The week leading up to Easter is dubbed in Spain as “Semana Santa,” or the Holy Week. It is the country’s biggest religious holiday, with events happening each day of the week, from Sunday to Sunday. Such an important time of celebration means that schools take the week off. During this time of celebration we had the chance to travel with some dear friends of ours to a few new cities, one of which being the beautiful Budapest.
Without a doubt Budapest is a city we both loved and want to visit again.
We were presently surprised to find the AirBnbs in Budapest were very affordable. In addition, we were impressed with our housing as well as the hospitality of the Airbnb host. Our first day in Budapest resulted in a nice walk in the neighborhood surrounding our temporary residence, visiting a few historic buildings, buying and cooking dinner, then watching champion’s league futbol, as Barcelona was playing (and won!)
The following day we rode city buses to the beautiful Gellert Hill. We took the hiking path up to the top and were rewarded with gorgeous views of Budapest. The trail was a perfect way to start out our first full day.
After the hike we continued to trek along both sides of the Danube River to see a citadel, cathedrals, a castle, a multitude of parks, and the imposing parliament building. We later saw the parliament building (below) lit up at night and it is even more stunning in this light.
The most impressive of the church structures was St. Stephen’s Basilica. It was named after Hungary’s first king, and apparently the dude’s hand is kept there!
We next explored an island that sits in the middle of the river, accessible by bridge. This long green stretch of land was mostly open park-like space but attractions like restaurants, the large Budapest sign below, bike rentals, sports fields, and a mini zoo dotted the island.
Shoes on the Shore
These shoes which lined the bank of the Danube river stood as a memorial to honor the Jews killed in Budapest during World War II. Here we paused to watch the sunset, reflect on the day, and sit in a moment of silence.
The day ended with another tour of the city, by foot, to see the buildings in a new light (literally!) We’ve learned that many of the buildings are just as beautiful when illuminated after dark, and sometimes we saw details that we missed in broad daylight.
The Wheel of Fortune
Unknowingly, we stumbled across a Ferris wheel in the heart of the city, which gave us impressive 360 degree views of the surrounding monuments and buildings. We highly recommend this to anyone who visits.
After walking 15 miles the previous day, we recovered by visiting the Széchenyi Thermal Baths our second day in Budapest. This experience was so noteworthy it deserved it’s own blog post. Read about our experience at the thermal baths here.
Masses of Budapest Blooms
I cannot end this blog post without mentioning the many flowers in Budapest. They were everywhere, bright and joyful. Here are just a few of our favorites.
All in all, Budapest was an incredible city which we hope to return to (especially when airline have tickets are as cheap as 20 euros from Madrid)!
Have you visited Budapest? What was your favorite part of the city? Share your experience in the comments below! And as always, if you want to know more leave a question below or contact us.