The “Danube” is for Budapest, like the “Seine” for Paris. This city is both a cultural center and a tourist magnet. We were on a city trip in the middle of June, and we were looking forward to this city. So much good we had heard, and now it was time to convince ourselves finally. What we experienced in the 2 days and whether a trip is worthwhile, you will learn in this article.
It is Monday morning 04:30 clock when the alarm rings. Not really my time but what do you don’t do for a little holiday. The bag is ready to go, the coffee smells from the kitchen, and the anticipation displaces the tiredness. Time to jump into the flip-flops with a suitcase in hand and then on to the airport. We checked in, waited a short period of time until the plane takes off just in time at 06:45 clock to Hungary. The 1.5 hour flight time was quickly over and sooner as expected we stand at the tourist office to buy the day tickets for public transport.
Here are several options. A day ticket for all public transport such as metro, tram, buses, etc. costs 1650 Forints (about 5 EUR). The card is valid for 24 hours from the date of issue, so you are not tied to a special day. The 7-day ticket costs 4950 Forints (about 15 EUR), which in my opinion is entirely fair.
Alternatively, there is the “Budapest Card,” which in addition to the use of public transport also discounted admission to attractions, guided tours, entry to a city spa, museums, and much more offers. These are also available for different periods (24 – 120h). More information can be found here. For us, the “Budapest Card” was out of the question as we wanted to explore the city on our own. We decided on the two-day tickets.
Equipped with the day pass we took the bus (Line 200 E) from the terminal to the metro station Kobanya-Kispest (Line M3 – Blue). From there you can reach the city center of Budapest in about 20 minutes. All very simple, if we had not left the bus earlier for some reason. We suddenly stood at a simple train station that did not look like the subway. Anyway, we just get on the next train, because the last stop is somewhere in the city. As soon as we have taken a seat, the conductor comes to check the tickets.
Obviously, we can go by regional trains on the ticket. Unfortunately, the conductor cannot speak English, and so we continue on until we finally reach the final stop (Nyugati pályaudvar). Not quite as planned but finally we arrived at the city center. Alternatively to the line 200 E you can also use the bus line 100 E. The drive directly into the city center but costs extra (900 Forints – about 3 EUR – terminus “Deak Ferenc Ter”).
The adventure can begin:
After we have orientated ourselves and have drunk a coffee, we decide to bring the suitcase to the hotel and then to venture on foot for the first steps in the city.
Sounds dramatic, right? Our program included a street art tour in the Jewish quarter that was close to our hotel. Anyone interested in the colorful pictures on the facades can find out about the trip here
I’ve linked the locations to Google Maps, so you can follow the tour. I can only say it was a lot of fun and we have many small cafes, in backyards, discovered that we would never have found. Here a pause, there a photo and before we realize it, it is already late afternoon.
The city tour:
Pretty tired from getting up early and the many miles that we already had in our legs, we decided to book one of the HOP ON – HOP OFF tours. We were able to rest for a while, get an overview of the city and we got information via headphones while driving. To be honest, I was so tired that I caught myself several times falling asleep. Nevertheless, we got a good overview on of the city to plan the next day. From the today was not much left because after dinner it went back to the hotel.
The next morning:
We had no breakfast in the hotel as we usually think it was overpriced. Such a small cozy bakery around the corner is often much more charming and cheaper. Also, today, though it was not right around the corner. Still, it was a little gem called “Nomad Alma Bakery”
Freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, a latte macchiato, and croissants. So it is a smooth start in the day. Take a look when you’re around. The owner took great importance to natural products, and I would call the small bakery a secret tip.
The Castle District:
Strengthened, we set out to explore the other side of the Danube. Since yesterday we were only on the eastern side of Pest, we want to take a look at Buda, west of the Danube. Although we could go by metro, we decide again for the walk, which led us over the Elisabeth bridge. This is located at the foot of the “Gellert mountain,” south of the castle district, which was our next destination.
At just under 30 degrees we got sweating, but the effort was worth it. From the castle, you will have a fantastic view of “Pest,” especially of the Budapest parliament. How it shines when it illuminates by the sun. Madness, you must have seen it once!
Just a stone’s throw from the castle area is the Matthias Church. It is one of the most well-known sights of Budapest and fairly part of the “Unseco World Heritage.” Also, this site makes the visit to Budapest unforgettable. I have seen many churches, but this one is gorgeous.
Although I can not gain much from the pretentious architecture, of the “church” as an institution. Unfortunately, it is a bit difficult to shoot sensible photos, because as a tourist magnet it is teeming with people. Also from here, you get a fantastic view of the parliament. I recommend to avoid the visit to the paid section on the wall of the forecourt, but this is left to anybody`s choice itself. Somewhat exhausted, we lay in the shadow of the church a little pause before we go back to the other side of the Danube.
Let the evening end:
Since the road to the chain bridge in the north seemed long, we decided to take the tram into the city center and let the evening fade away in the Jewish quarter. We had heard of the ruins of bars “Szimpla Kert” and wanted to take a look. On the way there we stumbled over a street food area which we could not pass without grabbing some food.
Strengthened we then went on to “Szimpla Kert,” which is located in the immediate vicinity and really worth a visit. It is a bar complex with a mix of old meets new, young meets old, modern meets alternative. Dirty walls, artistically staged. The atmosphere is exciting, but the prices for a drink are not really low (except beer)! That’s totally OK. And so we spent the evening here with a small resume and decided that Budapest will see us again. There is still so much to discover.
I hope you liked the little travelogue and you will find yourself soon on a plane to Budapest. Let me have a comment or questions if you have any.
In this sense, sunny greetings – @ from the heart!