We arrived at our fourth country and the final destination of our Central Europe trip, Budapest, the capital of Hungary. Budapest is unique in that it’s divided into two parts by the beautiful Danube River. We couldn’t wait to delve into the history, architecture, and local cuisine.
After chatting with the owners and a few locals about our wonderful dinner experience, we set out to walk off our meals and admire the city at night before resting up for our action-packed day to follow.
As mentioned before, Budapest is split by the Danube River, one side being Buda and the other side, Pest. Being on the Pest side, we crossed over the famous Chain Bridge to get to the Buda Castle and palace complex, located on the Buda side of the river.
Once home to the Hungarian kings of Budapest, Buda Castle is now a beautiful museum with several floors of galleries filled with fine art. We enjoyed each floor of paintings and sculptures and completed our tour in the lookout tower at the top of the castle, which provided a view of the entire city. Buda Castle tours available here.
Our morning of exploring and expanding our knowledge of Hungarian history left us hun-ga-ry and ready for the next stop, Great Market Hall. Built in 1897, Great Market Hall is the oldest and largest indoor market in Budapest. We browsed the ground floor full of spices, produce, and souvenirs, before heading to the second floor to fully indulge in some taste-filled Hungarian favorites.
The guided tour was an hour long and packed with facts and history. The boat offered 360-degree views of the beautiful city of Budapest and all of its iconic architecture, my favorite being the Hungarian Parliament Building. I think it’s safe to say that I’ve never seen such a spectacular building in my life. As lavish as it was during the day, it was even more so at night. It lit up the entire river and was a breathtaking sight.
We decided on Szimpla Kert, which is the original ruin bar that was resurrected from an abandoned factory. Don’t be intimidated by the long line. It moves quickly and is absolutely worth it. Walking in, my first thought was how large it was. Each room had a different theme, with graffiti on the walls, eclectic décor, and intensely colorful lighting. There was music playing loudly and old movies screened on a projector. You could be inside or outside depending on which room or floor you were in. This was definitely the most unique experience I’ve ever had at a bar. Although the pictures don’t completely do it justice, it’s something to add to the top of your list when visiting Budapest.
The next morning, it was time to make our bittersweet journey home. We bid farewell to Budapest and set off to the airport. Although exhausted, we were completely fulfilled by all we had explored, tasted, and learned about the 4 countries and cities we traveled through in just 7 nights.