So, it was the last leg of our Europe trip – Central Europe trip- and we wanted to make the most of our stay by visiting all the places in our Budapest itinerary, but since we had limited days in hand we had to plan it out according to what places we wanted to see and what we would miss out. With less than 3 days to see this entire city which is big on unique things like therapeutic baths and ruin bars along with many other places to see, we knew where we would start our journey and which places will be in our list.
We were staying in a hotel in Buda, thus we had to cross the chain bridge and come to the Pest side of Budapest which lies on the East bank of the Danube, and is the most lively part of the city. That was our first union with the Chain bridge which is also a popular Tourist attraction.
It dates back to 1849, even though the original was blown up during WWII, it was rebuilt to connect both sides of Danube, the Buda and the Pest. You can see stone lions standing on either side of the bridge. The bridge stands as an iconic symbol of Budapest and its history. We get a beautiful view of the Danube river and the city from here and it is a sight to be cherished.
In the evening, we took an evening cruise, that gave us a chance to see the popular tourist attractions from the river in all its regality and ya!! With a wine glass in hand. This cruise is a must do as it will also decide for you as to where your tour starts the next day. As we settled in our boat we received an audio guide for the next 1.5 hours.
The parliament building as seen from the cruise
The Chain Bridge
The Fisherman’s Bastion
We rise fresh and enthusiastic to get a load of the city and so we gain cross the chain bridge to reach St Stephen’s Basilica. Since we had a lot to see in the day, we came to a conclusion to take the Segway for our ‘tour de Budapest’. But before that, we entered the huge church.
The interiors of the church are ornamented with rich frescos, mosaics, stained glass decorations.
The Roman Catholic Church is the largest building in Budapest named after Saint Stephen 1, first king of Hungary.
The church facade is flanked by 2 bell tomes, one of which houses the biggest bell. One can climb to the top of the dome by an elevator or by the 364 steps to get a view of the city.
From there we head towards the Szabadsag square which is accessible from the direction of the parliament, through the Kossuth Ter. It has a big park with a fountain and is a good hangout place for tourists and locals. The monument stays as a reminder of the WW2 and the communist era of the Soviets.
Next, we ‘segway’ towards the parliament building located at Kossuth Lajos Ter near the bank of the Danube. Right in front of the parliament is the statue of Count Gyula Andrassy which is 6.5-meter high bronze Equestrian Statue.
Imre Nagy, Prime minister of Hungary was brought down during the failed Hungarian revolution and he became a symbol of freedom. His statue faces the parliament building on a tiny square next to Kossuth Square.
After sightseeing the lovely monuments, we turn our Segways towards the promenade along the Danube. The story of the Shoes of the Danube touched me and also reminded me of the struggles of my countrymen to gain freedom. Our guide told us how the people were ordered to take off their shoes and shot on the promenade so that the bodies fell in the river to be carried away by it. The shoes were there as a memorial of the people who were killed in WW2. This heart-wrenching story did make us wait and think about how every country had its own story of struggle and pain.
We sat there and rested for a while before we started for the other side of Budapest: The Buda.
From the Trinity Square, the castle is 10 minutes walk but faster by Segway.
Buda castle has historical buildings dated back to the 13th century and houses the National Gallery and the Budapest history museum. You can saunter the castle grounds and gardens if you are not a museum person which is free to enter and is dotted with fountains, statues including the equestrian statue of Prince Eugene of Savoy. Also, there is the Mathias Church and the Fisherman’s Bastion.
Fisherman’s Bastion is the Neo-Gothic style bastion with turrets; it looks like it has been taken away straight from a fairy tale. It has been named after the fishermen who defended the castle walls in the middle age. You can climb a few steps to get the most enchanting view of the Danube and the other side, that is, the Pest side. You can get a captivating picture of the Chain bridge.
There is a cafe located on one of the turrets where you can take the majestic view of Budapest over a cup of coffee.
This place is very crowded in Peak season, we were here in May and it was super crowded.
But it is a place worth every minute, so do not miss it if you are in Budapest.
It was late afternoon when we head back to the Basilica. We give back our Segways and head in search of a lunch place. As vegetarians, we kept asking different joints near the church for vegetarian food. The best bet is a veg sandwich or margarita pizza dotted with a few vegetables. Well, we love pizzas and we devoured the food with silence as we reflected and thought about how much there was to see and contemplate.
European cities are full of history and Budapest has a lot to say. Even if you are not a person with interest in castles or monuments, there is a lot to do here like the thermal baths or the ruin bars. The nightlife here is very active but since we were on a family vacation we went on a long stroll along the Danube promenade relaxing for the next day. We had planned on having a thermal bath experience and also check the popular ruin bars during the daytime. Read about the third day here.