Budapest is a city whose striking beauty hits you squarely between the eyes. We only spent 48 hours there before heading on to Bratislava. But in that short time it raced up to the top of the list of my favourite capital cities.
We only scratched the surface in such a short space of time. But it certainly left us hungry for much, much more. I’m going to write a more expansive blog on this Grand Dame of the Danube in the coming weeks. For now though, here are the ten photos that will help me preserve the memories of such a special visit.
Hungarian Parliament Building
For me, this is the building that most symbolises Budapest. I took it as a panorama to try and include as many features as possible and also give it a slightly offbeat look. It certainly is a striking piece of architecture, particularly on such a beautifully sunny day.
Take your pick of the numerous bridges crossing the Danube in the city. They all have their architectural merit. But for me, the colour and design of Liberty Bridge leads the way. Built at the end of the nineteenth century, the Art Nouveau styling is absolutely majestic.
What is the collective noun for River Cruise boats? A pension?? I’ve never seen as many in my life as we witnessed in Budapest. Here we can see three identical vessels side-by-side. Looks like they were getting ready for one hell of a geriatric deck-party that evening!
Budapest is renowned for it’s ruin bars; dilapidated buildings reclaimed as entertainment centres. Szimpla is one of the most famous and I have to say that it was both intriguing and delightful.
We preferred it during the day as it had such a relaxed vibe to it. So relaxed and hippyish that we were offered freshly peeled carrots by one of the bar staff to accompany our local beer! This photo is actually of a mirror reflecting back in to the open part of the bar. It gives you a real sense of the space and style.
St Stephen’s Basilica
Another landmark building on the Pest side of the city. It is pretty by day but the lighting at night makes for a really atmospheric picture.
This was our first beer of the day, enjoyed at 10.30am. In justification, we had walked 4.5 miles in 30° celsius (86°F for American readers) and climbed the equivalent of 15 floors (storeys!). I can tell you that the Borsodi was as refreshing as it looks!
And this was the view we had while enjoying the above beer. I can quite honestly say that I didn’t really know which way to look. Matthias Church is yet another major Budapest attraction. It was however overrun with tourists and we were glad of the peace of the adjoining beer garden. Just a few steps away, another bar had views across the Danube towards the Parliament building…and charged three times as much for the beer!
In recent years, Keleti Station hit the headlines as thousands of migrants gathered outside to try and continue their quest for a better life in Germany and beyond. We were travelling from there to Bratislava (see my blog on wine tasting in the Slovakian capital) and the next part of our trip. This fish-eye panorama gives a real sense of the scale of the building and the comings & goings of travellers and local wanderers. It is stunning on both the inside and out and somewhere that I’m glad we had the opportunity to explore.
Budapest, Grand Dame of the Danube
I’ve left my favourite photo for last. It might be far from perfect technically, but hey, I’m an amateur with an iPhone! For me, it sums Budapest up perfectly. The flowers may be slightly past their best but are elegant and charming. The Danube glistens in the sunshine with the reflection of a blurry Pest stretching across the surface.
This is the sort of photo that means a lot personally, because it makes me smile and glow inside. Thank you Budapest for a memorable anniversary weekend. We will no doubt return to enjoy your endless charms some more.