Budapest: One of the most popular destinations in Europe
Two years ago, I had an opportunity to pay a visit to one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, or maybe even the world. I heard stories about it, and they were all true. The city is captivating. No matter how long you stay, there is not enough time to see all its beauties and attractions.
Budapest is the capital and the largest city, located in Central Hungary. It lies on the Danube River, which divides the city into two parts – Buda and Pest. By road, it is 378km north of Belgrade, 216 km south-east of Vienna, 545 km south of Warsaw, 1,565 km south-west of Moscow, 1,122 km north of Athens, 788 km north-east of Milan, and 443 km south-east of Prague. Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport is 16km far from the city centre. It’s one of the busiest airports, which provides international connections amongst all major cities in Europe, America, Africa and the Middle East.
This beautiful terrace with its seven towers is located on the Buda bank of Danube, on the Castle Hill, offering you the most amazing view of the Danube, Margaret Island and Pest. It is a nice place to take a walk, or just sit and enjoy a good coffee, sweets or drinks made of marzipan. It is very popular and it has its own museum, Szabo Marzipan Museum where you can see an exhibition of statues and scenes made of marzipan. It’s amazing what people can create from it.
The Hungarian Parliament
The Hungarian Parliament Building is one of the tallest buildings in Budapest and also amongst the most popular city sights. It is built in Gothic style, displaying figures of Hungarian rulers on its façade. I didn’t have an opportunity to see it from inside, but I sure enjoyed a lot sitting on the opposite bank and watching it as it shines the whole night. Definitely, one of the most fascinating views this city has to offer.
The Shoes on the Danube Bank
This monument is located on the Pest side of the river. It is a memorial created to honour the people who were killed by the fascist in World War II. Visiting this site was very emotional. You can’t just stand there and feel nothing. Some other people, children including, were standing on that site, just like me that day. They were ordered to take off their shoes and then they were shot. The river carried away their bodies. Certainly one of the most disturbing stories I have ever heard.
Margaret Island is located in the middle of Danube. This park is a place where you can escape the city crowd. It is also a recreational and picnic area. You can enjoy long walks, jogging, swimming, playing tennis etc. There is also a small zoo, a music fountain, open-air theatre and my favourite place, the Japanese garden with a small fish pond. There is also a hotel with thermal services, clubs and restaurants. You can rent a four-person cycle car or an electric car to explore the island.
Bridges across the Danube
Budapest is famous for a large number of bridges across the Danube, 14 to be exact. The Chain Bridge is the first bridge built across the Danube, which connects Buda and Pest. It is very popular amongst the tourists. It’s known for the lions on each side of the bridge. Apparently, the lions don’t have tongues.
This historical palace complex is located on the Castle Hill. It is one of the main city sights. It used to be a castle of Hungarian kings. Today, it consists of the Hungarian National Gallery and The Budapest History Museum, presenting Hungarian art and the history of Budapest. The castle has many lovely gardens, decorated by works of art, monuments and fountains.
Things to do in Budapest
While you are in Budapest, you might enjoy some of the city attractions. If you are an adrenaline junky, you will most certainly pay a visit to G1 Gokart Centre. It is located in the Skylight City. It was quite an adventure for me. It looked like an abandoned building. We entered the lift and we weren’t sure what we’ll find at the end of the road, floor minus three, to be exact. But there it was, the ride of my life.
If you prefer cars, there is an Internation Automobil and Tuning Show, usually held in May. If you are lucky, you might see F1 bolids.
For those who like Robin Hood, there are some archery activities in the gardens on the Castle Hill. It’s quite interesting to try yourself in handling bow and arrow.
Ways to get around the city
Budapest is a city with a large number of attractions and places to visit. To get around the city, you can use one of the Hop On, Hop Off buses. It takes tourists to the main city sights, so it will take you wherever you want. If you like cycling, there are many places where you can hire a bicycle and use it to explore the city.
Food and accommodation
If you decide to stay for a while, you have many hotels or private flats at your service. We rented a nice flat in the city centre and the price was surprisingly reasonable and affordable. You can look for them and book them online.
For all beer lovers, there is a large number of pubs. You won’t believe the amount of beer and the diversity of labels. You can spend your entire holiday just trying all kinds of this refreshing drink.Of course, we had to eat something, so we found a nice little place called “Iguana Bar & Grill” and there we tasted some lovely Mexican specialities. If you’re a fan of enchiladas, burritos and tequila, this is definitely a place to rest from your daily adventures. From my point of view, Budapest is one of those cities you fall in love and you wish to come back as soon as possible. It felt like home. The city has so many beautiful and interesting things to offer. It was one of the most amazing experiences in my life. So, whatever you heard, trust me when I tell you, it’s nothing compared to what it truly is. You have to see it for yourself. Let your next stop be this stunning city along the majestic Danube.