So we were in planning mode for our 10th wedding anniversary in December, we wanted it to be special and unique and since we are quite frequent travelers we headed to the world map and simultaneously checking out Emirates Airline flight destinations, we travel Emirates been airline staff it was one of the perks we got to enjoy!
So we shortlisted Paris, Swiss, and Budapest. We wanted to go to Paris but hubby was like isn’t that where most people go for their honeymoons and anniversaries, We then thought Swiss , then we realised we won’t be able to take the weather there and had couple of family members living there as well, if they knew we were coming we wouldn’t be spared and had to farewell our privacy and romantic time together! Lol..
There it was, Budapest made if to the finals and Budapest it was! And at the time the song “Budapest” by George Ezra was in our minds and kept humming, Our whole excitement shot up from the time we planned our destination, with us going shopping and packing was so much fun! There’s always excitement when we plan for our holidays just like kids getting excited to go to wonderland!
Anyways I shall fast forward to when we reached the Budapest Airport, the customs were friendly once we got through immigration and picked our baggage we head straight to the taxi pickup area and caught a decent taxi and headed straight to our hotel. I must say the view was beautiful, and the weather was amazing though it was cold, it just made it even more romantic and ideal for our trip.
Once we headed to the hotel, refreshed ourselves and unpacked we headed straight to the concierge, though I did my pre-research It’s always a must for us to go to the concierge ask them the latest happenings, events or suggestions along with requesting for a map.
Once we got all our details and headed out to look around the area and note supermarkets and places to eat and catch a cab, my hubby’s quite a travel savvy person and made sure he noted the essentials, it was very cold and there were signs of rain. Fortunately our hotel was right opposite the Danube river and parliament which is the main attraction in Budapest, the hotel we stayed in was “Novotel Budapest Danube” the hotel was kind enough to upgrade us since hubby informed them it was our anniversary, they made sure they pampered us with fruits,chocolates, cake, and champagne, though we don’t drink alcohol, we were very impressed!
We took pictures and selfies opposite the parliament building, I must say the architecture was just breathtaking, the view is great at night when they light up the whole building it looks like it’s from a fairy tale book, so we head back to the hotel and since we now have a rough idea of the surroundings we had planned well.
Day 1 – City Tour with Hop on and Hop off Bus
If you want to make sure you cover seeing the main areas of the city and have less time it’s always useful to hop onto a hop on and hop off the bus, it’s just so useful and less time consuming. You can cover the areas depending on the route map you take, we chose the green route which was for an hour, click here to view the route map and rate.
It covered around 20 places and was just ideal for us, we got down the first stop was at the state opera house , this opera house is known as the most beautiful in the world, this building and its architecture will just take your breath away.
Tips for the Budapest Opera House
- Make sure you take a lot of photographs of the building and its architecture
- If you are interested there are tours every day between 3-4pm which includes a mini-concert which is 2 arias sung on the staircase
- The English shows are limited , plan ahead if you are short of time
- Some weekends the Opera offers free concerts in front of their building, check their website for a schedule.
Next our stop was at the Liszt Ferenc Square, it was very relaxing area with more greens and nature, great place for selfies , they have great restaurants and cafes for lunch, right after we had lunch we got to our next stop which was the Hero’s square, here we got down to see the iconic statues of their Hero’s, this was a great place for walks and photos, the monuments are larger than life. Once you come around the roundabout you will notice the main and large monument of an angel, this monument is breathtaking.
The best part of the hero’s square is the city park behind, there’s a beautiful hidden castle called the Vajdahunyad Castle, this is one the most beautiful castles I’ve seen, this has such a historical yet enchanting look. There are so many places for beautiful photoshoots and Instagram moments, make use of them! You can take medieval looking and romantic ones. Ideal for weddings, popping the questions and just photographs of the buildings. Even for those vampire/Dracula fans, this is just a great place to take a Transylvanian-themed photoshoot.
