Roughly 2.5 hours by train from Vienna, this capital City of Hungary consists of a cross-section of multiple cultures making the food, architecture, and overall experience unique from the other Central European cities we visited. Hungary is also unique in that the language is linguistically unlike any other major European language. This City situated on the Dunabe River, used to be comprised of two Cities: Buda and Pest. While the unification occurred in 1873, the boroughs are still designated as either being in Buda (23) or Pest (16) + Csepel Island. Central Budapest, beautifully preserved and designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was walkable for our active family but possibly out of range for some. Public transportation is available. In terms of cost, Budapest is very affordable compared to many European Cities. Lodging, restaurants, and entrance tickets were all remarkably inexpensive.
Note: This Hungary page features Budapest only because, well, that's the only City we have visited so far. Of course, we will add to it when our travels bring us back to this region.
St. Stephen’s Basilica: Dedicated to the holy king of St. Stephen, the founder of the Hungarian state, construction on this Roman Catholic church began in 1810. Tours are available for a nominal fee and there are great views of the City from the lookout tower.
Hungarian State Opera House: Construction on this neo-Renaissance opera house began in 1875. Tours run daily in the middle of the afternoon for approximately $10/adult, $6/child. Tours include a special solo performance by an opera singer, making this tour a real treat.
Heroes’ Square: Hősök tere (Heroes' Square), known for hosting political gatherings in Budapest, was constructed in the late 19th Century as a tribute to past Hungarian Kings, Conquerors, and Leaders. The Square is located at the end of a nice boulevard, Andrássy út, that also hosts the Opera House and many foreign Embassy's.
Parliament Building: Budapest's most recognizable landmark is also the central hub of Hungary's parliamentary government. Tours of the building including visiting the actual parliament chambers, as well as the Hungarian Crown Jewels. Tours sell out so plan on purchasing them in advance. Even though it is on the pricey side for Budapest (roughly $20/person), it a "must see" and worth the expense.
Széchenyi Chain Bridge: Travel by foot from Buda to Pest via this chain bridge's pedestrian walkway. Opened in 1849, the bridge was destroyed by retreating Germans during WWII and rebuilt in 1949. Views from the Bridge are great, with many photo opportunities.
Castle Hill Funicular & Buda Castle Grounds: At this point in our trip, we needed a break from another castle tour, however, we did enjoy taking the Castle Hill Funicular, followed by a walk around castle grounds where we found great views of the City.
The Szentháromság Square, Mátyás Church, Military History Museum: One museum we did visit was the Military History Museum, which features artifacts from 1848-1849 War of Independence and Revolution of 1956. Nearby sits the beautiful Mátyás Church (Matthias Church) and Szentháromság Square (Holy Trinity Square). A central feature of the square is the Holy Trinity Statute (finished1706).
Where We Stayed
Air BnB: This two-story apartment was one of our favorite accommodations on our Central Europe trip. Large, super safe with an interior courtyard entrance, clean, and centrally located. Our host was also responsive, helpful and easy to work with. The price, at $57/night, was quite affordable. We highly recommend this AirBnB. (sorry no photos).
Where We Ate
Ruszwurm patisserie: This sweet-tooth family had to stop at Hungary's oldest confectionary. Though it's hard not to love a place with dozens of cakes, pastries, and other sweets, Ruszwurm did not disappoint. Be sure to grab a table and enjoy an espresso with your pastry.