Yesterday, we were in Bucharest enjoying the parks and the palaces. Today we are heading to Budapest and will end our journey in Prague. Budapest is the capital of Hungary with the river Danube running right through it.
Known for its outstanding beauty, Budapest claims to have one of the most spectacular panoramic views in Europe. It is classed as the ‘First City’ of Eastern Europe and the epicentre of the Country’s commercial, industrial, cultural and political backbone.
Budapest itself has most of it covered as a World Heritage Site – more notably the banks of the Danube, Buda Castle, Millennium Underground Railway, Andrássy Avenue and Heroes’ Square. Quite rightly, Budapest attracts around 2.3 million tourists a year who come here to view the city in all its glory and see the heritage sites as well as the 80 geothermal springs, the second largest synagogue, and the Parliament building.
The best time to visit Budapest is between May and September with a summer high of around 27°C and around 22°C in May. Winter can see lows of around 1°C, and night time can be a danger for many with ice and temperatures well below zero.
Train Travel From Budapest to Prague
There are three large railway stations in Budapest: Keleti Pályaudvar (Eastern Station), Nyugati Pályaudvar (Western Station) and Déli Pályaudvar (Southern Station). Keleti is the largest station and the main terminal for rail services coming from Western Europe. You can call Keleti on +36 1 461 54 00, 461 55 00 to find out more.
If you fancy a ‘round Europe’ trip, your best bet is to grab yourself an InterRail Pass which allows you unlimited travel in Europe for up to 22 days.
Staying in Budapest
Hotels in Budapest are numerous, but your best bet is to grab yourself and apartment, since these are considerably cheaper. Adler Apartments offer you room rates of just €49 or £43 per person per night. You might try the Elite Apartments which is available for £35 per night for a singleton.
Things to See and Do in Budapest
Budapest has so many sights and sounds that you really need a good week or so to soak them in. The Széchenyi Bathhouse is loved by locals and tourists for its relaxing atmosphere. It has two open-air pools, a Swedish and Turkish sauna, and a gender-segregated. It is one of Europe’s largest baths. They also offer massages, mud packs, and carbonated baths.
The Parliament building is the largest in Europe, with 700 rooms, ten courts, 29 staircases, and 12.5 miles of corridors. The building is decorated with fine gold leaf and statues of Hungarian kings. The outside of the building is equally as impressive with neo-Gothic architecture. The building extends for 300 yards along the Danube bank. Parliament also has a main dome, surrounded huge spires 315 ft tall. You can book a tour when there isn’t a session taking place inside.
Castle District stretches over much of the Buda hills, and needs a day to take it all in. This is Medieval Budapest at its very best and tourists go here specifically for the stunning views of the city. Here you can visit the church, a castle and see the quaint cobbled streets.
The Royal Palace is certainly a highlight of the area. The palace has lavish interiors and is perfect for art lovers since it contains the National Gallery, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Budapest History Museum. Under the castle, tourists can take a tour of Buda Castle – which is a huge network of underground caves that were used in the Middle Ages for storage and military purposes.
Matthias Church can be found at the North of the castle hill district and overlooks Trinity Square. This beautiful church is 700 years old and is a mixture of Baroque, neo-Gothic, and modern architecture. It is by far the most stunning of all the sites in the Castle District. Inside you’ll find the Church Museum containing underground crypts, a chapel, and historic jewels.
Past Trinity square, is the Fishermen’s Bastion – a huge building made up of seven towers that symbolize the seven tribes from which the Hungarian nation originates. There is a restaurant here where you can grab some great food such as traditional goulash and paprika chicken.
With so much to see and do, Budapest is a treasure trove of all things stunning. Next stop, Prague!