Budapest - Pearl of the Danube
I had always longed to visit Budapest, nicknamed ‘Paris of the East’. I stayed in the 3 star Hotel Kings which was modern, welcoming and rooms were spacious and better than many 3 stars I had stayed in other large European cities.
Upon first impressions I thought it was a beautiful and intriguing city and couldn’t wait to explore. Despite the hotel being set in a maze of backstreets, not once did I feel unsafe and we managed to stumble upon the Danube within minutes, the huge river which is at the heart of the city.
We opted to eat in a restaurant called ‘The Spoon’ which was on a luxury yacht that was moored next to the beautifully lit Chain Bridge which crosses the Danube...what an amazing meal! To that end, everything we ate in Budapest was fantastic with lots of choice. The area around the Opera also offers plenty of high standard yet cheap eats. Despite the temperature being around minus 10 degrees, this did not deter us from exploring further as we stopped for photos of the Chain Bridge which was lit up, and then crossed it to the Buda side of the city.
Budapest was originally 2 cities, Buda to the West of the Danube and Pest on the Eastern bank, but these combined about 100 years ago to create Budapest. Despite our sore feet, the walk was well worth it as we discovered the Chain Bridge, the Fishermans Bastion and the Parliament Building, all of which were stunning.
The next day we ventured on a coach tour of the city, visiting Buda which is a very historic part of the city set on a series of hills. When we visited, the whole city was sprinkled in snow which only added to the romantic and atmospheric feel of the city. Pest, whilst still being historic is much flatter and easily navigable on foot. However, after our feet became sore, we started to use the underground system more which is the oldest on mainland Europe, and despite its quirky communist style appearance, was very easy to use and extremely cheap.O
ne of the highlights of the tour had to be ice skating on the frozen lake in the city park, which was lit up next to a castle, with steam coming from the natural spas all around, a unique experience and something I will never forget (even if I couldn’t skate).
Budapest is a truly remarkable place, far surpassing my expectations…beautiful architecture, atmospheric, friendly locals, great food, extremely good value for money…needless to say I will be going back in the very near future.
Written by Sales Manager, Matt Connelly