60 hours to fall in love with Budapest

60 hours to fall in love with Budapest

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Have you ever fallen in love with a city? It often happens to me – I fall in love with every city I visit.

And, it was not that hard to fall in love with Budapest- before you even know it, you’ll catch yourself being consumed by its beautiful sights, amazing architecture and long history, spread across two banks of the Danube: Buda and Pest. We had only 60 hours in Budapest, so we tried our best to make the most of it. But, how much exactly can you see in two and a half days? Keep reading to find out 🙂


Start with Buda

Buda is the hilly part of the city, crowned by the extraordinary Buda castle (Budai Vár) and Matthias church. At the foot of Castle Hill join a group of tourists waiting for their turn to jump on the famous funicular, that will lead them into world of Hungarian royalty.

At the entrance, you are welcomed by a grand sculpture of the Turul bird, holding a sword in its claws. According to a legend, the Turul bird led the Hungarian tribes, and is a national symbol of Hungary. Here, in front of the presidential palace, you can attend the changing of the guards ceremony, accompanied by drums, salutes and a precise march.

the-turul-bird-statue-at-the-entrance-of-buda-castle-budapest

Take a walk through the medieval garden, and let the path take you to the Matthias fountain. Even though it doesn’t “work” in November, you’ll still want to stop in front of it and admire the amazing scene of deer hunting under the leadership of King Matthias. Within this complex can also visit the Hungarian National Gallery and the Budapest History Museum.

buda-castle-and-garden-entrance-gate-budapest-weekend-sights

Continue your walk to the Matthias church. The church is located in the heart of Castle Hill. Its seven white towers symbolize the seven tribes that founded the Hungarian nation.

Across from the church you’ll find the Fishermen’s bastion, a white, fairy tale terrace. In the evening, when the Parliament “lights up” on the other side of the Danube, you can enjoy truly breathtaking view of Pest. You won’t be able to make up your mind, whether it’s better to admire the fantastic medieval buildings, or simply give in to the beautiful sight of illuminated Pest on the banks of Danube.

Welcome the evening with a bowl of goulash and a shot of Palinka in one of the nearby restaurants 🙂

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Admire the Parliament and take a stroll by the Danube

Pest and Buda are connected by a few bridges, including the famous Chain Bridge, “decorated” with magnificent lions at both ends. Although everything is well connected by public transport, I strongly believe that the best way to discover a city is on foot – so instead of just going from one place to another, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy the details that you would otherwise have missed. You’ll need an entire day to visit Pest – start by crossing the Chain Bridge and continue to the Parliament. Along the way you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy a view of everything you have visited the day before.

The Parliament is a symbol of Budapest. The magnificent building, whose interior is decorated with about 40 kilograms of gold ,can be visited with a guide (English), and it’s necessary to book in advance. Price for visitors from countries outside the EU is around 17 euros. You’ll notice two flags on the Parliament building: a Hungarian flag and a Transylvanian flag. The “real” walk starts from Lajos Kossuth Square and ends at Heroes’ Square. This walk is paved with Hungarian history, and each sculpture is a piece of the puzzle that will, by the end of the day, create a perfect picture of the power and the struggle of the Hungarian people. I can’t help but admire the way in which they celebrate and preserve their land and their culture. Even in November, the city overflown with smiling, relaxed tourists.Go down to the Danube esplanade where you’ll see the memorial dedicated to victims of the Second World War “Shoes by the Danube“, as well as an interesting statue of the famous Hungarian poet, Attila József, staring wistfully into the river.
shoes-by-the-danube-memorial-in-budapest
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Stop by the St Stephen’s Basilica and enjoy the Andrassy street

On the way to the basilica, take a break at the statue of Imre Nagy, the controversial statue of Ronald Reagan, a memorial dedicated to the soldiers of the Russian army and the memorial dedicated to the victims of the German invasion.

The basilica is not the oldest, but it is the largest church in the whole country. The entrance is free, but a donation of 200 florins is required.

ronald-reagan-controversial-statue-in-budapest-near-andrassy

The Andrassy Street is a perfect blend of Champs-Élysées and Broadway. Apart from expensive boutiques, you can visit the Hungarian Opera House, and the House of Terror. Although the name of this museum can make you think of a theme park horror house, it’s actually a building that was used as a prison for political convicts during the rule of the fascists and the Communists, not so long after.

At the end of the Andrassy street, the heroes of Hungary await: admire the magnificent Heroes Square, dedicated to the greats of Hungarian history.
heroes-square-andrassy-street-budapest visiting-the-heores-square-hungary-budapest

Finish the day right – in November, you can try local specialties and mulled wine in Vaci street.

Relax! Visit the City Park, Budapest zoo and the Vajdahunyad Castle

Although I like planning each detail of my trips, love walking for long hours, discovering, learning and taking a bunch of photos, I always “reserve” a day for relaxing. Our last day in Budapest was a Sunday, so all the shops were closed and the streets are emptier than usual, it felt like a great time to visit the City Park and the Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden. Although it earned a couple of bad reviews on Trip Advisor, the zoo was simply a cherry on the top of a delicious cake.

vajdahunyad-castle-budapest

The day wouldn’t be complete without delicious, amaaazing food. My suggestion is to have a glass of wine (or two) while tasting some of VakVarju‘s specialties. The restaurant is located at the beginning of Andrassy street and very affordable. If you prefer something traditional, Bohemtanya is right across the street.

After spending 60 hours in Budapest, you’ll wish for nothing more but – at least another 60 hours in Budapest, so you can:

  1. Enjoy a boat ride
  2. Relax in the Szechenyi Baths
  3. Visit one of the many museums
  4. Visit the Great Market Hall
  5. Have fun at one of the Ruin Pubs
  6. Visit the Great Synagogue
  7. Go to the Opera ….

hm, I guess this could be a really long list 🙂

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