Budapest – suggested day 3 itinerary

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Day 3 – suggested day itinerary in Budapest

This day itinerary takes you to Budapest City Park, a famous restaurant, beautiful baths, shopping tips, and where to buy tickets for a cruise down the Danube river.

To see more photographs of Budapest, Hungary click here for Monica Goslin Photography

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1 – Heroes’ Square and more

Heroes’ Square lies at the end of Andrassy Avenue, is flanked by two art museums and has City Park behind it. The central area of Heroes’ Square is the Millennium Memorial/Monument with statues of the seven tribes that founded Hungary in the 9th century along with other historical figures. The square was completed in 1900 and was rebuilt after suffering damage in World War Two. The monument at Heroes’ Square is dedicated to those who lost their lives for national independence.

The Museum of Fine Art is located on Heroes’ Square and holds a collection of international art and is worth a visit for art lovers. Across from the Fine Art Museum is the Palace of Art (Kunsthalle Budapest), which is a contemporary art museum.

Visit the Museum of Fine Art Budapest website to see what the special exhibitions are and for updated admissions prices.

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2 – Lunch at Gundel – allow for a few hours for full experience

Gundel is a famous restaurant in Budapest City Park (next to the zoo). The Gundel restaurant was started in 1910 by Karoly Gundel and his son, Janos, it soon became recognized and well-known after catering for the Hungarian party at the New York City 1939 World’s Fair. The large restaurant is popular with tour groups but you can go in small groups and enjoy an elaborate and delicious meal. The signature dish of the Gundel restaurant is their desert crepe made with a filling made of walnuts, rum, raisins, lemon zest and served with chocolate. The main courses are brought out under silver dish covers and dramatically unveiled by the waiters who clearly enjoy their jobs. The entire experience of eating at the Gundel restaurant is very fun and I would say a must!

Fun Note: The symbol of the Gundel Restaurant is a very cute pair of elephants. You can buy items at the Gundel Restaurant gift store, and if you are looking for a fun father’s day gift I recommend a tie with elephants!

Visit the official Gundel Restaurant website in English to read more about the history of the restaurant, see the menus, and more!

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3 –Szechenyi thermal baths –you can step into the entrance and get a peak at the main pools and an idea of how grandiose this bath and spa is. The front entrance is very elaborate with frescos and statues, while the side entrance gives you a view of the pools.

Szechenyi thermal baths is a beautiful neo-Baroque style building located in Budapest City Park and it is the largest medicinal bath in Europe with water supplied by two thermal springs. The bath was constructed between 1909 and 1913, it was expanded later in 1927. The baths are named after Count Istvan Szechenyi, a politician and writer. The Szechenyi thermal bath complex has 15 indoor pools and three outdoor pools.

To read more about the Szechenyi thermal baths and to find out about hours and ticket prices, visit the official website.

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4 – Metro to Great Synagogue – Dohany Street

The Great Synagogue or Tabakgasse Synagogue, in Budapest is the largest in Europe and the 5th largest in the world, able to seat three thousand people. The Great Synagogue was built in the 1850’s in the Moorish style. The Synagogue was damaged during World War II and restored between 1991-98. The complex actually includes the Synagogue, Heroes Temple (memorial to Hungarian Jews who gave their lives during World War I), graveyard, Jewish Museum and the Holocaust memorial (a beautiful metal weeping willow with individual leaves engraved with names).

Visit the official website of the Great Synagogue in Budapest for more information, in both Hungarian and English.

*Interesting Note: The Central Synagogue in New York City on Lexington Avenue and 54th Street is similar in architecture to that of the Great Synagogue in Budapest, almost an exact-copy.

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5 – Fashion street – Deak Ferenc St

Deak Ferenc Street and the surrounding area is great for shopping, both international brands and local brands. Also in the fashion/shopping district of Budapest are some interesting buildings and beautiful architecture.

Insider Travel Note: If you are looking to buy high quality Hungarian traditional items like pottery and embroidery visit the Folkart Craftsman’s House on the corner of Vaci and Regiposta streets. The store is very well organized and full of pottery, traditional embroidery and more. The folkart store is open Monday-Friday 10-6 and Saturday-Sunday 10-3. For more information on this wonderful store with traditional Hungarian items for sale, visit the website by clicking here.

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6 – And lastly one of the “must-do” items in Budapest is to take a boat down the Danube, which you can do during the day or at night to see the lights. To get a boat, either a dinner cruise or just a ride up and down the Danube go to Pier 7 which is a ways down from the Chain Bridge. There is a small building right on the water walkway (across from the Vigado Concert Hall, on the other side of the tram tracks and across the streets).  Prices vary according to the length of the boat ride and if you want dinner to be included.

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Budapest – suggested day 1 itinerary

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Day 1 in Budapest, Hungary

-Suggested day itinerary for Budapest. If you don’t have many days in Budapest and you want to see the main sites follow this one-day itinerary to see the Chain Bridge and the Castle Hill area.

To see photographs of Budapest, Hungary click here for photos by Monica Goslin that are available as prints.

>> Plus for a travel outfit suggestion, for what to wear in Budapest, click here for blog by Monica Goslin that combines fashion, travel, and design for travelchicbythemonica

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1 – Chain Bridge

The Chain Bridge in Budapest has a lot of history; it was the first permanent bridge across the Danube River in Budapest when it opened in 1849. The Chain Bridge was designed by William Tierney Clark, an English engineer; in fact the bridge was designed in sections and shipped from the England to Hungary where it was assembled! William Tierney Clarke also designed the suspension bridge over the Thames River in Marlow, England and there is a plaque on the Pest side of the bridge, commemorating the Chain Bridge as one of two surviving bridge designed by Clark. The Chain Bridge was severely damaged during World War II; and it had to be repaired, reopening in 1949. You can walk across the Chain Bridge, there is a sidewalk on both sides allotted just for pedestrians and safe from traffic, where you will have some of the best views of Budapest!

