Budapest TOP attractions

Hello World!

As you already know, we are in Budapest! Previous blog was about Where to stay in Budapest (LINK), but this one will give you more insight to Budapest TOP attractions. Without further a do, let’s start with our Budapest 2018 picks!

Heroes’ Square
Take the M1 metro line and it will get you right in front of this glorious Budapest square. This is definitely my favorite square in Budapest, maybe even Europe. Hungarians have commemorated their important National leaders, by building the statues of them, as well as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Somehow, we always end up visiting it by night and we love it with all the lights turned on.

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Near Heroes’ Square are you can also find Vajdahunyad Castle, outdoor “City Park Ice Rink” and Szechenyi Baths and Pool.
Entrance fee to visit the Courtyard of the Vajdahunyad Castle is free. However, should you wish to visit Museum of Agriculture residing in Vajdahunyad Castle, entrance fee is approx. 5 EUR.
City Park Ice Rink season 2017/2018 is, unfortunately, closed.

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You know that this trip was all about finding best ways to “explore while relaxing”. That is the main reason why we have chosen to chill a little in Szechenyi Baths and PoolThese baths have 18 pools, from which 2 outdoor pools, 10 saunas and massages. Of course, we tried the outdoor ones even though it was -5 Celsius outside. Thermal outdoor pool was heated on 28 Celsius, so we ran out to the pool with nothing but a swimsuit on.

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TIPS:

  • bring a towel, swimsuit and slippers (otherwise, you can rent there)
  • you can buy your bath ticket in advance and get discount – HERE
  • if you are buying the tickets at the Baths, after 7 pm, tickets are more affordable
  • book a locker or a cabin to put your belongings (you will be given a silicon waterproof wristband, which looks like a watch)

Chain Bridge
Go across the Danube river to the Buda side, over the Chain Bridge. The most popular bridge in town and also the most crowded. Lion’s guarding the bridge entrance are impressive every time we see them. Don’t you agree?

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So, once you are on Buda side you can walk up to Buda Castle or take historical cable car up. Buda Castle Funicular runs every 10 minutes and it is a fairly cheap way (approx. 5 EUR) to save your legs 🙂

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Buda Castle
This historical castle and palace complex of the Hungarian kings in Budapest, currently hosts Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest History Museum, Hungarian Presidential Palace, Matthias Church, Holy Trinity Statue and Fisherman’s Bastion. 

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Parliament of Budapest
For me, this is the most impressive building in entire Budapest. It lies on Danube river, on Kossuth Lajos Square and it is apparently the largest building in Hungary. You can reach the Parliament with Tram line 2 (which is also the scenic route tram).

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Wanna see it by night? Check out our Budepest 2016 blog -> HERE.
Also, try to get picture of the Parliament from the Buda side of Danube river, that way you can really capture it’s all glory!

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Close to the Parliament, when you walking back to Chain bridge, you can find “Shoes on the Danube Promenade Memorial”. On the other side of the Parliament, you can walk towards Margaret Island & Bridge, the only “3 exit bridge” we know!

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Find out more about Margaret Island in our Budapest 2016 blog -> HERE

Citadella
To get the best Budapest city views go to Citadella! This fort is located on the top of Gellért Hill, with Liberty Statue monument on it’s front.

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Liberty Bridge
When you walk down from Gellért Hill you will pass by several monuments, Cave church and Hotel Gellért  (which also has Baths, apparently second best in Budapest) and you will end up in front of Liberty Bridge. Central Market Hall is right across the bridge, on the other side of Danube, and Hungarian National Museum is 10 minute walk from there.

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Sometimes, it is just worth of getting lost in the city. You can easily walk all around most popular attractions, if you prepare well. So, take that Budapest map, circle all top attractions you’ve liked so far and make a plan how to cover it all!
Public transport is also very easy to use. Take Tram 2 for scenic route, which passes by most Budapest attractions on Pest side. We also recommend using Metro lines. After a day, you will feel like you know all the stops, lines and how to use them. Don’t we all just want to feel like local? Wandering around the city, without chasing any attraction, just soaking up the city vibe and admiring it, is the best feeling in the world!

