February 14th (otherwise known as Valentine’s Day), is the day the whole world turns pink. Since the holiday has begun to grow in popularity here in Hungary, we have collected the most romantic, fun and cheap Valentine’s Day dates Budapest has to offer. After all, V-Day doesn’t have to be all about roses, chocolate and elegant dinners.
As it’s still cold outside, we have collected both indoor and outdoor activities. After walking around the Buda Castle, try exploring one of the city’s hidden gems. Whether you choose to explore the Botanical Gardens or bathe in one of Budapest’s amazing spas, there will still be plenty of time to end your adventure with a visit to one of Budapest’s many cafés, teahouses and bars.
Füvészkert – Botanical Gardens
Füvészkert is Hungary’s oldest botanical garden; founded in 1771, it belongs to the Eötvös Loránd University. For a small entry fee (1200 Forints/EUR 4), visitors can see more than 8000 plant species and varieties in a 3,5-hectare space full of parks and greenhouses. The botanical garden is a real oasis in the heart of Budapest, even in the winter months. Its cacti, bromeliad, and orchid collections are especially rich, as are the collections of palms and different tropical lily species. Hungarian flora is represented by more than 400 species classified according to geographical regions and types of habitats.
Gül baba street and Türbe
Combining Turkish-Ottoman and Hungarian architecture, Gül Baba’s türbe is the octagonal tomb of an Ottoman dervish, poet and the companion of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. The tomb is surrounded by rose gardens, as Gül Baba was also known as the ‘Father of Roses’, a literal translation of the meaning of his name in Turkish. The türbe is located in Rózsadomb district and is just a short walk from the Margaret bridge on the magnificent, rustic, cobblestone-covered Gül Baba street. The türbe itself was recently renovated, losing a bit of its romantic wildness as a result. Don’t let that put you off from stopping by, as it’s now complete with both a museum and Turkish coffee place. However, even without the new additions, the view alone would make a visit worthwhile.
Városliget Ice Rink
As it’s still winter, a night of ice-skating paired with a mug of mulled wine makes for a great date program. The Városliget ice rink is located at the edge of the City Park just behind Heroes’ Square and adjacent to the Neo-Gothic Vajdahunyad Castle. The public ice rink—the largest and oldest of its kind in Europe—was officially opened by Rudolf, Crown Prince of Austria on 29 January 1870, by the request of the Budapest Skating Club. If you want to avoid the crowd, try to visit in the morning hours. But, keep in mind that the rink is at its most glorious in the evenings.
Rudas Thermal Baths – Rooftop pool
Hungary’s famous thermal baths and spas are all easily accessible from the city center. The Gellért Bath sits at the foot of Gellért Hill inside the luxurious art nouveau style Hotel Gellért on the Buda side of the Danube. However, during the winter months, Rudas Fürdő is one of the best locations to visit. Here, you and your date can enjoy a breathtaking view of the city from the comfort of the spa’s outdoor rooftop pool. Being a toasty 36 Celsius, the spring water keeps guests warm all winter long. The view doesn’t hurt either—especially when it’s snowing!
Normafa and the Libegő
We recommend Normafa to those of you with a higher cold tolerance as it’s especially beautiful all covered in snow. The libegő is the best and most romantic way to get to the top. The two-way chairlift system transports passengers between Zugliget and the lookout tower on János Hill. The Elizabeth lookout tower is located on top of the János Hill at 526 meters, Budapest’s highest point. You can treat your date to an array of tasty traditional Hungarian foods, including lángos and rétes (strudel). If that alone doesn’t hit the spot, try warming up with a mug of mulled wine.
Check out our blogger Polina’s previous article about winter in Normafa:
Winter – as a New Dimension of Wonder at Normafa
Located in South Buda, the Tropicarium is usually less crowded than places in the heart of the city. Visitors can snap pictures in the amazing 12-meter-long glass tunnel filled with exotic fish and sharks. Alligators, exotic birds, monkeys and various reptiles can be spotted in the tropical rainforest section. Meanwhile, a vast array of sharks and colorful fresh and saltwater fish await visitors in the underwater section. They even offer a tank where guests can meet and touch several types of rays. Make sure your date is comfortable with visiting zoos before taking them to the Tropicarium!
featured photo: rudasfurdo.hu