Sunday, December 25, 2016
Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope you are enjoying today with good company and good food. Olivia, Sonia, and I celebrated a non traditional Christmas by exploring more of Budapest! We were out for 12 hours and couldn’t complain about the cold weather due to the spectacular scenery. We were expecting to be the only ones out on Christmas, but many people were out and about celebrating!
We stopped by Hero’s Square on our way to the thermal baths. This is a square filled with tourists admiring the very tall statue!
Budapest is known for their thermal baths, and we went to the biggest ones on Christmas morning! I highly recommend booking on the website instead of buying tickets in person. We skipped the long line and had our own little changing room for 18 euros! I’ve never been to public baths before, and they were an experience. Soaking in hot mineral water with many strangers was a lifelong memory. Be sure to hop in the indoor baths in addition to the outside bath, and warm up in the toasty sauna! We didn’t do any spa treatments, but they are offered. PS* The water does smell like sulfur, but it is SO good for your skin. It’s gross, but I did feel the dead skin coming off after a nice soak!
St. Stephen’s Basilica
We walked into this magnificent church on Christmas Day. There were Christmas markets in front of it and many visitors. There is Christmas Eve mass at midnight, and thousands of people typically attend. Unfortunately, we were getting our beauty sleep then!
You must walk across the bridge connecting Buda and Pest! We went as it began to get darker, and we got to see the Parliament Building light up!
We went to the well-guarded Parliament Building at night, and it was spectacular. The building is huge! It’s the largest building in Hungary and tallest building in Budapest. It’s also one of Europe’s oldest government buildings.
Shoes on the Danube Bank
Along the Danube lies a memorial in honor of Budapest Jews who were executed in WWII. They were ordered to take off their shoes before being killed and carried away by the river. The sculptures of the shoes represents the Jews during their last moments on the bank. This memorial was painful to look at due to its tragic and devastating history, but I am glad we saw it; it’s very moving
This is the largest synagogue in Europe and the second largest in the world! It was our last attraction we saw, and it was late when we visited it, so we didn’t spend a whole lot of time there. But I wouldn’t skip it because the architecture is stunning, and it is a very important place for the Jewish community.
Snap a pic at this iconic sign!
And enjoy some mulled wine from the Christmas market while your friends pose!
- Use public transportation! It’s cheap, easy to use, and convenient. The metro’s interior is very unique– reminds me of an old fashioned diner! Just make sure you validate your tickets because there are officials who check before you get on.
- Pull out cash. Most places take cards, but cash is handy to have. For the most part, things are cheap in Budapest! You can get a full meal for less than 10 euros and coffee for less than 2 euros.
- Stay at this Air BnB! We had a lovely and very affordable stay here (40 euros/night). The apartment is in the perfect location– close to the Christmas market, restaurants, stores, and metro station.
- Don’t worry about not knowing a peep of Magyar! Everyone speaks English!
- Bring layers! Budapest is 30-40 degrees Fahrenheit in December, so layer up!
We packed a lot into two days, but everything was beautiful and worthwhile. Budapest was the perfect place to spend Christmas and high on my list of favorite places on earth! Merry Christmas! xo ~e.