Budapest Sightseeing Tips – First Day
Budapest Hungary is one of the best travel deals out there. The city is an affordable European destination and is great fun for anybody, at any age, or budget. Budapest is a delight for sightseeing lovers of all ages. My Best Budapest Sightseeing will give you a list of sights you won’t want to miss. Let me know how you like my suggestions and recommendations.
Best Budapest Sightseeing Tips
Here is my list of the Best Budapest Sightseeing Tips.
St. Stephen’s Top of the Dome, Sightseeing Tip
First, see St Stephen’s early, walk to the top of the Dome at 10:00 am – fewer tourist and spectacular light will be at the top even on an overcast or raining day. If you get lost, you can always head back to St. Stephen’s and the center street sign can give you ideas for other Budapest sights to see.
If you don’t know what to do or see in Budapest, the St Stephen sign will direct you to the Cathedral and the other signs to more great sites to see. Hungarian people are friendly and helpful. Budapest doesn’t have beggars, street people, or street scammers, it feels like one of the safest places I have ever traveled.
Danube Sightseeing Tip
Make sure you Rub the belly of the Turkish man at the end of the St, Stephens Square on your way to the Danube.
To get to the Danube walk straight past the Bronze statue of the Turkish man and you will eventually walk into the Danube. Turn right and walk until you see the white Parliment Building. There are boat cruises you can take down the Danube if you are interested in spending time on the water – a half day is a good length for Budapest sightseeing.
Parilment Sightseeing Tip
Next, after you see the top of St. Stephen’s walk to the Danube and head to the Parliment building. There will be fewer people there the earlier that you go.
Peter Pan or the Little Princess on the Danube Sightseeing Tip
As you walk to the Parliment Building, watch out for Peter Pan whose real name of the statue is The Little Princess.. If you want to see the little figure sitting on the fence along the Danube, you can see it, as you walk to the Parliment building you can catch her the way to it or on the way back. I think it’s important not to double track, and select your sightseeing locations on a route that doesn’t have you running in circles. Here is what you are looking for when hunting for the little Princess aka Peter Pan.
Bridges and Sightseeing Advice
Since you are walking along the Danube, check out the eight bridges on the Danube in Budapest. The bridges connect Buda and Pest. Each bridge has a great story behind it. The famous Chain Bridge is the oldest built and opened in 1849. Budapest has beautiful bridges all are worth seeing.
Restaurants Sightseeing Tip
Restaurants avoid the ones in tourist areas. Go where the locals are going. I followed my hotel’s advice to a diner, where curry was 25.00 a dish, and the wait was 45 minutes. Curry – for $25,00 serving in Hungary, that is outrageous unless it’s a Michelin restaurant which it wasn’t – The hotel must be getting a kickback. I ate locally. The restaurants in the tourist locations aren’t a good value. I follow the rule that if the menu is posted outside of the establishment, I don’t eat there.
Local Restaurants Help Local People
Eating local pays off big time! I went where the locals went, it was close to my hotel and had duck for dinner. A duck dinner for a complete meal with soup, salad, and wine was under $20.00. I think the total bill was $17.65 for half of a duck and two glasses of wine!
Check out Buda Sightseeing
Next, cross the green bridge or Old Chain bridge and cross to Buda, follow the signs and head to the top to see Pest from high on the hill. Here is a post was written by CNN that compares the two areas of the city.
Head to the Ferris Wheel
Take a ride on the Ferris Wheel to get a new view of Budapest. It costs about $25.00 per person which is the same cost as the London Eye or the Seattle Ferris Wheel.
Parks and Statues Sightseeing Tips
Now, there are lots of statues to the heroes of World War II and the leaders of Hungary. But, one of the weirdest moments. I saw a tree monument, dedicated to Michael Jackson. They love Michael Jackson in Budapest because he came here once and stood in his hotel room window and waved to the public. As a result, this memorial was made and stands, still today.
The Old Market Building Sightseeing Tip
Budapest Old Market Building is an excellent place to go when it is lunchtime. It’s nice to come here when the market is busy, and people are buying groceries, mealtime, or food for their dinner. The Old Market is active and used by locals. You’ll be able to see the food locals buy. One of the oldest markets in the world and the oldest market in Budapest, it’s worth a trip to see the lovely building.
Jewish QuarterSightseeing Tips
The Jewish Quarter and the WWII Jewish ghetto walking tour departs at 10:00 am. I would start the second day of a Budapest vacation with a Jewish Quarter tour. Now check the times and days online. Every day, the tours begin at 10:00. Take the Alternative Tour and The Communist Tour to understand the history of Budapest and what the citizens have endured. Free walking tours are usually a good value and fun, try them if you like to walk as I do.
The Jewish Quarter Tour ends at an old Jewish home where many Jewish families lived in WWII. The Jewish population of Budapest was reduced from 200,000 to 70,000 in the ghetto, and about 20,000 housed in diplomatic approved, specially marked homes marked as Jewish homes. The Jews lived in the Ghetto by a wall. The last section of the wall destroyed in 2006. As many as six families lived in one apartment. Since Jews couldn’t own land, they only lived in small apartments. The Ghetto was a four-block area. Here is what one of the apartments looks like today. These apartments are now alternative bars, restaurants, and cafes. Take some time, and hang out in one of them.
Operation Margarethe, the Nazi-occupation of Budapest happened on March 19, 1944. The ghetto, established on November 17, 1944, was a death sentence. No food, no heat, and no country band because of the Ghetto wall. The occupation lasted until the liberation of Budapest on January 17, 1945. In only two-month because of the lack of food, and horrific conditions only 70,000 out of 200,000 people survived.
I am giving the exact dates because it’s astounding to me, how many people died who were Jewish or consider undesirable, in just two months.
Budapest Past and Present
Budapest has 20 working synagogues, It had 200,000 Jews in Budapest, or about 20% of the city’s habitats were Jewish. Hungary allied with the Nazis and became communist after the war. They say Jews have ever right today and have intermarried with non-Jews.
Hungary was one of the countries that didn’t want refugees, as they flooded the Budapest train stations in 2015. The European immigration in 2015, was so bad, I changed my plans and went to Bucharest, Romania instead. Today, there are remanets of immigration fears.
Sometimes, when I was traveling, it feels like history is repeating itself.
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