We wanted to experience the night train journey, therefore we booked 3 berth cabin in ICE night train from Munich. The train starts at around 11.30 at night and reaches the Budapest by 6 in the morning. The cabin was pretty compact, basically ok and the beds were comfortable.
We arrived in the Budapest fresh in the morning. The central station building was nicely decorated with paintings. Again, like many other cities in Europe, I liked this one also in the first impression.
Firstly we checked into our rented apartment. The owner had offered us early check-in and on the last day, late check out. Our apartment was located in the inner city region near the river Danube. This was the central and convenient location to explore the city by public transport.
After lunch, our first destination was the Hungarian National Museum. This was particularly planned so as to get detailed information about the history and culture of the region we are going to explore in next few days. The museum displays about 1000 years of history of Hungary. It was indeed informative and with a huge collection.
Budapest has lots of good museums but to visit them all was not on our list.
Next, we proceed towards the Buda and went to Buda castle. One can reach there by small hike walk up the hill or by bus/car or by funicular. We went up by funicular and came down by a bus.
The castle was built in the 13th century. It is the royal seat and the area around it was the Civil town. The entry in the courtyard around the royal palace is free. The views over the Pest, Danube and the famous Chain bridge are breathtaking. There are some monuments also like Eugene -Savoyai equestrian Bronze statue of Prince and Mátyás Fountain.
We spent the entire remaining time here until sunset. Then returned by bus and winded up for the day.
Today, we went first to the Mathias Church in the Buda area.
This Church is the Gothic style architecture with tall tower emerging tall from the hills of castle district. The building is spectacular from outside and inside. There is a small fee to enter the Church.
Immediately next to the church is the Fisherman’s Bastion. This is neo-gothic style building from early 20th century. It is composed of seven towers that are symbolizing the seven Magyar clans’ leaders that came in the Carpathian Basin at the end of the IX century. There is an entrance fee for the Bastion and the outer gallery is free. We chose the free option. The view over the Danube and the Parliament building was amazing. The Fisherman’s Bastion building is also quite impressive with its 7 towers and light colored stone. We did enough photo shooting and left the place as now lots of tourists started showing up there. It might be a good idea to come here early in the morning to capture some uninterrupted views. I liked the view from this gallery more than that of from the Royal palace courtyards.
There are some restaurants in this area and seemed to be popular among tourists. We returned to the base of the hill. There was nice cafe beside the Funicular. We filled ourselves with Brunch. By this time, Aarush was getting little bored. Therefore we decided to have a stroll in a garden. We searched on google maps and then went to the garden/park area in Pest itself. It was around Liberty statue, just a few minutes travel by Tram along the river. The park was nice, cool with lots of trees and slowly ascending winding paths. We even found one play area there. This is the place for us to relax and for Aarush to get active.
Today, Sun was soaring so hard that we returned to the apartment in the afternoon and decided to go out again in the evening.
In the evening we went to the Parliament area. The Parliament building is the most famous building displayed on most of the sites in reference to Budapest. One of the largest in the world, the building is 96m high and is the tallest building in town along with the Basilica. It is the home to the Hungarian Crown and jewels, adorned with 365 Gothic towers. There are many important facts about this building. The most remarkable one is that about 40 kg Gold is used in the construction of this building. The building is magnificent Neo-Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture inaugurated in 1896. There is a limited number of entries per day. We did not notice this before and by the time we reached there, entry was closed. Therefore we wandered around the building and then went to the riverfront. There was a doc for ferries and from there, the building was looking beautiful and impressive.
We walked further towards the left alongside the river and reached Jews memorial – Shoes on the Danube. This is one of the Budapest’s most moving memorial and I experienced same while being there. The place makes you sad, silent… I will suggest reading about this memorial before the visit.
We walked further to the famous Chain Bridge. This was the first bridge to connect Buda and Pest, constructed in 1849. The bridge is restored after it was damaged in WWII.
It was the time for dinner and to end the day.
