Hungary’s capital city, Budapest is a city I will always remember to be magnanimous. I have never explored a city on foot as much as I have explored Budapest.
Did you know Buda & Pest used to be two different cities joined by the Chain bridge?
Buda is the snazzy hilly side of the city, while Pest is cool & happening. Both have a charm of their own. Pest is more for the young crowd- christmas markets, shopping, buzzing cafes, snazzy bars, restaurants, etc. ; while Buda side of the city is for middle-aged & more well-off crowd who prefers luxury & peace over the city buzzzz…
Any guesses on which one I found better? Comment below!
Budapest is a city I’d urge you to explore on foot because there’s so so so much to see that if you were to hop on & off busses, you’d miss some fun spontaneous things.
Rajeev and I must have easily walked 40,000 steps per day.
Here are some of things we did in Budapest and I’d encourage you to do the same->
are the reason why we were in Budapest in the first place. Apparently, they are one of the best in the world. Also, Budapest is known for its stationary and little trinkets. So explore the markets through and through.
Tip: please make sure you dine as much possible in the Christmas Markets because the food is yum & fresh. The best hot chocolate I’ve had in the world has to be in a Christmas market stall just outside the St. Stephen’s Basilica.
Saint Stephen’s Basilica
I’ve been to many cathedrals in Europe but St. Stephen’s Basilica just steals the show. It’s the largest in Budapest and can hold upto 8,500 people. It took 50 years to build this ginormous piece of art(chitecture). Rajeev and I were gobsmacked by the beauty of this basilica. Originally designed in neo-classical style, this Basilica was finished in neo-renaissance style.
Did you know:
In order to become a “saint” a miracle needs to be witnessed by the public which is why King Stephen died as a king but is known to be a Saint as his right hand didn’t get degraded in the grave for decades. His mummified right hand is now kept in a glass case in the chapel and hence the name of this basilica is St. Stephen’s.
You must go inside this Basilica to know what I’m raving out; we not just went in, but also sat and prayed for our friends and family.
Tip: go here before 10 am to avoid crowds in order to embrace the peace & positive vibes of this place.
High Note Sky Bar
What better place to enjoy the beauty of St. Stephen’s Basilica than High Note Sky Bar. This Sky Bar is a part of Aria Hotel which is a music themed hotel. A part of me wishes we stayed here … but there’s always another time. The drinks menu is quirky at its best and I urge every single one of you to visit this space. Let me put a pause on my words and allow the pictures below to do the talking…
Szimpla Ruin Bar
This ruin bar will always hold a very special place in my heart because the intentions behind opening or rather re-shaping Szimpla has everything to do with the environment.
This space is an old factory converted into an open air cinema, farmers market and pub. The whole idea is to chill in an informal atmosphere where even junk is treasured and looked upto. It stands on the paradigm of urban sustainability. I personally have never been to a place cooler than this.
When in Budapest, you gotta go here. It’s a mandate.
One of our highlights of this trip was a Segway city tour; there truly isn’t a better way to explore a city as ginormous as Budapest. Our 2 hour Segway tour started in Pest and through the Chain Bridge, took us to Gellért Hill and the snazzy side of Buda.
We went back and forth on the Chain Bridge that has jaw dropping views of the city – you wouldn’t wanna stop staring.
We also did a quick tour of the Parliament building on our Segway- I truly felt cool while I was on it. I must admit though, I was a coward and couldn’t do it by myself so my Segway guide was holding my Segway the entire time- I felt like a brat but enjoyed every second of it quite unapologetically.
We can’t talk about cafes in Budapest and leave out Gerbeaud. Located on the famous Vörösmarty Square of downtown Budapest, this cafe looks back to 150 + years of history. This coffee shop was established in 1858 but the death of the owner, Kugler (who didn’t have an heir) and then the two world wars took a big toll on this cafe. It was finally refurbished in 1997 and holds the exact same decor ever since.
This isn’t a cafe, this is a mandatory experience I’d say. I would push you to have the hot chocolate here- it’s the best I have ever had, really!!!
One of the best decisions we made was to book a walking tour on Getyourguide.com
This was a 3 hour paid tour but totally worth it because we spent 3 hours with a local guide where she educated us about Budapest and I kid you not, those 3 hours flew by in a jiffy. The thing about hanging out with locals is that they make you fall in love with a city and get you super invested in your holiday. I urge you all to please go for this experience. In this 3 hour walking tour, we took a bus up to the hilly side of Buda and explored Matthias Chruch, Fisherman’s Bastion, Castle Hill and Ruszwurm Cafe.
Matthias Church is a Roman Catholic Church located in the Holy Trinity Square of Buda. It has a beautiful story to tell and that’s why I want to once again encourage you to book a walking tour so that your guide can fill you in with a beautiful story behind this side of the town.
Fisherman’s Bastion is at the heart of Buda Castle District and is known to offer sweeping views of the city.
Ruszwurm Confectionary is a 200 year old family-run cafe with a cherry-wood counter and old world charm. It’s almost always full and has a waiting but …
the homemade cakes, apple strudel and freshly roasted coffee makes the wait worth it’s while!
This is walking distance from the Matthias Church so should be clubbed with that.
Vegan Place: Napfényes Restuarant
If you’re a vegetarian like Rajeev and me, don’t you worry child! There are a lot of lovely options for you in this meat eating country. Here’s a vegan restaurant I urge you to go to in order to try traditional Hungarian cuisine – trust me, you will thank me later.
More vegetarian options in various other local places…
Budapest is known for awesome thermal baths but we just didn’t have the time to go for one. But I would encourage you to not return without experiencing a thermal bath. For us, we know there’s another time so we will definitely do it then 🙂
I truly hope this post was helpful and I would love for you to drop in your comments below.
Love and Light,