Budapest… What a wonderful city! Interesting architecture, nice living tempo, beautiful squares, good choice of restaurants, friendly people, romantic atmosphere, trams and gorgeous Danube! We had a saturated trip this April: Budapest – Tapolca – Vienna – Hallstatt – Vienna – Budapest. All in all 14 days, and 5 of those were dedicated to Budapest. We are active guys, and even if you have only one day in Budapest, taking this article as a guideline you have a chance to see quite a lot.
First 24 km walking through Budapest
As we arrived to Budapest my first impression was that this city has a lot of similarities to my home-town (Almaty). Only if Almaty was a city in Europe! I really like small empty streets and unpretentious houses from the neoclassical era that are common both for Budapest and Almaty.
I fell in love with this city because of its living-tempo. Not so rapid as in Berlin, and not so slow as in Limassol. Like in Almaty, fast enough)) That’s why Budapest has such a cosy atmosphere. You feel safe here.
April is the best time to visit Budapest. You will be amazed by fragrance of flowers, grass and blooming trees, especially if you are coming here from a hot country, like in our case (we travelled from Cyprus). Weather is nice and warm, so you can wear light clothes.
We arrived late at night, so we took the course straight to our hotel. At night there is a bus №900 going from airport to the city centre. In the day-time you can take bus №200Е, they follow the same rote. We decided to buy a ticket for 3 days. The price was 4150 HUF per person, and it was worth it.
Buda Castle (hung. Budai Vár)
Next day morning we started to explore Budapest. First we wanted to see Buda Castle. Our Hotel (Gloria Hotel) was situated not far from Nepliget park that is not so close to the Castle. However the morning was so fresh and nice so we decided to have a walk a bit in the direction to main pint of interest. Closer to 12pm after having snacks we took the subway (yellow line to the station Deak Ferenc ter) and than changed to bus №16. The bus stop called “Erzsebet ter”, it is not so far from Deak Ferenc ter.
By the way, the public transport is developed very good in the city. It includes city buses, trolleybuses, trams and metro. We never had to wait long for transport we needed. Later, after long day, it was a great pleasure to have a tram ride along the river and across bridges.
To get to the top of fortress you can have a walk or use a cable car. It took us around 1 hour walking (not more) to get there. From the top of the hill opens a wonderful view to Danube.
One more hour we spent by walking around the Castle, and spent some time enjoying the beauty of Matthias Fountain.
Through the alley of blooming trees we proceed to Matthias Church (hung. Mátyás-templom) and Fisherman’s Bastion (hung. Halászbástya).
Fisherman’s Bastion is actually smaller than I expected. You can buy a ticket and walk through the upper tier, but I think it’s not worth it. Same views we saw from the Castle place. So, we decided not to waste our time and to move on to the next sight.
Labyrinth of Buda Castle
This place set the tone for the whole our journey. I would consider Labyrinth of Buda Castle to be the most interesting sight of Budapest. On the first picture down below you see Uri Utca, a street where you find the entrance.
Actually this region is very rich in caves. This labyrinth exists for ages. As a natural underground cave, labyrinth existed way before ancient people. As settlements developed, people began to extend underground channels. Little by little they formed a network of catacombs formed. Labyrinth had variety of functions during it’s existence: cellar for food storage, wine cellar, prison, place for tortures and so on. For instance it was a bomb shelter during the Second World War. You can also find many legends about this place related to a character like Dracula, but I am not an expert in this topic))
Now this place is a kind of entertainment museum. Entrance ticket costs 3000 HUF, the length of the labyrinth is about 1200m. It’s quite cold inside, so having a long-sleeve shirt is a good idea. Sometimes there were water-drops falling from ceiling. In some parts of labyrinth lighting is not provided, but there is a rope handrail along the walls, so you can use it to get out if your mobile phone ran out of power! My advice – charge it in advance, or take a flashlight with you. My battery got depleted. This circumstance added more adrenaline. Luckily, Alexey’s smartphone was alive, but I was worried about his wasteful behaviour spending battery charge on videos and photos!
Music supports this special atmosphere. Somewhere you hear works of Wagner, and in other places you hear something scary like in horror films. This is accompanied by artificial smoke on the floor with a dim light of red or blue. By the way! There is a clean free WC in the end (normally you pay 200-350 HUF for public WC).
Vegan dinner and tram-ride along the Danube
We were exploring Labyrinth of Buda Castle for about an hour. After (due to the fact that it was already evening and we were hungry) we took the course straight to the closest restaurant. We were interested in vegan cuisine, therefore we have chosen an Indian Bistro «Govinda», where we had very nice meal: rice, chapati, spicy veggies, bulgur. This first day we had no plan where we going to eat, but later we discovered that this city is very friendly for vegans.
As I mentioned before, we ended the day by having a nice tram ride. Tram routes are laying along both riversides and across three bridges. Noteworthy that the longest tram in the world operates in Budapest. It is 55,9 meters long and has 10 sections. Besides, Budapest subway is the oldest one in continental Europe. You will easily find a lot of information about transport development in Budapest. You can also buy a tram-excursion (which can be good alternative for the case of bad weather). One who loves transport engineering can discover many interesting facts here.
Eventually we walked by foot 24 km this first day in Budapest, according to the report of activity tracker. If you can stay in Budapest more than for one day (or perhaps you want more intense program for one day), I recommend to read my following post about our next 34,5 km through Budapest. And here I tagged our movements around the city during above described day: