bars are the perfect example of that! Ruin Bars are a relatively new-ish concept that came to trend around 2001. So, what are Ruin Bars? The description is in its name! Ruin Bars are old buildings that have been converted into bars/clubs.

Some of the most popular Ruin Bars in Budapest are:

Szimpla Kert

Instant

-Fogasház

6. Dine at the famous New York Café.

The most beautiful café in the world! This place is so grand, the decor will take your breath away. Although the menu is expensive, it is certainly worth just walking in the building to view the decor if it’s out of your budget.

7. Visit a Museum or Gallery

Budapest is home to many incredible museums and art galleries. The Hungarian National Gallery is always a good choice, and often times they have some incredible traveling exhibitions. When I was there they had a Frida Kahlo Exhibition and it was awesome.

If you are interested in Budapest’s dark history, I recommend visiting the House of Terror, a memorial for victims of the fascist and communist regimes. This museum is quite popular, so be sure to book in advance.

Top Galleries & Museums in Budapest:

Hungarian National Gallery

House of Terror

Museum of Fine Arts

Budapest has several landmarks that you just take a quick stroll by to view. As I listed some above such as Shoes on the Danube & Fisherman’s Bastion, here are a few extra sights if you have some spare time on your trip.

-Heroes Square

-Buda Castle

-St. Stephens Basillica

Széchenyi Chain Bridge

-Elisabeth Bridge

-The Danube

Elisabeth Bridge in Budapest
Elisabeth Bridge in Budapest
Chimney Cake
Chimney Cake

That concludes the Best of Budapest! Although this city can often times get overlooked by other capitals in Europe, it is surely not to be missed. Whenever you plan your trip, be sure to dedicate as much time to this gorgeous city as there are a million things to do and see!

Best-of-Budapest