Shia LaBeouf already knew in Charlie Countryman that you have to visit Budapest not Bukarest, for that matter. And that’s what my cousins, my brother and I did. For our annual trip together from April 7th to April 9th in 2016 we chose beautiful Hungary and its worth seeing capital Budapest – two full days and two nights.
Before we started our trip we booked a shuttle service from the airport to the hotel and back in addition to our plane tickets to save pains organizing it on-site. Now a relaxed arrival was guaranteed. The shuttle service worked out pretty well. Although on the return trip to the airport the back door of the van popped open and our luggage was about to be splattered over the highway but the driver made no move to stop the car so we decided to close it by ourselves while driving. You don’t have to make things more complicated than they are I guess.
Our hotel was the Millennium Court Budapest – Marriott Executive Apartments, located conveniently right downtown. It was an excellent choice because for one thing we had a great room layout because we basically had two apartments that were connected through an open kitchen and living room, for another thing the location was perfect regarding our planned activities that we wanted to reach by foot so we do not have to waste time on public transportation.
After check-in (in the morning) and checking out the room we started to explore the “City of Bridges” – Budapest. Stepping out of the hotel we only walked a few steps and reached the promenade. From there we kept going north along the Danube river. We walked by the impressive Hungarian Parliament Building (Országház). Before reaching the Parliament Building we passed the Shoes on the Danube Bank, a memorial for the persecution of Jews during World War II.
We crossed the Danube river on Margaret Bridge (Margit híd). In total, there are nine bridges to admire that all cross the Danube river and connect the two parts of the city, Buda and Pest. Each one has its own history and design. We could not cross all of them but we got a good overview during our stay in Budapest. For example the Chain Bridge (Széchenyi Lánchíd) – a suspension bridge with stone poles that is located near the biggest building in Hungary, the Buda Castle (Budavári Palota).
After a short recovery and a little refreshment in a café near the riverbank we were headed towards the Gellért Hill, the Citadella, a fortress on top of the hill and the Liberty Statue in honor of the soldiers from World War II. As a warm-up, we climbed up the Castle Hill and the Castle District. The discovery of Castle District itself could take up to two days since it offers a bunch of sights like museums, libraries, monuments, theatres, churches and, of course, restaurants. You do not even miss out on activities like archery there. Thanks to the location you even have a great view over the town as a visitor.
The walk from Castle District to Gellért Hill leads through a nicely arranged park on the slope of the hill that, again, offers a nice view over the Danube and the town. We strolled by some pretty buildings (like the Gellért Monument), fountains and parks. It gets a little steeper towards the Citadella and the Liberty Statue. This partly exhausting walk is worth it though. At the latest when you sit up there with a cold beer in your hand enjoying the great view and slowly let this successful day fade away.
In the evening, we were keen on checking out the promising nightlife of Budapest. We went to district VII and to the famous ruin bars. Finally we stranded in Szimpla Kert, the most famous ruin bar in Budapest. With an inner courtyard and a backyard, as well as multiple levels it offers all kind of space, so everyone can find something they like – a dancefloor, quiet corners, art gallery, various bars and even something to eat. An almost endless area that welcomes the guests and offers locals as well as tourists a place to party.
Consequently, the following day started a little slow, to put it in nice words. We strolled along the shopping street Váci utca, went to the Gellért Baths (but not inside), ate burgers at frappáns and, by accident, bumped into a great possibility for our evening entertainment: A boat ride on the Danube river with pizza and beer, as much as you want. We were in! That way we were able to look at Budapest from the water and at night, when it is dark and the buildings are beautifully lit. We can really recommend that. Other than that though, we also took care of dinner and pre-drinking that evening. The dock of that Silverline is located next to the Elisabeth Bridge.
After the one-hour boat-tour we took a cab back to the party district since it started to rain a little. We went to one or two bars before we went to the club Tesla. The motto of the night was “Budapest Calling” presented by Oliver Schories and Dan Caster. The entrance fee was 10,-€ and we were supplied with the finest of house- and electro music entertainment. This evening made a worthy finish to our stay in Budapest. Two days are calculated tight for this trip but in order to have a good overview and no slack it was absolutely sufficient. Now I am not so sure anymore if Shia, alias Charlie, was talking about Budapest or Bukarest…