Even though the most of our lives we used to live very close to this beautiful city it was our first visit. To be honest, we had to plan a 1,5 months trip 2 weeks in advance and we chose Budapest as our first stop because flight tickets were the cheapest. But it turned out to be a great place to explore with lots of things to do!
Budapest is a very safe and friendly city with great public transportation. There is a cheap $3 direct bus E100 from the airport to the downtown, or you can take a regulated taxi that would cost around 25 EUR. Most of the hotels provide their transportation at a reasonable price. Another thing to point out is that most of their hotel options are actually apartments that are transformed into hotel rooms. Most of those places have specific check-in times so this needs to be considered. It's very easy to find your way in the city, there are several metro lines, lots of buses and trams that cost around $2 per ride. Budapest is a very walkable city, we used metro only once or twice and explored everything else on foot. The food and drinks are excellent and affordable. Budapest became one of our favorite cities in Europe for sure!
On our first full day we visited St Stephen’s Basilica of Budapest - one of the most beautiful and significant churches and touristic attractions of the country. It is dedicated to the holy king St Stephen who was also the founder of the Hungarian state. The first construction works were started in 1851. In the 18th century it also served as a theater, and these days it hosts regular organ concerts.
On the way to another attraction - Széchenyi Chain Bridge:
Views from the Bridge:
Budapest was united from three cities in 1873 and in 1885 the construction of the Parliament Building was started as a sign of the sovereignty of the nation. The building was completed in 1904. I personally think that it's one of the most beautiful buildings I've ever seen and we kept coming back to it over and over again.
View from another side of Danube river:
Building across the street from the Parliament (Museum of Ethnography):
At first we hesitated whether we should check out Budapest Eye or not but since the price was not too high ($7) we decided to give it a try. It was actually a very nice experience. The wheel makes several circles and you have plenty of time to enjoy the views from a different perspective.
Some more city street views:
Another famous attraction of Budapest is their ruin pubs. This movement started in 2001 when young people were looking for a cheap place to drink beer. So half ruined buildings and unused outdoor spaces were transformed into so-called these days ruin bars or pubs. What some time ago looked like a chaotic place with old mismatched furniture looks quite artsy today. Szimpla Kert was the first ruin bar and is a very cool place to visit and have a drink or a bite.