I was wondering what I should write today on my blog and simultaneously I was going through the photos in my mobile phone. I saw my honeymoon pics and I thought, why not talk about the place that still has a fairytale impression in my mind.
I got married in February this year and went for my honeymoon in the month of March to this wonderful city called Budapest – capital of Hungary. Hungary is a part of eastern Europe and as we all know, the month of March is pretty cold for all the European countries. So I was very excited for this trip, after all it was my honeymoon.
Lets first talk about the city and its history. Budapest is the capital city of Hungary and also the largest city of Hungary. Budapest is also one of the largest cities in the European Union. This amazing city of Budapest is bisected by the River Danube and is connected by a 19th century bridge called The Szenchenyi Chain Bridge. On one side of the bridge is the hilly Buda district and on the other side is the flat Pest. The year 1872 is considered as a major milestone in the history of Budapest because that was the year when the three separate settlements of Buda, Obuda ( old Buda) and Pest were united into one city called Budapest with a population of over 1,50,000.
My husband and I started the journey on March14th, 2016 from India. We chose Qatar Airways to fly to Budapest via Doha (Qatar) from Mumbai because it had the shortest travel time of around 11 hours from Mumbai to Budapest which included a 3 hours halt at Doha. We had planned a trip of total 10 days in Budapest so you can say that we had enough time to explore the city. Personally I feel that you need 4 days to see the entire city of Budapest but since we were on our honeymoon, we just wanted to relax so we took a 10 days trip. We were staying in a rented apartment in the Pest side of the city. We got a very good deal for the apartment from http://www.airbnb.co.in and we just loved the apartment and its facility.
Day 1 :
On the very first day, we walked through the Andrassy Avenue ( Andrassy ut in Hangarian language). This road has lots of branded stores, restaurants and tourist attractions like Heroes Square, Hungarian State Opera House and House of Terror museum. Andrassy ut is a2.5km long road which starts with the Heroes Sqaure and continuous almost upto St. Stephen’s Basilica Cathedral. The Andrassy ut is divided into two sections by the Octagon Square. Andrassy ut has shops like, Gucci, Polo Ralph Lauren, Guess, Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Michael Kors, Emporio Armani, Ermenegildo Zegna, iSTYLE Andrassy, Nespresso Boutique, Moncler, Nubu, S. T. Dupont Boutique, G-Star RAW and many more. There are lots of restaurants as well on this road like Ring Cafe (American), the bigfish seafood bistro (seafood), Callas Cafe and Restaurant, Ecocafe (organic), La Perle Noive Restaurant & Lounge (French), Menza (Hungarian), Casa-brazil Bar & Churrascaria (Brazilian), Kogart Etterem, Pizza Eataliano (Italian), Andrassy Bistro and many more.
Day 2 :
On the second day, we took part in the National Holiday Celebration. 15th March is considered a National holiday in Budapest. It symbolizes democracy and freedom and commemorates the Hungarian Revolution of 1848. Hungarians wear cockades on this day. The official celebration starts from the Parliament House and ends at the Hungarian National Museum. The celebrations starts in the morning with the raising of the Hungarian flag at the Parliament House and continues in front of the Hungarian National Museum. The main events on this day includes a speech from the Prime Minister and a parade starting from the Parliament House till the Hungarian National Museum with soldiers and horses marching on the roads of Budapest along with the people of Budapest and other tourists. On this day, the Hungarian National Museum can be visited free of charge and the Hungarian Holy Crown and Crown Jewels can be seen free of charge in the Parliament House.
Talking about the Hungarian National Museum, it was founded in 1802 and is the museum for the history, art and archaeology of Hungary.
Hungarian National Museum
Day 3 :
On day 3 we decided to see the Hungarian State Opera House on the Andrassy ut. It was 16th of March and there was a ballet performance called the Manon Ballet on that evening. We easily got the tickets from the ticket selling counter outside the Hungarian State Opera House. You can also book the tickets online in advance from http://www.budapestopera-tickets.com. The Hungarian State Opera House was originally known as The Hungarian Royal Opera House and was designed by Miklos Ybl, who was a great figure of the 19th Century Hungarian architecture. It is the largest opera house in Budapest and in Hungary. The house was opened to the public on 27th September, 1884.
Hungarian State Opera House
Day 4 :
We began our day by visiting St. Stephen’s Basilica Cathedral. The cathedral is named in honour of Stephen, the first King of Hungary. St. Stephen’s Basilica is the third largest church building in present day Hungary. You can take the entire tour of the church free of charge. But, if you wish to go on the towers then you have to take the entry tickets available inside the cathedral building. There are two towers with 6 bells, 1 on the right side tower and 5 on the left side tower. The bells are named as – Great St. Stephen Bell, Blessed Virgin Mary Bell, St. Henry II Bell, Blessed Gizella Bell, Saint Emeric Bell and Saint Elizabeth from the House of Arpad Bell.
St. Stephen’s Basilica
In the evening, we took a night river cruise in the Danube river. There are two kind of cruise – one in which you get free drinks and the other is full paid dinner with free drinks cruise. There are cruises available at 4 different timing – 7 PM, 8 PM, 10 PM and 11 PM. The late night cruise of 10 PM is not themed with dinner or drinks, it is just for sight seeing purpose. You can get a real treat in these cruises because the whole city of Budapest is lit up with lights which make it very beautiful.
