Born and raised in Hungary, Beáta Kónya grew up in the countryside in a small city called Dévaványa, located on the Great Hungarian Plain. Growing up in rural Hungary made her value her roots and the simple lifestyle when one lives in harmony with nature. For the past 7 years, she’s been living and working in the capital Budapest where she has a newfound appreciation for one of the most underrated capitals in Europe. Using Instagram, she has realized her passion for visual storytelling and uses Budapest as her main source of inspiration.
What makes Budapest such a special place?
During my travels in the world in the recent years, I ticked many let’s say compulsory sights and attractions off my imaginary bucket list. Those ones that are highlighted in bold in the tourist books saying you just cannot miss them, otherwise your trip would be incomplete. Of course they are right on the one hand, yet visiting them may leave you wondering what if the main spots of major tourist destinations would be just a bit more unspoiled? Then, I started to get off the beaten track. Once I experienced what it feels like to discover the undiscovered, I decided to try to go for what I call authentic traveling. And when I return to Budapest, which I call home for the last 7 years, I am always grateful for the fact that this city is still quite a gem that like-minded travelers will truly appreciate. Maybe I myself should keep it a secret too! Even though the truth is there has been a massive increase in tourism over the past couple of years, I feel Budapest is still good at keeping its distinctive character.
What do you shoot and how long have you been shooting for?
I am one of those users who have found their passion for photography thanks to Instagram. I downloaded the app back in 2013 and constantly developed my style since then. Before Instagram, I had never seriously considered photography, I had rather expressed myself in writing. With this app I found my new creative outlet and passion for visual storytelling. I still take the majority of my photos with my smartphone. I am rather a photo-taker than a photographer who recently decided to purchase a DSLR and study photography. My gallery is a mix of photos of Budapest and the rural Hungary, travel moments, as well as lifestyle captures.
What inspires you about creating images?
The connection with the viewer: I truly hope the photos of mine are able to tell stories that the viewers can relate to. In addition, expressing my moods and emotions and the attempt at making the fleeting moments timeless are what inspire me the most about creating images.
Why do you think Budapest is so underrated?
Many say Budapest is the most underrated capital of Europe, and I share that view to a certain extent, as Budapest is hardly ever the first place destination for someone who considers traveling to Central Europe. Many people don’t even know where to place it on the map. At the same time, if you live here you can feel the city has begun become more popular in recent years.
If someone is coming to Budapest for the first time, what are some things you recommend they do and see?
Cruise on the river Danube. No matter if it is day or night, rainy or sunny, boat tripping on the scenic river Danube is always a good idea.
- Get lost in the Buda Castle District, it’s a fabulous place.
- Be amazed by the super-impressive Building of Hungarian Parliament.
- Eat local. Our cuisine is heavenly! Go to the Great Market Hall and try our street food lángos. Eat out in a Hungarian restaurant and do yourself a favor: have goulash and chicken paprikash with dumplings. And don’t forget to taste the traditional Hungarian liqueur pálinka and our wines, preferably at a ruin pub (bars in formerly abandoned buildings).
- Treat yourself at a thermal spa: having more thermal and medicinal water springs than any other capital in the world, Budapest is proud to hold the title “City of Spas” since 1934. There are more than a dozen public thermal spas in the city which makes thermal bathing a must if you visit Budapest.
What are some of your favorite personal things to do when exploring the city on your own?
It is a city meant to be explored at your own pace. I am still a tourist in my own city as they put it, re-visiting my favorite spots from time to time and continuously exploring what I am not familiar with yet. Looking at the river Danube and Pest from the Buda Castle district always puts the city in perspective for me.
And when I climb down from the hill there, across the 167-year old Chain Bridge, past the World Heritage river bank to our super-impressive building of Parliament, this walk just puts me in better spirits.
I also have a somewhat weirder hobby: I love sneaking into centuries-old courtyards and staircases to see how once the wealthy Budapest residents lived. History talks to me, I just need to listen and learn from its stories.
How does Budapest inspire you?
I have been living in Budapest for 7 years only, in one of the outer districts, so I still keep exploring the city whenever I just have time for that. I am a kind of person who finds much of her inspiration in the traditions and in interpreting the cultural, historical heritage surrounding us. When it comes to Budapest, what inspires me the most is that I will find an unseen detail, an untold story for myself every single time I decide to stroll the streets. For example, the other day while I was walking in the city, I looked up the façade of a residential home that was built in the renowned Hungarian Art Nouveau architectural style back 100 years ago, and discovered it depicts two squirrels eating from a fruit basket. These are the little details that make me fall in love with what Budapest can offer over and over again. That being said, if you are into architecture, I believe Budapest is a place for you too.