I had never really been into architecture before coming to Budapest. However, everywhere you look in Budapest, the buildings are gorgeously crafted. Even the McDonalds is located in a 100 year old baroque building. Nick and I crossed the Lanchid Chain Bridge every day to go from our hotel in Buda to all the activities and cafes in Pest. One day, we paused in the middle of the bridge and took a minute just to look all around. No matter where we looked, we saw breathtaking buildings, Gothic gargoyles, ancient castles, and beautiful monuments.
We scheduled a river cruise on the Danube (the river that splits the city into Buda and Pest) months before the honeymoon, and we’re so glad we did! Although it was a chilly evening, we loved seeing the city at sunset, and then into the night. Right on the Danube River is the Parliament building and Buda Castle, two of the top sites to see. The cruise had a free audio tour, and I loved learning about all of the different parts of the city. We even learned the fascinating history about Gellert Hill, where a pagan rebellion killed St. Gerard in the early 11th century. We cruised all the way out to Margaret Island, which inspired us to visit later in the week.
We heard that you could climb to the top of St. Stephen’s Basilica, which is also on the list of top places to visit, to see a panoramic view of the city. I had climbed to the top of the Sacré-Cœur in France a few years ago, and Nick had climbed to the top of something similar in Russia when he was on a college trip. We shared our stories with each other as we climbed the 343 steps to the lookout. It was definitely worth it, which is so cliché to say, but it’s true. Nick loved taking pictures and trying out different lenses, while I spied on the cafe owners setting up tables and chairs on the sidewalk. We ended our time sitting on the steps and eating donuts, while we watched some kids play soccer in the basilica courtyard.