Monday was the first day of work after a super relaxing vacation.
I had a couple of parties during the holidays and had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with my family and friends. I even had time to read all the magazines I wanted to read for months.... Oh and I also had time to learn my first words of Latin, yay. I always wanted to learn this language but I couldn't do it before. In Belgium, you can only follow Latin courses in highschool if you choose a lot of math with it, but you might or might not know that I have terrible dyscalculia so this was never my option.
So for my birthday I got a book from my sister to finally learn this ancient language. It's never too late to learn! And... it's okay to be a nerd.
Now let's get onto the purpose of this blog! I went to Budapest for a couple of days during the holidays. I already went there a couple of years ago but for only for a very short time so I wasn't able to actually visit things. We just went to the highlights and didn't actually enter any building or museum.
For me, visiting the Parliament was highly placed on my bucket list. From the outside it's a massive and beautiful building so I was super curious what it would look like on the inside.... And this already brings me to highlight number one:
1) Go visit the Parliament (inside).
The inside of the parliament is even more beautiful than the outside. It's completely golden and super large. The interior is over 200 years old. They officially opend the parliament in 1904. To be honest, it's one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever seen in my life!
It became the most symbolic building of Hungary because it's so very pretty. From all over Budapest, you have the parliament- view. It's actually smaller than you imagine. In meters it's about 260 meters large but when you enter all the hallways, the parliament looks massive. It has a billion of hallways where you could easily get lost.
How to visit it? It's with a timer so you need to book your tickets online, best in advance. You can't visit it by yourself, you need to book a guided tour.
Our English tourguide was hilarious. His jokes were so bad that they became funny again.
I couldn't take pics of the gallery of the crown jewels but oh deer, it was mindblowing. SO gorgeous!
2) Go relaxing in a thermal bath. My fave was the Gellert bath.
I visited two spas in Budapest; the famous Szechenyi baths and the less famous Gellert baths.
Fun fact about the Szechenyi baths: I broke my toe there. Very very very awkward!
The Szechenyi baths are pretty too, but to me they were too crowded and the water wasn't hot enough. During wintertime, it can get pretty cold in Budapest and for me, outside water nee to be a lot hotter than 36 degrees celcius.
The next day, after the first spa, we went to the Gellert spa. This one is prettier and less crowded. There was this one bath with water of 40 degrees celcius, which was pretty perfect for a "always cold girl" like me!
TIP: There were lockers, where you could drop off all your stuff and clothes, which is a good thing since all our towels were stolen in the Szechenyi bath... So if you don't have your own towels with you, because of traveling, you can rent towels there, BUT you need to bring them back ofcourse. I think that this is the main reason why people stole our towels: they lost theirs but neeeded to come back with some towels, to get their money back...
Also: book a changing room. The first time in Budapest, we didn't know this and we needed to change our clothes in some sort of hallway, ew!! It only costs about 2 euros each and in this cabin, you can leave your stuff, all locked up. So please, choose this option.
3) Go climb on the tower of the St Mathias church.
The Fisherman's bastion and the St Mathias church are very famous in Budapest. It's located on the hill of the Pest-side. At the fisherman's bastion you get a wide view over the entire city, BUT on the tower, the view is even nicer. The square is super crowded and there are tourists everywhere. If you want an open view, without people in your way, taking selfies everywhere, then you need to climb the 195 steps-tower! Oh and yes, I did this all with my broken toe!
The inside of the church is also mindblowing. The goth architecture of the church is very interesting. With everything golden, your eyes really don't know what to look at first.
4) Go to the New York Café, just to be fancy.
The interior of this bar is stunning. The restaurant/bar is actually part of the five star hotel....
You need to wait in line, just to enter it. The food and drinks are very overpriced but the view is worth it. I ordered a tea, which costed me over 5 euros... The food there is less expensive, but for Hungary still nt cheap at all. I also noticed on the menu the "afternoon tea". Which is 30 euros per person, not overpriced at all, as said before... ahm..
Next to my personal highlights, I also visited the other highlights of the city, ofcourse but these were the ones I will remember most.
If you want to know more about what I did there, then check my map. I took a screenshot of google maps, to show you guys what the actual highlights are of the city.
1) The opera house, which is currently under construction, sadly enough! But the inside of the opera is stil open for visits!
2) The Citadelle. This is the top of the Gellert hill, with a pretty view over the entire Budapest area. If you're lucky, there can be some snow in the winter! The past time I visited Budapest, there was lot of snow, which made the view so magical. This year, there was no snow, but the view was still pretty ofcourse!
3) Széchenyi baths: the spas I was talking about before. it's less pretty on the inside than the Gellert baths, but it's prettier on the outside. The outside baths are larger than the ones at the Gellert bath.
4) The Gellert mountain, like I said before, the prettiest view over the area. The hill itself is 235m high. The climb uphills is not that hard, since the city itself is located at about 100 m high.
Inside the hill, there's also a small cave to visit.
5) Buda castle. The big castle on top of the hill, 70 meter above the Duna. Inside the castle, you can visit the museum. The museum is all about the history of the castle and the city of Budapest. You can find some vintage interiors from the Lenin- time, you can find some old mummies they have found etc. I thought the museum was worth visiting.
6) The margit island. This is an oasis of peace, in the middel of the city. It's not super interesting to visit but you can take a relaxing walk in the park there. On the island there's a swimmingpool and a watertower. Both not that interesting to look at though. We rented a golf caddy there, to cross the isand. It was 11 euros I think for half an hour for 4 persons. This was pretty fun!
7) St Steven's basilic. This is the large cathedral in the city center. It was gorgeous on the inside! We also visited the towers there. It costs about 3 euros I think... Here you have a great view over the city.
8) The Jewish museum, not mentioned in my card. Why? It's close to all the other highlights and already very pretty on the outside so you don't really need tickets. It's 12 euros to enter the museum, which was a bit expensive in my opinion. The inside of the "zsinagoga" was gorgeous, okay true! The museum was interesting, but rather empty... We had skip the line tickets, but I think that the actual line was about a 15 minutes of waiting...
So, are you traveling to Budapest any time soon?