Well, the Croatia post was two cities in one. I thought to myself, this is perfect, I’ll be right on track to write a post as I leave each city finally! Not so sure that’s true anymore as I go ahead and split Budapest up into two posts. Partially because we’ve spent so long here, partially because, well it’s my blog and I just feel like it!
Budapest has been an amazing city so far. I don’t know what first got me so interested in visiting it, honestly. I’ve wanted to go to Turkey for a couple years now, and at one point was looking at a train trip, one leg of which would take me through Budapest (for information on this visit http://www.seat61.com/Turkey.htm). All of the cities mentioned interested me and so I tried to plan a week or two week trip to do it. It never happened to my disappointment. Of all the cities, outside of Istanbul, of course, Budapest for some reason really caught my interest. I spoke of the trip to friends and some mentioned having been to Budapest and really enjoying it, so when planning this trip for my mom and me, I mentioned Budapest. Knowing she doesn’t want to go to Istanbul due to lingering unrest in the area this was my alternative.
And so here we are. And wow, there is so much to do in this city. My friend was right, I think you could spend anywhere from 2 days to 3 weeks and still have things to do. It’s probably the biggest city we’ve been to so far on this trip (Paris doesn’t count because we’re both already familiar with it). We have both mentioned feeling as if we could easily come back here as there would still be things we haven’t done yet, or new things to do.
Coming from Split, we had to take a bus to Zagreb and then get on a train to Budapest. It truly took all day. In the high season though (starting in June I believe) there is a direct train is my understanding and perhaps direct flights as well from Split to Budapest. Well, it may not have been the most exciting day (excepting where we almost got on the wrong train), but it was at least a relaxing day as there was truly nothing to do but sit. We arrived well-rested for the busy-ness that awaited us in Budapest I suppose.
First thing I noticed about Budapest : wow am I impressed with their public transportation. We only took it a couple times, to get from and to the train station without baggage. Everything was quite walkable I found. But when we did take it, it was always very clean, very modern, and very simple. In addition to the metro that we took there was also a streetcar and bus service that we saw. And there were bike stands all over the city. Prompts for getting all your bases covered here in Budapest.
We stayed in a wonderful Airbnb just about a block away from the Grand Synagogue. Perfect location. Two stops from the train station, lots of (well-priced) restaurants, and still an easy walk to the Chain Bridge as well. If returning will definitely stay in this neighborhood again. The Airbnb was very cheap and very nice for the price as well. For those who prefer hostels though, I saw several in the immediate area.
As for food, as long as it’s in the right neighborhood eating out, even in a proper restaurant, was very affordable we found. Probably half the price (if even that) for a full dinner with drinks and a starter and/or dessert. We didn’t try much local food except at one restaurant (expect more info in my next post on that), but what we did have was all good. Groceries were also very cheap.
In addition to touring the Jewish Quarter, we also did a river boat cruise. It was nice to see the city from a different perspective. However it wasn’t a guided boat, so we just got to sit, watch the city, and relax with our coffee. The company we did ours through offers many different types (wine, coffee, dinner, lunch, etc.) I enjoyed it but if you’re looking for an informative river trip I wouldn’t recommend. There may be others that are guided, however.
I think the only things I regret about Budapest is not things we did do or did wrong, but rather things we didn’t get around to doing even with all the time we had. We didn’t get to visit the baths or to climb the citadel (did see it from the river though which was cool). We had intended to on our last day after visiting the Central Market (huge, I wish we had the time to go earlier so as to buy groceries there) but it ended up being too hot and we were too tired. Oh well, just gives me another reason to return to Budapest I suppose! It was definitely a very interesting city with a lot of interesting history as well. I think I would seriously consider returning should the opportunity present itself, I feel there’s much more to see of it and much more to learn about it.
So until next time perhaps Budapest!