Solo travelling can leave little time to spend with friends and family you leave behind, and I often find myself cramming in a few hours with the people that matter most in-between destinations. This Summer, however, I managed to travel to Budapest with one of my fave ‘gal pals’ to discover a brand new destination that neither of us had seen.
It began with my friend Alice booking flights to Budapest whilst I was living and working abroad, which meant that no matter how plans changed (and mine change all of the time!), we had dates set that we would stick to! Several months later, I finally got round to looking at some accommodation, and booked a really delightful Air bnb on the Pest side of the Danube. Other than that, we had done no research into what Budapest would have in store for us, and we really had no expectations whatsoever as to what the City was all about. I gave very little time to thinking about the holiday at all, and a ‘last-minute’ approach to the whole trip was most definitely present. I think the planning method, or more so ‘lack of planning’ method of this trip had a huge part to play in the outcome of our holiday, in that no expectation led to our experience in Budapest being more than we could have imagined. It was really fantastic!
One week before we were due to fly, and the evening before I was heading off to another destination, Alice and I managed to sit down for a couple of hours, and trawl through online sites and blogs to research what we might like to see in Budapest, (if anything), what we should maybe avoid, and whether we would find anything to eat whilst we were there (especially seeing as I am a veggie). With scribbled notes on a pad of paper, I headed off to another destination, and we were as ready as we’d ever be to head to Hungary. I came home from my previous trip, and in less than 24 hours I was picking Alice up to head to the airport. Little did we know, the next three days would be packed full of history, culture, tradition, architecture, gorgeous sunshine and culinary delights. It would be unfair to say that Budapest surprised us, as we went in almost blind, however it is fair to say that the city blew any expectations we did have right out of the water! Here’s a list of just some of the ‘Wonders of Budapest’ that we discovered and truly loved. I’ll leave the rest of the exploration up to you when you head to this amazing city.
The Wonders of Budapest
There is no escaping the wonderful architecture throughout this city. Everywhere you look, there are offerings of different styles of buildings from different era’s; many of which are a spectacle to behold.
We were lucky enough to visit St Stephen’s Basilica on a Sunday during Mass. If you get a chance, try to get there during a service to really experience the atmosphere inside such a spectacular building. You can also head up to the Dome and view the city from above if you have the time and funds available.
Margaret Bridge is a beautiful bridge connecting the Buda and Pest sides over the Danube, and should be viewed both during the day, as seen above, and at night when it is lit up and glistening off the water below. Utterly delicate and beautiful.
The shoes on the Danube bank on the Pest side of the river is a memorial to the 3500 people shot into the Danube during the time of the Arrow Cross Terror. You can learn more about the history of this time in the House of Terror in Pest, which is well worth a visit.
Set just a little further downstream from Margaret Bridge, Chain Bridge again is worth visiting during the sunshine and when lit up at night. Head across the Chain Bridge to get straight to the main areas on the Buda side of the Danube.
Inside the Fisherman’s Bastion is a cafe overlooking the Danube back towards Pest, ideal for a light lunch or even just to enjoy an ice cream!
My absolute favourite building in the whole of Budapest! The intricate and colourful tiling on the roof mixed with the beautiful stonework architecture is just sublime, especially with the roof glistening in the warm sunshine. Don’t miss this one!
Make sure you wander down the small side streets in Buda, find shops that sell hand crafted, traditional Hungarian goods, and try out some of the small local cafes. There is so much to take in on this side of the Danube, just as there is in Pest, but the city really is a city of two halves, so make sure to discover what both sides have to offer. It’s fair to say, you won’t be disappointed! There is plenty more to discover throughout Budapest, including smaller memorials, beautiful buildings, quaint cafe’s and artisan bakeries, delicious ice cream parlours, opera houses and museums, but I’ll leave those for you to discover yourself! Budapest is such a delightful city, I wouldn’t want to reveal all it’s secrets. It is a city that should provide the backdrop to individual discovery. Enjoy!
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