Travel: Budapest

About 3 weeks ago, my family and I went on a 5 day trip to Budapest, Hungary. We stayed at the Annabelle B&B, which is owned by an extremely lovely couple called Thomas and Carmen. Before we flew out, I was in contact with Thomas via email and he recommended and arranged for my family and I to be picked up from the airport for only 10 euros per person, which I found lovely as this was the first time I had stepped off a plane and didn’t have to worry about finding a taxi, train or bus to catch to take me to my hotel. At the arrivals section of the airport, stood the taxi driver holding up a piece of paper with my name on it. He was very welcoming and even though he didn’t speak much English, he tried his very best to communicate with us and show us the hotspots in Budapest, whilst on our way to the B&B. The B&B is a 30 minute drive from the airport, so it isn’t too far.

Thomas greeted us when we came out the taxi, and took us up to the B&B, you have to take an elevator to get to the B&B, the elevator was very old fashioned, you had to manually open and close the doors and as soon as you pressed the button for the floor you wanted to get to, it would automatically go up or down at quite a pace, which was startling at first but we got used to it aha.

When we got into the B&B, he directed us to the dining area, let us settle down at the table, offered us something to drink, made us fill out a card providing some information about ourselves and then proceeded to go through the maps he had to hand and pinpointed to us all the best places to visit in Budapest and how to get around the city. Thomas is definitely what I would call an eccentric and enthusiastic character. Whenever he spoke about the city, he just exuded so much passion and he made visiting Budapest sound so exciting, which I loved.

He then led us to our room, which was lovely, it looked just as good as it did in the photos I saw of the B&B online, which was a huge relief and plus. Afterwards he wished us a great stay in Budapest and the B&B and said goodbye. The B&B is located in a really great spot, there are supermarkets, restaurants around, it has great transport links as there was a metro station, tram stop and bus stops located in the area. The best part was as the B&B is in a central location, it was a 3 minute walk away from the Hungarian Parliament Building and 7 – 10 minutes walk away from St Stephen’s Basilica, which is named after the first King of Hungary.

Budapest is a great city to visit and you won’t be bored as there is always something to see. For the first three days of our stay, it did rain and quite heavily which was annoying, as the week prior to our visit, it was really hot with temperatures as high as 36 degrees. The weather didn’t stop us from exploring the city though. A lot of people were wearing shorts and flip flops and casually strolling in the heavy rain which was funny, so we had no excuse but to deal with the unwanted rain. Here is a mini hightlight reel of my time in Budapest.

Toured the city on a sight – seeing bus

We were approached by someone that worked for the sight seeing tour bus, he offered us a 3 day pass to use all their buses, as well as a 3 day pass on their River cruise and also a booklet that had discounted vouchers for certain stores and some things for free, like traditional Hungarian goulash at a high end restaurant, free beer and shots at some other bar. All that for 22 euros per person which we thought was a pretty good deal. It took us to all the main attractions, with buses travelling on different routes.

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Went on a River Cruise of the city at night

I felt that the best time to see the city and get some great views and shots of the iconic buildings and bridges in Budapest, was at night time. The river cruise lasted one hour. The commentary of the tour was the only downpoint of the cruise as the prerecorded voice was at times, hard to understand and monotonous. Here are a few shots of what I saw on the cruise.

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Crossing the bridge and visiting Buda

I learnt that one part of Budapest is called Buda and the other half is called Pest, which I found extremely fascinating. Buda is the side of the city where there are numerous amounts of hills and a lot of the historic attractions such as the History Museum, Buda Castle, Matthias Church, Fisherman’s Bastion are all situated. From the highpoint of Fisherman’s bastion, you get an amazing view of Pest, which was absolutely breath – taking.

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Seeing the Chain Bridge at night from the side of the Danube River

I really wanted to get a great view of the Chain Bridge at night time and the best way to view it, from where we were at the time, was from the side of the river in Pest, where I managed to get this great shot. The view was beautiful.

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Being in Budapest during St Stephen’s Day

St Stephen’s day is a national holiday in Hungary, where certain roads are closed off and there are markets on display and there are musical performances. It was a great opportunity to see what traditional food Budapest had to offer, it was so busy walking through the markets I forgot to capture what I saw of the food markets aha.

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There was also an open day at the Hungarian Parliament, which meant we could visit the Parliament for free, which is great for us as tourists. As you could imagine the que was so long, we waited in line for two hours, which still surprises me now. We got to see the crown worn by the first King of Hungary St Stephen.

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To end the national holiday, there was a ginormous fireworks display along the Danube River which started at 9pm and finished at 9.30pm, the fireworks display was amazing and didn’t disappoint.

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The aftermath of the display was interesting, so many people came out to watch that getting back to the area our hotel was at, was a mission. haha

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Visiting St Stephen’s Basilica

St Stephen’s Basilica is a Roman Catholic church that was named after the first King of Hungary. Within the church, the mummified hand of the King is in a bejeweled case inside the chapel, which is an attraction for many tourists and locals. The church lies amongst streets, one being a very popular street called Oktober 6, a street full of restaurants, bars, coffee shops and a gift shop. It looks great during the day but looks even better at night time when lit up.

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That’s a glimpse into what I came across whilst in Budapest, there were some places I wasn’t able to visit such as the Szechenyi Bath, where there are number of thermal baths, pools and spas. Margaret Island, an island in the midst of the Danube River, you can visit, that is a recreational park. These are places I will definitely visit first if I ever go to Budapest again.

I would highly recommend visiting Budapest if you are into your Sightseeing, Architecture, food and health/fitness. I would also highly recommend staying at Annabelle B&B, the hosts are very accommodating and friendly. The rooms and breakfast were great and the location was in reach of all the hotspots of the city.

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