At the beginning of March 2020, I took a 5-day vacation in Budapest (one day I went to Bratislava – see here). At that time, COVID-19 was still very calm, thankfully! Because of that, the dates of this trip were literally perfect. A week later and we probably wouldn’t be going anymore.
Budapest, capital of Hungary , has the Danube river separating the two main zones: Buda and Pest. Known as The Pearl of the Danube, the city was elected in 2019 as the Best European Destination. In the city it’s possible to find both modernity and lots of history. The culture of Budapest was really influenced in two moments: the Nazism and when the city was submissive to the Soviet Union. Budapest has one of the largest parliament in the world, the historical thermal baths, the Fisherman’s Bastion and an inspiring atmosphere on the ‘Jewish quarter’ where bars operate in ruined buildings.
Flight and Hotel reservations
I went on this trip with my boyfriend and his parents. We bought the flights five months before (November) and we pay about 100€ per person (round trip). As Budapest is not as popular as other cities in Europe, flight prices are not so cheap.
After buying the flights, I dedicated myself to looking for a hotel 🏨. The most important points of the hotel we wanted it to be clean, well located and have breakfast included. The hotel we chose was the Three Corners Hotel Anna *** Superior. Each room in the bed and breakfast regime cost 272,92€.
Now I’m going to give you an overview of this trip! For more details on each specific day, there will be more posts.
I went to Budapest from the 3rd to 7th of March, that is, in the last month of winter. The weather was quite cold and rainy… (whenever my boyfriend’s parents go on vacation it rains 🌧️, it sure happens). The city is very different from the others in Europe that I had already visited. It’s a less touristic city, with less busy , well organized and where it’s possible to capture the essence of the place (some cities have so many tourists that are already shaped for this, Budapest doesn’t).
🗓️ 1st day: Flight and Margaret Island
Our flight from Porto to Budapest was at 7.15h but we only arrived at the hotel around lunchtime (3.25h in the flight, transfer to center, check-in,…). After we left the bags in the room 🛏️, we went to lunch at an Italian restaurant near the hotel. When we entered the restaurant it was raining a little but when we left it no longer was!
After lunch, we went to Margaret Island, an island in the middle of the Danube with a huge park, gardens and lots of nature 🌳. The visit to this island occupied us almost all afternoon, but we still had time to walk to the Parliament and see the Shoes on the Danube. After we went to the hotel to take a shower but then we left to dinner at Mazel Tov, a restaurant “in ruins” that has amazing food.
2nd day: Parliament, Shoes on the Danube bank and Buda side (Castle, Fisherman’s Bastion, Matthias Church,…)
We wake up early to enjoy the day and visit the most. We had breakfast at the hotel and it was very good, it had a little bit of everything (bread, cakes, fruit, eggs, cheese, coffee and other drinks). Our first stop of the day was in the Szechenyi Square, where the Chain Bridge begins. Then we went to Parliament because we had a guided tour scheduled at 10.30h. After the visit we went to the Shoes on the Danube again to take some pictures with daylight. When we were going towards the Chains bridge we decided to change the planned itinerary for the day because it was giving rain for Friday and it would be boring to see the Buda side if it was raining.
Next stop: Buda side. We went to the castle and we explored the gardens and the walls, all this before lunch. We had lunch at a restaurant near the castle. Then we went to the Fishermen’s Bastion (it’s very pretty and has beautiful views of the city!) and entered the Matthias Church. As it was still early and the weather was good, we decided to take a bus to the Andrassy Avenue and have a coffee in the historic New York Cafe. Like the day before, we went to the hotel to take a shower and then went out to dinner.
🗓️ 3rd day: Bratislava
To go to Bratislava, we took the 7:40h train 🚆 at the Budapest-Nyugati station. The train journey takes about 2 hours and 20 minutes. We only had 7 hours to visit the city and we managed to make the most of it. During this day, we visit the historic center (my favourite place was the Blue Church) and the Bratislava Castle. To know more about the itinerary of this day and get more details, you can read in this post.
🗓️ 4th day: Szechenyi Baths, Great Synagogue, St. Stephen Basilica and Vaci Street
The morning of this day was amazing! After getting ready and having breakfast we went to the Szechenyi Baths. It was raining and really cold, but the water in the pools was very hot! 🌡️ It was a great experience! Then we went to the Heroes Square and to the City Park where is the Vajdahunyad Castle, the Anonymous Statue and the Gatehouse Tower. And the next stop was to lunch at Frici Papa, a very popular restaurant there.
After lunch, we visited the interior of the Great Synagogue and we climbed to the top of the St. Stephen Basilica (great views of the city from there!). Still on this day, we went to other important squares and places (Elizabeth Square, Vorosmarty Square and Vigadó Square) and, after dinner, we took a boat tour 🛥️.
🗓️ 5th day: Gellert Hill, Citadella, Holocaust Memorial Center, Ruin Bars and return flight
Last day of this trip 😢! We woke up pretty early because we were afraid not to be able to see everything that was missing. We made the check-out and asked to store our bags at the reception. Our first stops for the day were the Gellert Hill and the Citadella (both on the Buda side – we took the bus to get there). We had to climb so much but then the views paid off!
During the rest of the day we visited the Cave Church, we crossed the Szabadság Bridge, entered on the Great Market Hall and on the Holocaust Memorial Center. The last stop was the Szimpla Kert, a ruin bar worth visiting! After that, we went to the hotel to get our bags and then to the airport to take the flight back to Porto.
It was a good trip but quite intense because of everything we wanted to visit and the cold 🥶. However, it was possible to clear the mind and not thinking about work. Budapest is a city worth visiting because of all the history and the amazing places you can see there 💛.
More details about this five days in Budapest I will tell you in other blog posts. 🙂
If you want to get the complete itinerary of this trip please download it ➡️ here.