At the end of March my friend Chloe and I made a last minute decision to book a short trip to Budapest. It's not somewhere I'd ever thought about visiting before and wasn't sure what to expect; however we had an amazing time. We stayed right in the heart of the city and managed to cram so much into our 72-hour stay. I found it similar to Prague in the fact that it's super cheap, incredibly beautiful and has that real medieval, Gothic aesthetic to it.
I wasn't aware that Budapest is actually split into two cities ('Buda' and 'Pest') until I read Abigail's blog. Buda, which sits on the western bank of the Danube, is built on a series of hills and is home to countless cobbled back streets and majestic buildings (such as the beautiful Buda Castle and Fisherman's Bastion). Pest, which is on the opposite side of the river, is completely flat and has a more modern/industrial vibe to it. Due to its endless amount of clubs, bars and quirky cafes, many people advise to 'visit Buda but stay in Pest,' which I completely agree with. Pest also hosts one of the city centre's main shopping districts - Váci Street - for anyone in need of a Zara fix halfway through their trip!
View of Pest from the top of Buda Castle
A pretty breakfast bar we stumbled across one morning
Things to see and do:
- Climb the steps to Buda Castle and take in the view of the city
- Visit the Hungarian National Gallery
- Take a dip in one of the many thermal baths. We didn't visit any in the day but we did go to a 'bath party' on our first night which was so much fun (the nightlife in Budapest on a whole is amazing!)
- Visit Budapest Zoo
- Take a boat trip along the River Danube and visit Margaret Island
- Hire a paddle boat for an hour by Vajdahunyad Castle
- Visit the Hungarian Parliament
Unfortunately we didn't have time to see St Stephen's Basilica or Fisherman's Bastion - I would have loved to as they both look beautiful! I'd also liked to have seen the shoes on the Danube bank, however I didn't read about them until after I came back.
The Hungarian people were so warm and friendly - we were often greeted with a 'hello' whilst walking down the street which I think is unusual for a city. The staff at the hotel we were staying at were particularly accommodating; always happy to help with directions or point us towards the best bars and restaurants.
There's so much more I'd like to write but I think I might save it for a 'Budapest vs Prague' type of post - would anyone be interested in seeing that? I know I commented on the similarities of both cities but I had a completely different experience in each one and thought it might be interesting to write about it. It could help anyone who can't decide which to visit!
Have you ever been to Budapest? x