We awoke this morning and jumped onto the metro to Hero’s square. I find Budapest really walkable and aside from for the airport this was the only time we used the metro the whole time we were here. Budapest metro is very easy to use, there are ticket machines in the station, and you can buy as many tickets you need there. Tickets are 350HUF each way and you get them validated on your way to the platform.
Hero’s square is very beautiful, it features the seven chief founders of Hungary in statue form and a pretty impressive central memorial which celebrates the foundation of the Hungarian state.
Hero’s square sits in front of the City Park, a 302 acre public park. The park offers a lot and you could easily spend a day here. When we walked in we wondered around Vajdahunyad Castle, which was built in 1896 and designed to copy famous castles from around the Kingdom of Hungary. It’s different architectural styles give it a slightly odd feel, it reminded me of walking around Disney. If you’re interested the castle houses the largest agricultural museum in Europe.
We headed onto the zoo, one of the oldest zoo’s in the world. It was such an amazing zoo, particularly known for its beautiful art deco animal buildings. There were so many animals to see within some fantastic enclosures. Considering we paid the equivalent of about £6 for entry it was beyond value for money.
We grabbed lunch within the park, some massive pretzels which were absotely delicious, as we waited to watch the koalas being weighed. They were beyond cute. There was a time budget of about 4 hours at the zoo, which I thought would be more than enough, but actually it really wasn’t. We had to leave prematurely, you could easily spend the whole day there.
Our reason for leaving early was that we wanted to go to the Szechenyi thermal baths, the largest medicinal baths in Europe. Adam and I had visited during our December trip and it was a real highlight of the holiday. Now Vicky and Cyril had come away with us I felt it was essential to show them the baths that are so much part of the Hungarian culture.
However we really didn’t have the same experience as in December. The water was about 38 degrees. In December this was wonderful but in the summer heat it made me feel like I was being slowly boiled to death. It surprised me that the baths were even busier than I had seen them in December! We mostly sat outside the pool and went inside to try the various small pools.
We went home, showered and dressed and made our way to the docks as we had booked a river cruise. I booked through ‘Budapest river cruise’ and had booked one that included dinner and a show. It cost us about £30 each. We were welcomed aboard with a glass of bubbly and soon after the boat departed the show started.
It was really excellent value because the show continued right throughout the evening. There was a mix of singing and dancing. It only paused when it was time to eat. There was a buffet in the middle of the boat which had a lovely selection of stews and salads, all delicious. We chose a package that meant drinks weren’t included (apart from the welcome drink) but the drinks were very reasonably priced. It was such a great night and I would really recommend the cruise to anyone. Budapest is a city that is worth seeing from the river, they light it so beautifully.
Vicky and Cyril had gone exploring the night before and told us about this funky place that they had found, Akvarium. We thought we’d check it out after the cruise. It was situated in a square, not too far from us, that seemed to have a really chilled out but funky atmosphere. Lots of people were sitting around the terraces, laughing and drinking and we spent a couple of hours there. It was a really nice evening.