30 Aug Budapest – The two sides of the river
Yesterday evening I got back from a short 3 day city break in Budapest with my best friend Lauren. This was my second time visiting this city but it was almost a completely different experience. This time around I truly took on everything the Budapest has to offer.
Did you know?
Budapest is split into two sides with the River Danube running through the middle.
One side is called ‘Buda’ and the other ‘Pest’. I’ll describe what there is to do on what side throughout this blog post.
Budapest has some absolutely incredible architecture. These include: Buda Castle, The Dohány Street Synagogue, St Stephen’s Basilica, Fisherman’s Bastion, Matthias Church and most notably The Hungarian Parliament. And when night falls some of these buildings light up and become evening more breathtakingly beautiful.
So what did we get up to in Budapest?
The first day consisted of lots of walking, but personally I think that this is the best way to see what city’s have to offer. When abroad I nearly always choose to walk a long distance than use public transport.
We left the of the hostel at 10am and headed straight for Buda Castle. Situated on the Buda side of the Danube River, a walk along Chain Bridge will find you at the very bottom of the castle hill. When you arrive you’ll see a queue of people for the Funicular railway which takes you to the top of the hill. However, my advice would be to walk up! It may seem like a long way but it’s really not. The path isn’t steep and you get to see some beautiful sights along the way. Once you reach the top there is lots for you to do!
Next we headed to the castle district where you will find Matthias Church and Fisherman’s Bastion. Both are absolutely beautiful and definitely worth checking out. From the Fisherman’s Bastion you get the best picturesque opportunity to capture shots of the Hungarian Parliament and the rest of the Pest side of the river.
You really can spend an entire day in this area. There is so much to see and do, as well as lots of restaurant, cafes and bars and shops and markets.
That evening we had booked onto a sightseeing cruise (with a cocktail) along the River Danube; which was actually my birthday present from Lauren. This is the perfect way to see the Hungarian Parliament, Buda Castle and Chain Bridge at night! Personally I don’t think you can get a better picture of the Hungarian Parliament at night than you can from being on the river.
Once the river cruise finished we headed for the famous ruin pubs on the Pest side of the city. Think of it this way – when night falls in Budapest, Buda goes to sleep and Pest wakes up. Szimpla Kert is definitely my number one choice for visiting a ruin pub! It sums up what ruin pubs are, with inside and outside areas, lots of bars and an amazing atmosphere! Ruin pubs are great places to meet new people from all over the world. For example, Lauren and I spent the evening with some Turkish guys, chatting, drinking and having a great night out in Budapest.
The second day was a lot more relaxing than the first as we headed to the famous thermal baths, in particular the Széchenyi thermal baths. (Pest side) There is lots to do at the baths and you again can spend an entire day there. You can: swim in the outside thermal baths, sunbathe, use the sauna, inside small swimming pools that are crazy hot temperatures. You can also eat in the cafe, get an ice cream outside and evening have a refreshing beer or cocktail. There are lots of thermal baths scattered all over Budapest on both sides of the river. So if the Széchenyi baths aren’t close to you then there are others to visit. Follow this link to find where the thermal baths are!
That evening we visited another ruin pub called Instant. The last time I was in Budapest I stayed at Instant Groove Party Hostel but it has since moved location. This ruin pub was much different to Szimpla Kert as it was much more like a club than a pub. But this was great as it offered us a different kind of night to the one before. If you can definitely try to check out both of these ruin bars!
In terms of accommodation, we stayed in a hostel close to the city centre called Casa De La Musica Hostel. A beautiful, colourful and perfect place to stay. It has many different rooms option, helpful staff and an outdoors bar and ‘chilling area’ and even a small blow up swimming pool. It really is a great hostel and I highly recommend it.
No.1 Piece of Advice:
- Try and experience the two sides of Budapest – Buda and Pest.
- And by two sides I also mean day time sightseeing as well as the nightlife in order to experience truly what Budapest has to offer.
No.1 Place for coffee:
- Cafe Frei
- This coffee shop cafe tells you all about different coffee from all over the world.
- It also offers the biggest variety of coffees that I have ever experienced.