Budapest is the capital and most populous city in Hungary, home to roughly 1.8 million people over 525 square kilometres (203 square miles.) The original town, (an early Celtic settlement) transformed into the Roman town of Aquincum which eventually became Obunda. This settlement was on the island that holds the Sziget festival every year. Buda, Pest and Óbuda Buda, three towns and a island that was the original settlement that makes up the majority of Budapest. Buda, Óbuda and Pest merged together officially in 1873, having been through many regime changes, governments and wars. Budapest is a very fascinating city with many amazing museums and historical attractions to visit. Arguably Budapest biggests attractions are its baths and spa, the whole city it built on geothermal activity giving rise to Turkish style bath houses built in the 17th century that still exist to this day, more on these later.
After spending already 7 days inside the gates of Sziget festival, being bombard with sights and very loud sounds almost 24/7. And having not spent very much time at all in the city itself we decided a bit of calm and exploration was in order. We stayed in a hostel in the city, centrally based on the Pest side. The hostel was nice and clean, a small amount a of beds in very large rooms. It did tend to be quite noisy at night due to a major road being just outside the window (which we had it open) however earplugs fixed this easily. Our hosts where kind and helpful and with public transport almost right outside it was very good value for money.
Caterina private rooms and apartments is definitely worth a stay. Use the following link to book your own stay and we will get a small percentage of your booking at no cost to yourself. This helps us to continue to travel and hopefully find more cool places to recommend for you.
The first half day we actually slept most of the afternoon which was very welcome. In the evening feeling like we should explore we headed out into the city, jumped on a tram and headed across the river to the Buda side and up to Buda hill. The plan was to catch golden hour and get some good photos, however due to our lack understanding of the local public transport system we missed the best of it. While wandering around Buda hill we came across a local evening dance group. Just a group of locals enjoying the outdoors, practicing local line dancing accompanied by a three piece traditional band.
we did managed to still get a few ok photos, however our camera really dose struggle in low light situations. This is most definitely not wholly the camera’s fault, as I am still learning how to use a basic manual camera and do not know the way of the force when it comes to best photography settings.
As the light faded beyond use we walked back to our hostel checking out the evening life of the Pest side of the city as we went. With all that walking we developed a bit of a hungry. (Sorry, not sorry 😛 ) So we dropped gear at our room and backtracked a block or so to a Indonesian fusion restaurant that we found. We realy to like our asian food, be it Thai, Indian or Chinese it’s all sooo good. Would put a link in for you but can’t remember the name and can’t find it on maps so you are on your own for this one. With a full belly the need to sleep was overwhelming so back to the hostel for bed.
Day 2 in the city we set out early for a little exploring, but first … THE BATHS! if your ever in Budapest this is a must do. With our Sziget festival city pass we were able to get free entry into Széchenyi Thermal Baths. What a cool place! The Széchenyi Thermal Baths opened in 1913 and and attracted 20,000 bathers in its first year, increasing to almost 90,000 by 1917. The bath has been upgraded and upsized twice over the years with the latest refurbishment in 2009 bringing it to its current state. The set up of the baths including lockers and changing rooms, and was very well done and maintained. The staff spoke broken English but where very friendly and helpful. The inside of the baths was huge! With a total of 3 large outdoor baths and 15 indoor baths. Being there at 9:30am it was already filling quite quickly, we found ourselves some loungers and a place by the pool edge. Having a good few hours of relaxation and and the odd swim, we watched the pools steady fill to capacity and some. By this time it was time to leave. Walking into the cbd we managed to get some good photos of the city on route to do a little shopping.
The afternoon was filled with exploring the city and various monuments, and collecting supplies for dinner in the woods with our French friends. An evening of beer, cider, good conversation and chess followed. A later than ideal bedtime but a great day.
Day 3 was an early start to get to the bus station for our international bus to Vienna airport. Something you don’t think about when growing up on an island nation in the middle of the Pacific Ocean is firstly, borders and secondly that you can get across them on a bus… I know it’s odd but trust me it’s not a thing at home. Again we traveled with Flixbus, all round a great experience, busses had toilets and patchy Wifi but not a real issue. Did run into some major traffic to the point that we got to be a little worried that we would miss our flight. In the end we made it through with plenty of time and even managed to get some food in the airport before we flew out. On the whole we really enjoyed our time in Hungary with no real complaints, even the weather played ball. And when it did rain we got an incredible lighting show to go with it .
By the time you are reading this we will hopefully be done with our Camino walk across spain and will be well on the way writing posts about it for you to enjoy.
So until then stay safe and get out that gate.