Night River Cruise
Day 5 :
We walked all the way to Buda Castle , crossing the amazing Szenchenyi Chain Bridge. This bridge is a suspension bridge on the Danube River connecting Buda from Pest. It was the first bridge across the Danube River and was opened in 1849. Buda Castle is a historical castle and palace of the Kings of Hungary and it was first completed in 1265. It consists of the National Gallery and Budapest History Museum. The Buda Castle district is open all day and night with its streets, courts and attractions like Fisherman’s Bastion. Fisherman’s Bastion is also known as a fairy tale tower complex from which a panoramic view of the Danube, Margaret Island, Gallert Hill and Pest can be seen. You can go up to the Buda Castle district either by road or by a Budapest Castle Hill Funicular. We chose to go through the Funicular. It is a funicular railway in the city of Budapest which links the Adam Clark Square and the Szechenyi Chain Bridge.
Szechenyi Chain Bridge
One more tourist attraction on the Buda Castle that we found amazing was the Matthias Church. It is a Roman Catholic Church located in front of the Fisherman’s Bastion.
Day 6 :
We visited the Central Market Hall also known as the Great Market Hall. It is the oldest and the largest indoor market in Budapest where you get everything from fruits, vegetables, meat, dry fruits, spices and condiments to souvenirs, clothes, bags and much more.
The Central Market Hall
After completing our visit to the Central Market Hall, we decided to visit the West End City Centre shopping mall. It is located next to the Western Railway Station and it has various fashion label stores and food court in it. We also saw the Western Railway Station which is also known as Budapest Nyugati Railway Terminal. It is one of the three main railway stations in Budapest and was built by the Eiffel Company (Company founded by Gustave Eiffel, the one who designed the Eiffel Tower). It was opened on 28th October, 1877.
West End City Centre
Western Railway Station
Day 7 :
We visited the Heroes Square, House of Terror and then took a relaxing thermal bath at the Szechenyi Thermal Bath.
Heroes Square is one of the major squares in Budapest. Its known for its legendary statues, featuring the seven chieftains of the Magyars and other important national leaders as well as the tomb of the unknown soldier. The pillar in the centre is topped by the Archangel Gabriel’s statue. He is seen holding a Holy Crown of St. Stephen in his right hand and two barred apostolic cross, which is a symbol awarded to St. Stephen by the Pope in his left hand. Statues on the left collonade includes statues of Stephen I of Hungary, Bela IV of Hungary, Charles I of Hungary and Loius I of Hungary. The statues on the right collonade includes statues of John Hunyadi, Matthias Cornivus, Istvan Boiskay, Gabriel Bethlen, Imre Thokoly, Francis II Rakoczi and Lajos Kossuth.
House of Terror is a museum that consists of exhibits related to the fascist and communist regimes in the 20th Century and is also the memorial to the victims of these regimes who were either detained, interrogated, tortured or killed in the building.
House of Terror
Szechenyi Thermal Bath is the largest medicinal bath in Europe. Its water is supplied by two thermal springs with a temperature of 74 degrees Celsius and 77 degress Celsius respectively. Tourists from all over the world comes here to experience these thermal bath. The thermal water includes sulphate, calcium, magnesium, bicarbonate, fluoride and metaboric acid in significant amounts. It is said to cure joint illnesses, chronic and sub-acute joint inflammations, orthopedic and traumatological treatments.
Szechenyi Thermal Bath
Day 8 :
We took a tour inside the Hungarian Parliament House and a walk on the bank of River Danube.
The Hungarian Parliament Building also known as the Parliament of Budapest is the National Assembly of Hungary. It is one of the oldest legislative buildings of Europe. We saw the entire building from inside. The tickets are available in the tourist visitor counter in the basement just outside the Parliament building. We were accompanied by several other tourists and a guide who was explaining to us the history and the construction of the Parliament building both from outside as well as from inside. When we entered, we walked up to some great ornamental stairs, sixteen-sided central hall and we also saw the Holy Crown of Hungary, statues of Hungarian rulers. Transylvanian leaders, other such figures and a huge dome.
Parliament of Budapest
After completing the Parliament house tour, we took a walk across the banks of Danube river which was very pleasing to the mind and peaceful as well.
Day 9 :
Visit to Margaret Island was our plan for day 9. It is a 2.5 km long island in the middle of the Danube in Central Budapest. It is basically a landscape park for recreational purposes. You can walk around the island or hire a cycle to take a round around the island. It also has a water park, tennis stadium and athletics centre. The island also has a running track of 5.35 km. The main sights on the island include – The Centennial memorial of 1973, a small Japanese Garden, a tiny Zoo, the Musical Well, a Music Fountain and am Octagonal Water Tower.
Day 10 :
We saw the Grand Synagogue on the last day of our trip. It is also known as Dohany Street Synagogue. It is the largest synagogue in Europe and one of the largest in the world. It consists of the Great Synagogue, the Heroes Temple, the Graveyard, the Memorial and the Jewish Museum.
The Great Synagogue
Apart from the places I have mentioned above, there are many other tourist attractions in Budapest like Gresham Palace, SHoes on the Danube, Vigado Concert Hall, Momento Park, Vajdahunyad Castle, Budapest Zoo & Botanical Garden, Hall of Art, Gellert Hill Cave, Liberty Statue, Timewheel, etc.
I personally love Europe because of its architecture, naturistic landscape, people, food and weather. Budapest was an icing on the cake because it was exceptionally beautiful with great sights to visit, helpful people great food and atmosphere. There are good transport facilities like taxis, trains and hop-on-hop-off sight seeing buses. But me and my husband decided to explore the city walking.
If you love walking then you should definitely explore the city by foot but if you do not like walking then my suggestion would we to take a sight seeing bus tour which comes with different packages for 2 days or three days depending on what you select.
So all you travel lovers just pack your bags and leave right away for Budapest because it is one of the most wonderful cities that you will find in Europe.