Budapest

Budapest, the capital of Hungary. One of the largest cities in the European Union. It’s a city with a rich and complex history. Once you visit, you’ll never forget it.

Budapest will easily be on your on top five favorite destinations. It has an atmosphere different from other cities I’ve visited. It’s like a mixture of Prague, Romania, Frankfurt, Bremen and Würzburg. That’s the only way I can describe the vibe in Budapest.

For more information info on the history of Budapest: http://visitbudapest.travel/guide/budapest-history/

We stayed at the Hotel Intercontinental in Pest. It offers a picturesque view of the Danube river and Buda Castle.

(Hotel Intercontinental Budapest)

The image of the Danube and Buda Castle were a welcomed sight to see first thing in the morning and before retiring for the day. Our daughter stayed in front of the window admiring the view the whole time we were in the room. She preferred the view over watching television. She vividly remembers the image below when we talk about Budapest.

(View from our room)

Intercontinental Hotel is within walking distance to most of the tourist spots in Pest. It’s also near restaurants, shopping centers, the SzéchenyiChain Bridge, and the Shoes on the Danube Promenade. The staff were professional and friendly. The room and bathroom were clean. I’m not a foodie but this is one of the places I remember for their breakfast. I had no complaints with this hotel.

Let’s take a stroll on the Pest side first:

We went to Budapest in mid-February so it was still cold. Most days were foggy but it didn’t matter. The fog couldn’t hide the beauty of this city.

We stopped to eat at a Brazilian place near the hotel called Fire Churrascaira Steakhouse. It’s a meat lover’s restaurant. This restaurant offers a Rodizio-style service. Meats are brought to the table for the customers choosing. They have what looked like coasters on the table. One green and one red. Place the green for the waiters to see and different types of meats on skewers will continuously be offered at your table until you place the red coaster to signal them to stop. This restaurant also offers a cold gourmet salad bar and appetizers. The best part was dessert. They have desserts they light on fire in front of the customers. A lot of fun for both kids and adults to watch.

For more info: http://www.itshungarian.com/special-attractions/restaurant-budapest/

There’s an Ice Bar if you want to experience being in a room surrounded by ice from wall to ceiling. Get ready for some cold fun. A few customers are allowed at a time and given a shawl-like hoodie before going in. Once inside, they are served cocktails in a glass made of ice.

For more info: https://www.icebar.hu/index.php?waction=home2&lang=gb

The Hop-On Hop-Off is a good way to check out the sights in the city. They also offer a boat tour if you want to see the sights from the road and the river. We took the bus tour first. Although the air was still chilly, my family enjoyed seeing the sights from the top of the bus.

Heroes’ square and Millennium Monument (pic below)

Our family took the boat tour in the afternoon. We preferred this tour. We were able to get better pictures because it wasn’t going as fast as the bus.

On our second day, we decided to finish the rest of our sightseeing in Pest. We walked around town trying different foods. Try the Lángos (upper corner above what looks like bratwurst, pic below). Lángos is a savory, deep fried Hungarian pastry you can top with your choice of grated cheese, sour cream, Nutella and spices. You can get it sweet or salty. Both are delicious.

We also enjoyed walking inside the large indoor market. The famous Central Market Hall is the largest indoor market in Budapest.

We walked towards the river to see the Shoes on the Danube Promenade. This was a really moving experience. At the end of Szechenyi Street, you’ll find a row of iron made shoes set on concrete. This memorial commemorates the lives lost during World War II. The Arrow Cross party publicly murdered thousands of Jews all over Budapest. Shoes were a valuable commodity back then. After lining up the Jews on the embankment, they made them take off their shoes before shooting them.

For more info: http://yadvashem.org/yv/en/education/newsletter/31/shoes.asp

We ended the day by continuing our walk along the river and enjoyed the view.

We spent the next day exploring Buda on the other side of the bridge.

Buda has more to offer if you’re looking for good places to take pictures of historical sites. We decided to explore the town before heading to Buda Castle.

Matthias Church (pic below) also known as Church Of Our Lady reflects a Baroque style of architecture. It was built in 1269.

A great place to eat:

Jamie’s Italian restaurant offers fresh, rustic Italian dishes. They had antipasti, pastas, pizzas, and desserts.

For more info: https://www.jamieoliver.com/italian/hungary/restaurants/buda-castle/

Buda Castle is a “must-see” on your visit to Budapest. expect to spend a few hours to half a day just walking the grounds, taking pictures, and admiring the artwork in the museum.

For more info: http://budacastlebudapest.com/

Inside the museum:

After touring the museum, we were heading back to our hotel when we happened to pass by a sign that led to this street. The Labirintus or Labyrinth held a very famous prisoner. Vlad Tepes better known as Count Dracula was imprisoned here.

This is not for someone with a weak heart. I’m a big horror fan but this place gave me the shivers. It’s a long, dark, smoky passageway with many interesting (spooky) images along the way. They only give you a small lamp to light your path.

For more info: http://labirintus.eu/en/

Budapest is a great place to visit. The picture perfect Buda provides panoramic views of the city while fabulous Pest caters to the visitors’ love of shopping and great food. A mixture of old and new. It will surely be one of the most unforgettable places you’ll ever visit.

A Few Tips:

  • Best time to visit is Spring and Autumn.
  • The currency is the Hungarian Forint (HUF)
  • Plan to stay at least 3 days to enjoy all the sites in Budapest
  • Don’t skip out on the boat tours of the Danube river.
  • They don’t take credit cards at the Labyrinth. Cash only.
  • The Budapest History Museum inside Buda Castle is worth a visit.
  • The Hop-on Hop-Off is a great way to check out the sites and save taxi fare.
  • Be wary of unreliable and dishonest taxi companies. When in doubt, ask the hotel staff to call one for you.
  • Carry backpacks in front when walking through crowded areas of the city. This will allow you to keep track of your valuables and take pictures at the same time.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and watch out for pickpockets.
  • Important numbers to have handy: Police 107, Ambulance 104, Emergency 112.
  • For more great tips check out this link: https://www.budapestbylocals.com/

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