Budapest, the capital city of Hungary and one of the most beautiful city in Europe and the world certainly has a lot to offer any potential visitor; from hidden, off the beaten path attractions to some of the most impressive castles, buildings, museums, bridges, spas and so on.
One of the more off the beaten path but increasingly popular amongst tourists and locals is District 8. Considered for a long time one of the problematic parts of the city’s historic center it has since been experiencing quite a revival.
The past century has been quite rough for this neighborhood, with neglect laying waste to a lot of the stunning baroque buildings constructed during the Austro-Hungarian empire’s glory days. Amongst the rampant poverty and derelict buildings bullet holes from the 1956 revolution as well as World War II were still visible. The District also had quite a high crime rate which was mainly due to poverty, its isolation from the rest of the city as well as the lack of any form of investments, both public and private.
Today however, it is one of the must-see places in Budapest for tourists that seek an artsy yet off the beaten path refuge during their stay. Here they can find anything from modern art to music, stunning turn of the century architecture, as well as other hidden gems that this flamboyant neighborhood now boasts.
The most impressive part of District 8 is the Palace Neighborhood. This is where numerous rich and important families of the Austro-Hungarian era chose to build several grand palaces, each more luxurious and beautiful than the other. Almost all of these 30 palaces have been carefully restored to their original state and have been converted into public and private institutions such as universities, a library and several hotels.
If you want to visit District 8 forget about renting a car, as it can be best seen and appreciated by walking. Some notable landmarks include the National Museum, the Hungarian Radio building, the Italian Cultural Institute, the Palazzo Zichy Hotel or the German Language University.
If walking around all day has left you with an insatiable appetite for the local cuisine then the best place to go in District 8 is Mikszath Ter or Mikszath Square. Here you will find several restaurant, bars, pubs and charming café’s, perfect for eating a great meal, enjoying some coffee or just relaxing with a drink.
If you want a more in depth look at this interesting District and all the social, cultural and ethnic elements that are present here you can also take one of the many guided tours. One such example is Budapest Beyond Sightseeing, a tour which actually allows you to meet some of the locals and get to hear some of their interesting stories.