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What to see in Budapest – my favourite spots

January 12, 2015

parliament budapestBudapest – the capital of Hungary is a charming and friendly city, suitable for every time of the year. It’s been gaining popularity during the past couple of years so if you haven’t been there already, you sure are missing out! Here’s a list of my favourite things to see in Budapest:

Gellert hill

gellert hill budapest

A huge, green hill in the city centre. On top of it you’ll find the Citadel built by the Habsburgs and the Liberty Statue – erected by the Soviet Army to commemorate the World War II, though now its meaning is more universal. What I like the most about Gellert hill though is the panoramic view on Danube river and whole Budapest. The South hillside is also a good place for a pleasant walk in quiet surroundings.

Buda castle

buda castle budapest

Built in XIIIth century, the castle overlooks the whole Buda part of the city. Though it was rebuilt a couple of times and didn’t retain its medieval look, it’s still quite impressive. Currently it hosts the Hungarian National Gallery, but you can also visit the Habsburg palatines and royal rooms.

If you don’t feel like climbing the Castle Hill, you can get to the top by a fenicular – be prepared for the queues though. The ride is short but super popular with the tourists.

The Chain Bridge

chain bridge budapestThough it’s only two centuries old, the Széchenyi bridge was the first permanent bridge in Hungary – and the first connection between Buda and Pest. The chain bridge made with cast iron and stone was once regarded a modern world engineering wonder and a symbol of advancement. Until this day it’s one of the most prominent constructions in Budapest – and that’s saying something. It’s also guarded by four stone lions.

The Chain Bridge is seriously the most beautiful bridge I’ve ever seen – yes, it’s even better than Dom Luis in Porto :)

The Parliament

parliament budapest

You probably saw this building on the cover of every guide on Budapest – the neogothic, fascinating Hungarian Parliament by the Danube river is everyone’s favourite. It was built after the merge of three cities: Buda, Obuda and Pest into one. Its interesting interior is open for visiting, though not during the debates.

Trinity Square

trinity square budapest

The centre of the square is the Trinity statue, commemorating the victims of plague. There’s also the Mattias church with colorful roof tiles and the Fishermen’s bastion, which looks like a fairytale castle and offers panoramic views of the city.

Surrounded by shops, restaurants and cafes, it’s an attractive and chic district of Budapest.

Heroes’ Square

heroes square budapest

The central feature of Heros’ Square (Hosok tere in Hungarian) is the Millenium Memorial topped with the statue of archangel Gabriel. Behind it there’s a colonnade with statues of 14 most prominent figures in the history of Hungary. There are also two art museums on both sides of Hosok tere and a city forest hiding Vajdahunyad castle behind it. Trust me, all this is well worth of taking a longer walk away from the city centre.

St Stephen’s Basilica

saint stephen budapest

A wonderful cathedral in honour of the most important saint and the first king of Hungary – St Stephen. Inside you even get to see his thousand year old, mummified hand.

I was mostly interested in climbing to the top of basilica from where you can see the whole city.

Margaret Island

Left: Mini Zoo. Right: the view on Margaret Island from Buda Castle

Left: Mini Zoo. Right: the view on Margaret Island from Buda Castle

Me and my brother decided it was our favourite park in the city. Margaret island is 2,5 km long and lays in the middle of Danube river, not far from the Parliament. It has thermal water pools, playgrounds, jogging tracks, a church, a hotel, the biggest fountain in Hungary and even a free mini zoo. All this surrounded by blooming flowers and lush trees – you can spend a whole day just there and won’t get bored.

Gellert Baths

gellert baths budapest

There’s a lot of hot springs in Hungary, but few can compete with the beauty of Gellert baths situated in the Art Nouveau style hotel. There are internal and external swimming pools full of thermal water (temperatures vary from 20 to 60 degrees C), saunas and massage rooms.

A visit at Gellert’s is fun but also healthy – its thermal waters heal joints, spine and asthma among many others.


All photos above are mine, please don’t use them without permission :)

Editorials, Travel tips  • 

Winter in Europe – 5 places you must visit

January 5, 2015

Though winter months might be a low time for travel, because of low temperatures that don’t really encourage sightseeing, there’s plenty of interesting places to visit in Europe during this time. From skiing resorts to warm retreats, here are my top destination for winter travel!

Rome

I’ve visited Rome in February and since then I’m convinced that winter is the perfect time to visit the Italian capital. The weather is mild (about 15 degrees Celsius) and there are definitely less visitors than in summer – you can easily get to every tourist attraction, avoiding the usual queues. Streets and restaurants are less crowded, not to mention that hotel prices are three times lower than during high season.

Innsbruck

Austria with its beautiful mountains is a great country to visit during winter. The best place to start your exploration of Austrian Alps is the city of Innsbruck, as it’s located between very high mountains and near several big ski resorts. It’s also very charming and offers lots of activities for tourists all year round.

Budapest

One of my favourite cities in Europe offers the best solution to cold weather: thermal baths. There are over 15 of them in Budapest and some offer outside pools to swim during the winter – you have to try it! To keep your belly warm, there are also two food festivals in February: Mangalica and Gozolgo. If you need some more inspiration, head on to this site!

Les Trois Vallées

A huge region in France where you can ski all interlinked valleys using a single ski pass. It’s actually the biggest area of this kind in the world and quite an impressive one – with over 600 km of slopes and 180 lifts everyone, from a begginner to an expert, will find his perfect piste. Also, due to its size you don’t have to worry about queues and bumping into another skiers. Absolutely a must-see for every ski lover!

Here’s a handy guide for choosing a resort in France if you’re not sure which one would be the best for you.

Granada

The heat of summer in Spain can get unbearable, but mild temperatures of Spanish winter are perfect for sightseeing. One of the most mysterious cities is Granada, with its fascinating islamic legacy and narrow medieval streets. The main attraction is Alhambra – a walled palace on a hill which was once a residence of Nasrid sultans. You can also visit Generalife, a summer estate of the Emirs with a Persian garden – both of the palaces are UNESCO World Heritage sites.