Today, we decided to make short one day trip outside the Budapest. While planning, there was a tie between 2 destinations – Danube bend and the open air museum of Hungary. We decided to go to the open-air museum, Skanzen and booked online admission tickets and also booked their rental bikes. This was a wise decision. They provide adults and children bikes and child seats. Thus cycling through will be the better option than to walk around. Remember, In summer it gets really HOT! There are options for rental scooters and for internal train also. These are good options. The museum is spread over a large land area which is more or less flat terrain. The museum displays the cultural history of Hungary. The lifestyles of all the different regions of Hungary, ancient to modern, are exhibited here. There are traditional windmills, breweries, marketplaces, rich and poor houses, schools …. list is endless. There are some workshops for kids and adults also. One can get more information about it on their website. These workshops are fun to attend and the exhibition is worth the visit. I am particularly interested in cultural history and I enjoy such displays. We spent an entire day here and never felt tired.
Today was completely dedicated to this museum and we left the place only when they were closing. Therefore after it, we went straight to Budapest, back to the apartment. We were tired.
The last day, was the day to try some specific Hungarian food. For this, firstly we headed towards the Central Market area. It was just within the walkable distance. On the way, we came across many fountains and sculptures along the road. I found them unique and thoughtful. There were two fountains next to each other – one was open book and the other was closed book. One more fountain was a large massive black stone in the shape of a foot. There are many such structures scattered all over the city and they simply add to the beauty.
So, we reached the Market Hall. It is large with tons of shops selling all the stuff from clothes, spices to jewelry, souvenirs, and food. The place is popular among locals as the
breakfast place and it serves famous Hungarian dish – Langos. We were here for the same. The hall was all packed with tourists and locals in the morning hours also. We strolled along the length and breadth of the market checking all the things on offer. The food stalls were busy with queues. We also purchased our breakfast and settled us at some empty table. Langos was bit oily, somewhat chewy and tasty.
After breakfast and some shopping, we headed towards the promenade. It was nicely developed, clean and relaxing. The evening hours must be happening time there but right now it was all shining in the hot Sun.
We hopped on to the tram and then in the Metro 1. We got down at ‘Octogon’ station and then walked along ‘Andrássy Avenue’. This street is also historic and dates back to 1872. Today it is UNESCO World Heritage site and is lined with spectacular Neo-renaissance mansions and townhouses featuring fine facades and interiors. Academy of Music, State Opera house, Octagon Square and House of Terror are some of the important landmarks along the street.
While walking along the avenue and admiring the beautiful facades, we reached the Hero’s Square. It is large area noted for its iconic statue complex featuring the Seven Chieftains of the Magyars and other important national leaders, as well as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Just behind the square is a large city park. Obviously, we entered in to escape from the Sun. The park is nice, clean with some water bodies, lots of green covers and is a nice place for relaxation for families.Vajdahunyad Castle, Budapest Zoo & Botanical Garden, and famous Széchenyi Thermal Bath all are located in this huge park. After relaxing for a while, we went to the metro station Mexikói street. Here, the historic Millennium metro M1starts. This line was first started in 1896 and hence the name. We traveled all the way up to the end and reached Vörösmarty tér station. We walked around in the inner city region, purchased some takeaway dinner and then caught a bus and went to Fisherman’s Bastion. By the time we reached the top, it was late evening and entire Pest region was lit up. The view was amazing.
After some stroll, we went to the courtyard terrace of the Buda castle. There are lots of seating options and we settled ourselves so that we can admire the beautiful lit up the Danube and the city. Enjoyed our dinner and last steps on the Buda side of the city for this trip.
We had to pack up today for the return journey. We had free time until lunch. So we got out and walked around the inner city region once again to praise the artistic facades and the beautiful Danube. Like in Prague and Vienna, The Budapest is also lively and warm welcoming city. People are happy and joyful. Many travelers go to Bratislava for one day from Budapest.
We left the city with lots of cheerful memories and tanned skin (Lol)!!!
Budapest is a budget option for Paris, yes I mean it!