Best of Budapest

Sep 23, 2013

Fall is one of the most brilliant times to visit European capitals, not only because they’re less crowded but also the weather is turning cool and crispy, yet it can still be pleasantly warm. If your timing is right, you can catch some marvelous autumn colours especially higher up north. For us it was time to put my birthday gift into use and head over to Budapest- the eastern capital that’s cited as one of the most idyllic cities in Europe. Now, after our five lovely days wandering around this gorgeous city, we have no doubt about the above statement being absolutely true! And out of that very reason, I’ve decided to split our experiences into couple of separate articles that each showcases different sides of the city. 

Here's the general insight to our little escapade with some of the favorite things and places we came across while exploring Budapest. I must say that we were pretty impressed with the city’s friendliness, cleanness and safety- and coming from Paris, we don’t take these always for granted! Another major benefit is the relatively favourable price level. This doesn’t mean you can’t find expensive stuff in Budapest because you certainly can but it just means that on average you’ll find yourself more often go, “oh that’s a good deal” or “let me get two of these instead of one”! Again, this feeling is probably multiplied since we compare things and services with Paris, but it's safe to say we sure didn’t complain about prices in Budapest…

Let's take a closer look at the places we really liked...

Strolling the streets of downtown (District V) and checking out the St Stephens Basilica:

Zrínyi Street is a nice pedestrian street between the Basilica and the Chain Bridge, and has a bunch of restaurants and wine bars. 

Deak Square (Deák Ferenc Tér) is a very central point of Pest, and just next to it we ran into these traditional stands selling handicrafts and all kinds of typical Hungarian foods- cheap and definitely delicious! 

We dedicated our first day to sightseeing the Buda side to see the Royal Palace and the Fishermans Bastion- two of the most famous spots. It all started by crossing the Chain Bridge, which is the most central bridge combining the Buda to the Pest-side. A pleasant walk across- especially night time!

There's an option to get up the hill with an old-fashion funicular, but honestly we didn't think it was worth the wait or the money! It took us about five minutes to walk up via footpath...

It's really worth going up to the castle if not to visit it inside, at least for the views down to the Pest. We had a little sunny moment in the gardens tasting the oldest Hungarian pastry Kürtöskaláks (Chimney Cake)- utterly yummy

The Castle District was fun to get around and not only for the sights but also to take in the old Budapest with its fascinating little cobbled streets, colorful buildings and cute restaurants. (Fishermans Bastion and the Matthias Church below)

...And did I already mention the views?! Unfortunately for us, almost every major sight was under some sort of construction, including the world-renowned Hungarian Parliament below. 

The walk along the Danube river promenade was rewarding as you get views over to the castle and you pass all the bridges. Also, it's home for all the river cruises...

On Saturday we had a little different kind of a plan. We wanted to go around the Old Jewish Quarter (both- day and night!) and around the inner city including places like the State Opera House, Kazinczy street (ruin bars), Great Synagogue and so on. Again, aside from the few monuments we just had a good time walking around, bumping into a nice lunch spot, taking our time and...signing up for a fun night out- Budapest Pub Crawl! More about that later...

Sunday morning after staying up till 5am in the ruin bars, we evidently wanted some chill activities- and so we climbed the Gellert Hill! It's such a nice place with all its recreational area and greeneries! The climb up woke us up pretty much, and we were fully enjoying the views as we got to the top. Back down, we lounged the rest of the afternoon in the quaint thermal spa of Gellert- heaven

Our airbnb place was located just a few steps away from the Freedom Bridge, which I thought was one of the pretties bridges in town! We also became fans of the tram system- such a great way to see stuff while in the transport! 

Sunday wasn't all about spa though. It was our little romantic date night we wanted to spend dining in a fancier place up in the Castle District (sort of our anniversary dinner). We took our time to walk the Chain Bridge by night and took photos and got sort of lost in it. By the time we got up to our restaurant, the streets were really quiet and we closed down the place...On the way back down we could admire the night lights over Budapest- priceless! 

Not only Sunday, but also Monday was a fun day! Time for our spa experiment number two: Szechenyi Spa Baths. Before giving ourselves in to the absolute indulgence, we made a long walk through the entire city and the Andrassy Avenue that's filled with gorgeous mansions and other buildings such as museums. In the end of the avenue is the Heroes Square and from there you enter the huge park with lots of things to do and see around...

In the evening we met up with our new Aussie friends in a cozy wine bar and tasted some seriously nice wines. (You can read more about the wine bars and other culinary splurges here...)

On our last day we checked out of our place and spent the entire noon at the Great Marketplace; eating last Goulashes, tasting couple of other traditional dishes and mingling with the locals before heading back to the airport...

Budapest- you did us proud! 


Post a Comment

We would like to hear what you think!

©Copyright 2013 Old Voyages of Discovery