03 Mar Second time in Budapest
On our way back from Porto we stayed in Budapest for three days. Since this was our second time here we decided see and do new things. Last time in Budapest we had 2 days to see the main attractions but this time we decided to take it easy. We rented a small apartment in a beautiful old building.
In the morning we went to the center for a walk, beer and a bike rental. Last time we were here we loved riding bikes around, we did our own bike tour and wanted to continue it. Best Bike Tours offer a very good bikes for rent for the affordable prices, you can find them at Semmelweis u. 14.
This time we visited the Margaret Island or as the locals call it Margitsziget. This river island, a green oasis, is connected with Budim and Pesta with two bridges: Margaret Bridge and Arpad Bridge. We took the Margit bridge, that is interesting it self with the sculptures and unique three-way design. In the middle the bridge has a road that leads to the island.
Margaret island was more than we expected, it is huge and it has so much to offer, but what we love the most it is free. If the bike is not your thing you can walk or rent the quad. There are even a water park, swimming pools, sport fields, gardens and historical ruins. We had a great time here and our only mistake was not bringing the blanket and food for the picnic.
After relaxing ride around the island we went to the Citadella, we rode next to the river bank to the Gellert Hill Cave. Climbing this hill on the summer heat with no marked bicycle paths, was not what we planned as a relaxing time in Budapest, since we had to carry the bikes up the stairs and pushing them up the hill.
But it was worth it, at the Gellert Hill top was the Liberty Statue, built in 1947 in the honor of Soviets who liberated the Hungary from Nazi’s. But after the 1989 the statue was given the new meaning, and this time to celebrate the people who gave their lives for the liberation of Hungary.
At the top of the hill, just behind the monument is the Citadella, a fortress build during the Austrian Empire. The place itself was used by military several times. But now it is used for stunning views over the Pest.
So our legs were tired, I was becoming hungry and nervous so we went downhill to find something to eat. We decided for the burger at the Montenegroi barbecue at the Fröccsterasz. This was an open bar, very trendy place, but also expensive.
Today was a day for the thermal baths. Budapest has plenty, and you can choose between the modern and old, trendy and calm, cheap and expensive. We wanted the one that offers peace and quiet, with actual healing effects but that are also moderate in price. So after a detail analysis done mostly by Samir we decided on Lukacs Baths. Located in the Buda district, just across the Margit bridge, these baths are visited mostly by the locals.
On our last night we decided to go out for drink to the popular Jewish quarter or the Ruin pubs. It looked cool but after peace and quiet of the baths we couldn’t stand the heath and crowd of these pubs. I know, we sound like an old couple, but it is what it is. We decided to take a walk next to the river, enjoy the sunset. After that we grabbed some beers and pizza and chilled in the Erzsébet park under the Eye.
Tips & Tricks
After 2 visits to Budapest we are not experts, but you can become one if you learn from our mistakes and take some advice:
- Official currency in Hungary is Hungarian Forint, it is not stable but in average 1 EUR equals to 320 HUF. That being said exchange offices are taking advantage of it and manipulate with the currency, some have fee based on the amount, some have stable fee and some just cheat. So be aware of it and do the research were will you exchange your money.
- Use your brain and do the math! We are not saying everyone cheats with the change they give you, we had 2 or 3 bad experiences, but because of these ones you have to be wary. It is easy to get confused with Forints, since paper money goes from 500 to 20 000 it is easy to get confused. Just use the calculator, you have it on your phone.
- RENT A BIKE! This one is a good one, Budapest is a heaven for the bicycles. Take a ride along the river banks and visit the Margaret Island.