Day 1 in Budapest
Meet the sunrise on the Chain Bridge – a suspension bridge that spans the Danube river between Buda and Pest. This is the first permanent bridge across the Danube in Hungary, opened in 1849, becoming a symbol of advancement, national awakening, and the linkage between East and West. At the time of its construction, it was rewarded as one of the modern world’s engineering wonders. It has an enormous significance in the country’s economic, social, and cultural life. It won’t take you long to traverse the bridge, but you will be able to admire an incredible view wherever you will look. Not in vain the central area of the city along the Danube river is classified as UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Climb the hill where the Buda Castle is found, the Castle Hill. Use for this the Budapest Castle Hill Funicular in order to save your energy, as the buildings of the castle and the cobbled streets can be explored all day long. In the past, the Buda Castle was the headquarters of the Royal Palace of the Hungarian kings. In general, the castle itself can be described as a huge labyrinth, which will be amusing to visit especially to kids. Today, a big part of the Castle hosts the National Gallery, which is noted for one of the largest collection of all periods of European art and comprises more than 100 thousand of Medieval, Renaissance, Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance Hungarian pieces.
Raising to the sky, right in the heart of Buda Castle district, you will see the Matthias Church. The church was the scene of several coronations, including that of the two last Habsburg kings. The tremendous construction, that was inaugurated in the 13th century, had a troubled “life”: extensions and other modifications, even a transformation into a mosque during the Turkish domination; then, a transformation into a Catholic church, event marked by its decoration with sumptuous Baroque ornaments. All this is visible in the amalgam of styles which characterizes it.
In front of the church, the Fisherman’s Bastion is situated. The panorama from this part of the Castle embraces the Danube, the Margaret Island, the east of the Pest and the Gellert Hill. The bastion’s name comes from the guild of fishermen that was responsible for defending this stretch of the city wall in the Middle Ages. It is formed of a terrace, walking paths, and seven towers, that signify the seven Magyar tribes that settled in the Carpathian Basin in 896.
After a knightly-spent day, relaxation is a must! Budapest is known as having the largest system of thermal waters in the world, being also nicknamed the Capital of Spas and Thermal Waters. So, choose one of the Baths and be ready to feel yourself like a king.