In February 2019, we traveled to Budapest, Hungary over the weekend. It was 8 hours road trip from Poland. We arrived on Saturday morning and checked in to our Airbnb accommodation which was right in the heart of the city. Budapest is the most popular city of Hungary and the 10th largest and one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. They say, If you have seen one city in Europe, you have seen all. Somewhat I agree with the statement as all the cities have a few things in common like bridges, churches, the main square (city center), etc. But I found Budapest different and immensely beautiful.
Here is how it stands out from the other European cities:
- Known by the names of “Paris of the East’ and ‘City of Baths’, Budapest is divided into
twothree parts: Buda, Pest, and Obuda.
- Budapest Parliament Building is the third largest in the world.
- Budapest Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in the world.
- It is a culturally rich city and home to many UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
- Two brilliant minds, the inventors of the famous Rubik’s cube and Biro pen were born in the city of Budapest.
- Budapest is home to the 2nd biggest synagogue in the world which can accommodate 3000 heads at a time.
- Right next to the Parliament and by the edge of the Danube river, you will find lots of shoes made of bronze stuck to the ground. These are a tribute to all the killed Jews of the Holocaust.
- Budapest has the second largest stock exchange by market capitalization in Europe (Central & Eastern).
- Budapest has the world’s largest geothermal cave system. It has many medicinal thermal baths famous for ailing various diseases.
- The Budapest Metro line 1 is the oldest electrified underground railway in Europe and 3rd oldest in the world.
Must do things in Budapest:
Walking over The Chain Bridge:
It is a 19th century 375 mts long and 16 mts wide suspension bridge whose towers are connected by huge chains. It crosses the Danube river and connects the Buda and Pest sides of the city. You would find the street musicians performing on both sides of the bridge. Richly decorated with the Hungarian coat-of-arms and huge stone lion statues, this bridge is a must visit place of the city. Once it ends, you would find the way to the funicular to reach the Buda Castle.
Discover The Buda Castle:
It is a royal building located on the southern tip of Castle Hill and has the Castle District to its north. You can reach it through the funicular, and get a magnificent view of the whole city and the river Danube. There are a lot of places to explore. The Hungarian National Gallery which is spread across buildings A, B, C, and D of the Buda Castle which is a perfect place for History buffs.
You can see the artwork of the early 20th century and a fantastic perspective of Hungarian life in the past. Next to it is the National Szechenyi Library which is home to temporary and permanent exhibitions. If you are not interested in such museums and galleries, you can just take a walk at the glorious Castle. It is worth as it gives you a panoramic view of Budapest.
Visit Heroes’ Square during the day and night both:
We stayed very close to Heroes’ Square so visited this place on both the days during the day and in the night too. It is quite an impressive square of the city surrounded by the Museum of Fine Arts on the left and Hall of Art on the right. There was a Millennium Monument in the center of the square which was constructed to commemorate the 1000-year-old history of the Magyars. The statues of the kings, chieftains, and the other important figures can be seen here.
Diagonally right to the square was the gigantic ice skating rink. It was absolutely a treat to eyes watching the people of all the ages having fun doing ice skate.
Fisherman Bastion and Matthias Church:
At the Buda Castle, there are some historical squares to explore, and also Fisherman’s Bastion. You will get a feel of a fairytale castle with the white walls and towers topped with pointed turrets at the terrace of Fisherman Bastion. For some peace and quiet, you can pay a visit to the Roman Catholic Church, Matthias Church (Church of Our Lady) & St. Michael Chapel which is an underground medieval space discovered during the construction of the Fisherman’s Bastion. Don’t forget to take a walk through the Labyrinth under the Buda Castle.
Take a ride in Budapest Eye:
A ride in the giant wheel in the heart of the city gives you amazing views and is a perfect break after a long day in the city.
Explore the beauty of The Parliament Building:
One of the most beautiful buildings in the world is the Budapest Parliament. It is a magnificent example of Non-Gothic Architecture. The first time when I saw it, I thought it is some palace because of its spectacular main staircase, circular Dome, elegant arches, and statues. It looks phenomenal during the night when decorated with lights. Once you reach there, you will feel royal as you will be surrounded by many beautiful and royal buildings. You can’t miss this once in Budapest.
Panoramic View from the Stephen Basilica Church:
Explore the Pest side of the city and take a tour of the largest church in the city. This greatest landmark took around 50 years to complete. You will get the most beautiful views of Budapest from the top of this Church. Either take the elevator or walk up the 364 stairs to reach the deck. The entrance is free however there is a nominal fee of HUF 500 to go up to the Dome’s observation deck. It is one of the most beautiful Churches in Europe.
Visit the second biggest synagogue in the world, Dohany Synagogue.
Get clicked with one of those rare Telephone Booths.
A walk at the Fashion Street of the City:
Click a picture at the Shoes on the Danube:
I had heard a lot about this place from my friends who visited Budapest and its pictures always intrigued me to visit. Right opposite to the Parliament, a few stairs down, we saw a huge crowd near the river. Our map told us its Danube so we went to finally see if it was really that appealing as in pictures. And yes, it was. There were a lot of bronze shoes and footwears glued to the street. It was something different from all the sightseeing spots I have visited so far. It is indeed one of the most exciting places in Budapest.
Another interesting thing we saw while exploring the Danube was a water bus. It was the first time I saw it and it was really fascinating.
Explore the Central Market:
With a lot of food options mainly non-vegetarian, cheese, souvenirs, apparels, etc, this is one of the hugely popular and populated markets of the city. A must go to discover the Hungarian culture and life.
Take a Thermal Bath:
Apart from the castles and bath, Budapest is also famous for its medicinal Thermal Baths. There are many baths in the city and the biggest one is Széchenyi Thermal Bath. It is the largest medicinal bath in Europe. The baths have pools of different temperature. The outdoor pools which consist of swimming pool, adventure pool, and thermal sitting pool are 27 to 38 °C whereas the indoor pools are between 18 to 38 °C. Saunas and steam facilities are also available. Kids under 14 years of age are not advisable so we could not go, unfortunately.
Stroll in the night at The Main Square:
Relive your childhood at Nagy Circus:
Opposite to the Thermal Bath was a Nagy Circus which runs 4 shows of “Wall of Death” every day. It was a wonderful show and reminded us of our childhood.
Visit one of the oldest Zoos:
One of the best zoos I have visited so far. Will share the details in my next blog.
Try some Hungarian Food
Meet the Iron Eagle:
Budapest can be covered in 2-3 days and is one of the most amazing places I have been to. These were the highlights of my trip to Budapest, visit tomorrow to know some interesting facts about the Budapest Zoo.