So, it’s been a while since I last updated this blog. I seem to always be full of ideas, but never carry them through. I have no clue why updating this blog regularly is so hard for me, while I still have some stuff to share. But here I am, on a rainy Thursday morning, reluctant to go to the gym (rain!), so… updating the blog it is! (You might have noticed that it’s Friday night now, I have the attention span of a fruit fly, something tiny at least. Oops.)
Budapest is a city I’ve visited before and always wanted to go back to one day. The last time I went there as part of my Interrail trip, this time I flew to the city with two friends. It was a whole different experience this time, but still just as nice. What I remembered of Budapest was still true: friendly helpful locals, great weather, beautiful buildings, the hipster Jewish Quarter, the kerts, everything being so cheap, the cute yellow trams… it was all still there! I think Budapest is one of my favourite cities. I also remember it mixing up with Prague after the Interrail trip. A friend asked me about tips for Prague, but apparently I also gave a few that were about Budapest (go to the Castle District! She later told me there was no Castle District… oops!). I guess the cities are kinda similar, with the grandeur of the old architecture, the big river streaming right through the city, the large impressive bridges. If I had to pick one though, I think I’d prefer Budapest. Less crammed with tourists, a little bit more underground, a bit more hipster (ugh that word), a bit more funky ;)
First things first: rent an apartment with AirBnB! I usually cannot stress this enough, but really, in Budapest it’s such a perfect option. I’ve did this both times I went to Budapest. It’s perfect, usually they’re on great locations, incredibly cheap and the hosts are always super friendly and helpful! And look at that beautiful building with the beautiful flowers? Who doesn’t want to wake up there every day? And the elevator was one from the middle ages, that’s a whole experience on it’s own!
This is something every blog or person will say to you about Budapest, but please do visit one of it’s bathhouses! The most famous one is Széchenyi, where we went to. But other options are Gellért, Rudas, Kiraly… the options are endless! Széchenyi is the biggest though, and it sure is beautiful! I wouldn’t recommend anything from the restaurant though, never had fries that gross. And there aren’t many other options haha.
On the day we arrived it was about 35-40 degrees (Celsius) so a perfect day to spend at the pool.
Oh man, the Jewish Quarter must be my most favourite place in Budapest. In World War II it was called the ‘Budapest Ghetto’, a place were Jewish people were ‘banished’ to. Nowadays it’s a vibrant place full creative people, street art, hipster coffee shops, vintage stores and last but not least ‘kerts’ or also called ‘ruin pubs’. Ruin pubs, well the name says it all, are pubs located in old buildings. They have a very alternative, artsy vibe and is a must visit for both locals and tourists. There are plenty of them, but the most famous ones are Szimpla Kert, Fogas Ház and Instant.
If you cross the river from Pest to Buda, you’ll find yourself at the Castle District. I would recommend taking a bus, by the way, or the funicular! Here you’ll find not only Buda Castle, but also museums, beautiful architecture, colourful houses, a great panoramic view of Budapest (for free!), a church with some cute colourful tiles! Basically, if you want to do some historical sightseeing, this is the place! It’s very different from Pest, the other side of Budapest, so definitely a must visit.
A place I didn’t visit the first time, Margaret Island wasn’t very high on my list. But it turned out to be a nice break from city life. I think this place is best seen by bike (it’s huge!) which you can rent at the park itself (but that seemed kinda expensive). Or if you have quite some time left, you can just take a walk. A beautiful park with lots of old, epic trees and some ruins here and there. And also a small animal park with ravens, ducks, ponies and even storks! If you just want to stroll around and enjoy some nature, this is the place. It’s also right into the middle of the city, quite literally as it is an island in the Danube. You can just get a tram (4 or 6) and get out at the middle of the bridge and you’ll find yourself in an entirely different place.
Here I also had some Lángos, which basically is some sort of deep fried pizza (oliebollendeeg anyone?) It looks very yummy on the picture, but… I just felt so greasy while eating it. This was also a kind of ‘sophisticated’ version, I believe they usually eat it with cream and lots of cheese!
