A Budapest Mini Break
My husband and I booked a mini break in Budapest on a whim and I’m so glad we did! It’s such a beautiful city and we celebrated our third wedding anniversary strolling along the bank of the Danube enjoying the stunning views; a lovely romantic setting for our anniversary break.
The Danube runs through Hungary’s capital, cutting in in half. Regal lion statues stand guard on the 19th-century chain bridge which connects the two halves, hilly Buda and flat Pest. If you’re interested in architecture then Budapest is a must-visit! Buda Castle, Parliament and Fisherman’s Bastion and St Stephen’s Basilica are obvious attractions but there are so many other beautiful buildings, some pastel toned, others dark and gothic, but all equally entrancing.
We stayed in an AirBnB on the Pest side, just a minute’s walk away from the river bank which awarded fantastic views of the famous Castle Hill. (Catch this sight at sunset if you can for a real treat.) The location was excellent as we were able to walk everywhere within our three days in the city, although we did walk over 27 miles so if you don’t fancy that Budapest has an easy to navigate public transport system.
On day 1 we walked across the river and up the hill to see Buda castle up close and explore the Castle District. These is a funicular which runs up and down the hill but we chose the walk instead. Either way, the views from the top are spectacular and we spent a full day walking the cobbled streets, exploring Fisherman’s Bastion and Trinity Square, home to the 13th-century Matthias Church with it’s fabulous bright orange tiled roof.
We visited the Shoes on the Danube Bank memorial on the way back which was extremely moving. Conceived by film director Can Togay and sculptor Gyula Pauer to honour the people who were killed by fascist Arrow Cross militiamen in Budapest during World War II, representing the shoes the victims were ordered to leave behind on the bank before being shot. Budapest is full of poignant reminders of it’s history, all extremely interesting for those looking to discover more from a trip than spectacular scenery and a vibrant nightlife.
Budapest is famous for many culinary treats including it’s street food. Chimney cake is a must! Apparently Molnar’s cafe Chimney cake is the best and I can testify it’s pretty amazing and go for half cinnamon, half chocolate. The Fat Mama eatery, Kiosk, Cupákos for a casual yet hearty dinner, Vendetta for great cocktails and Stika for a great breakfast are recommended. Cube and the flower cafe served great coffee and sweet treats and you must visit a ruin bar for a cocktail. Szimpla bar is worth a visit but quite touristy and
Keen to explore more than the cafe’s on the Pest side (!), we started with a trip to St Stephen’s Basilica, named in honour of Stephen, the first King of Hungary (c 975–1038), whose mummified right hand is reportedly housed inside for those brave enough to take a look. The trip to the top of the church is worth the small fee with panoramic views of the city. Heroes Square is a popular tourist attraction for good reason, the Millennium Monument is a breathtaking sight featuring exquisitely detailed statues of people who made their mark on Hungarian history. Just beyond Heroes Square is Vajdahunyad Castle which looks like it came straight from the pages of a fairytale book, surrounded by a lake which I believe becomes an outdoor skating rink in winter, and one of Budapest’s most popular thermal baths, Széchenyi. A dip in the outdoor pool is a perfect reward for all that walking…