Budapest ๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡บ

Budapest, also known as the Pearl of the Danube is the capital city of Hungary with a population of over 1.7 million.

The Danube river flows through the middle of the city separating Buda on the right bank from Pest on the left. Buda is home to the castle, Fisherman’s Bastion and Matthias Church while Pest houses the remainder of the tourist sites and is much more lively.

1896 was a very important year for Hungary as this was when it achieved independence from Turkey and Austria.

Did you know that Hungarian is the second hardest language in the world to learn?!

Hungarian Parliament, Budapest

This impressive red roofed building is the 3rd largest parliament in the world (the 1st been China and the 2nd being Romania) and one of the first ever buildings to have its own central heating system.

Building work started in 1885 and was completed in 1904 and it is said to consist of 691 rooms!

It is possible to have a guided tour but this is 20 Euros for citizens from outside the EU.

Top Tip: Looks spectacular from a evening river cruise

Parliament

Chain Bridge

Centrally located, this is the first permanent connection between Buda and Pest. It started off a pontoon bridge until Count Istvan Szechenyi, known as the Greatest Hungarian decided to build a permanent bridge.

It took nearly 50 years and was completed in 1848-49 during the Revolution and War of Independence. The Austrians attempted to blow it up by the explosives failed to detonate. Unfortunately the bridge was destroyed in 1945 but rebuilt in 1949.

It is 375 metres long, 16 metres wide and is guarded by stone lions.

Chain bridge Budapest
Under Construction

Buda Castle

Located on Castle Hill, Buda Castle has fantastic views over the River Danube.

It used to be the residence for Hungarian Kings but nowadays is it home to the Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest History Museum and the Szรฉchenyi National Library.

The castle was built in the 14th century and has been besieged over 30 times!

Top Tip: Walk along the river for a wonderful view of it

Buda Castle

Szechenyi Thermal Spa

This is an experience not to be missed! With several natural hot springs baths this is a great place to spend a morning, an afternoon or even a day relaxing and recharging those batteries after lots of walking.

At 34 degrees celsius the baths are toasty warm and there is no better feeling than dashing from a warm changing through, so 6 degree air and then into the warm water.

There are 2 large outdoor baths plus a swimming pool and several smaller baths and hot tubs inside. There is a little cafe by the outside baths and seats to enjoy a drink if you can brave the cold weather!

The spa itself offers different packages including the full spa treatment (and a massage) if you’re in the mood to splash out. A regular ticket includes either a private changing cubicle which can be locked when you leave to store your belongings or a locker with public changing rooms.

Take a towel/robe and flip flops or you’ll have to buy them from the shop!

Top Tip: Visit in winter

Thermal Spa
Thermal Spa Budapest
Image by Tasha
Thermal Spa
Image by Tasha

Budapest Eye and Danubias Fountain

For panoramic views over the city head to Erzsรฉbet Square to take a ride on the Budapest Eye. Tickets cost approximately ยฃ8.15 and different packages can be obtained such as priority tickets with a glass of bubbly or a private cabin.

Just in front of the eye is the Danubias Fountain, one of the largest, prettiest and oldest (1853) in Budapest. Atop is the figure of a man who represents the Danube and below are 3 female figures portraying the river Tisza, Drรกva and Szรกva.

Top Tip: Line up the fountain with the eye behind it for a good photo

Budapest Eye

Fisherman’s Bastion

Hike up here for an amazing view overlooking Buda and in particular the Parliament building. With its beautiful, ornate carvings, the Bastion is a sight in itself.

The building work started in 1895 and was completed in 1902. The finished article reminds me of something out of a Disney film!

There are 7 turrets, which represent the 7 Hungarian Tribes who founded the country. An entrance fee is required to enter the turrets but the viewing balconies are free.

Fisherman's Bastion
Image by Tasha
View over Budapest
Enjoying the view over Budapest
Image by Tasha

Matthias Church, Budapest

Found on the same site as Fisherman’s Bastion, this beautifully coloured church has been around since 1246 and is open for concerts as well as services.

Budapest

St Stephens Basilica

The building was completed in 1905 and took 54 years to complete. During this time it collapsed twice! It stands at 96 metres tall as Hungary gained independence in the year 1986.

It is named after King Stephen was was Hungary’s 1st King and was crowned in the year 1000. Stephen led Hungary to success in being the first to fight off a Mongol invasion.

King Stephen is buried in the Basilica and his right arm, which was naturally mummified is on display.

A church becomes a Basilica when it is blessed by a Pope.

Budapest
Budapest

Heroes square

Located close to the Szechenyi Thermal Spa, this square is home to a Millennium Monument that features statues of the 7 chieftains of the Magyars, important Hungarian leaders and the Memorial Stone of Heroes which, is also known as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

The square is known for hosting political events.

Heroes Square

Shoes on the Danube, Budapest

This memorial, found on the Buda side near the Parliament building, was erected in 2005 in memory of Jews who were murdered by the Fascist Hungarian Militia in WW2.

They were ordered to remove their shoes as these were valuable and then were shot as they fell into the water.

Budapest

Liberty Square

Ironically, Liberty Square used to house a prison but when Parliament started being built the prison had to be moved as it was full of political prisoners!

Further down the square is the old Stock Exchange building. Not very memorable but it has featured in some films! If you look closely on the pavement there is a tiny sculpture of Kermit the Frog. This was put there by Ukrainian artists because Hollywood was shooting films there.

At the other end of the square is the last Soviet monument that stands in the city. The inscription on it reads: ‘Glory to the Soviet heroes, the liberators’. It has never been moved to join the other monuments outside the city at Monument Park because soldiers are buried underneath.

Budapest
Kermit the Frog
Stock Exchange
Stock Exchange
Budapest

Christmas Markets

There are several Christmas Markets spread across the city from late November and each one as magical as the other. One in front of the Basilica plays a show projected off St Stephen’s building, and another in Vรถrรถsmarty Square has a fantastic food court. All share a magical feel when walking round with lovely homemade products to buy.

Top Tip: Don’t forget to wrap up warm and enjoy the mulled wine!

Christmas Market
Christmas Market
Christmas Square
Mulled Wine

Best Bars and Restaurants in Budapest

Mercatino Ristorante Enoteca – This was beautifully decorated for Christmas with tasteful decor including tiled floors, a brick ceiling and walls and linen napkins. The staff were fantastic with a great sense of humour. There are huge cocktails and a wide range of meals including lots of gluten free options. You might be offered a shot of the local drink (palinka) – don’t try it, its lethal ๐Ÿคฃ

Budapest
Budapest
Gin
Budapest
Chicken with yoghurt, mash and mustard and calvados sauce

Il Terzo Cerchio – A lovely restaurant with brick walls and a stone pizza fun with fun and engaging staff and excellent local wine and food.

Duck
I recommend the duck

Gin Corner – This is one of the most atmospheric bars that I have come across. Located on Erzรฉbet Square and beautifully decorated with gin artefacts and flowers. There is an extensive menu including gin cocktails (and other forms of alcohol and soft drinks) with very knowledgeable staff

Gin Corner
Gin Corner
Mystic plum
Mystic Plum

C.King

Brit girl on a bummel. A solo female traveller accompanied by her camera, aiming to see as much of the world as possible and sharing what she's learnt along the way!

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