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Summer in Budapest: We Just Had to Do This!

Yes, we went to Budapest again. We know, we were there many times and if you haven’t read our articles about our trips in the capital of Hungary yet, click here to find out everything about how you can fully explore this wonderful city while saving time & money, about how magical the new year’s eve is here, about how many goodies you can get at the Christmas markets or how you can relax at the impressive thermal baths.

Budapest has become for us a sort of escape from the daily struggle, a place to recharge our batteries. We didn’t see it during summer until now, so we decided to do exactly that on an August morning. Unplanned, spontaneous, like that:

“Let’s go to Budapest!”
“Again? When?”
“I don’t know… now. Or tomorrow, or the day after…”
“Are you crazy?”
“Yes.”
“Let’s go!”

So that’s what we did. We started to think about transportation and accommodation options and about what we were going to do there during the 4-day stay.

Transportation and accommodation in Budapest

Because you have to buy plane tickets early if you want them to be cheap, we decided to test how is to travel by bus there – it takes longer, it’s not as comfortable, but is manageable. A trip by bus on the Cluj-Budapest route, both ways, costs about 180 lei ($45), and one of the advantages it has compared to flying is that you don’t have to worry about the size or weight of the luggage.

For accommodation, we used Airbnb again and found a cheap apartment, close to the center, with nice furniture and with all the necessary amenities (click here to create an account on Airbnb and you will have one year to make a reservations with a $40 discount!). What we like most about Airbnb, besides being cheaper than the hotels, is the fact that you can experience a place through the eyes of those who live there, living in houses and apartments owned by the locals and getting to know this intimate part of the local culture. This is the courtyard of the building in which we stayed this time, with an architecture specific to the old constructions from the city center.

So, how is summer in Budapest? Magical! The same as all the other seasons, the difference being that the cold wind doesn’t get to your bones when you walk on the shores of the Danube, but you don’t have goodies at the Christmas fair and you can’t sit in thermal water while snowflakes land on top of you.

Budapest is really a city made for tourism, it can offer you a perfect vacation, no matter if you stay there for two days or for a whole month.

Summer is especially beautiful and plentiful in this great city, because the unforgettable nights in open air are completed with the days when you just can’t stop walking and visiting places. We were also busy visiting in our first day of this trip. We started in Heroes Square, which was just around the corner from our Airbnb.

Vajdahunyad Castle

There are many of landmarks in this area, such as the Budapest Zoo and the Széchenyi Thermal Baths, as we have told you all about them in our previous articles, but also the Vajdahunyad Castle with its splendid surroundings.

Over 100 years old, the neo-gothic style construction is a copy of the Hunyadi Castle in Hunedoara, Romania – we have posted about that here – and nowadays it hosts the Museum of Agriculture.

The park around the castle is nicely kept and offers a great place for relaxation, for locals and tourists alike.

We ended our first day with a long walk through the center and along the Danube, enjoying the nice weather, the places designed for people who want to rest on the grass right in the heart of the city and the general atmosphere of tranquility, friendship and beauty. And in front of St. Stephens’s cathedral we had de opportunity to assist at an extraordinary classical music concert.

The Danube is enchanting at any time, but during the evening and night it gives you a special feeling, it puts a spell on you and makes you love it forever!

Tropicarium Budapest – a must-see place!

The next morning, we have crossed the entire city to get to the Tropicarium, a great place where we could see life from the depths of the ocean with our own eyes.

Dozens of aquariums with lively colored fish amaze the visitors and teach them about the various marine species, all of which are interesting and… a bit strange, such as this furry turtle!

An immense aquarium with 1.4 million liters of water hosts the main attraction of this place: the sharks.

The whole space is well maintained, with rooms decorated according to specific themes and many things to discover.

Veli Bej Thermal Baths

After this fascinating incursion into the underworld, we went to try some new thermal baths. How else? No vacation in Budapest is complete without a relaxing bath in such a beautiful place. So we chose to see the Veli Bej thermal baths this time, where we had tried to go before, but we couldn’t make it because it was too crowded and we don’t like queues.

