Budapest, or There and Back Again

Thursday, May 09, 2013

There and Back Again will be a highly irregular feature here on my blog. Basically whenever I go somewhere on a trip, I will share pictures later and tell you a little bit about that place.

Budapest is capital of Hungary and one of the largest cities in south-eastern Europe. Since it's only 5 hour drive and one state border from our hometown, my husband and I decided that it was time to go and visit this beautiful city. We were there for 4 days and, although my feet are killing me from walking, we managed to see only a small part of wonderful sights that Budapest has to offer. So, we officially have an excuse why we have to come back again. ;)

Budapest sights
Fisherman's Bastion ♥ Buda Castle ♥ Hungarian Parliament Building ♥ St. Stephen's Basilica

Language Barrier

Official language in Budapest is hungarian. And no english/french/italian/spanish knowledge will help you understand it. It's completely original. Thankfully, hotel and restaurant staff knows English, so it's easy to communicate. Menus in restaurants are also bilingual (hungarian/english).

Most of the workers in shopping malls and other shops does not understand (or speak) English at all, so, if you are looking for something, you gotta find it on your own or give up and look somewhere else.

Surprisingly, regular museum staff also most of the times does not speak English so, if you do not pay for guided professional tour, you will find yourself wandering half-blind through enormous museums and exhibitions. There is a 30% chance that text by the side of items displayed will not be translated. This is random occurrence and varies from room to room, so I can not name specific museum that had all (or none) texts translated.

Budapest museums
The Hungarian National Museum ♥ Museum of Applied Arts ♥ Hungarian National Archives ♥ Budapest History Museum

My Favorites in Budapest

In Budapest there were benches and parks for you to relax on every corner and there was an abundance of statues, fountains and monuments. From really grandiose compositions that you can not fit into one picture to small cute ones that merge into the environment (these were my favorite - look at the third group) - there is something for every taste. Themes are also various: historical or religious figures, animals, fairy tale characters, celebrities, everyday life scenes. Here is just a small glimpse of that caught my eye (and camera):

Budapest statues
Statue of St Stephen ♥ Detail from Matthias Fountain at Buda Castle ♥ Lion at the entrance to the inner courtyard of Buda Castle ♥ Lion at the Chain Bridge

Budapest statues
Gellert Monument ♥ Statue at the top of a church (I don't remember which one there were so many) ♥ Another statue in front of unknown church ♥ Statue in St. Stephen's Basilica

Budapest statues
Little Princess sitting on a fence of Danube promenade ♥ Girl (and me) playing with her dog on Vigadó Square ♥ Mammothes in Mammut shopping mall ♥ Ronald Reagan on Szabadság (Liberty) Square


Sightseeing in Budapest - How To Do It?

With a lot of trial and error this is the formula that worked best for me when Budapest is in question:

  • Be prepared that it's impossible to see/visit see everything.
  • Buy a book that has a tourist guide and city map.
  • Pick an area of city where a couple of things that interest you are located (find them in your book/guide)
  • Find all other museums, churches, shops, restaurants and things that interest you in that area
  • Plan optimal route so you don't have to backtrack
  • Start walking. :)

There are also hop on/hop off buses for tourist with relatively cheap tickets (10-15 euros for two days of unlimited rides) but I think that you can better get a feel of city's soul by strolling and exploring.

Budapest random buildings
Just some details from random buildings in Budapest

Final Verdict: Budapest is a Must-Visit Destination!

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4 comments

  1. The architecture is so beautiful! I love the buildings and the statues. So very cool. The Parliament Building is so insanely gorgeous! It looks like a great place to visit.
    -Natalie @Natflix&Books

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    Replies
    1. Yes, the buildings are beautiful and so many styles: gothic, renaissance ... I don't know how many times I stumbled because I was not looking where I was going - I was staring at the facades.
      The Parliament Building is one of my favorites too. It's so massive you need ten minutes to circle it on foot. We didn't go inside because it was so expensive, like 30 euroes per person.

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  2. Glad to hear you had a lovely time in Budapest, thanks for sharing your experience and your photos from there :D I'd love to travel there one day, there's so much history and culture and architecture to the place <3

    Was it safe there as a tourist? (okay, might've phrased that awkwardly) I heard there was a high rate of pickpocketting or something like that but I don't know how old my information is so I was just curious :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes it's a lovely place to visit. If you can make it, I warmly recommend it!

      It was perfectly safe. I read about pickpocketing on some forums and on www.tripadvisor.com but I think it's exagerated.
      We kept passports and extra money in hotel safe just in case, but even when we left a tip for maid on bedside table she didn't take it. We had to throw it into an unmade bed the next time. :)
      As for pickpocketing on the streets we never saw any hints or heard anyone complain.
      The only 'thieves' we noticed were exchange offices - some had very bad exchange rates. So you have to be careful and not exchange on the first spot you find.

      If you have any more questions feel free to ask. :D

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