THREE DAYS IN BUDAPEST
Updated: Dec 28, 2018
Earlier this year we took our first trip ever to Hungary, during which we had planned to explore both Budapest and several other hungarian cities, towns and villages, mostly situated on the western part of the country. We spent 10 days in Hungary but only had three days to explore Budapest, so we tried to make the most out of our time in the hungarian capital.
Our airbnb apartment was located on the Pest side of the city, and most accurattely inside the Jewish quarter, a few steps from the Great Synagogue.
After reaching our temporary home from the airport and meeting our host, who gave us a few information about his city, we hit the roads of Budapest, in an effort to feel its air and blend in with its people. Letting both our GPS and instict to lead us, we somehow ended up being speechless by the beauty of the hyngarian Parliament House. If you've already been to Budapest, you know what I mean. I f not, take a look at this beautifuly lightened architectural masterpiece :
It was then time we had our first dinner in Budapest, in Hungarikum bistro, which we discovered thanks to a friend's recommendation. Only after having endavoured everything we had been served, did we realize that we had taken no photos...
On our way back home, we decided to walk and stumbled upon the Great Synagogue, which we were going to visit a few days later.
DAY 1 - PEST
Our first full day in Budapest, started with an energizing breakfast made of products bought the evening before from a nearby supermarket. One of the things we love doing while travelling is trying to experience a place like locals. Everything we take for granted in our hometown, can be a different, new experience in another city, somewhere in the world. Even a visit to the neighbourhood's supermarket can be interesting when we travel.
A few moments after that, we were off to explore as much of Pest as we could, starting from the imposing Opera House building and St Istvan, Budapest's Cathedral.
We did not enter the Opera House on our first day in the city, because we had already booked tickets for a performance held on the last day of our trip. We did however enter St Istvan's church, admired its neo-classical decoration and climbed up to its terrace to get a panoramic view of the city. The ticket to the terrace costs 500 Ft, which equals to 1.60 euros.
At the end of our first full day in Budapest, we had real hungarian dinner, cooked by a real, hungarian family, in their own real, hungarian home! Click here to learn more about how you can be hosted by locals as well!
DAY 2 - BUDA
Our second full day in Budapest was devoted to Buda. But before crossing Liberty Bridge, we made a quick stop into Budapest's Great Market Hall. Located at the end of the famous shopping street Vaci utca, the Great Market Hall is the perfect place for shopping local products and souvenirs. On the ground floor you'll mostly find local meats, spices, spirits and groceries, as well as kinds of hungarian street food, while on the first floor souvenir shops and eateries are situated. We have to admit that most of the goodies offered in the GMH are a bit pricey, but even if you don't buy anything, the place is still worth a visit.
It was then about time we crossed the bridge and set foot on the western side of the city. The famous Gellert Hotel, located on the Buda side edge of Liberty Bridge, welcomed us to Hungary's former capital, with its imposing design. According to our plan, Citadella was going to be our first stop in Buda. So, here we were climbing up the Gellert Hill, in a search of the perfect view point. Once we reached the fortress on top of the hill (and after having caught our breath), we can honestly say that the panoramic view left us speechless.
All of Budapest's significant sites and monuments were right there, right in front of us and the view was so clear (despite what the photos may look like) that we almost believed that we could even touch them with our hands.
Warning: There are several kiosks on top of the hill, selling bottles of water and snacks but, as you can probably imagine, most of them are over priced, so consider buying some drinks and snacks, before climbing up. Oh, and water! Don't forget to have some water with you, especially during the summer!
After having seen the Citadella, we made our way to the Royal Palace of Budapest and got to visit its beautiful gardens and take pictures, trying not to include any workers in them, 'cause yes they were restoring some parts of the Palace during our visit.
What we visited next was the famous Fisherman's Bastion, located just next to Matthias Church. Both of those sites were beyond impressive and we were lucky enough to have them (almost) all to ourselves!
Once again, the view from the Bastion was amazing!
Fun fact we want to share with you is that one our way from the Palace to the Bastion, we went through what seemed to be Buda's old town and got to shoot a few lovely retro snaps like this one...
A great reiminder to let yourself go sometimes...
At the end of our Buda explorations, we had to run a bit, in order to arrive in time to the meeting point, for our Danube Cruise, on the Pest side of the city. That cruise was by far the most romantic time of our trip to Hungary and we'd totally recommend it to anyone. We would suggest either the two drinks or the 7 wines tasting cruise, so that you can spend most of your time on the boat's deck and not indoors. The cost starts from the beyond fair price of 15 euros.
Our last full day in Budapest, started with a visit at the Great Synagogue, which was a few metres away from our apartment, as we've already told you. It was for both of us the first time to visit a synagogue and were amazed not only by its imposing architecture, but also by how much it reminded us of a church. Well, after all no matter how each one of us calls their god and their temples, we've got so much more similarities than differences, a clue we need to keep reminding to ourselves and to others, regularly!
The second part of our third day in Budapest was actually spent somewhere between Buda and Pest. That's right; we visited Margaret's Island, a 2km long island located in the middle of Danube , today used as a huge green park, ideal for people of any age and for all kind of outdoors activites, such as walking running, biking, playing sports, spa therapies and much more.
We wanted to make the most out of our time in Budapest, so for nothing in the world would we spend our last moments in the city, locked in our apartment. A few hours before catching our flight back home, we got into the metro and reached Heroes' Square, the City Park and of course Budapest's well known Szechenyi Baths (yes,we got a cramp on our fingers to wirite it correctly). We dipped into the 38 degrees water and never wanted to leave.
IN A NUTSHELL
MUST SEE: MUST DΟ:
1. Parliament 1. Thermal bath
2. Palace 2. Shopping at the Great
3. St Istvan Market Hall
4. Great Synagogue 3. Bridge crossing
5. Fisherman's Bastion 4. Take a walk on Margaret's
6. Matthias church Island
7. City Park 5. Watch a sunset over Danube
8. Heroes' Square