Budapest is a beautiful city, well worth a visit. We were there during the Szygert Music Festival so the city was teeming with the youth of the world, all intent on having a great time. That brought a lovely youthful vibe to the city and attractions, where I expected the baby boomer generation to dominate, due to the large number of people who take the river boat cruises from Budapest to Amstedam or the reverse journey.
In mid August it was very hot and dry, and the sky seems to permanently have the haze that adds charm to photos, but is probably dust and pollution.
I put together these five tips for some friends who are visiting Budapest soon. I hope they contribute to your pleasure whilst in Budapest.
1. Bring a swimming cap or at least a shower cap to Gellert Spa or you can't go in the cold pool. My law-abiding husband broke two rules at once and was severely reprimanded by an officious man with a loud whistle, expressive hand gestures and no sense of humour! In his delight to find a cold pool he did a big jump in the deep end……
No jumping allowed!
Caps must be worn at all times!
No sir, we didn't read the signs!
At the other big mineral spa, Szechenyi Baths, the rule was similar but only enforced there if you are doing laps. They have a fun outside pool with a great massaging waterfall. They also have many hot pools but the day I was there they were all overrun with Szegert Music Festival participants.
2. The Hop on hop off bus is excellent but keep an eye on last bus time…It's a looonnnggwalk home if you miss it because you were too long at the mineral baths! We used Red/Yellow line (giraffe bus I think they are called) and that included boat rides and night buses & boats if you were still capable of doing something at night. (We weren't!)
3. The Castle coffee shop overlooking the city has stunning views, brilliant ambience and the iced coffee was the best ever (or maybe I was in desperately need of liquid, caffeine and sugar by then). We were serenaded by a violinist and enjoyed the music provided by him, a cellist and keyboard player.
5. We stayed at Palazzo Vichy Hotel and loved it. The only negative was the distance to the nearest hop on hop off bus stops as our feet got tired. The restaurant in the little square opposite the hotel, and it being in a local resident/ university area added to the charm.
6. Final, but most important, tip: Start walking training now in the shoes you will be wearing!