This time we were lucky and we got in pretty easily, there were few people inside so we could enjoy the silence and relaxation.

The Veli Bej Turkish baths were built in 1574 and were completely renovated recently. The complex includes a big pool of hot water, several small pools with water of different temperatures and several saunas. The place resembles Király baths a lot, but it looks more modern due to the renovations. We recommend this place for relaxation inside the atmosphere of medieval Turkish baths.

After these precious moments of rest and relaxation, we ended our day in the best possible way, by walking along the Danube at sunset.

Paskál Thermal Baths

The following day, after a short morning walk, we decided to visit some thermal baths in a neighborhood that’s not so close to the center, to see the city through the eyes of locals. This is how we got to the Paskál baths, which we liked very, very, very much.

The thermal complex has 9 pools with water of various temperatures, both inside and outside, and one of the outside pools has a built-in bar with decent prices, where you can enjoy a variety of drinks while sitting in the pool. A nice thing which we did not see anywhere else is the geothermal sauna – a place of wonder where you have the feeling you get energy and health right from the heart of the earth.

There are also several bars and restaurants inside, where you can eat, but also a large green area for relaxation and outdoor activities. We recommend this place to anyone who wants a wonderful day at the baths.

Impressed by what we found at Paskál, happy and relaxed, we went back to our Airbnb apartment when it was already dark outside.

Margaret Island

On the morning of our last day in the capital of our neighboring country, we set off to explore on foot, from one end to the other, Margaret Island. The place is very well kept and seems to be one of the places preferred by the locals for outdoor sports activities.

An impressive fountain, with tall water jets dancing to traditional Hungarian music, amazes and cools the visitors who choose to walk on this beautiful strip of land in the middle of the Danube.

Further ahead, in the center of the island, there is a small zoo with free entrance, where we could admire several species of birds, deer and horses.

During our walk we also rested for a while in a splendid garden with colorful flowers, carefully cared for and arranged, which creates the illusion you are in the park of a castle.

You can also find the Palatinus baths on this island, which we have visited in the past and wrote about in one of our previous posts about Budapest.

Going forward towards the end of the island, we took a break in a beautiful Japanese garden with a lake, waterlilies and statues.

The Aquincum Roman Museum

After leaving the island, pleased about what we saw, we went to the ancient roman city of Aquincum, which was the capital of Hungary when this land was a part of the Roman Empire and was called Pannonia.

Starting with 1778, parts of the ancient settlement were uncovered here, bringing to light important elements which defined the life of people from those times – houses, administrative buildings, shops, workshops, public baths and many interesting artefacts.

We recommend you to visit this great place for a valuable history lesson!

The Roman Baths

Tired after walking a lot inside the ancient roman settlement, we decided to take one last relaxing bath before going back home, but also keep the history theme. So we headed towards the Roman Baths, a strand close to the museum.

Unfortunately, here we had the first (and hopefully the last) disappointment regarding the baths in Budapest. Although the place has some elements reminding of the roman style and some nice furnishings, the relatively high entrance fee is not justified by what you can find inside…

There are only 3 pools, one of which is really small, for children, and the water is cold in all of them. And by cold, we mean really cold, not thermal. This thing is mentioned on their website, but we did not see it, so it was our fault, we couldn’t imagine there are baths with cold water in the capital of thermal baths.

At the kiosks inside, the food is expensive, the wardrobes are locked by rusty keys that you have to carry after that when you go to take a bath, not all the showers were working… Sadly, we do not recommend this place.

Conclusions

Yes, we were to Budapest once again and we will go again many times in the future. This city has a special charm, which managed to get to us and make us come back every time, bewitched by the feelings this wonderful place gives us. If you have never been here, you just have to go! If you were already, we are curious how it was for you – tell us in the comments! 🙂

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