A wonderful introduction to Budapest

I think there aren’t many right words I can employ to describe just how amazing my day in Budapest was (though I’ll try). To me, everything was perfect – speaking in terms of what I typically seek when I travel – culture, history, beautiful sights, good weather, decent prices and did I mention, beautiful sights?!! Budapest had it all and then some.

All smiles at Hősök tere which means Heroes' Square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
All smiles at Hősök tere which means Heroes’ Square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

I went with a tour group (which I’d highly recommend doing as well) from Vienna and got to explore both the Buda and the Pest side. Budapest is divided into two sides by the Danube RIver which runs through it. Each side has it’s own unique characteristics that is sure to appeal to any traveler – whether you more enjoy the modern city life, or you are looking for some historic charms to take you back to the old ages. I’d highly recommend a walking tour to explore the Buda side – it’s an experience not to be missed.

My tour guide must have been from the Buda side because she insisted it was the most beautiful. Honestly, in my opinion, they are equally tied. I found both of them appealing in their own right. Here are pictures from both sides.. you decide 😀

 

Buda side

The Buda side is more reminiscent of old Europe with it’s hills, cobblestone roads and medieval looking buildings. On this side, you get to experience some remnants of the Austro-Hungarian Empire with sights like the Buda Castle and other beautiful Baroque style buildings.

This basilica was just amazing to look at
This basilica was just amazing to look at
Old town square
Old town square
Loved seeing the classic cars on the Buda side
Loved seeing the classic cars on the Buda side
Semi-panoramic shot to show just how beautiful the center is :)
Semi-panoramic shot to show just how beautiful the center is :)
The classic cars and horse carriages definitely cemented the Old Town feel of the Buda side's city center
The classic cars and horse carriages definitely cemented the Old Town feel of the Buda side’s city center
A young boy stares curiously at a horse
A young boy stares curiously at a horse
Remember when we were young and we'd read stories about a princess who lived in a castle up the hills.. this is where they were talking about!
Remember when we were young and we’d read stories about a princess who lived in a castle up the hills.. this is where they were talking about!

 

 

Pest Side

This side was the more commercialized side where you can find modern shops, offices, fashions etc. Unlike the Buda side, this side is completely flat lands. The Pest side has a more city like atmosphere and is also where you would find the nightlife (bars & clubs). But just because the Pest side is more modernized doesn’t mean it doesn’t also have the amazing sights that makes Budapest so beautiful.

Seriously couldn't ask for a better backdrop... looked unreal!
Seriously couldn’t ask for a better backdrop… looked unreal!
No matter how many duomos I see in Europe, I am still always in awe of them :)
No matter how many duomos I see in Europe, I am still always in awe of them :)
Me and the basilica! :)
Me and the basilica! :)
Beautiful buildings everywhere!
Beautiful buildings everywhere!
Something beautiful to look at at every corner you turn..
Something beautiful to look at at every corner you turn..
At Váci utca.. this young man was so pleasant and gladly obliged me taking his picture. Köszönöm! :D (thank you in Hungarian)
At Váci utca.. this young man was so pleasant and gladly obliged me taking his picture. Köszönöm! 😀 (thank you in Hungarian)
Showing this handsome lad some love..
Showing this handsome lad some love..
A typical street on the Pest side
A typical street on the Pest side
Trams run through the city on the Pest side
Trams run through the city on the Pest side
The Budapest Opera house
The Budapest Opera house

 

 

Want to Go?

The main airport is Budapest Franz Liszt International Airport or simply BUD (IATA code). A quick search for flights shows an average flight price of $745 in December (one of the colder months) to $839 in August (one of the peak months) from JFK. Most flights from North America will fly through JFK, so feel free to add an approximate cost of flying from your city to JFK to the cost to estimate your true flight costs.

There are multiple hotel options in Budapest, and I find them to be quite affordable when compared to hotels of the same caliber in other cities such as Paris, London or Stockholm. I mean, a 5 star hotel for $120/night? Where else can you get that?

In fact, Budapest has to be one of the most affordable European cities there is. And that doesn’t come at the expense of a reduced experience.. not at all! I was quite pleased with how far my money stretched in Budapest, especially coming from my trip to Stockholm earlier in the week (where everything was probably 3x more expensive than it was in Budapest).

The weather is typically humid in Budapest, ranging from a mean of 29 degrees (Fahrenheit) in January (the coldest month) to 69 degrees in July (the hottest month).

 

Though I only spent a day in Budapest, I can’t wait to go back, over and over and over again. In fact, while I wish to return to almost all the places that I have visited at some later point in life, Budapest is one of the few that I wouldn’t mind going to again at the “expense” of skipping out on somewhere new. That is an amazing feat, as much as I absolutely LOVE going to somewhere new :). I look forward to vacationing with my (future) husband and kids in Budapest someday.. I hope they too will love it as much as I do!

 

Have you been to Budapest? What were some of your favorite things about the city? If you haven’t been, well what are you waiting for?! 😀

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