We are almost at the end of this unforgettable trip around Europe with Interrail. Next (and last) city we visited was Budapest. The journey from Vienna is very short, little bit more than two hours. Besides, the connections between the two cities are very frequent, so if you are staying in Vienna you can easily have a one day trip to the Hungarian capital, or vice versa. The arrival at the railway station already preannounced the success of our staying. The beautiful and majestic Keleti railway station was built in the years 81-84 of the XIX century and looks like this:
The two imposing statues you see in their niches are respectively James Watt and George Stephenson, inventors of the steam engine and of the first public inter-city railway line in the world to use steam locomotives.
Budapest offers a infinite variety of attractions and we just saw a few of them. Anyways, something that didn’t pass unnoticed was how much the city teems with history and culture.
Every alley, every crossroad, every building has its own characteristics that makes it unique. This gives to the city a dynamic appearance that doesn’t really give you time to bore. Budapest’ architecture surely remember us Vienna’s.
What’s peculiar in this city is that it allows you to take a leap in the past aristocracy without having to empty your wallet! Who has never dreamed, at least once in a lifetime, to drink coffee in a place like this?
Well, in Budapest you actually can! For the Hungarian capital, coffee places had a key role in the first decades of the past century. Then, coffee shops had proliferated so much that the city counted around 500 of them. They were used as a meeting place for artists, writers and poets. Ink and paper were for free and they could enjoy the “writer’s menu”, that included bread, cheese and small cuts, at a discount price. In short, coffee houses were the heart of the city, of its culture and gossip. Sadly, the majority of them were destroyed during the World Wars. Some of them, though, were faithfully rebuilt giving us the opportunity to take a look at the glorious past of this city.
That is the case of the Centrál Café, working again since 1999.
This was our breakfast in the Centrál Café with delicious local cold cuts. Very nice service, splendid atmosphere and honest prices! Surely advised!
An unforgettable place Downton Abbey style that you’ve just got to see is the New York Café, on the ground floor of the New York Palace.
This majestic palace was built toward the end of the XIX century. The World Wars weren’t merciful with the Palace. After those dark years, one of the most prestigious palaces of the city wasn’t more than a ruin. It was only in 2001 that the Italian Boscolo Hotels decided to invest in it and since 2007 the palace glows in all its original glory. In 2014 this historical building celebrated its 120th anniversary. New York Café doesn’t think about modesty when it calls itself “The most beautiful cafe in the world”. Well, how to say otherwise?
After some luxury, let’s take a look into the Great Market Hall.
This beautiful building is the heart of the Hungarian culture. There you can find whatever you expect from Budapest. The building has 3 floors: the basement, the ground floor and the first floor. In the basement you can find fish, spices and the biggest variety of pickles you’ve ever seen (Hungarians are masters in preparing them).
The first floor is the floor of the handicrafts and of the local “fast food”. There you’ll see beautiful crochet fabrics, an endless quantity of other souvenirs and local food that you’ll be able to eat directly there. We highly recommend this deliciousness: lángos. Lángos is a fried paste covered with everything good your mind can make up. In our lángos there was vanilla sauce, walnut powder, Nutella and strawberries.
There are sooooo many things we did not do and did not see in Budapest and surely we would have liked to get to know it better if only we would have had more time. We were enchanted by this city so rich of history, culture, tradition, delicacies and beauty. A city that knows and appreciate itself exactly the way it is.
Before letting you go, still some pictures from Budapest!
This is what you can eat in a common Budapest restaurant: cheese soup, garlic-crusted chicken and one of the biggest hamburger ever. Tasty food at a good price.
Budapest’ second railway station: Nyugati.
In conclusion, Budapest is a city that I personally loved a lot and I really hope I could make you grasp the splendor of this capital!
Note: if you’d like more infos about Budapest cafes and many other things take a look here