Long weekend in the Paris of the East

Welcome to the "Paris of the East", in fact the Hungarian capital has many features in common with the French one and some glimpses bring back to the views of Paris: there is a river, which cuts through the city and overlooked by castles and palaces from enchanting architecture, and there is a hill similar to Montmartre to climb to enjoy the most beautiful panorama of Budapest.

We left for this beautiful European capital for various reasons: plane tickets are very advantageous, there are so many things to see and do and it is a city suitable for children.

For those who have never gone to Budapest or for those who, like us, had already been there but had not experienced it properly, here is an article for you.

Things to see:


Go for a walk towards the Parliament (the second largest in the world) about 268 meters long, stretching along the left bank of the Danube. It is of an impressive beauty, enjoy it on the outside as well as on the inside.
All the visits must be booked and there are guided tours.
In Italian there are two a day. 

Basilica of S. Stefano

After admiring the Parliament inside, head to the Basilica of S. Stefano.
Strong impact, rich and sumptuous with its two bell towers.
While from the top of the dome you can enjoy a wonderful view of the city. 

Castle Hill

Easily reachable even on foot. We took tram number 4 or 6 and got off on the other side of the Danube, after the bridge.
I remind you that the city is structured in two parts, to be clear the part of the parliament is Pest, the part of the Castle is Buda. Then with a walk along the Danube, among other things with a beautiful view of the Parliament, you arrive at one of the three stairways leading to the Royal Palace.

Fishermen's Bastion

We went up, above all to admire Budapest from one of the most evocative places, from the Fishermen's Bastion.

  • from 9:00 to 19:00 from March 16 to April 30. 
  • from 9:00 to 20:00 from May 1st to October 15th. 
  • from October 15 to March 15, access is free all day.

It is truly beautiful, its 7 sparkling white towers will probably frame the most beautiful photos that can be taken in Budapest.

The time has come to rest for a while! For our first 3 days in the capital we chose Up Hotel Budapest, located in a strategic position. A stone's throw from the historic center and at the entrance to the Jewish quarter, where the real life of Budapest is at night. Full of restaurants for every budget and very close to all the important points of the city.

The hotel is fabulous. As breakfast lovers, we can say that we have found one of the richest and most refined buffets ever, a very wide choice of savory dishes and for those with a sweet tooth like me, lots of delicious desserts.
The rooms are spotless and bright, equipped with tablets for technology. On the top floor there is a gym equipped with two private saunas, while on the first floor the lounge is super cool with a huge bar and lots of cocktails. A super friendly and helpful staff 24 hours a day.

Nagycsarnok Market

There is really no visit to a city without having seen its main market. I'm talking about Nagycsarnok, it is the largest food market in Budapest. On the ground floor you will find dozens of stalls selling paprika, cured meats, sweets, meat, fruit and vegetables, while on the first floor you will be spoiled for choice for various souvenirs, dolls, T-shirts, tablecloths and much more.
Also on the first floor there are various restaurants offering traditional dishes. We didn't stop because there were too many people and with the children it became a big mess to eat standing up leaning somewhere. We bought some paprika and a bag of typical vanilla biscuits. Right in front of the main exit of the market begins the shopping street of Budapest, I'm talking about Vaci Utca, here you will find many shops and restaurants in addition to the classic Western fast food!

Simpla Kert Market

Another market that we recommend you to visit is certainly the Simpla Kert on Sunday mornings. Wonderful is the place where it takes place, in fact it is normally a pub.

But I remind you that for every day of the week, if you have children, you will not be able to enter in the evening. In fact, they are only allowed until 8pm.

Nagy Zsinagoga Synagogue

If you come to Budapest you cannot miss the Jewish quarter.
Here you can visit the Great Synagogue.

Nagy Zsinagoga with its 3000 seats is the largest Jewish religious building in the world outside of New York City.

Gozsdu Udvar

It is a covered passage located in the Jewish quarter where there are many restaurants, clubs and a large video game room. Here on Saturdays and Sundays you will find many artisan stalls and some even antiques. Super recommended!

