I bet you’ve heard George Ezra’s song Budapest which is always played on the radio a couple of months ago. It was the tune that got stuck in my head before arriving to this magnificent city. If you haven’t heard about Budapest before (not the song), there’s a good reason those who have visited would like to keep it a secret. It is surprisingly beautiful! Unlike most European capitals, there isn’t just one historical town center in Budapest. The city is made up of two distinct major sides, Buda and Pest. Both are located on either sides of the Danube River. While Buda is filled with famous attractions like the Fishermans’s Bastion and Buda Castle Hill, the latter is considered the heart of the city.
For the geek in you, Hungary has a depressing past. First with Hungary Ottoman and then the Austro-Hungarian empire war. More recently, after the World War II, Hungary was under a communist regime, with the Soviet Union as the greatest ally. Reportedly there were over 600,000 Hungarian Jews murdered in the Holocaust after the invasion of Nazi-led Germany. Because of the successive waves of destruction, Budapest has many ruins. Some have been totally rebuilt or partially rehabilitated and some are just left as they are after the bombings. Walking a few streets away from the touristy spots, you’ll see that many facades are flaking off. It takes a lot of resilience to get through this dark side of history and the memory of the war has definitely left its marks deeply in Budapest’s buildings.
Today, the city is filled with a variety of amazing architecture. The gothic style dominates the city’s main attractions and scenery along the river. There is also a lot of monuments all over Budapest. The combination of astonishing building style and monuments that scattered everywhere definitely adds to the character of the city. One of the most magnificent and famous monuments is of course the Hungarian Parliament, the third largest parliament building in the world. I was in awe when I saw it the first time.There aren’t words to describe how amazing this building is. I have seen a few parliaments in my past travels and Budapest definitely takes the cake.
Going to the to Fisherman’s Bastion gave me some incredible views of the river and the Pest side to the city. The island in the middle of the river is a cool place to go for a run, or just wander around. I could spend a whole day here down by the Danube River if I have more time.
It is however when night falls that you can’t help but say “Wow!” when the entire city is beautifully lit. We had a reserved night cruise on the Danube River and it was the best thing ever. You could see both sides of the city and the reflections off the water are an unforgettable sight. The river already being quite stunning during the day had a total different scenery at night. No matter how many other beautiful places you have seen, you will remember it. Budapest at night is one you will keep in your mind throughout your life.