Last week I went to Budapest for the first time with my Mother and Sister. We had exactly 48 hours to see as much of the city as we could. Today I thought I’d share with you what we got up to on the first full day.
We stayed in the Aquamarina hotel which is just outside the main city in Rómaifürdő, district 3. Our first obstacle was to actually get into the city centre. We asked the receptionist at the hotel about catching a bus and the answer we got was “no, buses no good”. We weren’t really sure if that was because there was a problem with the buses or whether they were just always bad. He suggested we get the HEV train and told us to just walk straight and we’d find it.
After walking for what felt like forever and not finding a station or a train we had to stop and ask a local couple that happened to be walking pass where the station was. They also told us to just keep going! So we just kept going and eventually came to the station.
We got on the train and headed to the Buda side which is where we planned to spend our first day. The HEV train took us to Batthyany ter which is a short walk from the Castle District where we wanted to go. The train goes underground just before you get to the last stop so we had no idea what we’d see when we got above ground again. This is the first thing we saw…
It’s the Hungarian Parliament Building and it’s gorgeous! Unfortunately on the first day it was a little overcast so most of my pictures are a bit hazy which was frustrating but you can’t control the weather and at least it wasn’t raining!
After a short walk we got to the famous chain bridge with the Lions.
It’s opposite here where you go up the hill to the Castle District. There are two ways to get up there you either go up on the Funicular Railway (cable car) or you walk. We chose the latter which although fun was hard work!
Tip: You can find steps that go up the hill to the right of the cable car just across the road.
It’s certainly not an easy walk but once you get up there it’s so worth it!
Once we reached the top we were in need of refreshments and found a very well placed hut selling hot wine and hot chocolate. We opted for the hot wine. It cost only 600 HUF which is roughly £1.45. Alcohol is very cheap in Budapest!
Tip: On the way back past the hut we got a hot chocolate which we didn’t realise was natural cocoa so it was very bitter, hence why the lady had a bowl full of sugar on the table. If you like sweet hot chocolate use it!
Whilst we sipped our hot wine we had a mooch around the market stalls and I bought a little Hungarian doll for my daughter. It was pink and sparkly, right up her street.
Hungarian National Gallery
The next place we visited was the Hungarian National Gallery .
Tip: You get into here free if you use your Budapest Card, posts to follow on this shortly.
Once we got back outside we headed towards Buda Castle and stopped on the way to have lunch in a cafe. I had Goulash. After lunch we continued on our mission to find the Matthias Church.
and the Fisherman’s Bastion.
It was so beautiful up in the Castle District and everywhere you looked was photo worthy. Definitely my favourite spot of all.
When we started to lose the light we headed back down the hill with the intention of walking over the Chain Bridge to the Pest side of the river to go on one of the famous evening dinner river cruises on the Danube. We hadn’t booked in advance so we were a little nervous that we wouldn’t get in. We needn’t have worried though as it wasn’t fully booked but that could’ve simply been because it was Winter and not very busy.
By the time we got down to the Pest side it was getting dark and all of the lights were starting to come on.
Legenda Boat Cruise
We opted to do the Legenda boat cruise mainly because it was the first one we came across and we were tired of walking! It can be found on the Pest side of the river between the Chain Bridge and the Elizabeth Bridge. It wasn’t cheap and was the most expensive thing we did on the whole trip but it is totally worth it.
The cruise lasts 2 and a half hours and you get to see all the sites along the river.
So there you have it, our first full day in Budapest. I will cover each section in more detail in future posts.
More posts on Budapest…
Budapest Travel Linky
Have you been to Budapest before? If so it would be great if you would link up your posts for others to see.