I didn’t expect to fall in love with Budapest. But I did, wholeheartedly and completely. Everything about it is absolutely beautiful, from the striking buildings to the warm, kind people. It’s now one of my top 3 favorite European cities, and if you haven’t been you have no idea what you’re missing!
We landed completely jet lagged after hours and hours of travel. We only stopped long enough to change clothes before we were out exploring the city.
I couldn’t resist a photo with this guy. I asked one of our native Hungarian guides about the significance of the statue. Her response? “It doesn’t mean anything… it’s just there.” Well then it’s a good thing I have a photo with Budapest’s most significant statue!
What do you do when you see a sign that says Budapest?
Take a jumping picture of course!
Since we couldn’t walk the entire city in one afternoon, we decided to see all of Budapest by climbing to the top of the Basilica for 360° views of the city.
The views are breathtaking.
These machines are everywhere, even at the Basilica, which made me laugh. If you travel to Hungary, and you’re desperate for a souvenir coin, now you know that the word is “emlékérme!” Don’t forget it!
It was a fabulous start to the trip.
And it just got better from there.
The next day was gorgeous, so we decided to take advantage of the sunshine to do more wandering.
Budapest has two distinct sides separated by the Danube: Buda to the west and Pest to the east. Each side has its own characteristics and unique features. Buda, the more residential side, has rolling hills, lush gardens and winding, narrow streets. Pest, on the other hand, is dynamic and trendy, and has the most bars and pubs.
These differences led to our trip tagline: Buda in the streets, Pest in the sheets.
There were 35 people on my ReConnect Hungary birthright trip (read more about it here). We were divided into 3 groups which were named after Hungarian dog breeds, which is fitting because I love dogs…
Here we are, the Puli (and, of course, best) group:
Alex, Taylor, Mayda, Paola, Sean, me, Michelle, Krissy, Kelly, Noel, Casey and Moshe.
Buda is stunningly beautiful, and I loved all of its historic elements.
Since Buda is situated on the hillside, the views of the Danube and Pest are pretty spectacular.
This is Halászbástya (Fisherman’s Bastion) on Castle Hill. Isn’t it cool looking?!
I loved Buda. It’s just so pretty!
To aid in our exploration, we were given a treasure hunt to complete, which basically involved finding landmarks and taking hilarious pictures at them. This picture was my favorite:
After completing the Buda portion of the treasure hunt, we then headed back to Pest for more random pictures, like this one with the Ronald Reagan statue. Why is he in Budapest?!
After running around all day, it was time to relax at the Széchenyi Thermal Baths. Budapest loves its spas, and this is one of the most famous. Basically you just hang out with your friends while you sit in the water. I don’t know if it’s 100% my thing. The water is supposed to be medicinal, but I couldn’t help but focus on the question of why no one had gotten out of the pool in hours to go to the bathroom! I am glad though that I got to experience it for an afternoon. When in Budapest, right?
I told Sean to mimic the statue behind him for a picture. I then completely forgot that I did that, so every time I scrolled through my pictures, I thought to myself “what is he doing?!”
Then I finally remembered that it was my fault that he posed like that! Sorry Sean!
Hungarians love soccer, especially during Euro 2016, and as the clock kept creeping closer and closer to game time I figured everyone would leave to go watch Hungary play Austria. Nope, instead the spa brought the game to us! I never expected to be sitting in a spa pool in Budapest watching a soccer game!
I’m sure you can tell from these pictures why Budapest is so stunning. But its true beauty comes out at night. Don’t miss that travel post, here.