After Vienna and Bratislava, this was the last step of my recent trip. I had never been to Hungary before and so many people told me how pretty Budapest is so I was really excited for these couple of days!
This blog post includes even more photos than the previous ones so scroll down for those, please 😉
(Spoiler: my expectations were certainly met!)
I arrived after a 2.5 hours train ride from Vienna. The train was super full, hot and not the best one but I made it. When I arrived I first saw the not so pretty parts of Budapest before getting into Budapest Keleti but on the other side of that train station, it got super pretty. The metro system is as easy as in Vienna (if not easier) so I got to my hostel pretty quickly, left my luggage, got my map and chose what sights to see next.
First of all, I walked to a closed bookshop. Hmpf. I was told by a friend who had been in Budapest last year that it’s a really pretty one so I wanted to check it out but no luck… So I turned around, walked past the Opera and to the huge and very impressive cathedral, looked around pretty Deak Square and walked down a fancy Fashion Street to the Danube. Wherever you get close to the river in Budapest, you always have a lovely view to the other side and can see some beautiful buildings! I walked alongside the river to the Chain Bridge (oldest bridge in this city), crossed it and went up the hill to Buda Castle.
From there you have such an amazing view, it was so nice, and I took tons of photos! I also went inside the castle into the National Gallery. It’s a very big gallery with many different kinds of art styles and lots of Hungarian art (but not exclusively). Through the gallery, I also learned a bit about Hungarian history and it was all in all really interesting. Because of its size, I was pretty exhausted afterwards so I found a (different) route down the hill, got myself some not-really-Hungarian dinner and relaxed for the rest of the evening.
The next day I started off with going to Buda again to walk up that hill again. I kind of forgot about the huge, beautiful church up there so I thought let’s use this morning to explore that side of the city more and go up there again. It was certainly worth it, the Church and the Fisherman’s Bastion are so pretty and certainly worth seeing. I also walked a bit around on the hill and in front of it and saw some more pretty churches. (I’m not a huge fan of anything inside churches but the outside can be really stunning and fascinating to me!)
Next, I went back to my hostel. I was meeting up with a friend from Twitter (yes, it’s a recurring theme) and when she got there we went to the Heroes Square and the city park. It was really nice and relatively calm there (relatively because there was some sort of women’s run going on but apart from that it wasn’t very busy) and we talked a lot and I also definitely enjoyed not running around in the sun the whole time. I really did that a lot in that one week. Afterwards, my friend took me to Margaret Island which is basically just a huge park but in the middle of the Danube. I really saw a lot of green that day because we walked around the island as well! After some time at Deak Square, where we talked and watched random people dance salsa in the middle of the Square (they seemed to have so much fun!) we sadly had to part ways.
I didn’t do anything else that day but I really noticed how many people spend time in bars and pubs in Budapest. All of my roommates on Day 1 and 2 came home ages after I went to bed and you get bar recommendations everywhere. Apparently, that’s a thing in Budapest. It isn’t really a thing for me, especially when I’m alone, but sure, why not?
I started the day by going to the Parliament and getting a ticket for a tour at lunch time. I suppose I was relatively lucky because there were only three places left in this one English tour and the next one was I don’t even know when. I then walked a bit around the Parliament, which is honestly one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever seen. It’s so huge and beautiful and the details are just incredible. Inside it’s full of gold and fancy ceilings and columns and statues and I liked that a lot! The tour itself was rather quick but it was still interesting and you learn a bit more about Hungary’s history through it.
On this day I also saw the Liberty Square, some more pretty buildings and the great Market Hall. This hall is quite impressive, there are so many stands in there and you can buy so many different things. I couldn’t really buy much food because how would I carry it around or bring it home, but I did find a souvenir and a snack. My mum would have spent ages in that hall.
In the afternoon I went on a walking tour. I got a flyer from my hostel which showed these free walking tours where you pay tip based and they were either themed around the biggest or most interesting sights or something like that or a certain topic. I was torn between the communism tour and the Jewish district one but I accidentally signed up for the Jewish one so that was decided. And I certainly didn’t regret that. The tour was incredibly interesting and I didn’t just learn about Jews in Budapest but also a lot about the history of the city and of Hungary and I learned more about some places I had walked by a couple of times now. We went to three synagogues and walked by a bunch of Jewish shops and the “hipster” part of Budapest where bars and pubs are spreading like wildfire.
The tour ended in a beautiful bar which is the original ruin bar aka the whole place is a patchwork of all kinds of materials and it’s interesting and weird and just stunning. I wanted to come back later that evening but I had blisters on my feet and once I got to my hostel I couldn’t move anymore. So I just had Gulasch at a street-food market and chilled.
Some side notes:
- On Day 4 I took a nine-hour train home which was… fun… and contrary to my expectations I didn’t have wifi which wasn’t great but whatever, I survived.
- For some reason, my phone didn’t connect to the Hungarian phone network (or whatever you’d call that) so I had neither the ability to call or text someone nor my internet flat. This means I had to find my way around mostly without Google Maps which was slightly annoying. As soon as I crossed the border to Austria it worked again. Grrr.
- The Wombats Hostel is super close to loads of bars, the pretty Jewish quarter and Deak Square aka perfect location. It’s also pretty, clean, affordable and quieter than I expected so I’d recommend it!
- Everyone told me walking up to the Castle or the Citadel at night is amazing because you get a stunning view over the city by night. I sadly didn’t have time to do that but that sounds so great!
See you soon ❤