You want to change your horizon for a long weekend and enjoy change, culture and relaxation all at the same time. Not even two hours by plane from Paris, you can find all this by going to Budapest, capital of Hungary. Budapest is made up of two cities named Buda and Pest which were united in 1873, but which are two distinct districts today. Pest is flat, but uniquely authentic. Crossing the Danube, you arrive in Buda which is the other part of the hilly and green capital.
The well-deserved nickname of Budapest is "the Pearl of the Danube". This city, having suffered the Soviet occupation and communism, has managed to preserve its character and its eclecticism. She is young and lively. It is possible to have fun there, to spend crazy evenings on the banks of the Danube, to eat remarkably well, but it is also a place very rich in culture and architectural heritage. If you want to see many places to visit, we advise you to get the Budapest Card for 24, 48 or 72 hours, and even more if you wish.
By taking the Budapest Card for the duration of your choice, you will be entitled to:
Between 10% and 50% discount on many establishments such as attractions, museums, restaurants, cruises on the Danube, etc. You can get this card online.
To stay in Budapest, you can choose a good category hotel close to the center near the Hungarian National Theater for example or near the Museum of History of the city. There are also B&Bs near the Halles Centrales and in different areas of the city depending on what you want to do. Many individuals also offer very comfortable rooms in their homes if you want to be closer to the population and get to know Hungarian culture better.
On the banks of the Danube, you cannot miss the Parliament which is a majestic building where the power of the country is exercised. Here, 18,000 m² await you behind its neo-Gothic facade inspired by that of the Palace of Westminster. If you want to visit it, there is a guided tour in French between 11:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. the crown which is permanently protected by two guards. You can admire the great hall of the dome which is extraordinary. It is advisable to book your tickets, as the Parliament is very popular with tourists from all over the world and places sell out quickly.
The Széchenyi Baths are a must-see place in Budapest. Largest Turkish baths in Europe, they offer you to bathe between 18° and 40 degrees outdoors or indoors. You can also have a massage if you wish. You have the choice between 15 indoor pools and 3 outdoor pools. Their neo-baroque architecture dates from 1913. Initially, these baths were private. Men's and women's saunas were separate. In 1927 the baths were extended as well as in 1938. Included in the ticket price are towels, a bathing suit, use of a locker/cabin for the day.
The covered market is one of the major works of art in the city. Indeed, it was built by the architect Samu Petz in 1896. Its structure is made of riveted iron like that of the Eiffel Tower, but it is not created by the famous French architect Eiffel, as many agree. persuade. It has five halls and a remarkable roof in Zsolnay tiles dyed with zigzag patterns. You can do your shopping there, but also eat there. There are many stalls. There are more than 180 on three floors.
Mount Gellert is a place not to be missed for an incredible view of the Hungarian capital. At its top, culminates the Statue of Liberty, which was erected to commemorate the liberation of Budapest from the Soviets. Next door, you arrive at the castle district called Budavar Palace, home to the Hungarian National Gallery retracing the history of the country, the National Széchenyi Library and the Historical Museum of the capital. To access these places, take the funicular or the stairs if you feel like doing some sport. Buda has become the chic district of Budapest. To discover it properly, you have to walk it. You can admire the magnificent facades of buildings in the neo-Gothic style, stop in a charming square for lunch in a restaurant offering refined traditional cuisine.
Despite the name it bears, the New York café, next to the Hotel Bosco, is a place that is an integral part of the history of the Hungarian capital and its culture. Its ceiling, dating from the 19th century, has gigantic sumptuous frescoes with multiple gilding. On the first floor, you can pick up a book while enjoying a delicious pastry and listening to a pianist play a classical tune. Many media agree to say or write that the New York café would be the most beautiful in the world. Even if the floors are made of marble and rub shoulders with gilding and breathtakingly beautiful frescoes, it remains a very accessible and unmissable place in the city.
Matthias Church was built in 1255 and has seen an impressive number of transformations since then. Between the 16th and 17th centuries, it was transformed into a mosque under the Ottoman occupation. Under the Habsburgs, it was transformed and its style was baroque. In the 19th century, the architect Schulek Frigyes endeavored to restore it to its 13th century appearance that can be admired today. Its roof is impressive thanks to its glazed tiles in shades ranging from eggshell to brown to yellow.
The Fisherman's Bastion is made up of 7 small towers over a length of 140 meters. It was built on an old city wall in the 19th century. It owes its name to the fishing village which stood at the foot of the castle. You will have a panoramic view of Pest and the Hungarian Parliament.
While in Pest, visit St. Stephen's Basilica which is the largest church in the city in neo-classical style. It was completed in 1906. In the Chapel of Divine Right, you can see the right hand of St. Stephen which is a particularly revered relic of the Hungarian people. If you have the courage, climb the 370 steps to admire the superb view where you can still observe this magnificent capital.
There are still many mythical places to see in Budapest such as Heroes' Square, Vörösmarty Square, the National Opera, the Great Synagogue, the Citadel, etc. You can also plan to take a mini-cruise on the Danube day or night. It's up to you to select the places you want to focus on to spend a wonderful weekend while discovering an endearing and magnificent city.