If you were to look for a place packed with architectural excellence yet away from the hustle bustle of the global crowd, it had to be the beautiful city of Budapest. Also know as the Paris of east, Budapest most certainly is the shy sister of the most visited tourist destination of the world.
It is true, it was not our main destination in our 17 day long European tour, it certainly managed to leave us smitten with the short affair we had. The tour was conveniently timed during the summers where we got long afternoons and short nights thus giving us quality "touristy" time. We were able to cover a lot of places in a day, which would not have been possible if it were the winters. Though the flip side was the harsh sun which was at times a big deterrent in keeping us going for the extra mile. While of course we had a huge check list of items to see before we moved on, we did manage to squeeze in some laze around time to soak in the glorious beauty in its full pomp and show.
Budapest is actually a combination of 2 cities - Buda and Pest separated by the grand Danube river. While Buda boasted of some great castle and churches, Pest was more lively with great ruin bars, tourist attractions and awesome restaurants. For our stay we chose a plush AirBnb in the convenient locale of Pest (near the Parliament). AirBnbs in Budapest were typically cheaper as compared to other european cities.
Here is what we did in the 3 days time we had -
Reached Budapest just around lunch time. We decided to take things slow that day as we wanted to recover from travel. We stopped at a nearby cafe to relish on some roasted duck and soup.
First stop was at the liberty square which was very close to the place we stayed.
We then walked up to the Buda side along the majestic Chain Bridge to witness the sun set over the Danube.
We stayed a quality time at the Buda side, clicking photos and relishing on some local snacks. While there don't forget to click some great pictures of the parliament and its reflection in the river. Its most certainly is breath taking.
While returning to the Pest side we did stop to click photos of some beautiful buildings and landmarks.
This was followed by an evening stroll on the near St Stephen's Basilica. This place roars thousands of eating options ranging from small pizzaterias to a proper find dine option.
After gorging on some local hungarian food, we decided to retired back into our rooms.
The second day was all about the typical touristy stuff - visiting the memorials, key attractions, local food joints and ending the day with beer in the famous ruins bar of Budapest. Here is what we did
1) Spent quality time at the parliament (one of the most beautiful building in the whole of Budapest). The magnanimous parliament will give you a real hard time to fit the entire thing in one frame. After having failed at it miserably, I settled down for this short.
2) A quick stopover to empathize with the Jews plight – ‘Shoes on the Danube Bank’
3) Sat down to relax at the gardens infront of the Gresham palace. A good place to slow down if you are on foot for most part of the morning. We did carry some snacks from the near by departmental store to gorge on.
4) Tour inside of the St Stephen’s Basilica was one of the highlight and something which shouldn't be missed.
5) Hungarian State Opera house (though under renovation)
6) We stopped by to have some traditional lunch, that which involved Goulash, Goat cheese and their local wine. It was most certainly one of the most memorable lunches of our trip.
7) Post lunch we were in a mood to treat ourselves and cherish on an experience that Budapest is famous for - Thermal Baths & spa. From many options that were available, we narrowed down to Szechenyi and Gellert; and we however chose to visit the latter. Gellert had many indoor and outdoor pools with varying temperature ranges. They even had a wave pool which added a relaxing touch after the therapeutic warm water bath.
7) Post a relaxing bath experience, we decided to hike all the way up to the Gellert Hill for a breath taking view & witness the glory of the ‘Liberty Statue’
8) After walking back to the apartment for a change of clothes, we were all geared up to hit the ruin bars, again one of the key attractions of Budapest. Szimpla Kert was one that we chose after going through multiple reviews and recommendation by a friend and boy were we amazed. Such lively was the ambiance that we barely could stop ourselves from shaking our legs.
The final day at Budapest was again booked for some great sight seeing tours. We had ofcourse saved the best for the last... Trip to the Fisherman's Bastion.
Here is what we did on the final day:
1) Visit to the central market (Great market hall) to check out what the locals bought.
2) Trip inside the Buda Castle
3) Walked to the Mathias church
4) The majestic Fisherman’s bastion and to relish the beautiful city view from the top
Don’t forget to relish on the delicious fruity gelato’s and homemade cake at the Ruszwurm Confectionery.
With this we ended our 3 day tour to the grand Budapest. While it was difficult to say good bye, we were looking forward to our rest of the European journey. Stay tuned for all other updates from my Europe trip, till then enjoy the pictures I have shared and please do leave behind your valuable comments.