Budapest swept me off my feet with its charm and character. Autumn trees, stunning architecture, sunsets, food and city lights: this colourful city was so spectacular, the experience felt slightly surreal. Luckily, I have some pictures to prove I’m not exaggerating!
The diversity of the city’s architecture tells the story of its cultural history. History buffs will not be disappointed as you can explore different sites including Roman remains, intricate Gothic cathedrals, and Turkish baths. Budapest is filled with grand boulevards, gorgeous streets lined with bright apartments, and beautiful churches, but make an effort to walk beyond the touristy-centre to experience a different side of the city. You’ll find large blocks of buildings still bearing the scars of war.
St. Stephen’s Basilica requires a special mention. The sheer size of the basilica, along with its colourful interior is a sight to behold. Just lift your eyes above the masses of camera-wielding tourists and enjoy the beauty of the place. Muted colours in every shade imaginable. Marble columns. Gilded cornices. Detailed frescoes. Light streaming through rows of windows in the multi-domed roof. My words can’t quite do it justice.
I’m glad we packed our walking shoes for this trip. We took advantage of the last warm days of autumn to find the best views of the city. We spent an afternoon walking under the coppery trees on Gellért Hill from where we could see some of the iconic views: the Danube river, the Széchenyi Chain Bridge, the Hungarian Parliament Building and Buda Castle.
We skipped the popular Széchenyi Thermal Baths and spent a few hours at the Gellért Spa & Baths. I left my camera and phone in a locker, so I don’t have any photos, but let me describe the setting to you:
We are outside and the late afternoon sun just dipped behind the hills and there’s a slight chill to the air. Steam is rising from a swimming pool filled with people in colourful bathing suits. Everyone’s talking in hushed voices, soaking up the atmosphere. The air is saturated with that very specific autumn-fragrance of dry leaves and warm earth. Wispy clouds are painted in orange and gold against the pale blue sky. A breeze stirs the trees and star-shaped yellow leaves drift down to float on the pool… It was the perfect way to relax after hours of walking.
Our visit to the Central Market Hall was a feast for the senses. It’s the perfect place to stock up on fresh produce, grab a plate of goulash, and to do people watching!
Budapest is just as wonderful at night. We spent two memorable evenings at Szimpla Kert, one of the largest ruin bars. The dilapidated building is decorated with modern art, mismatched furniture, plants and lights, giving it an eclectic feel. Hungarian wine was another happy discovery for us and added some colour to our evenings! It was also worthwhile to brace the cold night and take a long walk to admire the Hungarian Parliament Building.
Budapest has so much to offer and I’ve only given you the briefest glimpse at this amazing city. It ranks as one of my favourite destinations and it’s one of those places that leaves you wondering what else there’s still left to discover.
Thank you for reading! In the coming weeks, I’ll be posting about an unplanned hike in the South of France and the magic of Prague at night. Scroll down and click on Follow Wild Library to receive an email when a new story is posted.
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