On the banks of the Danube, nearby the Parliament, you’ll find about sixty pair of shoes scattered around. Shoes of all kinds, of all sizes, big, small, children’s shoes, women’s shoes, sport’s shoes. During the last year of WWII, many Jewish people in Budapest were fusilladed. They were forced to take of their clothes and shoes, leaving them on the banks of the Danube before being shot into the river. The shoes are still there nowadays, only in a different form, permanent, as a memorial to these brutal happenings. It’s a small and simple monument, but very impressive! While you’re there, you can just walk up a little further to the Parliament, which is one of the big sightseeings of Budapest as well.
I realize that this kind of sightseeing might not be right up to everyone’s alley. But I do find cemeteries beautiful and interesting (Père Lachaise! Edinburgh with all it’s graveyards!) and if you feel the same way, than this is definitely a must see! The Kerepesi Cemetery is huge, maybe not as big as Père Lachaise, but it felt pretty close enough to me. And to be honest, I liked this one a lot better. If you go to this cemetery, you don’t even have to go to a museum: gorgeous statues everywhere! There might not be anyone famous (well, famous to you, there are some ‘big’ Hungarian people over there, but you know, no Oscar Wilde or things like that), but it’s just gorgeous overall. Again, if you’re interested in this kind of thing, it’s definitely worth a visit! It’s a bit of a walk/ride though, it’s far from the city centre, so make sure to have enough time left if you plan to do this!
Well, I realize ‘architecture’ is a bit of a vague sightseeing tip, right? But truly, Budapest is full of amazing buildings of all kinds of styles and era’s. We went looking for the Postatakarekpenztar, a Jugendstil post office! It was well.. very Jugendstil, but around it were all kinds of other beautiful buildings as well (I can’t seem to come up with different words other than ‘beautiful buildings’ it seems, sorry). So, basically, keep your eyes open and look up to the sky every once in a while to find yourself some wonderful architecture, it’s everywhere! If you’re really into Jugendstil, check out this list! This building in particular reminded me of the blue ‘smurf church’ in Bratislava by the way, which looked more like a wedding cake than a church!
I didn’t wanna do it, but for this one I really need to use some pictures from my previous trip. I still remember the sunset while I was walking down the Chain Bridge on a warm October evening. Ah, so pretty! First you’ll have the beautiful golden hour that sets everything alight and after that some mesmerizing pink skies to give Budapest a wonderful warm glow. I guess this is applicable to all places, but with the Danube and the amazing panoramic views, it’s a nice way to see Budapest just once more.
A few other things that you might want to know about Budapest:
– First of all, I have the things listed above also marked down on my map here at stay.com, which is an app I cannot recommend enough! If you want to find adresses of the places I mentioned, look there! Special mention for: The Frank Zappa cafe, The Cake Shop (so good!), Mazeltov is a place I haven’t been to but heard many good things about, the kerts like Szimpla Kert, Blue Bird Coffee (the prettiest tiles!), the Lomography shop etc. etc.
– It’s a small city, so most things are on a walking distance. However, public transportation is also very good! And you HAVE to see the old metro stations, they are just too cute for words. Some even have a little Hobbit house door! A 72-hour ticket for all public transport is only about 13 euro, so that’s pretty doable right? Walking is great, but for some things (like going to the Castle District or the Széchenyi bathhouse) it’s better to use public transport. Again, it’s not expensive, so I would just ‘indulge’ and buy a ticket ;)
– I can’t really think of anything else. This has already become quite a large post. Most of all, since Budapest is kinda compact, I’d say just pick a few things and just wander around the city. You’ll find plenty of things to enjoy :)
Hope you enjoyed this post and I hope it’s gonna be helpful to at least someone! It took a while to write, since my concentration is all over the place, but most of all I’m not really a writer. I’m more a.. picture kind of person ;) I do hope this is all still readable enough for you to enjoy, that it won’t be too stiff. I’ll do my best! I do really like to create content like this, so hopefully I’ll be updating some more in the future… who knows? Don’t leave me!