Budapest is the capital and largest city of Hungary. When Jerry and I first arrived in Budapest, the layout of the city reminded us of Prague. The cities are divided up by a river with a castle on one end. While we liked both cities, we enjoyed our time in Budapest more because of all the wonderful people we met and the fun things we did there.
Budapest is divided in two sections. In this photo, Buda side (has the castle, hills, and is more affluent in general) is on the left of the Danube River and Pest side (with Parliament) is on the right of the river. Margaret Island is that patch of greenery in the middle, behind the bridge.
What We Saw
Gellért Hill overlooks the Danube river in Budapest, Hungary. There's a citadel, cave church, and a liberation monument (their own Statue of Liberty) among other attractions on the hill. It's become an affluent residential area, with a number of embassies and ambassadorial residences lining the streets that lead up the hill.
Heroes' Square is a major square in Budapest with the millenium monument pictured here. This memorial is dedicated "To the memory of the heroes who gave their lives for the freedom of our people and our national independence."
Fisherman’s Bastion/Castle District
There are wonderful views of the city from the Fisherman's Bastion in the castle district.
Parliament is right by the Danube River. Makes for a nice photo.
Chain Bridge/Royal Palace
The chain bridge and royal palace are so pretty lit up at night! The walk along the Danube river is nice in general. You can also take a lovely cruise down the Danube. Jerry and I were considering doing that for our fifth year anniversary.
What We Did
I was told that Budapest has a great zoo… so as an avid animal lover, I had to visit!
There were tons of other animals at the zoo, but most of my time was spent watching this CUTE tiger cub play with his sibling and momma.
This was freaky. I've heard about the dead-skin-cell eating fish at salons that give people pedicures, but didn't expect the zoo to have them. Jerry dunks his hand in the tank and they flock like crazy towards it. I tried it too and it TICKLES so much. It doesn't hurt, but I don't think I could ever get a flesh-eating fish pedicure.
Bike Cart around Margaret Island
One day, we decided to rent a bike cart and spent the afternoon riding around Margaret Island. It's not the nicest recreational area we've been to, but still a nice getaway from the city.
At Margaret Island, there were ruins, gardens, and fountains to explore.
The Buda hills in Budapest have some awesome limestone caves. There are actually more than 100 caves in Budapest’s municipal area!
Our awesome AirBnB host Kitti took Jerry, me, and another guest to this show cave in Budapest. It was our first time inside a cave and I loved it. The air was so crisp, cool, and clean. Therapy sessions are actually held inside the cave to clear up clients' allergies because the air inside the cave is so clean. It's dust-free! Have bad allergies? Give salt cave therapy a try.
This mineral formation here is called the witch. Can you see why? It was fascinating looking at all the various formations up close and from different angles. They were built by thermal waters. Also, I loved breathing the air down there. I could breathe it for hours--and some people do... with cave therapy.
Thermal Bath & Spa
Besides having lots of caves, Budapest is also a city full of spas and healing waters. Or so we’re told. Got arthritis or aching joints? Take a dip in Budapest’s medicinal waters. They come from natural hot springs and wells that contain many helpful minerals like calcium, magnesium, hydro-carbonate, sodium and sulphate.
On our fifth anniversary, Jerry and I went to Szechenyi Bath and Spa. This is one of their main outdoor heated pools. Szechenyi also has twelve indoor thermal baths, varying between 28-38°C water temperature. Jerry and I had fun hopping from one temperature to the next. It was a very relaxing way to spend the day after some tiring sightseeing.
Eat & Drink
We definitely ate and drank a lot in Budapest. We tried Hungarian food specialties like lángos which is deep fried flat bread with a dash of sugar and salt (there are many variations in toppings from sour cream and grated cheese to ham and sausages). We also had a number of pálinka shots (Hungarian fruit brandy). Below are also a couple of our favorite things from Budapest.
This is goulash, one of Hungary's national dishes. It is generally a stew of meat and vegetables (especially potato), seasoned with paprika and other spices. Here, it's shown served with small egg noodles called csipetke... although we both actually prefer goulash in soup form without the pasta.
I'm not a huge lemonade fan, but I loved drinking lemonade in Budapest. Almost every cafe and restaurant we went to had fresh lemonade. I love how they use fresh lemons, limes, and oranges. So refreshing. I missed drinking this so much when we left Budapest.
Jerry and I loved our time in Budapest. We would love to go back to try more spas and explore more caves. We also had one of the most memorable evenings of our lives here. We had dinner at Comme Chez Soi to celebrate our fifth year anniversary. This family-owned restaurant definitely went above and beyond our expectations to make our anniversary extra special. Along with tasty freebies throughout the night, they even gave us a complimentary whole bottle of champagne to take back home with us. If you ever find yourself in Budapest, we definitely recommend you check this restaurant out. If you’ve never considered visiting this city, you should. We love Budapest!
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