Budapest is all about food, fashion, old architecture. The capital of Hungary is fascinating, gorgeous and has an understated elegance. Is more exotic than popular eastern European cities like Prague
DANUBE PROMENADE: Walking along the eastern side of the Danube, you will notice a memorial of shoes, which is conceptualised by film director Can Togay in honour of the Jews who were killed in Budapest during World War II. While we walked along the Promenade, we got the best glimpse of the city, with all the sights worth seeing. On the Buda side, the Buda castle, Fisherman’s Bastion, statue on the Gellert Hill are worth visiting. While on the Pest side, the downtown with all restaurants, bars and the Parliament cannot be given a miss. And of course the five beautiful breathtaking bridges (Elizabeth bridge, Margaret Bridge, Liberty Bridge, Petofi Bridge, Szechenyi Chain Bridge). Each one of these bridges are totally worth walking across, and I got my best photographs of Budapest on the promenade and bridges which were totally postcard worthy.
BUDA CASTLE AND THE FUNICULAR: Placed on the top of a hill, the Buda Castle can be viewed from anywhere in the city. To reach the top, we took the oldest ride in the world. The panoramic views across the Danube are simply stunning. The ride is open till 10 at night, so it’s perfect to get a view of the beautiful lit up city. When you reach the Buda castle, something that’s worth a watch is the change of guard ceremony that takes place. Today of course, the castle is devoid of its king but is a very popular world heritage site that is home to two very important tourist sights - The National Gallery and The Budapest Museum.
FISHERMAN’S BASTION AND MATTHIAS CHURCH: Built in the 20th century, this medieval looking monument takes its inspiration from the Neo Gothic style that was popularised during that era. The white marble has strikingly beautiful features, while the arches that overlook the city are simply stunning and breathtaking. This bastion was named in honour of the fishermen who were responsible for taking care of and protecting the city in Middle Ages. You can get lovely glimpses of the Pest city from their viewing terrace. This area is adjacent to the Matthias Church. I loved the colour chips that make the exterior of the building. The church is named in honour of the first king of the country.
ST STEPHEN’S BASILICA: One of the most important religious place in town, St Stephen’s Basilica is located right at the city centre. To go here, I had to cover my head and shoulders. You can climb up to the top of the Basilica and get an amazing aerial view of the city. It’s a great vantage point. There are regular music concerts which are held out here, and all the music that plays on the organ can be heard outside. You can get pictures of this building from any point in downtown.
THE HUNGARIAN PARLIAMENT: One of the most glorious and beautiful building, the Hungarian Parliament with its Neo Gothic style architecture is truly magnificent. The Buda side of the Danube gives you the perfect views while taking photographs of this building. In fact I met a few tourists who actually chose to stay on Buda side, just to keep admiring and getting the views of the Parliament. The size of this building for a country as the size of Hungary is actually very large. But originally, this Parliament was supposed to serve three countries. It’s also the third largest Parliament in the world. You can book a tour of the Parliament well in advance, and remember to carry your passport when you go for the tour.
GERAULD CAFE: Think chocolate, think dessert, think Gerauld. One of the oldest dessert shops in Budapest, it is 160 years old. You definitely cannot give this one a miss. I got to know about this place one night before I was leaving but by the time I reached, it had closed. So I went early next day to experience it. Every cake has its own special ingredient and is much better than the other, you are completely spoilt for choice. Dobos Torta, a layered cake, which a layer of caramel at the top, is a very famous dessert here. Their candied orange chocolates, and cognac coated cherry chocolates are world famous. I’m guessing you’re craving chocolates now.
SZECHENYI BATH: This Turkish thermal bath is one of a kind, and the largest in Europe. It’s one of the most relaxing places to visit when in Budapest. Budapest is known as the city of Baths, as these were built by the Romans who came and settled here. I highly recommend you to book your ticket online way in advance, and take the package, for a few additional Euros, with a locker, towel and wardrobe. You need a full day to visit this attraction. I spent few Euros extra, to get a 30 minute massage here, and it was probably one of the most relaxing back massage I’ve ever had. The Baroque style yellow buildings and the two blue outdoor pools make for some great Instagram worthy pictures. Some of the indoor pools have great medicinal properties to cure joint diseases. I grabbed myself couple of cocktails, and thoroughly enjoyed my day here.
BAR RUINS: Many tourists who visit Budapest each year are on a look out for cheap watering holes. These concept of bars, which was formed in the midst of dilapidated buildings came into existence in Budapest in 2001. There are many of these places all around the Jewish Quarter serving great cocktails and mouth watering food. Such a concept only exists in Budapest, and I highly recommend you to go and visit at least four to five of these bars as each has a different design and ambience than the other. The decor and colours are quirky, some even psychedelic. Make sure to experience at least one evening drinking and walking around these buildings.
GELLERT HILL: This is the hill, actually a 140-metre-tall rock that rises straight from the Danube. So it gives the best panoramic views. I took a bus tour. But if you have the time, I’ll highly recommend hiking up the hill. The hill received its name in honour of Bishop Gellert, whose statue you can see at the top of the hill. There’s also a fortress built on top of the hill known as the Citadel. There’s also the Statue Of Liberty on the hill which can be viewed from any part of the city. Today this hill is of strategic importance as it reminds the locals about the wars that have taken place in Hungary. This is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.
CENTRAL MARKET: Think Local, think Hungarian, thinkBishop Gellert. Oh, how much I love visiting these kind of markets, which provides you with the authentic Hungarian products and food. During my four-day stay in Budapest, I visited this market twice, thanks to the local food available out here. I brought back home some Hungarian sausages, cheese and chocolates. On the first floor, there is a local food court, which made me feel, “Hungry in Hungary”. I got myself some Langos, a popular flatbread with toppings. I call it the Hungarian Pizza, and a box with the goodies. The locals use this market to source all their daily needs. For tourists, all the stuff are available here at very reasonable prices.
With all its very beautiful sights, lights and views, Budapest is definitely a place I look forward to visiting again soon.