Budapest; the capital of Hungary, home of goulash, and split across the Danube River is often described as the Paris of Eastern Europe was definitely a delight to visit and a weekend trip to put on your bucket list if not already!
Central market hall, as any european market hall is a bustling marketplace and it being the largest and oldest indoor market in Budapest is definitely one to put on your list to visit when in Budapest. Here you can find all sorts of herbs and spices such as paprika, saffron and also fresh produce as you would expect from a market of that size.
Heroes Square, or Hősök tere is definitely unmissable, an easy tram ride away as you'll quickly learn places in Budapest aren't really walking distance away from each other like many of the other European cities.
The statues you'll see at Heroes Square include the seven Chieftans of the Maygars who were the leaders of the seven tribes of Hungary, and other national leaders. To the left of Heroes Square you'll find the Museum of Fine Arts and the Palace of Art on the right.
If you're visiting Budapest in the winter, the outdoor ice rink is right around the corner from Heroes Square in the City Park. This ice rink is hands down one of the best ice rinks conveniently located in the middle of the city that you can visit in Europe in my opinion! If that doesn't sway you, it's also Europe's largest outdoor rinks at 12,000sqm. The ice rink, Varosligeti Mujegpalya opens in November when the lake freezes over and is super picturesque with Vajdahunya Castle in the background. The convenience of the rink is also probably why everyone at the ice rink seemed like they were skating at expert level which may seem intimidating since there aren't barriers around the rink to hold onto but for those uninitiated to ice skating lessons are available.
After a skate around the ice rink the best way to relax after this is to go for a soak at the world famous Széchenyi Thermal Baths just around the corner. There's something just so satisfying going from freezing outside temperatures to soaking in warm waters! Towels can be rented here, although beware - we had one of our towels "stolen" from us while in our relaxed blissfulness!
After warming up thoroughly (& nearly snoozing!) at the baths we strolled down one of the central roads in Budapest to Borkonyha Wine Kitchen for a well recommended feast!
VDay 2 in Budapest and we set off for a 1030am start with Free Budapest Walking Tours. If you've read through a lot of our other entries you'll know that we're massive fans of these free walking tours as they're good for an overview of the city and the associated history with it (which is what European cities are all about!). They're also fantastic to get your bearings for the city! The walking tour started in Vorosmarty square and covered the Buda & Pest sides via the Chain Bridge.
The walking tour finished up at Matthias Church in the heart of Buda's Castle District after a climb up some steps (which can be avoided by taking the funicular if you're feeling lazy!)
Just be a bit careful when walking around the Royal Palace area! We weren't paying much attention when walking around and got told off by the guards when we overstepped some boundaries (that are not obvious!).
If you haven't had enough views of Budapest from the Chain Bridge, make sure you visit Fisherman Bastion, where you can find a panoramic viewing platform & a cafe up the top if you're feeling cold! The round towers were pretty cool to walk around and through!
The Royal Palace Budapest was the first royal residence however has continually been rebuilt since the 13th century through the ages. It is no longer a residence but instead houses the Hungarian National Library, Budapest History Museum and the National Library which are always worth checking out if you have the time!
St Stephens' Basilica stands proudly as the largest church in Budapest at 96 metres, the same height as the Hungarian Parliament. There's also a lift up from the church for a panorama of the "Pest" side if a clear day for a nominal fee of HUF 500 - pretty good value I say!
The Hungarian State Opera House is another impressive structure, it being the largest opera house in Hungary. Guided tours are available for the building if none of the operas playing are of interest. Sadly we didn't get time to do this, although it definitely was something high on our list!
Our last meal in Budapest was at Cafe Bouchon, a local & cosy restaurant to enjoy Hungarian cuisine. The staff were very attentive and more than happy to answer any food questions we had so this is definitely a place to check out while in Budapest!
We Stayed: Fraser Residence Budapest