This is the first of a series of ‘place-guides’ for the towns and cities I have visited this summer, I spent about 3 days in each place so will share with you the best-bits in case you decide to visit.
Let’s start with a beautiful city based on the Danube in Hungary: Budapest was the second capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire so has some impressive history and magnificent architecture. Since then, it has become a major tourist destination, yet retains its unique character so contributes a good bit of culture and beauty to any trip.
The city has two reasonably small hills from which there are incredible views, Gellért Hill holds the Liberty Statue, which is apparently worth a visit, however, we only had time to see Castle Hill. To reach the top, you can take the funicular – a lift/elevator – or take a refreshing 10 minute climb up the stairs. Believe me it is worth it for the view, or should I say views over the Danube, Buda and Pest (the two cities on either side of the river that have merged), which can be seen from each edge of the hill. Once you have finally put your camera away (I took almost 100 pictures – whoops!), you can visit the Matthias Church or admire the historic Buda Castle (pictured).
No visit to Budapest is complete without a trip to the amazing baths! The city is renowned for them and has plenty to choose from: the Szechenyi Baths, the Király Baths and the Rudas Baths. Each one offers a unique experience and is a great way to relax after a long day, but as it is impossible to decide which one is best, we decided to go to the Gellert Baths because they were the nearest. As with all of the baths, the Gellért Baths boasts a gorgeously traditional design, with Hungarian tiles lining the ceilings, walls and floors and angelic statues and fountains. The pools range from a chilly 19 degrees to a smouldering 40 degrees, making it great fun just to plunge in and hope for the best! The building is somewhat labyrinthine, but once we finally found our way outside there was a large pool and sunbathing areas – perfect for a hot summer’s day.
Just off the edge of the river lies a very large, beautifully decorated building, within its fine walls is the third of the attractions Budapest has to offer that I am going to share with you. Perfect for buying lunch, a souvenir, a bag or just admiring, the Great Market Hall has hundreds of stalls and is the city’s largest indoor market. I particularly liked the atmosphere, it felt very authentic and although there were plenty of tourists, it is obvious that it is a key part of local life. (The picture really doesn’t do it justice!)
I hope that you have been inspired to visit the wonderful city of Budapest! Let me know if there is any star attractions you have been to in Budapest that I can add to my list.