Embracing the Hungarian capital

A photo gallery from the Hungarian capital, Budapest. A city where old meets new and the line is too blurred to notice.

Written by Michael Turtle

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle. A journalist for more than 20 years, he's been travelling the world since 2011.

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle and has been travelling full time for a decade.


Budapest, Hungary

From the top of the hill, I look out over the city of Budapest.

Around me, I’m fortified by Buda Castle with its medieval and Baroque architecture and design. It feels safe and solid. Elevated like this, I imagine reaching out my arms and pulling the city into an embrace.

It’s the kind of place I don’t think would resist – it would come to me and nestle against my chest. But it would keep an eye open, looking around, because it’s not content to settle.

World Heritage Site, Budapest, Hungary

The plains of Pest radiate out from where I’m looking.

Budapest is actually a confluence of two cities – Buda (where I’m standing at the castle) and Pest (the flat lands that are home to most of the urban sprawl). The two are separated by the mighty Danube River and connected by regular and ornate bridges.

It’s in the streets of Pest that I find myself wandering and exploring for most of the days I am here.

World Heritage Site, Budapest, Hungary

It’s summer and life in Budapest spills out into the streets from the grand Art Nouveau buildings which seem to house most residents in the inner parts of the city.

Street restaurants and bars cover the footpaths with their tables and the crowds arrive early and leave late.

There’s a levity to the mood in the city – young couples sit in the park until well after dark, families stroll the avenues with ice creams, and friends lose hours sitting in cafes with a pack of cigarettes and a regular supply of coffee or beer.

The buildings themselves in Budapest seem to reflect the mood of casual sophistication. They neither try too hard nor fail to impress.

From the stunning House of Parliament, to the State Opera House, to Heroes Square and to the facades along the central Andrassy Avenue, there is plenty to see and be caught up in.

World Heritage Site, Budapest, Hungary

But it’s the cool new pubs which have popped up in the ruins of old buildings, or the dance parties in the classical baths, or the art installations in the parks, which capture my imagination.

There’s a mix of young and old that seems so natural and organic that you hardly even notice where the line between the two has blurred.

Budapest is often dubbed the ‘Paris of the East’ and you can almost see the comparison, except the Hungarian capital has none of the pretension of its French counterpart.

Let me leave you now with a few more photos from my time in Budapest – a city I tried to embrace and felt briefly loved by. We didn’t part acrimoniously, though, and I feel we’ll be in each other’s arms again one day.

World Heritage Site, Budapest, Hungary
World Heritage Site, Budapest, Hungary
World Heritage Site, Budapest, Hungary
World Heritage Site, Budapest, Hungary
World Heritage Site, Budapest, Hungary
World Heritage Site, Budapest, Hungary
World Heritage Site, Budapest, Hungary
World Heritage Site, Budapest, Hungary
World Heritage Site, Budapest, Hungary
World Heritage Site, Budapest, Hungary


I think the best area to stay in Budapest is in the Jewish Quarter or closer to the Danube.


There are some great hostels in Budapest but Wombats has the best combo of style and location.


The best value hotels can book out early but you can get good deals at Roombach Hotel Budapest Center.


With a cool design, Hotel Memories OldTown has thought of everything – including a pillow menu.


Some of the 5-star hotels in Budapest feel rather dated, but Aria Hotel has a fresh luxurious atmosphere.


This site is on the UNESCO World Heritage List!
I'm on a mission to visit as many World Heritage Sites as I can. Only about 800 more to go... eek!

13 thoughts on “Embracing the Hungarian capital”

    • Unfortunately it can be a bit difficult to get a ticket to go inside and see the parliament. I was a bit too late and didn’t manage to get one. But next time I’ll make an extra effort because I would love to see the interior.

  1. Hi Michael! A wonderfully written post! I like the way you write, it transcends the casual and even professional travel blogger. I must confess that as beautiful as Budapest is, it didn’t quite speak to me when I was there. Maybe I should give it a second chance.

    • Thanks for the lovely comment, Noel.
      That’s disappointing to hear you didn’t feel the same way about Budapest. I don’t know what it is that makes some people like a city and others not. I’ve had it quite a few times when I’ve been told “you’ll love this” and I end up feeling a bit ‘blah’. I hope you give Budapest another go, though – it really has a lot of awesomeness to share!

      • Hi Michael. I know what you mean, I’ve learned to tell people my experience with a city but encourage them to find out for themselves. I will definitely give Budapest a second chance when I return to Europe. 🙂

  2. Beautiful Budapest, visited several times now. Love the Thermal Baths, the Beautiful and varied Architectural Buildings, the Great Hungarian meals/dishes. Been to several Thermal Baths in Budapest and in other larger Cities, very popular with the locals and overseas visitors too. It was once a Powerful Power with the Austro/Hungarian Monarchy, sorry that has gone..


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