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St. Stephen’s Basilica
This time we only passed by St. Stephen’s Basilica, on our way to look for some food. You can enter the church, but there is a fee. You can climb up to the tower and find a nice view, but there is a fee. You get my point? Other attractions, with views, in Budapest are free, plus the view is not as stunning as from Buda Castle or Citadella.

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Now, let’s jump to some juicy stuff! We are always hungry, but we never find time to eat. So, when we eat, we eat goooood. We loved MenzaSzimpla Kert last time when we were in Budapest, so decision was easy – eat, drink & repeat!

Menza Restaurant DianoMaya_Budapest-1735

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Szimpla Kert Ruin BarDianoMaya_Budapest-1559

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Hope I was of help, if you are traveling to Budapest, send me your pictures!

If you are looking for a place to stay, we recommend Frasesr Residance, luxury apartments, in Corvin Quarter. Book your stay -> HERE

See you next time from Israel! Yes, we are flying for some DianoMaya Israeli adventure!

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Where to stay in Budapest?

Hello World!

We are in Budapest again!!! We have had visited it before (Budapest 2016 blog) and it became one of our favorite European cities. This time we were more focused on where to stay than what to visit. But, don’t worry I will also write about Budapest TOP attractions in next blog. So, don’t forget to follow, like, etc., etc…

If you have been following us on social media, you know we are on Winter Road Trip for a week already and we needed a good place where we can really rest.
I remember, last time we were booking accommodation in Budapest, I spent days on the Internet, Booking.com & Airbnb, trying to figure out where to stay. We didn’t know, at the time, that Buda side is on hill, with very quiet & romantic vibe, and that Pest side is actually much closer to historic sites, restaurants, shopping areas and the nightlife. It was all very confusing, but now we know and you know!

This time we went on Google.Maps and looked for hotel in city area we wanted to stay. Didn’t know you could do that? Well, now you know that too. Try it -> here.

We needed “home away from home” so we reached out to Fraser Residence, one of the most famous aparthotels, in Budapest. Their hotel manager, Mr. Alain Goetschel, has kindly given us Two Bedroom Apartment, on 7th floor of the building. Before we start going into the details, let me tell you that this is the biggest apartment we ever stayed in!

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So, apartment is, like I said, very spacious and equipped with dining and kitchen areas. In the kitchen we found everything we needed: fridge, cooker, microwave, kettle, dishes and even a washing machine with washing liquid.
We received welcome fruit platter, still & sparkling water and some juices from Alain, so we decided to sit down and refresh in the dining area first. Btw. that table can easily fit a group of six adults. 

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Living area has a home entertainment system, but we used it mostly for our “laptop club”. It is a perfect place to get some work done, if you are working remotely, as we do. Getting comfortable on the couch, editing videos while watching “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” on TV, those were our goals!

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In our rooms we had comfy beds and plenty of storage space. I found bathrobes and slippers in our closet. I also found a safe box there, not like you need it, but some people feel safer to put their belongings in a safe place.

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We had 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms in our apartment. Apartment was definitely big enough for 6 adults. Each bathroom had it’s own bathtub and L’Occitane bathroom amenities (shower gel, body milk & shampoo and conditioner) replaced daily. We used only one bedroom, obviously, as we are a couple. However, decided to each have our own bathroom. My own private bathroom? I felt like super star!

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In apartment you can also find a washer and dryer machine, walk in closet, hairdryer, iron & ironing board and it has daily housekeeping service. Everything was so nice and clean! Every day, we would walk out on our balcony and enjoy the view from our 7th floor. Oh, I didn’t mention our apartment has a balcony? Yes, it does!

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Fraser Residence has 24/7 reception, hotel parking spaces and, let’s not forget, everyday breakfast. It is located very close to the Corvin Plaza and Mall, where you can find exchange office, to change your money into Hungarian Forint (you will need those) and find wide range of restaurants, from Hungarian Bistro and Burger & Hummus bar, to Sushi place.

