Budapest: take a bath away from home
Two cities in one, a river with its own waltz, a bridge with chains and a Parliament with film stamp They make up the most recognizable profile in Budapest. But it is only the first layer of a city with an exciting history that must be rewound to its beginnings as a modest Celtic settlement. Romans, Mongols and Ottomans passed through it and shook it with battles and looting until it unified the two banks of the Danube and advanced into a prosperous 19th century in which it lived good years as the second capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
The architecture, witness of everything, is one of its best assets, and gives great moments to the hunters of details Art Nouveau, which is replicated apple after apple in buildings of Ödön Lechner, the Hungarian champion of the Jugendstil, and his followers. Unesco has recognized its heritage with mentions of Andrássy Avenue and Heroes' Square, Buda Castle and even the subway, with a historic line for being the second oldest in the world.
New York Café It is a palace built in 1895 where it's hard to look at the plate. Columns, vaults with frescoes, crystal chandeliers and mirrors framed in stucco reinforce the neobaroque apotheosis of a mythical place that it was the social center of Budapest in the interwar period, when the Hungarian capital was one of the most flourishing nuclei of Central Europe. Is very popular as a place to have breakfast or snack for the deserved reputation of its chocolates and cakes, although it also has a restaurant, and very good. His chef, Andras Wolf, is one of the inventors of the concept of "Hungarian essential gastronomy", which reinterprets traditional dishes with creativity and good taste.
New York Cafe: here it is difficult to notice the dish © New York Cafe
There's a Budapest underground and extensive in which natural caverns formed by hot springs, wineries, passageways and cameras weave an intricate network that is currently adapted for the visit. This fascinating underworld has different sections and museums, but perhaps the most interesting is under the Buda hill. For the more adventurous, the caves of Ptrolölgyi They offer a 45-minute tour between stalactites and narrow rock passages. Another option is the so-called Labyrinth, used by the Turks for military purposes in the 16th century (harem included), and as a refuge and hospital during World War II. The tour covers a little more than a kilometer and, starting at 6:00 pm, it lights with lanterns.
Budapest: below there is also crumb © Corbis
You cannot leave Budapest without doing something as typically Hungarian as taking a bath in its hot springs. To comply with the ritual, it is best to go to a classic: the Széchenyi spa, the first to open in the Pest area in 1913. The yellow painted buildings and the balustrades with sculptures bring the royal touch to the whole of pools at different temperatures, effervescent waters and currents to relax the muscles, in which they also develop brave chess games. For a bath in an environment of interesting architecture with a romantic and decadent air, the spa Gellért It is also a good choice.
The Széchenyi spa: hot springs and chess © Corbis
The Four Seasons Gresham Palace It's our bet for a big night in Budapest. The building itself, erected in 1906 as the headquarters of an insurance company, is one of the best examples of Central European art nouveau, a feast of leaded glass, sculptural reliefs and mosaics typical of a fairy tale. The rooms and suites reflect this architectural heritage in its vaulted ceilings and balconies overlooking intimate courtyards, the Danube or the city. The big meetings are held in the greenhouse, a beautiful glass structure, and for dinner the best of Italy comes to the Gresham Restaurant by the hand of the cook Walter Miculan, although they do not forget the goulash and other Hungarian dishes, to which chef Csaba Sztrinyi gives his personal touch orienting them towards local and seasonal products. For the newlyweds the hotel offers breakfast with champagne, candlelight dinners, a massage for two or a picnic basket to escape excursion without forgetting detail.
The Four Seasons Gresham Palace and its views of the Danube © Four Seasons Gresham Palace