Welcome to Budapest! This has clearly become my favorite city, thus far, in all of my travels through Europe. What’s not to love? You have two cities in one; Buda which is on the hill and Pest which is flat. I loved both parts of Budapest from walking through the castle district on the Buda side to walking through Kerepesi Cemetery which is on the Pest side.
Here are five of my reasons for visiting it if you ever find yourself here.
1. Kerepesi Cemetery
I know this might sound morbid but I have visited many cemeteries during my travels throughout Europe. There is something fascinating about wandering through them and seeing how each cemetery is different from another city, another country. Kerepesi Cemetery has clearly become my favorite cemetery. So much so, that I stopped and visited it twice while I was in Budapest.
In one part of the cemetery, you could see overgrown greenery around the tombstones. This only added to the beauty as you walked along the path leading to another section of the cemetery. But you know what I loved most is that I was literally the only person walking through Kerepesi Cemetery when I went both times. Let me rephrase by saying that I loved being able to enjoy the beauty of it on my own, without throngs of visitors, so I could take in the peace and tranquility of this place.
2. Central Market Hall
What can I say about a place that has everything you could want without leaving the building? Central Market Hall has all these different stalls that has fresh fruit, vegetables, meats, cheeses, pastries in them. Not all in one stall, mind you, but each stall is different from the next one. One might have all the meat you could imagine while another stall next to it could have vegetables. This is why you should allow yourself anywhere from two hours to half a day to wander through and see what each vendor is selling.
Who knows you may come away with a couple of meals for when you are in Budapest instead of having to go to a restaurant and eat out. ‘Fresh is always best.’ Don’t stop with only walking through the lower level because there is more to see on the next level up from souvenirs to a food court. Now I didn’t get a chance to grab anything from the food court when I was there but everything looked and smelled good. Like I said, you could walk away with enough food to get you through a couple of days in the city.
3. Margaret Island
This hidden oasis in the middle of Budapest is a must see while you are in the city. Seriously, what islands do you know of that you could walk to without having to take a boat to get to it. I don’t know of many so I was excited when I found my way to it. Now it did take a bit of figuring out how to get to the island since it is connected to one of the bridges. I had to find the right route to Margaret Island and then before I knew it, I was on the island itself.
It was magical; one of those places I would want to revisit when I am back in Budapest….
4. The Bridges
There are a few too many bridges for me to list them here. I am only focusing on the bridges I walked across when I was visiting Budapest.
Liberty Bridge is the one closest to Central Market Hall. Elizabeth Bridge is the one closest to the hostel where I stayed; Maverick Hostel. Chain Bridge is the one closest to Buda Castle. You can’t miss it since it has stone lions situated on them; seeing them at night is a must since the bridge is lit up and one of the most beautiful sights to see as soon as the sun sets. Margaret Bridge is the one you would want to walk across to get to Margaret Island. What I loved is that I could use each bridge as a way to help me not get lost in the city. If I was on one bridge and could see another bridge from where I was standing, then I would know where I was in the city.
5. Gellert Hill
This is the first placed I walked to as soon as I dropped off my bag at the hostel. I wasn’t planning on walking there on my first day after getting off the plane, jetlagged, but I couldn’t help myself. I started walking from the Pest side and made my way across the bridge to the Buda side and up I walked to Gellert Hill. Tired feet…. But still I trudged to the top of the hill…. The views from the top of the hill were amazing and not to be missed. You could see the Parliament of Budapest from where I was standing as well as the many bridges….
I could go on and on about my love for this city and why I fell in love with it upon first glance. I wouldn’t want to bore you; thought I would stop at five reasons why I think you should visit the city if given the chance.
As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on Budapest if you’ve ever visited this city or if you ever decide to plan a trip here.