As it’s half term, I’ve travelled to Budapest with my sister, Julia, for a cheap city break. Our flight got us into Budapest (from Manchester) at 5pm local time. We bought a 24 hour travel card for just under £5 then hopped on to a bus and then the Metro to our Airbnb studio flat near Kalvin ter Metro station. The building we are staying in is a traditional Hungarian one, the stairways look like they have been unchanged in hundreds of years.
After unpacking, I suggested we see a bit of Budapest lit up at night. We found the Parliament building really easily via the Metro, it was so impressive emerging from underground on the escalator opposite the river, looking over at the stunning architecture!
It’s amazing how tired you can get from just a plane journey, so after a bit of exploring (and a quick stop at a Tesco Express) we were back at the apartment for 9pm to cook some pasta and have an early night.
The next morning, we headed over the Szechenyi Chain Bridge to the Castle District, where the national gallery and national museum are located inside the former palace. The Castle District sits on a hill overlooking Budapest and we got some excellent views of the Chain Bridge and the Parliament Building.
We wandered around the national gallery, under 26s get a concession price of around £2.70, which was well worth it! The gallery is set out perfectly, starting in the nineteenth century on the bottom floor, gradually working through the ages to the modern day as you go up the floors. It is the largest collection of Hungrian art in the world. In UK galleries, I think we are spoilt having so many works by huge names. I am not hugely knowledgeable about art (even less so about Hungarian artists specifically), I didn’t find myself looking for familiar works and really got the chance to appreciate individual pieces based on the emotions they evoked, rather than my past experiences of the artist.
Following our walk around the gallery, we considered visiting the museum. Unfortunately by this time it was 3pm and as it closed at 4pm we decided it probably couldn’t be appreciated properly in under an hour.
We stopped for food at a cafe on Castle Hill (a simple cheese salad sandwich and apple strudel- the only vegetarian option), before walking over to the Fishermen’s Bastion, a gorgeous lookout point over the Danube and Parliament. We admired the tiled roof of Matthias Church and took lots of photos. It was a shame it had been raining all day as there were some excellent photo opportunities had the lighting been slightly better.
Following a quick stop at Spar for tea and tomorrow’s breakfast, we navigated our way back through the Metro to our apartment for another early night. I had fancied going to visit some of the famous ‘ruin bars’ of Budapest but we were both a bit too tired once we had eaten. There’s always tomorrow!
Total cost of the day: £18 (including travel, entry to gallery and three meals-one out)