Pinball Museum

Visit the pinball machine museum. Trust me you will not regret it. It is good for young and old and especially for nostalgics like us. You will find antique pinball machines and those of the classic 90s. For the little ones there are games suitable for them. We had a lot of fun. With the ticket (10 euros) you will be given a bracelet ... which will allow you to play unlimited games in all the games on display! Highly recommended!

Within the city there are various cereal shops scattered around. It is a very nice idea, not just for children. Choose cereals, toppings, colored milk and go for a fun, quick and colorful snack! Nora had a lot of fun, especially seeing purple milk.

We stayed 5 days in this wonderful European capital and, to try another area of the city, always keeping close to the historic center, we decide to change hotels for the last two nights and head towards a very large apartment inside the hotel Adina Apartment Hotel, in the north of Pest.
Super comfortable, the friendly staff 24/7.
The very large apartment where playing hide and seek was a must before leaving the house.
Located very close to the pinball museum and many supermarkets such as Lidl and Spar and not far from the metro and train stations. With a large outdoor garden with games for the little ones. Super breakfast! Highly recommended for those with children and who want to live the city in peace and with all the comforts, also thanks to its swimming pool much loved by our Nora.

New York Cafè

For a king's breakfast (and even the bill) go to the New York cafe located at Erzebet Krt 9-11. We found too much queue and with the children we preferred to leave but, if you are relaxing, stop by even just for a coffee. It is extraordinarily elegant all in art deco style with background music played on the piano. Not bad eh!

Municipal Park

To get there from the center, walk to the Oktogon square from there take a very pleasant walk along Andrassy ut, where you will see some of the most beautiful buildings in the city; (or for those who are tired of walking you can take metro 1 to the stop in the center of the park). You will thus arrive in the beautiful and gigantic Heroes' Square.
Behind this wonderful square you will find the entrance to the Municipal Park.
It is a very pleasant place, full of greenery, benches and spaces for children. Here is also the city zoo. We don't like these kinds of attractions. We had come here to see an amusement park from the 50s, but unfortunately it closed in 2017 ... damn us that we didn't have an updated Lonely Planet, but that's the beauty of the trip too!

The very famous Szechenyi baths are also located in the municipal park. Here you will find the hottest water in the whole city and above all the classic chess players immersed in the water.

Scattered around the city there are many parks with many games dedicated to children.
It was a nice discovery, because after a few hours of visiting, the children need to run and play and the fact of not having to go crazy to find a playground but seeing many around the city is not bad at all, believe me!

Palatinus Baths

But, for those with small children like ours, we highly recommend the Palatinus Baths. They are located on Margaret Island in the middle of the Danube, within walking distance of the historic center. Once on the island connected by a bridge, (on which tram 4 and number 6 pass) a very comfortable open minibus will take you to the entrance of the spa.
After paying, you will be provided with a bracelet with which you can open your personal locker.
We suggest you bring your own towels as they don't give them to you. If you forget them, you can buy them in one of the shops around the outdoor swimming pools where you will also find some small restaurants. We chose these spas because they are the best equipped for the little ones: slides and water games everywhere and even on rainy days you will have no problems because inside you will find spaces dedicated to children, obviously smaller.

Budapest is a city rich in history, we have seen incredible architecture. Here we took lots of photos of the buildings, they are incredibly beautiful. We ate very well in a little restaurant called Frici Papa, a very friendly place frequented by locals. But don't think about coming here to spend little. The prices are like our Italians even at the supermarket and in restaurants.

That said, we can only advise you to come to this incredible city, suitable for all ages and above all with activities for all tastes! But one thing you have to promise us, don't leave the city without first depriving the kurtoskalacs… a typical Hungarian dessert, cooked on a slowly rotating spit. It is a thin sweetened pastry available in various flavors, our favorite is certainly the cinnamon one. We advise you to buy it in the various box offices located on the side of the road ... 600 ft (1.50 euros) you will not need to ask where they are ... your sense of smell will find them immediately!

What? Do you have two more days of vacation? But then take the comfortable train from the center and in less than two hours, crossing the Hungarian countryside with wonderful views, you will arrive at the wonderful Balaton Lake... but this is another story!

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