Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Budapest 2016 Travel Diary Part ii | Buda & the Széchenyi Thermal Baths

Today I'm following on from Sunday's post all about Pest to tell you what myself, Lish and Emma did in Buda and about visiting the Széchenyi Thermal Baths during our last two days in Budapest. If you haven't read part i you can do so here!


So, after visiting the Great Indoor Market in Pest for lunch, we crossed over the closest bridge into Buda. We'd heard that Buda had a different character to Pest and I immediately felt that once we'd walked for a bit after crossing the bridge - Pest feels a lot younger, cooler and more relaxed while Buda is a lot more stereotypically beautiful and richer.

We walked along to Buda castle which I have to say is amazing but, in my opinion, a lot more stunning to see at night when it's all lit up. Since we were trying to save money, we didn't bother paying to see inside the castle and instead, as we were so tired from all the walking in the heat, stopped for a much-needed ice cream and sit down.


Feeling slightly more rejuvenated, we made our way further into Buda until we came to the stunning Matthias Church you can see above. The colours and style of it, which the photo doesn't do justice at all, are an incredible sight to see and I think it was my favourite thing about Buda. There is also an amazing view of Pest across the Danube river which you can see from here, making it a perfect pit stop if you've been walking in the heat as we had.

We carried on through the city until we got to the point where we were walking down residential streets. This, again, showed me how different Buda is to Pest and was really interesting to see. After this we decided to make our way back to Pest. Although it might not sound like we did much in Buda, by this point we had done a lot of walking in around thirty degree heat and the church and castle were the main things we wanted to see so we were happy to leave having ticked them off.

On our way back to Pest, we decided to stop to explore Margaret Island, a tiny island in the middle of the Danube river that's just 2.5km long. It has a very sweet little musical fountain, which seemed to be the main attraction of the island! When we got to the fountain it was playing Frozen's Let it Go sung in Hungarian which was an incredibly surreal thing to witness! I mean, I love Frozen as much as anyone (although probably not as much as my young family friends because, dear Lord, I've never seen such an obsession!), but it does feel a little like there is no escape from that song anywhere.

There's something about fountains though that I find really relaxing and it was nice to stop and admire this strange little island by watching the fountain. Margaret Island isn't somewhere that I'd say you *have* to see in Budapest, but it's a nice little place to explore if you do have the time!

By the time we got back to our apartment we were starving and so just went out for dinner and cocktails before heading to bed, exhausted after all our walking.


On our final full day we decided to visit one of the thermal bath spas Budapest is so well known for. I had heard the most about the Széchenyi Thermal Baths so we ended up going there and they really were stunning. After two days of lots of walking, a day by the pool with two great books (On Beauty by Zadie Smith and The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald, if you were wondering) was just what the doctor ordered. We also took the forty-five minute walk there and back which excused all the laying around we did that day for sure!

Going to one of Budapest's thermal baths is such an interesting experience as there's really nothing like it I've been to in the UK. They feature lots of swimming pools and saunas heated to different temperatures with the most beautiful buildings surrounding them. To be honest, after going in a couple of the pools for a bit, I personally was happy to spend the rest of the day lounging on a deckchair reading, although if you love being in the water, one of the thermal baths is probably your dream place! For me though the deckchairs by the pool were perfect and the whole day was pure bliss.

If you're going to go to one I'd recommend booking in advance so that you don't have to queue, getting a private cabin as it's not that expensive and it's nice to have somewhere to change and keep your stuff locked up in one, and I'd also suggest taking your own towel so you don't have to splash out on one of theirs. It's such a relaxing way to spend a day and I really enjoyed it!

The following day was our last day and, as we had to check out of our Airbnb so had our suitcases, we just spent it in a nice cafe playing cards and chatting. I really loved our trip to Budapest and it was a great way to round off all the travelling I've been lucky enough to do this summer. If you're thinking of going, do it! It's  a really beautiful city with lots to see and do and try - I don't think you can really ask for more from a city break!

I hope you've enjoyed hearing about my travels this summer. From Verona to Venice to Romania to Cornwall to Paris to Budapest, it's been really jam packed and I've loved every single minute!

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