18 September 2016

Budapest, the Pearl of the Danube


Despite growing up only 3 hours away, I never visited the capital of Hungary.

The Danube river, the longest in the EU, runs through the heart of Budapest.
Budapest became a single city in 1873 when west-bank Buda and Óbuda unified with east-bank Pest.

With almost 2 million inhabitants, it is one of the largest cities in European Union offering extensive World Heritage Sites such as the Buda Castle, Andrássy Avenue, Hero’s Square or the Millennium Underground Railways, the second-oldest metro line in the world.

Very rich in history and beautiful architectural sites.
It  has endless thermal springs, the most famous are Szechenyi Baths and Gellért Baths. Unfortunately, I did not have the time to enjoy the natural thermal springs, all the more reason to return.
What I did manage to see in this gem of a city?

As mentioned in my previous post, I stayed in Kempinski Hotel Corvinius located smack in the middle of the city.

Just 5 minutes away from the hotel, through charming cobbled streets, you'll find Szent István Basilica or St. Stephen's Basilica, the breathtaking and largest church in Budapest. 
For panoramic views, walk up the 364 stairs to the observation deck open in high season only (April - October).

I strolled along the edges of the Danube River, soaking up the architectural sights of this gem of a city. Right there, you will find one of the most moving memorials, 'Shoes of the Danube'. It contains of 60 pairs of iron shoes dedicated to Jewish victims of the fascist Arrow Cross party in 1944, who had to take their shoes off before they were shot right into the river. Very sad and moving.
The magnificent Hungarian Parliament, stretching between Chain Bridge and Margit Island on the Pest bank of the Danube.
Further down is Margit Island (named after me), a 2.5km long island in the middle of Danube river. Ideal for sports-lovers as it has a water park (the largest open-air swimming complex in Budapest), tennis stadium and even a 5.5km long running track. Other attractions are small zoo, medieval ruins and musical fountain.
Walking down the Buda side of the river with the Buda Hills to the west, I reached the famous Széchenyi Bridge, or Chain Bridge that connects the western and eastern part of the city.
The views across Danube's either side are spectacular.
In 1944, Budapest was partly destroyed by British and American air raids. The city suffered major damage caused by the attack of Soviet and Romanian troops and more than 38,000 civilians lost their lives. All bridges were destroyed by the Germans. The stone lions that are dominating the Chain Bridge since 1852 survived the devastation of the war.
The aftermath of the WWII is present everywhere with memorials scattered all around the city.
There is no shortage of cool food and drink options all around the city that offer stunning vistas of the Danube and Budapest.
Why one one told me Budapest was this beautiful?

With many different nations leaving their mark on Budapest, shaping it into the city it is today, and offering so much variety, history, culture and vibrant night life, I cannot recommend highly enough despite feeling I only just scratched the surface of what the city has to offer.

Book ahead and you can find a return flight with Wizzair for £60! 

The following day, I watched breathtaking sunrise from The Halászbástya or Fisherman's Bastion which you can read about in my next post together with the best breakfast spot in Budapest.

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8 comments

  1. Anonymous19.9.16

    What a lovely city, and great photos. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. I adore Budapest, such a cool city especially in summer it has a good vibe. Martina

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    Replies
    1. Totally agree! I will definitely be returning x

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  3. Heeral20.9.16

    Stunning pics! Brings back memories of my trip many years ago! xx

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  4. Anonymous28.9.16

    Ahoj. Budapest je pekne mesto, velmi sa mi tam pacilo. Pekne fotky. G

    ReplyDelete

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