Did you know that Budapest is divided into two: Buda and Pest? with the Danube river dividing the City into two. Well, now you also know 🙂 The hilly part is Buda, while the flat part of the city and also the busiest is the Pest.
There are 3 bridges where buses pass along as part of the tour. The Chain bridge, Elizabeth and Freedom bridge.
When I posted my first photo in Facebook of Budapest, my friends send me private message asking, where is that Budapest? In our country, I don’t know why geography was never reached in a hardcore level. Even I, was unfamiliar with it at the beginning, but when you live in the Middle east, you’ll surely look from east to west which is the next target place to travel. Just like what I’ve said on my previous blog, I envisioned the city to be somehow magical like The Grand Budapest Hotel movie.
With only 3 days to embrace the city, I checked immediately the highlights and rushed from day one.
We arrived in the afternoon and since we’re staying very near The Great Market, we went inside anyway,
Souvenirs? Authentic Hungarian food? Don’t bother to drop by in this market. They have from food desserts to keychains.
Next stop I wanted to see was the Shoes on Danube , from Freedom Bridge we walked all the way to destination (2.8km). Since the shoes we’re looking for is not on the map, we just kept asking for directions, and every time we ask – they’ll say 5 mins walk, but in reality it was 30-45mins walk! We forgot we’re in “walk-for-forever-Europe”. Naah, admittedly we’re so lazy (lifestyle we adopted in Dubai, “eat-drive-work-dive-sleep”.) Of course there’s the tram, but then we opted to walk. Along the road, you’ll see the Vigadó Concert Hall.
There are at least 10 sculptures scattered in the city. One of it is the girl with her dog which can be found in Vigadó square.
Finally we reached the Shoes on Danube.
I love this monument, it creates a different “silence please” impact as these are created as a remembrance to the 3,500 people, 800 of them Jews, who were shot into the Danube during WWII.
Next building you’ll see on your right is the Hungarian Parliament. It was already pass 8pm (yes, sun’s still up in Europe at 8pm) by the time we reach the Parliament.
Keep in mind that this building is busy, you can’t simply walk in and enter, at least buy the ticket before your target day of visit. We did not manage to buy ticket actually, so we just wander around and speak of it’s architecture.
Before to finally eat our dinner, we booked for the Hop on Hop off Bus ride that’s going to be good for our entire stay. We paid 16,800HUF /55Euro/ 238AED Bus tour for 72 hours with Entrance + Locker on the (thermal bath).
The Bus tours charges: 5,400HUF per person for the bus trip and an additional 6,000HUF for the Thermal bath.
Tip: Don’t get the Szechenyi Spa ticket from these Bus tours. If you’ll go directly to the Spa – they’ll charge you for only 5,600HUF
The bad side of the Buses, they only start at 10AM and ends 7:30-8PM. So if you want to go to a certain place a bit earlier, take the public transportation or walk. Sine we were on holiday, first stop for day 02 is the Thermal bath, at 8:30AM we took a taxi and we paid so much! (oh well, you know how they treat tourists everywhere) for less than 10mins ride, we paid 7,000HUF / 23Euro /100AED. The Highlight of this trip for me is the Thermal Bath, Szechenyi Spa. My Favourite destination in Budapest.
After staying 2.5 hours in the Spa, we started to move on next location.
Behind the Thermal Spa, there’s a park where you can sit and relax, during winter, water turns to ice, so the space turns to a skating area.
On the way out (and before you reach the Spa) you will see the Heroes’ Square (Hősök tere).
It is one of the world’s oldest attraction in the City (Built 1896) and known as World Heritage Site. The site of the square includes the Hall of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Millennium Monument, buildings visually seen from the square.
After lunch, we went to the Fisherman’s Bastion on the Buda (Hilly area) side. To be able to reach the top part area, either you go with a Furnicular (HUF 800 /approx. 2.7 Euro) or Long golf car (5 euro – two way). I saw that they also have the public transportation buses that are dropping on site, which for sure will cost less. We took the golf car ride since the queue in the funicular is crazy. From the Fishermen’s Bastion, you’ll see the St. Matthiass Church.
The bastion was built as a viewing terrace with lookout towers on the base of a stretch of the castle walls (from the 17-18th century, built after the Buda Castle Siege).
On the other side of the hill, You’ll be approaching the National Gallery & Royal Palace.
To end the end, we hop off on St. Stephen’s Basilica.
It rained almost the full day so we decided not to move so much and went to Vajdahunyad Castle.
The oldest part of the Vajdahunyad Castle is the Romanesque style Church of Jak from the 11th – 13th century in Hungary.
Elaborate carved Portal. This is the main gate of the church decorated with geometric Norman style motifs.
It’s the first time I’ve seen a crucifix with Alpha and Omega symbol, which means from beginning (Alpha) to end (Omega).
Another sight not to miss inside the castle is the monument of Anonymus.
The pen with the shiny tip in his hand where tourists stroke for inspiration and wishes.
For lunch, we stopped at the most talked about restaurant in the City, The New York Cafe.
You’ll surely not miss this place because it’s located in a corner lot of Erzsébet krt. 9-11 and you’ll see a long queue.
Feeling lucky to be seated in front of musicians. It was a different sensation eating while they’re playing music. (oops, and people recording videos as well).
Finally, our last destination was in the city’s newest sight, the Whale or Bálna building.
The building alone combines the architectural traits of different eras. It’s like hugging old to new architecture. It’s a commercial, cultural, entertainment and leisure centre located in vicinity to the Great Market Hall.