My friends and I spent two days in this charming city during our European summer trip in 2015. We boarded the Hop-on-Hop-off bus on our first day to get to the top attractions and spent our second day just relaxing and taking in the city’s laidback vibe. If I were to describe Budapest, I would say it’s quite refreshing and easygoing for my taste – with all the typical baroque architecture all around but without the cliched “old town” tone to it. Personally I was surprised that this city turned out to be a lot better than what we expected.
My Budapest Fave Five would have to be:
I loved the view from the Gellert Citadel, a fortress situated on top of a hill that reveals the most beautiful panoramic view of the entire city, with the Danube River sparkling in between Buda and Pest. It really highlighted Budapest’s unique natural wonders. The Chain Bridge which connects the two sides is majestic in the center.
We spent a few hours exploring one of Budapest’s world heritage sites – the Castle Hill District that comprises some of the city’s most important castles, museums and galleries. Walking around can be exhausting but looking at these gorgeous edifices and exploring the historical cobblestone streets that date back to the Ottoman empire, well, who was I to complain? I could have taken more photos of the Royal Palace and the Hungarian National Gallery but my cam battery died on me in the middle of the afternoon (I didn’t have a spare with me since it was my cam’s first trip abroad. Lesson learned.)
What drew my attention to this magical piece of framework were the church’s colorful Maiolica roof tiles that were intricately patterned in neo-gothic style. They were just simply stunning in broad daylight. I wished I could have taken more photos of the interiors too; they were just as equally impressive.
Castle district stretched out to beautiful classic European streets with quaint little vintage shops here and there. Everything was postcard-perfect.
Among the historical landmarks in Budapest, my favorite would have to be the Fisherman’s Bastion. It looks almost like a castle made for a summer princess, with its white limestone walls radiating in the summer sun. I look at it and I’m transported to the pages of a medieval romance novel, half-wishing I could stay there forever. But in reality, it’s actually built by the fishermen as a structure of protection in the Middle Ages.
What’s a visit to Budapest without trying their world-famous thermal baths? As soon as we got off the train from Vienna, we were excited to spend our last day in Europe with a much awaited R&R in the pools of Hungaria! Our top picks were between Szechenyi and Gellert Baths but we finally decided on the latter (the less touristy, IMO). There were numerous pools and spa baths to choose from – indoors and outdoors – and we tried them all!
MELLOW CITY NIGHTS
We spent our last night in the city just walking around without a clear-cut destination in mind. We stumbled upon the Great Market Hall and bought ourselves some Hungarian goodies and souvenirs, celebrated our birthday dinner (mine and Clifford’s) at a local pub, sipped late night coffee before the enchanting St. Stephen Basilica; walked around some more and blended in with the locals.
I’ve gotta say this was the most relaxed “last day” that I’ve ever spent in a city while on a tour. Everybody’s just so chill, they can have a beer in hand and have the grandest time on the sidewalks having slow conversations and inside jokes for all we know! It’s infectious! Theirs is a genuine good ‘ol time that I’ve never seen anywhere else in the world (or parts of the world that I got to visit, that is).
Budapest, I never imagined you to be such a rare gem. I really enjoyed meeting you.