Buda and Pest

Budapest is one of the largest cities in Europe and is the capital of Hungary. Some might say that the most glorious days are behind it and parts of the city look a little neglected. However, it is just sooo beautiful and so grand, you can ignore the rough bits. Budapest is a relatively recent construct – the result of a merger between two distinct cities: Buda on the western bank of the Danube river and Pest on the opposite bank in 1873 . Built on a series of hills, Buda is the site of a grand Hapsburg palace and has a detached imperial feel. In contrast, Pest lies on a flat ground – is busy with a array of bars, cafés and gourmet restaurants.  What else is there to see?

Best place to get to/from the airport or train station to the city.. local trains is the way to go if you are arriving to the train stations. If you are flying in, there is a bus from the airport or shuttle for a more comfortable ride (or arrivals and departures in the odd hours of the day). Local subway trains are a little bit dodgy inside, but metro itself is one of the oldest in the world!

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Best local food.. goulash, Hungarian salami and spices, especially paprika. Many places offer goulash, but you’ll need to head out to a local market for the best and most fragrant spices. And salami. And cheese!

Best view.. take the stairs all the way to the top of the Buda Castle. The views of the city, Danube river and spectacular Parliament building built in Gothic style. The viewing platform also overlooks a number of bridges illuminated at night time. I did not want to leave!

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Best place for a stroll.. Budapest is a lovely city with lots of trees in the central area, so any park will do the job. But once again, the riverside has the best views. I loved going across the bridges, people watching and just taking in the sheer beauty of the city.

Best local attraction.. it has has the be the local saunas and bath houses. The biggest, and probably the best know is Szechenyi Bath. The entrance fee is not that cheap compared to what you pay for other local attractions, but definitely worth it. The place is enormous, with pools inside and outside, as well as resting areas and ice room. You will need to bring a swimsuit and a towel to get in. There is plenty of other spas all around the city. I also went to a Turkish spa, on the other side of Danube. Lucky for me, they had a ladies day (which only happens a few times a week, as they alternate them with lads days).

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Most photographed places.. Parliament building, Buda Castle and Széchenyi thermal bath. Stunning architecture.

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Watch out for.. the city transforms when the sun goes down. Keep an eye for homeless people setting up for the night and DO NOT try to take a picture. I did and got a chased by one very scary looking man hehe.

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