So, if you are looking for a luxury apartments, your “home away from home”, Fraser is the best choice! Let me just remind you that we are not paid to say this. We really had the best stay and enjoyed great hospitality in this aparthotel.

Find Fraser Residence website -> HERE
If you are a “Booking.com” kind of person, you can book it -> HERE

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Corvin Quarter, where Fraser is located, is a trendy area. However, to get to the old town you need to jump on a tram & train. To get to Chain Bridge, take Train M3, then switch to Tram 2 route, which offers a nice scenic ride around city’s top locations. Well…we will talk about that more in our next blog.

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In a meantime don’t forget to:

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Budapest or “Our first blog”

To tell you the truth, Budapest was always on our bucket list, but not ranked very high. In January 2016 we booked our flight to Dubai (via Wizz air) from Budapest and decided to spend some time there before our flight. Idea was just to quickly look around Budapest and jump on our flight, as Dubai was our goal and destination. But, when we got there, what a surprise Budapest was!! It is lovely European city with a lot of culture, amazing architecture & parks, but also rich art & club scene, for all age travelers. It felt like we saw a lot in 2 days, still we decided to stay 1 more day after visiting Dubai (Dubai Video), to scratch under the city surface. Al in all, we had great time in Budapest and you can see full video on our YouTube channel: Budapest video

If you’ve seen our channel and other videos, you know we usually do videos followed by cool music, at least we think is cool :). With this blog I want to give you more background on where we started, how much we’ve spent, what surprised us the most and generally share the story.

Booking.com

START
Our home base is in Split, Croatia; from where is very difficult & expensive to fly anywhere during the winter, if you are on budget and we most definitely were. Our only option was a bus. We took a bus to Zagreb and then transferred to bus to Budapest. There are several low cost buses from Zagreb to Budapest, we decided on Orange Ways. One way ticket per person was 16 EUR.

ACCOMMODATION
We searched on Booking.com & Airbnb for the best options and decided to go with „12 Revay Hotel“. Hotel was recently opened and had very fair prices, which seemed good money value – and it certainly was! We got a standard double room for 60 EUR per night, with breakfast included. The Hotel was brand new with very helpful staff, rich breakfast and most importantly in city centre, right next to Stephen’s Bazilika & Opera house.

When we flew back to Budapest, we were on tighter budget, since adding 2 more nights wasn’t in our initial budget (you will find out soon, I am all about budgeting). We found a double room for discount price in „Star Inn Hotel Budapest Centrum” on Booking.com, for 37 EUR per night. They had 24/7 reception, which we needed (having 3 am arrival and 4 am departure from hotel). Unfortunately, we didn’t try breakfast, but it was included in price. Oh, I almost forgot, but you probably can find out from their name, hotel is in center, right next to the Opera house and several good bars (like Szimpla) & clubs (like Hello Baby).

* Keep in mind, when choosing accommodations, that Pest side, where we stayed, is close to many historic sites, restaurants, shopping areas and has a lot of nightlife. There are also more metro stops, making it easier to get around.

TRANSPORTATION
You can walk everywhere! Well, not everywhere, but you get the point. Budapest also has trams and metro’s, which are very good connected and worth of using, if you need to get to other part of city quickly. Tram number 2 is the most famous one, we didn’t realized why until we took a ride (it looks like most other trams in city). Tram 2 route is nice scenic ride around city’s top locations.

* We were ripped off by one taxi on our arrival, which was quite a bad experience. We advise not to take a taxi off the street’s, but ask hotel staff to order it for you.

ATTRACTIONS
Most attractions are in city core, making it easy to see if you have just a few days in Budapest.

Day 1
St. Stephen’s Bazilika This was our starting point, being close to our Hotel. It was a nice experience, don’t get me wrong, but not what we excepted. They charge separately entrance to church (plus you can leave donation, which is silly if you already paid them) and cupola (view of the city). Other beautiful attractions in Budapest are more affordable. Plus, the view is not as stunning as from Castle Hill or Buda Castle.

untitled-3363Chain Bridge
Next stop was Buda side of city, therefore we need to get to the other side of Danube River. What better way to do it than via historic and beautiful bridge, Chain Bridge. Downside is, everybody had that idea, so it was crowded with tourists. Do visit it by night also, when lighten up it looks beautiful.

