Budapest - what can I say about Budapest? I don't really like to talk badly about places that I've visited, but Budapest was not my favorite place. Recently, it has been celebrated as the most underrated European city on several travel websites. I'm a bit surprised by this statement. I found Budapest to be -for lack of a better word- crusty. Budapest was a mix of contradictions. The architecture was incredible, but the buildings were dirty, and the amount of homelessness was shocking.
Budapest is separated by the Danube River into Buda and Pest. Buda has the large hill with the castle and the Fisherman's Bastion, while the Pest side has the Parliament and St. Stephen's Basilica. While we only spent a day on the Buda side, we enjoyed the cleanliness of the streets, the architecture on the hill, and the views from the top.
There were a lot of good things that I enjoyed including the Christmas Market, which spanned several squares, turned up around every corner, and was one of the only things open. We enjoyed some Christmas Bread, which looked an awful lot like pizza, and hot apple cinnamon cider. You could purchase hand made scarves, glass ornaments, marzipan, and my favorite stall sold traditional Hungarian dresses and handmade ornaments.
Everything was pretty much closed from Christmas Eve to two days after Christmas, so be prepared if you travel here during Christmas. Stock up on essentials, as grocery stores close early and don't reopen until a few days later.
Next week I'll be chatting about some incredible restaurants in Budapest as well as some of my favorite sites.