My experience, the trip and facts about Budapest

Skylines and views

Pest - V: The heart of Budapest (Belváros)

Buda - I: Around the Royal Castle

Pest - VI: Around Andrassy Avenue

Pest - City Park & Heroes Square

Pest - VII: Jewish Quarter and Blaha Lujza Square

Pest - VIII: Around National Museum and Károly Körút

Pest - VIII: Kerepesi Cemetary

Pest - IX: National Theatre and Concert Hall/Modern Art Museum



Population: 1 696 000 (2 451 000)
Capital of Hungary
Tallest buildings:
St Stephens Basilica and Parliament Building (both 96m)
Area: 525.2 km² (metro 7626 km²)
Founded year: 1873

Budapest is the capital and largest city of Hungary. Donau, or Danube, the longest and 2nd largest river in Europe, divide the city into 2 parts: Buda and Pest. Budapest originally consisted of 3 cities: Buda, Óbuda and Pest. As late as in 1873, they were merged and the city of Budapest was born. The city is divided into districts, where "I" is the district around the castle and "V" is the city center, Belváros. Belváros means city center in Hungarian. Every district has quarters, just like any other city, with names like Belváros and Erzsebetváros.
Pest is the east side of the river, where the center of the city is. Pest is flat, compared to the hilly Buda side. It is also more large scale than Buda, and feels more commercial with its wide avenues and heavy traffic.

Buda is more calm and relaxed and more pedestrian friendly. The Royal Castle and the Citadel are situated on Buda's largest hills and are dominating the skyline of the west side of Donau. On Buda side you can see tourists everywhere, that is one of the reasons why Pest feels more normal even if there are many elegant buildings and streets on both sides. The quarters around the castle almost feels like a small town. The most wellknown bridges that crosses River Danube, are Chain Bridge, Elizabeth Bridge and Liberty Bridge.



I was very impressed by Budapest, it is much more diverse than I expected and it has so many rare, beautiful and elegant buildings - even modern ones. It is also fun that many restaurants and stores are opened late at night. The prices were so cheap we could even afford to go to a 5 star restaurant and the bear is extremely cheap. Most people in Budapest were very friendly and they turned out to be pretty good in English, at least they tried. That is good considering we couldn't speak Hungarian, a language that I think sound like a mix of Finnish (it comes from the same language family), Icelandic and Turkish.

Our hostel was situated on the Pest side, the most interesting side in my opinion. The negative side of the city was the huge amount of homeless people, the polluted air (you can actually smell it!) and the pedestrian unfriendly avenues on Pest side (on many intersections you have to walk downstairs under ground where the homeless are sleeping, with no option of escalators just to get up again on the other side of the intersection -a nightmare for disabled ones and not so fun when you are walking with large bags). I also found the metro tickets very expensive, especially considering the small incomes of Hungarian citizens, and it is bad that you are not able to change line without buying a new ticket. We found the metro system is very complicated compared to other cities, and it was sometimes hard to find the stations. The yellow trams, a trademark of Budapest, were really nice, and the cities blue buses and electric buses are completing the tram system. However, sometimes I think we had to wait for too long to get a tram. But besides this I think Budapest is a very modern city and there are very few things that differ it from cities in west Europe, it is even modern, elegant and capitalistic than many large cities in Sweden, Germany or UK for example. Budapest is also famous for its baths,but we didn't have any time to try.

We only stayed for 2,5 days after taking the 11 hour long night train from Krakow. We were staying at the Jump In Hostel, a simple, but very nice and cheap hostel right in the heart of Budapest, on the Pest side near Danube. The weather was mostly cloudy, but we also got some sun and it was not cold, about 19 degrees most of the time. The last night we had some real showers however. Budapest is now one of my favourite cities in the whole Europe, but I wish we had more than just a few days to spend in this fascinating Hungarian metropolis.


From Warsaw to Krakow:

First we were tavelling from Warsaw to Krakow by train, a very slow train that we captured around 1 PM. This journey took 5 hours in a hot and narrow compartment that we had to share with 4 other people. The journey became better when it became cloudy and I stood by the windows and watched the landscape, that was a mix of forests and fields. It was mostly flat, but when we got closer to Krakow, it became more hilly. The largest cities were the train stop were Radom and Kielce, both cities have more than 200 000 inhabitants, have a tall church in the center and commie blocks in the outskirts. The ticket was very cheap, I think it costed 50 zlotys (about 16 euro) or something like that.

From Krakow to Budapest:

We was almost in chock when we heard that the short trip between Krakow to Budapest (that would take about 4 hours in Sweden), should take 11 hours! So we decided to take the night train to kill some time.

And we had to share an even more narrow sleeping compartment together with a nice old Englishman, that talked to us a lot about WW2 and his religious experiences. 3 beds were located on top of each other and the uppermost was located right behind the ceiling with no views and there were no seats anywhere if you were not able to sleep. The train went through both Czech Republic and Slovakia, but as it was dark and we were sleeping (though it was hard to sleep on the train and I was somethimes awake)

Except for some railways, some trains, some warehouses and trees in Brno and Ostrava and Slovakia I didn't see much. I think the train passed through Bratislava too. Early on the Friday morning (around 8 o´clock) after having very little sleep, we reached the outskirts of Budapest.

Budapest Ferihegy International Airport. On our way home we went by Sterling Airways to Copenhagen from Terminal 2, a terminal for lowfare airlines that reminds more of a common building than an airport terminal. Even though the airport is enormous by size, it feels like a very small airport (that is probably different in terminal 1). A very annoying thing was that our Sterling plane was two our late, because of a small incident on another Sterling plane.