Until I went to Budapest, I never thought of the city as anything more than another city in the world with a song named after it. That was until I took my first walk through the streets of Budapest.
The city of two halves is a historical story with amazing vista’s, architectural delights and many many many statues dotted in between.
I started with a trip to the Central (or Great) Market Hall. The market has way to many butchers on the ground level (It’s insane). Once you navigate the meat, fresh vegetable and spices on the ground floor, head up stairs for the Hungarian souvenirs and food stalls. The building itself is an architectural marvel with a neo-Gothic entrance. The basement has more butchers and fresh produce, I never got down there in time.
After exploring the market, I wandered along the river bank of the Danube until I came across the ‘Shoes on the Danube’. A memorial to the mainly Budapest Jewish people killed by Arrow Cross militiamen during World War two. The people were ordered to stand at the rivers edge and remove their shoes before being shot and falling into the river.
The memorial sits below the Hungarian Parliament Buildings built in a Gothic revival style and by far the most beautiful parliamentary buildings I’ve ever seen. This actually ended my day as my camera’s memory was full.
The next day started with a walk through Városliget park that has the usual park things like trees, flowers, a lake oh and a castle. A proper castle with a draw bridge and a moat!
After walking around the park I ended at Hero’s Square. The square is well known for its numerous statues dedicated to Hungarian leaders as well as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
From the park, I headed back along Budapest’s ‘Champs Elysees’ to parliament since my camera was full the night before.
I’m not well versed on Hungarian history so I had no idea what was going on but when I got to parliament, two soldiers were ceremoniously marching around a flag pole.
The grounds of parliament were amazing and I had a walk around. From parliament, I wandered back along the river bank and crossed the Chain Bridge from Pest to Buda.
I timed this right to catch sunset at the top of Buda Castle and then made my way back down through the castle grounds. At times I could have been in Nania or Game of Thrones the castle was that spectacular.
By the time I was back at the river, day had turned to night and the river was illuminated under the shimmer of the bridge lights.
For day 3 I returned to Buda via a different bridge that seemingly you’re allowed to climb?? I was planning to visit the cave church but after finding out you have to pay to get in, I decided against that and began the climb to the top to see Budapest from the Citadel.
The Citadel offers amazing city views and there are a few market stalls with souvenirs and food. A gentle walk down the other side leads to a waterfall cascading down the side of the cliff.
My next stop was Fisherman’s Bastion which I’d been told has the best views of Budapest. In my opinion, the Citadel being higher has better views. However Fisherman’s bastion is amazing and kind of reminded me of Harry Potter with it’s magical appearance.
It cost’s money to walk along the turret walls during the day so the best idea is to wait until after 7pm when it becomes free. As I walked up the stone step corridor straight out of a castle I could hear music. The music was coming from a wedding with an extremely high amount of security and event staff. For who, I’m not sure. Just standing in the wrong place got you yelled at. So this is how I crashed and got kicked out of a wedding.
That concluded my free time in Budapest as the next day I joined my Eastern European TopDeck tour. This meant a day of moving hotels, trip meetings and meeting new people. The next two days were broken up with just exploring the city and taking it all in.
Budapest is definitely a place you should visit and for me, I’ll be back to explore more of this city. The people are friendly and there is always something going on to entertain.