Before 2019 ended, I reached a new goal as a traveler, I visited my 20th country. This number, although small was still a milestone number for me. Hungary became the 20th country that I ever visited and Budapest totally lived up to be that milestone city for me. So, I compiled this travel diary with picturesque things to do in Budapest to inspire you.
Now, why do I highlight picturesque? Known as the “Paris of the East”, Budapest is an unexpectedly picturesque city in the heart of central Europe. I’d go on to even say that it has easily become one of my favorite cities to visit ever. You’ll totally see why I say that when in the pictures to follow.
Made up of three smaller but significant cities in their own rite- Buda, Óbuda, and Pest, Budapest is the capital city of Hungary.
The history of Budapest began when an early Celtic settlement transformed into the Roman town of Aquincum, the capital of Lower Pannonia. The Hungarians arrived in the territory in the late 9th century, but the area was pillaged by the Mongols in 1241–42. Re-established Buda became one of the centers of Renaissance humanist culture by the 15th century. The Battle of Mohács, in 1526, was followed by nearly 150 years of Ottoman rule. After the reconquest of Buda in 1686, the region entered a new age of prosperity, with Pest-Buda becoming a global city after the unification of Buda, Óbuda, and Pest on 17 November 1873, with the name ‘Budapest’ given to the new capital.
Budapest also became the co-capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, a great power that dissolved in 1918, following World War I. The city was the focal point of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, the Battle of Budapest in 1945, and the Hungarian Revolution of 1956.
The best time to visit Central Europe and thus Budapest is a bit disputed. Simply because the weather and the prices are the most favorable between April to May or September to October. However, the winters in central Europe are a spectacle of their own. Especially the Christmas markets and the beautifully lit evenings. But the cold is for no faint-hearted. As someone who dared to visit in the dead of December, I recommend exercising full caution should you take this plunge.
What I wore:
Day two was still dressy but a bit more functional chic with a Top With Puff Sleeves And Pearls that I styled with a silver long pleated skirt.
I wore this oversized faux leather jacket with both the outfits to brave the cold, obviously!
Love my outfits? Get them and a lot more from my partner site Shein using code:
Picturesque things to do in Budapest
1. Scale the Chain Bridge
Built in 1849 to connect Buda and Pest, the István Széchenyi or the Chain bridge is not only of socio-political & cultural importance but also one of the most beautiful landmarks in the city.
We spent a lot of time on the bridge in the dead of winter between winds from the Danube to catch the sunset and it was definitely worth it. I recommend walking across to see the beauty of the city in all its glory. Definitely stick around for the dark and the bridge to light up for that makes the views even better.
2. Frame the Buda Castle
Situated in a complex comprising of the Buda Castle (formerly Royal Palace), National Gallery, and the Budapest History Museum the Castle was home to the Hungarian kings. It is on a hilltop with some beautiful skyline views and was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987.
3. Look out of the Fisherman’s Bastion
Originally created as lookout towers, Fisherman’s Bastion gives an unmatched view of the city from literally every nook and corner.
4. Stopover at the Matthias Church
In the complex where the Fisherman’s Bastion is situated, you can also find Matthias Church. Stop to explore this over 700 years old, one of the oldest buildings in Buda. The gothic-style cathedral with a colorful tiled roof makes for amazing pictures.
5. Cruise over the Danube
Take a cruise on the Danube river to see all of the city from a different POV. You can take the one as I did without dinner or go for the one with a dinner/lunch meal.
6. Pose in front of the Hungarian Parliament
Hungary’s one of the most recognizable buildings is its Parliament. It is also the world’s 3rd largest parliament and very beautifully designed. You can also see it from the Danube cruise if you can’t find time to actually visit.
7. Jive in the Heroes’ Square
At the end of Andrassy Avenue is Heroe’s Square the largest square in Budapest. The square has iconic statues featuring the Seven Chieftains of the Magyars. Visit Heroes’ Square before or after visiting the Széchenyi baths.
8. Walk around in the Christmas Market(s)
Much like the rest of central Europe, Budapest turns into Christmas Market heaven in November. They are lovely, picturesque, and overflowing with the festive spirit. I mean, I don’t even celebrate Christmas and I was feeling merry.
Honestly, you can find these markets anywhere and everywhere you go but here are a few of the best Christmas markets in Budapest:
St Stephen’s Square
Bonus// Other things to do in Budapest:
Visit the Great Synagogue
The Dohány Street Synagogue or the Great Synagogue is the largest Synagogue in Europe and the 2nd largest in the world.
Bathe in the Széchenyi Baths and Pool
The Széchenyi Baths are the largest medicinal bath in Europe and one of the prettiest. I highly recommend going there if you can find the time. Unfortunately, I couldn’t and thus would be going in for this the next time.
Ride the Budapest Eye Ferris wheel
Ride one of the world’s largest traveling Ferris wheel standing over 200 feet tall with picturesque views to offer everywhere you look.
Visit Shoes on the Danube Bank
There are 60 pairs of shoes placed on the ledge of the Danube in memory of 3,500 people who were forced to take off their shoes and were shot dead by the Arrow Cross militiamen during World War II at the edge of the water where their bodies were swept down the river. Honoring them are these “Shoes on the Danube Bank”.
Voila, that’s all from my visit to Budapest. If you have any other suggestions or picks, do leave them in the comments below.
Don’t forget to get my outfit and a lot more from my partner site Shein using code:
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For more of my travel in style adventures, keep following ERTSY. Till then, keep experimenting & stay stylish!