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Mandarina Duck loves: Budapest

The capital of Hungary has been popping up in travel guides as a Central European destinations that has a lot to offer on every level – and with good reason. A little bit off the beaten track, it’s a city that is classical in its Old Europe influences, yet is not too bound to conventions, thanks to its proximity to Eastern Europe and the headstrong character of its inhabitants.

We at Mandarina Duck definitely love the colourful, sensory experiences one gets from simply walking through its streets, smelling the air, tasting the food and letting our eyes get the better of Budapest’s stunning architecture – lots of Art Nouveau – , art galleries and its glorious river Danube that holds the two banks, Western Buda and Eastern Pest together ….

Here are three cultural spots anyone visiting the city should not neglect to include:

Müpa Palace of Arts is where Budapest’s cultural heart beats. Located on the Pest side, this hyper modern building, which opened in 2005, it is home to two concert halls and the Ludwig museum, Budapest’s contemporary arts museum.

For a bit of classical music, the Hungarian Royal Opera House is an impressive neo-Renaissance building to get your fix. Built at the end of the 19th century, it has seen many important figures go through its doors, such as Gustav Mahler and Franz Liszt. Its beautiful murals, paintings and sculptures alone make it a must-see.

Artpool research centre, founded in 1979, is a non-profit alternative art institution in Hungary. Their objective is to register changes in art, to present and document the most interesting art experiments, in particular those to do with the contemporary international avant-garde media arts. Among the things to see are artist's books, mail art, visual poetry, sound poetry, conceptual art, fluxus, installation and performance. A whole lot in other words! (video of a performance art piece at Art Pool)