Castle Hill, Matthias church, Buda Castle & Fisherman’s Bastion
These attractions are all bunched together on Buda hill. You can walk up or take Castle hill funicular. Price for funicular was 3,5 EUR per person, one way. We were amazed by amazing architecture and view. In our opinion you have the best view of Parliament building & city from there. There is a little bar in one of Fisherman’s bastion towers, where it is nice to relax and souk up the city vibe.

untitled-3390Labyrinth of Buda Castle
Labyrinth is on Castle Hill and we bumped into it while searching for something to eat. Entrance fee is approx. 7 EUR per person. It is large complex with caves and cellars, mostly in dark. Ask them to give you lanterns or take phone with good flashlight. We had so much fun there in complete dark or dim light, just wandering around, listening to weird sounds. We’ve shared pictures on DianoMaya Facebook page, so you can get better idea about it.

untitled-3442Parliament + Kossuth Lajos Square
On our way back to the hotel, we stopped to admire Parliament house, which is located on Kossuth Lajos Square. By night it looks magnificent! That is not even word strong enough to describe it. You can find picture on our Instagram page. You can also go inside we didn’t have time, unfortunately, but outside architecture is mind blowing enough.

untitled-3556Shoes on the Danube Promenade Memorial
Take tram 2 or walk on Danube promenade towards Parliament building and you will find it. We were there by night and took some amazing pictures.

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Day 2
Gellert Hill + Liberty Statue + Citadel
Second day was exercise day 🙂 we decided to walk up to the Gellert Hill, because it is right there, you can see it from the city – it wasn’t. It is long way up, so if you are on short getaway, get some transportation at least half way there.
Still, it was nice to walk around hill, surrounded with amazing nature and many attractions on the way. When we got up there the Citadel was closed, no sign and nobody to tell us when will be reopen! Such a shame. At lease we got to see Liberty statue and have nice rest on view point benches. We were in winter season, so in front of Citadel was some kind of Christmas market with food (sausage’s of course) and hot drinks.

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Cave church + Liberty Bridge + Central Market Hall
We run into Cave church walking down from Gellert Hill and decided to go inside. There is small entrance fee to pay and you get headphones with it – which is very cool, because you get to hear the entire Cave church story. We have never been to cave church before and we really liked it. It is about 20-30 minute nice stop.

Central Market Hall is right across the river and closest crossing is Liberty Bridge. Liberty Bridge is different from other city bridges, being completely green.
We weren’t really impressed with Central Market Hall. It was too crowded and chaotic. It is local, but touristy, market with a lot of paprika and salami. Many overpriced souvenirs and food. We bought food there – be careful – price you see is not final price; every extra ingredient costs more and they keep offering you to add more ingredients. Be aware more ingredients means higher the price. We were sitting next to a couple who didn’t realized that and were shocked with their final price (almost double then they thought price was). You could smell bathroom “scent” around market, which was really disgusting.

Hungarian National Museum
Entrance fee is 5 EUR per person. We spent about 2 hours there, which we considered short (National Museums in big city should be at least 5-6 hour experience on several floors). There is only one floor where permanent exhibition is presented (Hungarian history is much richer than that). Plus, they are charging photo permission (you have to glue it to your shirt, otherwise you have problems with Museum security – they really look if you have it when they see you taking pictures). It is only 2 Eur, but we found that silly.

Heroes’ Square + Vajdahunyad Castle + Szechenyi Baths and Pool
We came to Heroes Square by Metro, exit is right next to square. It was amazing!! We saw it in sunset and by night. Such amazing pictures! There is so much history there and amazing architecture.

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Close by is ice ring (nice activity if you know how to ice skate) and Vajdahunyad Castle. Castle looks amazing by night. It is different from other Castle’s in Budapest. We had a felling we stepped into Dracula castle, because it is sort of imitation Transylvanian Castle.
Castle has Museum and nice Park area surrounding the Castle, where we bumped into Anonymous’ Statue. We got there by night, so it really looked scary, but cool scary. Worth to stop by for picture.

