Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Our citybreak in Budapest

Our third recent citybreak destination was Budapest in Hungary. We did discover that, not unexpectedly, exploring three cities back-to-back in twelve was A Bit Much so our energy levels flagged here!

Our Airbnb accommodation was a quirky studio flat owned by Bea and Bali. This was the easiest of our checkins as Bali was waiting in the street, waving, as we trudged up the hill with our rucksacks. The flat is well located for sightseeing and, had there not been builders working next door, would have been pretty peaceful too. It had everything we needed although cooking up meals could have been tricky because the kitchen wasn't particularly well equipped. Bali did bring us over a kettle though so we managed just fine. I loved the random vintage decor and sitting out on the roof decking in glorious sunshine. We got too lucky with the weather in Budapest - so hot we melted!

After only strolling down to the riverside to gaze over at the illuminated Parliament building on our first evening, we set out with a real sense of purpose for our first day. Just across the street from our apartment building was the start of a flight of steps leading up to Buda Castle and, I think, some of the oldest streets in Budapest. Some parts of this area are very touristy and others surprisingly empty and peaceful. I loved the white stone of the castle and churches against the blue sky, and the patterned tiled roofs one of which can be seen in this photo. We declined to climb a tall church tower near to here, but did admire an amazing bronze replica of a coronation cloak within its ruined walls. The original fabric cloak is in the national museum and, judging by the detail on its replica, the embroidery must be incredible.

Our highlight of the day was visiting a fascinating museum, The Hospital In The Rock, which is somewhere I think every Budapest visitor should tour. It costs about £11 a ticket, but is free for EU nationals aged 70 and over. Fortunately we got there pre-Brexit so Dave could take advantage of this! Originally a series of caves created by waterflow, the underground space was fitted out as a state of the art hospital for the Second World War and was repurposed as a Soviet nuclear bunker in the 1960s. Abandoned as a timecapsule for decades, it is now possible to join guided tours (in English or Magyar) of about a tenth of the facility. Some rooms atmospherically display the caves as a hospital, others contain bunker artefacts, one has a full-size helicopter, and there is also a harrowing Hiroshima exhibition - particularly timely as America and North Korea continue to trade potentially lethal insults. Unfortunately the museum forbids absolutely all photography, presumably because it would slow down the pace of tour groups, so I couldn't take any pics. Click through to the website to catch a glimpse inside.


  1. We drilled down the best Airbnbs to stay at in Hungary: https://www.alltherooms.com/w/2018/01/top-6-airbnbs-hungary/