Budapest, the capital of Hungary, was established by the union of three villages: Obuda, Buda, and Pest. The first two are located in a hilly area on the left bank of the Danube, while Pest is on the right bank. Budapest is a city that enchants tourists without doing anything and without asking for anything. It is a city that gives itself generously to its visitors and leaves an indelible memory.
What to do as soon as you arrive in Budapest? The first thing to do is to buy local money. Although Hungary is part of the European Union, the currency used is still the Hungarian Forint (1 HUF = 0.003 Euro) and paying in Euro (where allowed) is not convenient. We suggest withdrawing from any ATM.
Alternatively, there are several exchange offices located around the city where you can go to get Hungarian Forints. Secondly, it would be advisable to leave your luggage in the place where you will spend the night so that you can move more easily around the city. If you arrive before your hotel’s check-in time, you can conveniently and safely leave your luggage in one of the West Station lockers (Nyugati), which is just a few minutes away from Andrassy Avenue.
Which is Budapest’s most important avenue? On the first day, you can spend it shopping with a relaxing walk in the pedestrian area of Pest. If you are not too tired you can reach Vorosmarty square on foot (about 3 km) and thus have a first impression of the magnificent city that belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
However, if you prefer not to walk, just across the street from the main exit of the station and take the blue metro line (M3, Nyugati palyaudvar), change to Deak Ferenc Ter and take the yellow line (M1) to Vorosmarty ter (make sure it is Vorosmarty Ter and not Vorosmarty Utca, station on the same line).
Starting from Vorosmarty square (which, among other things, houses one of the oldest and most famous cafes of Budapest, Cafe Gerbeaud) you can reach the central covered market (Nagycsarnok) along the Vaci street, one of the most important streets of the city, dotted with from elegant shops.
In the evening, do not miss the boat trip on the Danube.
It is a unique experience that will remain in your heart. See the majestic buildings of Budapest, with their impressive and elegant profiles, illuminated in the night will leave you breathless. Remember to cover yourself well, because in the evening on the boat is chilly.
What to do on the second day? After a good restful sleep and a pleasant awakening in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, you will finally want to dedicate yourself to a proper visit to the city.
As in many capitals, even in Budapest, there are free guided tours, where very nice and prepared young people will accompany you in visiting the most important places in the city, such as Parliament, Buda Castle, the Chain Bridge, the bastion of the fishermen, the church of San Mattia and many others.
Tours are in English. If you like the mystery, do not miss the underground labyrinth of Buda Castle, where it is said that Prince Vlad III of Wallachia, otherwise known as Count Dracula, was imprisoned.
At night, from 10 to 4 in the morning, the Rudas thermal baths await you, with the different hot pools where you can stay blissfully soaking for hours. But the real surprise awaits you on the roof: a suggestive dome overlooking the Danube will give you the chance to admire the sleepy city in all its magic, being immersed in pleasantly warm water. The night entrance to the thermal baths is around 15 Euros.
Before leaving Budapest: If you leave in the afternoon, you will have plenty of time to enjoy another free guided tour, that of the Jewish quarter, for example.
The guide will tell you the history and the vicissitudes of this historic district, from the dark moments of the Second World War and the persecution of its inhabitants to its current reconversion in a trendy place for young people.
The most important place to visit is the great synagogue on Dohany Street, the largest synagogue in Europe, including the Jewish Museum, the Holocaust Memorial and the Jewish Cemetery. The history of these places cannot leave indifferent.
The last farewell to Budapest is given by its vibrant soul: the great Danube. Walking along the right bank to Pest towards the Margaret Bridge you will come across a monument consisting of sixty pairs of bronze shoes, in memory of the victims of the Shoah.
During the Second World War, the Frecciate Crosses (the Hungarian militiamen who collaborated with the Nazis) dragged the Jews along the right bank of the Danube, bound them to groups of three and killed them with a blow to the back of the head. Their bodies were then thrown into the river, whose waters kept the red color for days.
At the end of your weekend in Budapest, you will return home with a bit of melancholy, that’s for sure!