How I Easily Toured (and Survived) Budapest through Sun and Snow
written by myrra kate
I know I have been to other European countries and most of my travel diaries are still in the queue. However, I will talk about my most recent trip today so that my thoughts are still fresh in my mind.
If you have followed me on my Instagram (which I think you should – click here ?), you would have seen in my IG stories that I have just arrived from my Budapest tour. I have picked it to be my last European trip while I’m on this exchange program because most of my Erasmus friends told me that a visit to this city is a must. Why? Simply because, according to them, it’s really beautiful and worth it.
So when I found some inexpensive tickets going there, what did I do? I booked it. No ifs, no buts.
It turns out to be such a great decision because my Budapest tour, amid the strange weather when I was there, definitely exceeded my expectations.
Budapest left me in so much awe.
So here’s a quick rundown of my story.
I arrived in Budapest at night and I was pretty sure my heart was throbbing so much it could literally burst out of my body. I was internally panicking because it was, after all, a city with such a difficult language and a different currency. At that time, I literally only had euros in my wallet and found out that I could only buy bus tickets going to my hostel with Hungarian forints. Obviously, I didn’t have one because if there’s one important thing you must remember when exchanging currencies, it’s that you shouldn’t do it on exchange offices in airports or stations. Why? Because they usually have such high commissions that they subtract from the money you’re supposed to get. Thankfully though, the debit card I had (which only works for withdrawal in Italy) worked so I got to pay for my bus ticket. (Oh, by the way, I arrived at my hostel just a few minutes before the check-in time was over. Wew!)
Fast-forward to the day 1 of my Budapest tour, the weather was actually really sunny. I was so happy about this because the weather forecast actually stated that it was supposed to be rainy. I felt so good thinking that I probably brought the sun with me.
That day, I first went to Big Bus Budapest’s office in Andrassy Street to get my tickets. I wanted to see and know the city first before I dive into touring each must-see places. If you know me well, you know how much I love getting to know a new city through learning (even a few facts) about its history and culture. Thanks to Big Bus Budapest tour, I was able to do that.
I hopped on their bus and of course, I chose to sit on the top floor of their double-decker hop-on-hop-off bus to have a good view of Budapest while it’s touring me around the city. With this, I was able to see much of the streets of the “Heart of Europe” and gasp over the extraordinary details and designs of the buildings we passed by (especially the upper parts or roofs of these buildings because when you’re in Budapest, take note to always look up!).
Big Bus Budapest’s bus also gives you an inclusive audioguide that you can listen to while you’re on your Budapest tour. You only have to get your own headphones by the container beside the driver when you get in and put them on the player in front or on the side of your seat. You can choose what channel you want based on what language you want to listen to and set the volume to whatever you prefer. It was honestly so convenient since you get to do two things at the same time (both of which I personally love as a traveler) – seeing the city and knowing its history.
There are times though that the speaker on the recorded guide will stop talking and some nice Hungarian songs will play. In these times, I get to pull out my phone for a while and take some Instagram stories that I could instantly upload to my account (and send to my Mom as she loves to be updated of my travels from time to time), all thanks to Big Bus Budapest’s free wifi onboard!
After seeing the city, I continued my Budapest tour to visit the places in my itinerary. I will have a separate travel diary for this so for now, here is the list of the places I went to and things I did.
- I stopped by to see the amazing statues in Heroes’ Square.
- I went to see Budapest’s City Park Ice Rink. I remember the first time I ice-skated and the many times I fell on my ass. (Lol!)
- I saw Vajdahunyad Castle and passed by the city park.
- I hopped on the Big Bus again to go to St. Stephen’s Basilica.
- I had my late lunch at a local restaurant and tasted Budapest’s infamous chicken paprikash.
- I walked to the banks of River Danube and admire the amazing view of Buda and Pest.
- I took photos of the Shoes on the Danube.
- I went to see the Hungarian Parliament Building but learned that it wasn’t open that day.
I was already quite exhausted and so, I called it a day. I went back to my hostel and got myself some good night’s sleep since I knew I still had the day after to visit more places in Budapest.
When I wake up, however, the sun and warm weather are suddenly gone. It was 0 degrees Celsius and snowing so hard. Being positive and determined me, I didn’t want to just stay in the hostel. I wanted to go out and explore the city even if that meant I’d freeze in the cold weather. After all, I’m in Budapest, right?
Thankfully, Big Bus Budapest saved me the walking time and was my knight in shining armor when it comes to getting to my destinations without freezing my ass off. So for my day 2, here is my itinerary:
- I finally went to go inside the Hungarian Parliament Building.
- I hiked up Castle Hill.
- I saw and took photos of the Fisherman’s Bastion.
- I also went to see Budapest Castle.
I was supposed to go to the thermal baths but it was already too dark and the weather really wasn’t in my favor. I figured then that at least, there’s still something new that I could try when I go back and have a Budapest tour again – whenever that will be.
Budapest indeed left me in awe. Every detail in this city seemed to well planned and meticulously designed for such a long time. Additionally, their history is so great to know about because it makes you appreciate what made Budapest the Budapest it is now.
I definitely am going back.
Budapest, you have my heart.
What I Brought to My Budapest Tour
Do you mostly travel to just see the tourist attractions in a new place or do you like to learn about its history? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
I'm Myrra Kate!
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