A Visit to Budapest

Parliament

Parliament

Budapest is an amazingly, beautiful city. Something that I had not quite appreciated before going there in May. If you have not been I would urge you to put it on your list of places to go. It is a city full of history, that is so recent it is still palpable. The food was fantastic and the people friendly.

Gresham Palace & St Stephen's Basillica

Gresham Palace & St Stephen’s Basilica from Buda

We went not really knowing anything about the city, other than the flights were cheap and we found a beautiful apartment on Air BnB. So off we went for our sun filled long weekend exploring the city, where we walked miles and drank and ate so much.

After arriving on Friday afternoon we got picked up by our host and were taken to our apartment in the Jewish Quarter. A great location near a myriad of restaurants and ruin bars, even if you don’t stay around here I would recommend visiting the area, its got a really cool vibe to it and is home to the now infamous Ruin Bars (see below)

Inside a Ruin Bar

Inside one of the original Ruin Bars

We chose to walk most places because the weather was gorgeous and we found ourselves seeing something new around every corner, it was like a city sized secret garden. But the public transport is meant to be good in the city, which next time I would make use of because it is a big city to explore.

On Saturday we made our way to the city centre for some breakfast, before sauntering through the bustling central market hall. Having had our fill of sour cherry struedel and eggs we began our walk to Matyas Church, taking in the wonderful views of the parliament building across the Danube and also catching a changing of the guard at the Royal Palace. The church has a wonderful history dating back to the 13th century and that roof you see, its made up of individual glazed tiles – just stunning.

Matyas Church roof

Matyas Church

View of Parliament

Looking up at parliament

Shoes on the Danube, a memorial to the Jews shot into the river during WWII

Shoes on the Danube, a memorial to the Jews shot into the river during WWII

Following this we walked back down and across the bridge to the Gresham Palace. Originally constructed in 1904 as luxury residences, offices and shops it was severely damaged during the second world war and was painstakingly restored and rennovated into a hotel in 2004. I must admit we revelled in the airconditioning for a couple of hours enjoying the fruits from the bar. By far my favourite was my Viktoria’s Secret cocktail that came in a wonderful hand painted teacup and a macaron on the side.

Viktorias Secret Cocktail

Viktorias Secret Cocktail

In the afternoon we whizzed off to see the parliament and St Stephens Basilica before having a glass of wine and some dinner. Before heading back to the apartment we took a detour and went back to the parliament to see it at night and it was beautifully lit up and so quiet, a great time to go see it.

Parliament at night

Parliament at night

On Sunday, we walked up to Heroes’ Square, stopping off at Eco Cafe for some breakfast before spending the majority of the morning in the House of Terror Museum. This is a wonderful museum, but be warned it is very effective, we walked out feeling quite drained but so interesting and I would highly reccomend a visit. After this we walked through Heroes’ Square and the park to go to Szechenyi Baths. So many people had told us we needed to go visit the baths but if I’m honest I wasn’t totally taken with the whole experience. Don’t get me wrong the building is fantastic and the fact that it is the largest complex of spa baths in Europe is interesting, but me personally I wouldnt go out of my way to go again.

Statue of Anonymous, 1903

Statue of Anonymous, 1903

On our way back we stopped off at Mazel Tov, a brilliant ruin bar and restaurant. This ruin bar, as we found, was a more upmarket version. We headed to Menza for dinner, which is situated in a lovely square with loads of al fresco dining options but I would say this was the busiest and we were glad that we had booked a table.

Za'atar breadstick from Mazel Tov

Za’atar breadsticks from Mazel Tov

Our final walk on Monday morning took us over to Buda again to see the Gellert Hotel and Baths, an example of secession architecture. We passed the man on the hill blessing the city and the Cave Church. I wish we had had the time to walk up the hill to the castle district for more exploring but unfortunately we just didnt have the time.

For me the architecture (and the wine, I have to be honest) sold this city to me. The buildings are beautiful. We had the best time, the people are so friendly and there is so much to see and take in. If you haven’t been I would most definitely recommend it. If you have, what were your favourite parts, I’d love to hear your stories.

Parliament from Chain Bridge

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