By Lindsay Varty
Located either side of the Danube River, lies Hungary’s capital and arguably the most beautiful city in Europe. Budapest has been voted one of the most livable cities in Europe and it’s no surprise why. With its stunning architecture, rampant history and buzzing atmosphere, it’s a prime location for TEFL teachers.
There are some things you simply can’t miss: the sprawling Buda Castle (‘Budavar’) standing defiantly on Castle hill. After centuries of housing Hungary’s royalty, this World Heritage site now contains museums such as the Hungarian National Gallery and many picturesque grounds open to the public. The neo-gothic Parliament building is the largest building in Hungary and is adorned in glistening lights at night. The Dohány Street Synagogue remains the second largest in the world at 44 metres high and can seat 3,000 people. Discover Europe’s haunting past at the Holocaust Memorial graves and see the huge metal ‘tree of life’ whose leaves are engraved with the names of the 400,000 Hungarian Jews murdered by the Nazis.
For the ultimate amorous day out, hire a bike or sail down the Danube on a pleasure boat. Relax in City Park: an expanse of greenery amidst a bustling city. In winter, it has one of the largest artificial ice-skating surfaces in the world. For dinner, try a Hungarian Catfish stew with noodles, Jewish Matzo Ball soup or, if you’re feeling classy, head to the ancient Nyugati Train station to sample the world’s ‘most elegant McDonalds.’
After a hard day’s site-seeing, relax in one of Budapest’s 80 geothermal hot springs, used since Roman times for easing aches and pains from battles, gladiator fighting, teaching etc. Or, if you’re brave, explore one of the 200 caves under Budapest formed by rising thermal waters. Check out the huge Palvolgy stalactite cave or crawl through the Matyas cave’s ominous ‘sandwich of eath’.
Once that’s done, head out and get ‘ruined’- of course by that I mean sampling Budapest’s famous ‘Ruin pubs’ or rom kocsma. These hippy hangouts and artsy drinking holes are mainly in the Jewish 7th District in dilapidated buildings, redecorated with thrift store furnishings and abandoned Hungarian memorabilia. Many offer live music, DJs and film nights on the weekends and you can find many a tipsy traveller and Budapestian, bar-hopping their way down this strip at night. Check out Szimpla Kert, Budapest’s most notorious ruin pub, and sit in the bathtub-cum-armchair under the stairs!
Look in local newspapers and magazines for English teaching jobs and if you’re an EU national, you don’t even need a work visa.
With a relatively low cost of living and a huge amount on offer, Budapest is a top choice for any aspiring teacher.