June 20, 2014

Budapest

One month ago I took the plane to Budapest (capital of Hungary) with six friends. The weather report promised us rain, rain & ..., but we were very lucky and just got a little rain twice. I got to know Budapest as an old, warm city, with long promenades, old houses, bladdering paint and beautiful thermal baths. Perfect for a weekend away. Bonus: it's a really cheap stay, because prices are really low. We've spent 4 days and saw a lot of highlights. From the brilliant cafe Szimpla to the palace and Ministry. Here's an impression and I've listed our tips on where to stay and where to go below. Go there!    



Click on the link for more pictures and tips on where to go and where to stay!






Where to go

Budapest is divided by the river Donau. On one side is Pest, on the other side Buda. We visited per day a few highlights that where closely located to one another. We also followed the tips of our apartment owner. This was our perfect program to spend our weekend: 

Day 1: Arrival

Unpacking, dinner and cocktails. Perfect for a late arrival on the first day. 

Day 2: Buda

We walked over the Liberty bridge (Szabadság hid) to the Géllert hill, and climbed to the Freedom Monument on top. (killed my legs :|, it's really, REALLY steep). 
Then we walked down and took the funicular to Castle hill (Várnegyed). We viewed the royal palace, fisherman's bastion and the Mátyás church. Lot's of people getting married there, really fun to see. 
We walked down again via the bastion and took the chain bridge back to the apartment. In the evening we ate Hungarian food, took the metro down to Margaret bridge for night pictures (best viewing point!) and drank cocktails at a cocktailbar, so delicious.

Day 3: Pest

The rainy day. We decided to walk through Pest. We made quite a few kilometres passing 1. Szent István basilica and 2. the Opera. 
Then 3. (no skipping here!!) I'd recommend you eat a tart and drink coffee and the beautiful bookcafe inside the Alexandra bookstore at 4. Andrássy Avenue. Think chandeliers and a fresco-styled ceiling. Plus it's a bookstore, of which I'm a fan. 
5. Visited the Museum Terror Haza, about the nazi and communist history of Hungary. Impressive museum, it really got me. 
We walked further along the Andrássy Avenue until we reached 6. Hero's square (Hösök Tere). Then we took a bath at Széchenyi thermal bath. Not a thing that I'd normally like, but here it was really great, glad I didn't miss it!
No more walking at that point, we took the metro :). We ended with food and cocktails and a visit tot the bar Szimpla. You should really, really go there, it's such a cool place to hang out, with vintage furniture, a garden, several bars and a relaxing feeling. 
Crazy day when you read it like this, but there was totally no rush, it's a great way to see everything.

Day 4: Relaxing

A relaxing last day with not much on the program. With one friend I took a walk along all the souvenir shops on Váci Street. Then the rest joined us for a visit to the central market hall (Vámház körút). 
At last we took the metro to Margaret Island and layed down in the park. Delicious :).
No cocktails that day, but a bowl of ice cream while waiting on the shuttle bus to take us home. We actually had to run for our plane when the information board on the airport suddenly showed 'gate closed' while we were finishing our sandwich... We ran! And were in time. To our surprise we departed 10 minutes before the formal departure time ?!! Bye Budapest! 


Where to stay
I booked an appartment in the city center (Pest), via Katona apartments. It was a perfect location. No rooms on the street side (so no loud noises), but near the river, the center with shops and bars and on walking distance from high lights. Also great service and kind owners. They told us where to go, we could store our luggage until our departure in the afternoon, they provided us with extra towels and even send us an e-mail along the way asking if we needed anything more. Brilliant, ha! From the airport to the appartment and back, I booked a shuttle bus. Easy and cheap.



[Images by what rose likes]

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