Szechenyi Baths and Pool, are in same Park, but we didn’t have enough time & wardrobe to actually use it. Big fail was not bringing swimwear & towels with us.

Day 3
Vaci Street
This is a long pedestrian street on the Pest side of the city. It is mostly shops, cafes and restaurants area. It’s nice to stroll down, but a bit of a tourist trap, I think. We were missing some clothes (because our trip got longer than expected), so we went for quick shopping. If you are in need for new clothes, you are in right place.

Margaret Bridge and Island
We decided to go to Margaret Island and best way to do it is over the Margaret bridge. Half way across the bridge, there is a smaller bridge to Margaret Island. This was ours first time crossing “3 exit bridge”, didn’t even know bridges like that exist.

Margaret Island is a nice place to walk around. There, you can find small zoo with local animals, old buildings, ruins and Water tower with Outdoor theater in center of park. Island also has Music Fountain, but we visited it in January and it was closed. Japaneses garden are at the far end of Park, but we could find only green European plants, being winter. It is big park, so we advise renting a bike. You can rent electric carts or pedal carts if you wish, also.

House of Terror Museum
We almost missed it, due to our travel schedule – DON’T MISS IT. They do not allow pictures inside, which is too bad, because there is too much to show! What they did inside is just amazing! History of this House is so deep and impressions we left with will stay with us forever. Thank you for this experience.

Central Synagogue
This is apparently the biggest synagogue in Europe, and it is a beautiful building inside and outside. We visited it after working hours, by night, but on our last day 12 EUR per person sounded too much either way. We took amazing night pictures and admired it from the outside 🙂

untitled-3480FOOD & DRINKS
Menza – It is decorated simple and very quiet, with good staff. Food was very very good! Try garlic soup, but keep in mind to take something very light for main course – it is very heavy!

New York Palace – We were amazed by it’s indoor and food serving. For one scoop of pistachio ganache you pay 8 EUR and juices are from 7 EUR. Mix of sweets on tray is 60 EUR. Too expensive, if you ask me, but being Michelin recommendation we wanted to see what the fuss is about.

Morrison’s Opera– There is entrance fee (approx. 2 EUR) you need to pay, but you get 1 free drink, which is ok. Bar is underground and very cool decorated, like bunker. Staff is amazing!! Girls really now their job. Sit at the bar if you can. Try Palinka (local spirit), it is very good!

Szimpla Kert – We were recommended this place by our friends who visited Budapest and they were right – it is a place “must see”! It looks old and ruin (as all ruin bars in Budapest), but it is very clean and spotless! Toilets are the best! There are 2 levels, many rooms and bars (has outside grill where you can smoke cigarettes). On several different bars you can order beer, wine, cocktails, food and even Shessha. There is souvenir shop inside with very cool items and nicest staff. Take picture on photo machine at the entrance – very very cool add on!

Spiler Original – The restaurant is very cool decorated, basement VIP area is very modern. Food is ok, but not great. Smaller portions than nearby restaurants. Tables are too crowded; you are almost connected to table next to you. Service fee is not included in the price (they stamp that notice with big letters on your invoice – in case you forget). We leave tip everywhere, everywhere, everywhere we go and we didn’t leave any to them! The service was so so bad. We waited 15 minute for them to take our order and when it arrived we were missing one drink (4 items were hard to remember, obviously). After we let them know about mistake, we waited additional 10 minutes and didn’t received it and had to ask them again for our drink. Now we were sitting for approx. 35 minutes without drink. After the dinner we waited for the invoice 15 minutes!!! I wanted to get up and leave without paying, but if they are bad I don’t have to be. We paid our bad dinner bill and result was no tip. Restaurant was mid busy, so that wasn’t a problem. They were to busy talking and gossiping with each other to give us our bill to pay! Only bad experience in our 3 day stay. Our advice, try other nearby places!

Hope I was of help! Let me know, in comments, if I should do anything differently in our blogs. Would you like more information or less? If you like our story don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel 🙂

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