It’s been just over a month since I have returned from my visit to Budapest. However, I could not allow such a magnificent experience and such a beautiful destination to pass without a devoted blog post – so here it is!
I took my fiancé to Budapest, Hungary as a surprise for his 40th birthday. Admittedly, I knew very little about the destination before I booked our trip and had absolutely no idea what kind of city break we might actually experience. Most city break destinations don’t need much more than a good cityscape and some pretty bridges to justify itself as a city break destination. However, as it was a surprise for my fiance’s birthday I really needed Budapest to be extra special.
In all honesty, Budapest was not a destination I had romanticised over, like Paris, which possibly would always be my first choice for a European city break. Nevertheless, my fiance is not a big fan of Paris, we’d visited Milan, Barcelona and Berlin together in the recent years, so I needed a destination that was in Europe, that was not Amsterdam, that neither of us had ever been to and that would wow him. Budapest completely blew us both away. And maybe, just maybe, blew Paris out of the water too!
The features that lured me to the destination was the architecture, that I had been told was spectacular. The views of the river Danube, which I read were breathtaking and the Chain Bridge, that lights up the night with stunning lights. However, what intrigued me more so than anything was that the River Danube literally and physically splits Budapest in two, creating Buda and Pest.
Indeed, Budapest is a striking city, arguably as pretty as Paris in its femininity, less modern than London, but more masculine and grandiose. Nevertheless, despite the beauty and the distinctive uniqueness of Budapest, we never picked up on an ounce of pretentiousness or even arrogance, one might expect from those that inhabit such a breathtaking city and this made exploring such a striking city just as pleasurable as its appearance.
Admittedly it rained our entire trip and was significantly cold, but this gave me the opportunity to wrap up and layer my winter armour. I packed my biggest oversized knits, my recently purchased black watch check cape with giant fur hood a la Dolce and Gabnana from Zara. I walked the streets of Budapest in my longest boots and complimented my ensembles with one of my many fur accessories, be it a fur snood, a fur collar or fur scarf – a winter styling technique I have adopted from Olivia Palermo.
It turns out that pretty much everyone in Budapest was dressed this way. However, the fur, worn in abundance, was everywhere and of course, it was real. Exploring the Christmas Markets, which were naturally freezing, involved lots of standing still outdoors, whilst we ate ghoulish soup or paprika sausages, so it made complete sense why these Hungarian women walked the markets in fur coats with hemlines just around their ankles. I am not sure whether all the luscious fur on display was worn worn out of glamour, frivolity or a display of wealth, because they were indeed completely functional, but they looked divine!
We stayed in Pest, the livelier side of the country, strolling through the Christmas markets drinking mulled wine, hanging out in the Jewish Quarter and drinking in the ruin bars. The impressive Parliament building, the third largest in the world, the extraordinary art-nouveaux Gresham Palace, which makes home to the Four Seasons Hotel and the Roman Catholic church, St. Stephen’s Basilica made for an awe-inspiring backdrop to our stay. However, it wasn’t till we hopped on board the local tram across the Danube River to Buda, that we could truly appreciate the Budapest cityscape in all its glory.
Buda sits on the right hand side of the vast Danube River and is connected to Pest with nine bridges. It’s mountainous and hilly land means it is able to offer views of both Buda and Pest which are unimaginable. Once the tram had dropped us in Buda, we walked a steep and rolling San Francisco-eque hill with an idyllic and quaint little town atop of it. Although, completely overwhelmed by how picturesque this town was, it was what was at the heart of this town that truly overwhelmed me – St Matthias Church,
In the pouring rain we spent hours in awe of the looming gothic church, with it’s colourful mosaic surfaces and just when we thought Budapest had reached it’s stunning quota, we walked behind the church, to find Fisherman’s Bastion. Located at the edge of the hill, Fisherman’s Bastion offers the best views of Budapest. The panoramic view, elevated from a top the hill allowed us to take in sights of the parliament building on the Pest side of the river, lit up in all it’s glory. We could see the chain bridge twinkling with white lights and it’s glittering reflection on the Danube river. With all the castles and palaces, churches and bridges, Budapest is indeed a sight for sore eyes. The vistas were something unimaginable and despite the pouring rain, we indulged in the vistas of Budapest from the Fisherman’s Bastion for hours.
Take a look at the photos of the views, the food, the markets and the bars we visited during our time in Budapest.