Tips for the Vajdahunyad Castle
- This place is just right for a fairytale feel, winter is ideal for romantic photographs
- In case you’re planning to pop the question, guys this would be a great place to get on your knees and pop the question
- If you are an artist, take along with you a sketchbook to sketch the castles and landscape, the area is ideal for artists.
- For gothic fans, make sure you take a picture with the anonymous statue, has an eerie feeling to it.
- There’s a little spot, not sure when you walk around you can find it, see picture below. A great place for a romantic , medieval photoshoot.
After the castle trip we were exhausted and went to the hop on and hop off meeting point, we headed to the legendary ‘New York Café’ since it was our anniversary we had to end the castle visit with a romantic and elegant restaurant. The moment we entered the restaurant we felt we were in another period of time, the architecture was amazing, the interiors were so royal, makes you wonder if you were dressed appropriately for the place. Luckily there were other tourists dressed in casuals as well.
I must say the place was quite pricey but trust me its worth every penny. The service took time, but the coffee and cakes were so beautiful and the ambience was so romantic as if you were present in an 1800’s Hungarian poetry. It was just a great way to end our trip, right after the café we headed back to the hotel. As we reached the hotel, hubby had organised for a bouquet and cake for our anniversary, which was very thoughtful of them.
Day 2 – Castle District & Christmas Market
Right after the Vajdahunyad Castle, we just didn’t have enough of it, we decided to go to the castle district, this area is filled with historical attractions and sightseeings, including the royal palace, Matthias Church, and stunning medieval houses. The beautiful part about this place was the rain, I know this sounds weird, but since it was raining, I and hubby decided to go with our umbrellas and see this historical sight, it just added to its beauty and we felt we were in a romantic movie, everything was just so romantic with rain.
Tips for the Castle District
- Make sure you go there during off-peak hours, this way you can get good opportunities for pictures without a crowd
- If you enjoy the rain, try and visit the area when it’s raining, it adds to the beauty of the place and I’m sure even during snow.
- The best and scenic way to get up the hill is by a funicular(Sikló) from Clark Ádám tér at the Buda end of the Chain Bridge.
- For a more romantic way of getting to the castle, is by taking the steps leading up to the hill from Clark Adam Square.
We headed to the Vorosmarty Square for the Christmas market, since we were there before Christmas the market that was set, was incredible, with great food, gifts and hand worked crafts, you could just spend hours taking in the festive spirit, the smell, and the music. It was a great place for walking around, shopping for souvenirs and trying the local food, the coffee was amazing especially since the weather was cold.
We headed to another Christmas market which was located at the Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace, they host their own upscale Christmas market, great place for shopping and looking around.
Tips for the four seasons hotel
- Make sure at the Christmas market you try the Hungarian chimney cake
- Take pictures with the Christmas decors
- In case you badly need to go to the loo, ladies you must make a stop at the four seasons lobby toilet. Amazingly clean and royal toilets!
Day 3 – Citadel & St. Stephen’s Basilica
Right after breakfast from the hotel, we got into another hop on and hop off bus, we found it very convenient, we got to Citadel where we walked and took in and admired the amazing views, we didn’t walk up, it was a long way to the top. We took lovely pictures there were some great panoramic photo opportunities especially the view of the Danube river!
Next stop was to the St.Stephens Basilica church, This is one of the most beautiful churches to visit in Budapest, they also have some nice classical music nights here which was great! Took great pictures and then got onto our bus and headed to a restaurant at the Liszt Ferenc Square for lunch and then headed back to the hotel, we had to make sure we did some last minute shopping and had to pack up as we were leaving the next day.
As we left from the airport and headed to our flight,I sat on my flight seat with hubby, and looked into his eyes and said ” I will definitely miss Budapest” and he was like ” so will I love” .. I sat there and couldn’t stop reminiscing our very memorable moments at Budapest as we take off and head to the clouds..