The stunning sights of Hungary’s capital line the Danube, grace City Park and dot the Buda hills, providing the visitor adventure a-plenty. The beauty of Budapest is legendary. Yet many of these memorable attractions can also offer an experience like no other. You can take a quick sightseeing trip or opt for something simply unique. The Buda hills are great to hike but you can also glide over them in your own plane. A dip in thermal waters or a luxurious treatment in expert hands? The choice is yours.
While crowds gather for the communal sightseeing boats that set off from the main dock in the city centre at Vigadó ter, you can have your own personalised trip.
One such is Dry Martini, with up to ten passengers in the capable hands of an experienced crew. It could be the morning – the Dry Martini Breakfast trip with a crisp Prosecco and fresh croissants – or at sunset, as a golden light spreads over the horizon and the lights of Budapest slowly wink on. It could even be enjoyed à deux with a bottle of champagne or all the way to Szentendre for an unforgettable three hours.
Alternatively, you can take in the sights from the air. Your own light aircraft takes off from Farkashegy outside town before providing unsurpassable views of Buda Castle, Citadella and Margaret Island, gliding over Széchenyi Hill, Normafa and the highest point in Budapest, János Hill, topped by Elizabeth Lookout Tower. Longer trips include flights over the whole Danube Bend and Lake Balaton.
Budapest can be justifiably proud of its bathing culture but it offers so much more than just a quick dip and sauna. Landmark spas stand on sites developed by the Ottomans nearly half a millennium ago. Such is the Rác, on the Buda side. Here, in the 1800s, János Nepomuk Heinrich of Ómoravicza, a qualified authority on thermal waters, built elegant baths. Members of the noble Omorovicza family would invite distinguished foreign guests to take the waters, whose curative powers duly earned renown. This led to Stephen de Heinrich de Omorovicza and his wife Margaret, Chief of Staff at the US embassy in Budapest, meeting with Nobel-prize winning scientist and dermatology expert Albert Szent-Györgyi.
The couple then developed and patented a unique treatment for skin care, using therapeutic minerals. Today Omorovicza is a leading brand, with showcase outlets at prestigious locations such as the Gresham Palace and a boutique on Andrássy út. Here therapists can administer skin treatments and face masks, cleansing at the deepest levels. The various creams and balms used include a black one fashioned from a particular type of Hungarian mud, removing all impurities without stripping.
The first restaurant in Budapest to earn a Michelin star, pioneering Costes also offers diners a superior experience: the Chef’s Table. Available at the sister establishment, Costes Downtown, also anointed with a Michelin star, this allows guests to see the kitchen in action as staff prepare a longer menu, each dish matched with its own wine, especially for you. Not only is the cuisine divine, customers gain an insight into what makes a Michelin-star restaurant really tick.