To read more about the history of the Chain Bridge in Budapest click here.

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2 –  Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace Budapest across the street from the Chain Bridge. The Gresham Palace is a wonderful example of Art Nouveau architecture with flower details and mosaics on the façade and an elaborate interior, with swirling patterns on the polished floors, stained glass windows, and wrought iron gates. The palace was built in the 1900’s and passed through many stages from being home, office, apartments, and finally bought by the Four Seasons hotel company in 2001.

Visit the official Four Seasons Budapest hotel website here.

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3 -Funicular up to the Palace – The funicular up to Castle hill in Budapest was originally built in 1868, opened to the public in 1870, was completely destroyed in World War Two and rebuilt and opened again in 1986. There are two pedestrian bridges that cross above the railway tracks, which are a unique feature.  * Ticket Price for the funicular ride in Budapest: one-way ride is HUF 900  (price as of summer 2012).

Fun Fact – The funicular in Budapest was the second in all of Europe, the only other one at the time in the 1870’s was in Lyon, France!

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4 – Matthias Church

Matthias Church was built in the late 14th century in late Gothic style. The church is officially named the Church of Our Lady but is more often referred to as the Matthias Church after the 15th century King Matthias. The church was the site of many coronations and where King Matthias’ two weddings took place. During the 158 years of Turkish occupation of Hungary, the Matthias Church became Budapest’s main mosque and frescos were covered and interior furnishings removed. After the fall of the Turkish occupation, the church was restored to the Baroque style but only regained its full grandeur at the end of the 19th century under architect Frigyes Schulek. The extensive restoration in the 19th century also added a few new elements, which have now become iconic to the church, such as the diamond pattern colored roof tiles. There are many details inside Matthias Church, with every inch of the walls and ceilings painted in colorful patterns and covered in beautiful murals, it is certainly a wonderful site to visit!

*Fun Insider’s Note: The Matthias Church bells can be heard at noon.

You do need to buy a ticket to enter the church, the museum, and the Fisherman’s Bastion. The Matthias Church is actually undergoing extensive renovations now as well, from improved lighting to cleaning murals, to repairing stained-glass windows.

Opening Hours for Tourists for Matthias Church:   Weekdays 9-5….Saturday 9-1…Sunday 1-5

Read more about the history of Matthias Church by clicking here for the official website (the website is available in English, German, and Hungarian.

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5 – The Fisherman’s Bastion is a terrace and walkway built between 1895 and 1902, around the Matthias Church on Castle Hill in Budapest. The name is due to the fishermen who defended the city walls in this area in the Middle Ages and the seven towers represent the seven tribes that founded Hungary in the 9th century. The neo-Gothic and neo-Romanesque style of the Fisherman’s Bastion gives it a sandcastle like look and a fairytale book addition to the Castle Hill area.

*Stephen I of Hungary – statue of man on a horse – was the first King of Hungary from 1000-1038 and regarded as the founder of the Kingdom of Hungary.

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Where to eat on Castle Hill in Budapest:

Do stop for lunch in one of the various cafes on the side streets and have a typical Hungarian meal. I recommend the Pest-Buda restaurant or café which actually has two locations right down the street from Matthias Church on Fortuna U. street.  Or try the Pierrot Café and Restaurant located away from the mass of tourists at 14 Fortuna street.

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6 – Buda Castle and Castle Hill

The Buda Castle and Castle Hill area is a large area with some main sites to see. Buda Castle or Royal Palace history dates back to the late 13th century with numerous reconstruction periods and many key elements redesigned and reconstructed during the 18th century. However in the 1950’s the palace was completely gutted inside and many exterior details were demolished and the remaining facades were simplified. Buda Castle became a home to three museums and the National Library in the 1980’s.

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To get to the next destination – walk or take the funi down followed by a tram ride along the river to Gellert Baths and Hotel – tram 47 or 49 from the Deak Ferenc ter or tram 19 from Margaret Bridge

7 – The Gellert Hotel and baths is one of the most recognized baths in Budapest, built in the early 20th century in the Art Nouveau style. You can enter the main entrance and get a glimpse of the main hall and baths and pools on either side. The thermal baths receive water from the Gellert hill’s mineral hot springs.

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Budapest, Hungary blog travel series

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Budapest, Hungary blog travel series

This is part one of a five part travel blog series on Budapest, Hungary. I have been to Budapest twice and each time I went back to the main sights and on my last trip I discovered some new places to visit. Read this post for some transportation tips and stayed tuned for a new post on Budapest every week in February 2013!

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Getting around in Budapest

Budapest, Hungary has an extensive public transportation system with buses, trams, metro and trains all of which are easy to use. In fact the Budapest tram lines are one of the busiest traditional tram lines in the world and the metro (yellow line) was built in 1896, making it one of the oldest in the world after London’s metro which was built in 1863. (New York City’s underground subways opened in 1904).

Most of the main sites to see in Budapest are within walking distance of each other, however if you go to City Park, I recommend taking the metro. When riding the metro or trams in Budapest you can buy one way tickets at ticket booths or newsstands and make sure to stamp you ticket (small red boxes by metro and tram stops) before getting on the train as tickets are often checked.

Also when riding the metro in Budapest pay attention to when your stop is and exit the metro car quickly – I noticed that the metro doors in Budapest are only open for about 10-20 seconds!

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*Insider Travel Tip for visiting Museums and Sites in Budapest – When buying tickets for museums and sites in Budapest you can buy a photography ticket, which allows you to take photographs within these sites.

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For photographs of Budapest, Hungary click here for stock photography by Monica Goslin, and you can also buy prints!

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