Travel Notebook: Budapest, Hungary
Not a lot of would-be tourists think of Budapest when planning their Summer holidays. First in mind are tired destinations in Western Europe like Paris, Rome and London. You know, those popular cities about half of the world have been to. They’re beautiful places, yes, but travelers always want something new. Thus the need to set our sights eastward.
So, over the weekend, we decided on entering the Eastern Bloc and jetted off to the Hungarian capital to discover Budapest and its promise of urban delights and a bustling nightlife. By the way, if you enjoy delayed flights, missed connections, and wasting time at the unbelievably jam-packed Istanbul airport, we absolutely, 100 per cent recommend flying Turkish Airlines.
Upon arrival, the city appears as Euro as it can be. The airport is efficient and nowhere as crowded as Heathrow, which is a plus. Queues are short and in less than minutes you’re through passport control and out the airport. And just like any other city in the continent, where you land is a long ways away from the city centre, about a half an hour taxi ride. There’s not much to see here, but as your cab moves further and further into the citadel, the surroundings spring to life to give you a visual buffet of its characteristically European atmosphere.
Once in the Inner City, we checked into the quaint La Prima Fashion Hotel, a four-star property that sits right within the pedestrian streets of Pest, the eastern part which comprises about two-thirds of Budapest. Even though we are used to five-star luxury whenever we travel, we still found La Prima an adequate hotel which provided us comfortable accommodation in a fantastic location. Only a few paces away from the hotel are souvenir shops, restaurants, forex counters, fashion stores – basically everything – which is a huge plus for any traveler looking for convenience. La Prima is also very close to the Elizabeth Bridge, one of the many bridges that connect Pest to the Buda side of the city, leading to many historical monuments and castles situated on the west bank of the Danube River.
Our trip was organized by budapestUNDERGUIDE, a travel and events firm that shows the local side of Hungary and its capital. Besides Budapest’s captivating sights, budapestUNDERGUIDE highlight the small wonders that make the city truly unique, allowing visitors to not just see but really live through the little moments of life in Budapest. We were promised to check out places on the map that are missing from most travel guides and meet people whose stories identify with the spirit of Budapest. We were excited to see if budapestUNDERGUIDE can live up to its claims.