To most people whom I mentioned about my Budapest trip few years back responded with a look of puzzlement, wondering where it actually was located and out of all the places why did I chose to go there. I wanted to give them a profound answer but not until I had witnessed the beauty of this place all by myself. The moment I set my foot on the Hungarian capital I knew that the people here were absolutely welcoming.
With a city filled with history in every corner and apart from the fact it being a beautiful city, it is one of the cheapest European country you can ever go to! So if ever you’re looking to do a fun urban break on a budget, this is the place. And this I realized the moment I went up to the currency exchange counter. For a 100-dollar note the guy handed me almost around 50,000 HUF (Hungarian Forint) Like really! I thought was there a mistake?
Only to then apprehend this is how inexpensive this country was! I felt so rich in this city already (Yayyy)
Having 2 parts to explore in the city of Budapest, the Danube river splitting Buda from Pest! Interesting right? That’s where the title came from, on discovering this fact a friend who kept fooling around with me saying I am Buda and you are Pest! Who knew the whole city by the name itself is actually split into two! Though being a part of the same city they’re two very different places, each with a unique character. Buda is the hilly side, with lots of winding streets, amazing old castle and some breathtaking views of the city. While on the Pest side you’ll find all of the wonderful markets and bars and the buzz of everyday city life.
Budapest is beautiful by day, and much more stunning by night as the buildings lining the banks of the Danube twinkle and reflect on the dark waters.
And hence I decided to take the Danube River cruise twice, in the day as well at night as one cannot embrace the beauty of the city in just time of the day.
The cruise gave some stunning views of the chain bridge at night and the Parliament building too! I was glad to have captured some picturesque panoramic views of Buda and Pest from the banks of Danube river.
Next day I booked myself for visiting the world famous Budapest Opera House.
Seeing this beautiful setup with the more lovely interiors the whole building spoke of grandeur and brilliance. Can only imagine the way this theater would come to live with each show held here.
From there I made my way to the Heroes square which is surrounded by two important buildings, Museum of Fine Arts on the left and Kunsthalle (Hall of Art) on the right. As the place goes by the name there were many statues of kings and other important historical figures on top of the colonnades on either side of the center pillar.
It is said that a trip to Budapest in not complete without a stroll on the Chain Bridge, the very first bridge to connect Buda and Pest. Yes walking down the Chain Bridge is considered to be one of the wonders of the world as the architect is so immensely beautiful and perfect!
To keep up the perfection to mark, when the architect discovered that the tongues of the lions that stand guard at either end are missing, he committed suicide. Creepy enough right?
Another must halt is at the neo-Gothic terrace of the Fisherman’s Bastion located on the Castle Hill that provides panoramic views of the city.
Exploring the seven ornate turrets, felt like a fairytale structure put altogether.
From there a quick stop to Matthias Church was on my list. The beautiful structure and architect of the church makes it difficult to believe that this church is over 700 years old. Moreover the vibrant ceramic rooftop caught my attention the most.
St. Stephen’s Basilica is another famous structure with a majestic dome, which reaches a height of 96 meters, exactly the height of the Parliament Building. I had the option to tour up the building by taking 302 steps exploring the nooks and corners instead of the elevator straight up to the terrace.
Also one of the last things on my list in the Hungarian city was to Soak in the Széchenyi Baths.
Yes one of the last remnants of the Turkish influence in Hungary, how can ones sojourn be fulfilled without a dip in these thermal waters? Any time is good to take a dip, as the temperatures here are always pleasant and welcoming.
Early morning or just before sunset could be the best to soak yourself up with a view of the city while enjoying the healing waters of Széchenyi’s outdoor pools.
While having met so many locals in this city they told me that I cant leave the city without a visit to the world’s most beautiful café! Walking along the streets of Budapest I finally discovered the New York Cafe, tucked inside the Boscolo Hotel, and I struggled to disagree.
The moment I entered the café I was transformed like inside of a palace, or a really fancy theatre, buzzing with tourists awed by the beauty and gorgeousness the four levels of opulence this café enfolded.
So when I set my foot on the Hungarian soil, I knew I was going to come back with stories that would make people want to explore this not-so-touristy capital! Now I am sure you want it to 🙂
- Day and night cruise view over the Danube River
- Walking across the chain bridge
- A sip in the famous thermal baths
GlobeTrotting365Days: BUDAPEST August 30th 2012.