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What To See Around The Pest Side of Budapest

 

It’s been several months since I visited Budapest in Hungary but the beauty of that place still lingers in my mind like it was just yesterday.  I have expected most of Europe to be similar in terms of architecture and design but somehow, I have been taken by Budapest’s beauty.

I have seen various old towns and cities of other European countries. Their beauty varies from one another. Budapest in Hungary is like a gem tucked in the Central part of Europe. Budapest has been cited as one of the beautiful cities in the world and a top travel destination by a famous travel magazine.

Budapest is the combination of 2 cities, the Buda and Pest side. These 2 are separated by several bridges and one of that is the famous Chain Bridge.

If you are visiting Budapest anytime soon, take note of these places when you are in the Pest side.

 

Andrassy Avenue

The Andrassy Avenue is touted as the Champs Elysees of Budapest. Museums, theaters and opera house line up along this grand Avenue. You can also visit the House of Terror which shows the horrors of what Hungary had experienced during the 20th century.

 

Danube Promenade / Danube Bank

The Danube river bank serves as the promenade of many locals and tourists alike. Here, you can find the Memorial of the Shoes. These shoes are bronze replicas of the Jews who were executed by the Arrow Crosses. They were made to remove their shoes by the bank before they were shot, and their bodies fell and drifted along the River Danube. It is a very poignant memorial to honor those who have perished during the ugly face of World War II.

 

Vaci Utca

This is a famous shopping area in Budapest. It is lined with shops and eateries with beautiful, ornate facade. You can stroll here and enjoy the atmosphere or just sit back in one of the coffee shops and people watch.

 

Hungarian National Parliament

©Ria C/riatravelbug.com

Nestled in front of the Danube River, the Hungarian National Parliament is a prominent Neo-Gothic architectural structure in the Pest side of Budapest. It is easy to see this place from various trams plying through the area. Tourists can easily walk to the building from the Chain Bridge and traverse the lovely cobble stone street of Pest.

 

St. Stephen’s Basilica

©Ria C/riatravelbug.com

I was very lucky to have stayed near the Istvan Basilica (St. Stephen’s Basilica) during my vacation in Budapest, Hungary last year. The view from my room was the dome of this beautiful Basilica. Regular mass is still being held in the Basilica. You can also tour the inside of the Basilica for free but take note of the timing as it is not open throughout the day. You can also climb up in the bell tower for a fee for a breath-taking view of Budapest.

The basilica is the largest in the city and can hold around 8,000 plus people. It also houses the relic of St. Stephen’s right hand which is also open for the public to view.

© Ria C/riatravelbug.com

 

Széchenyi Baths

This is a huge bath complex in the whole of Europe.  It is relatively cheap to enjoy a good bath in this huge complex that is open until night time.

 

Great Market Hall

This place is located at the end of Szabadsag Bridge. It is also known as the Central Market Hall. It has 3 levels. The market sells a wide variety of goods from the famous paprika spice of Hungary, to the many tasty sausages and salamis, local produce, and other dry goods such as Hungarian embroidery and fabrics, and other arts and crafts. You can also grab some ready to eat food here or sample their local cuisine in the food stalls inside the market.

 

The Chain Bridge

© Ria C/riatravelbug.com

The famous beautiful bridge that spans between the Buda and Pest sides of Budapest across the Danube River is called The Chain Bridge. I managed to cross the bridge on foot to reach the Buda side and the view is spectacular! I highly recommend this to visitors in Budapest. There is a pathway on each side of the bridge for pedestrians and bicycle access as well. And once you reach the middle part, take a good look of the beautiful scene in front of you. You get to see Buda and Pest!

© Ria C/riatravelbug.com

 

The Great Synagogue

This Synagogue is the largest built in the entire of Europe around 1854-1859 in a Moorish style architecture. Next to it is the Jewish Museum which features their tradition, culture, costumes, and history.

 

Vajdahunyad Castle

Vajdahunyad Castle is located inside the city park near the Széchenyi Baths. It was built during 1896 for the Millennial Exhibition in Hungary, and it also houses the Museum of Agriculture.

 

Let me share this brief video I have taken from the Buda Hill and it shows the marvelous vista of Pest.

Panoramic view of Pest from the Buda Hill

 

There are more to see in the Pest side of Budapest that I haven’t included here. If you have been to Budapest, you can share more places of interest by leaving a comment in this post.

I hope you will consider these places of interest when you plan your vacation to Budapest.

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Why You’ll Fall in Love with a Santorini Villa

Posted in Europe, travel, travel tips
on August 4, 2017

 

Santorini is a beautiful, breath-taking and magical destination, particularly in the off season when it’s not extremely crowded. While the island offers some of the best views, the local villas just add to the charm.

Santorini features magnificent waterfalls, surfing spots and beaches along with the Hundred Islands – the province’s crown jewel. If you are looking to spend a memorable vacation basking in the sun and enjoying scenic sunsets, then Pangasinan is a hidden gem that needs to be explored.

The sandy beaches, glistening blue waters, decadent cuisine and extravagant villas will make your vacation to Santorini truly memorable. If you’ve booked a villa in Santorini, or are interested in residing in one whilst on vacation, here are a few things that you’ll fall in love with.

  1. The Alluring Architecture

Vacation villas in Santorini have exceptionally beautiful interiors and exteriors which makes them ideal for vacations. The villas are equipped with different facilities such as an indoor pool, a kitchen and garden area to ensure that you and whoever you’re staying with have a relaxing stay.

 

All villas in Santorini have their own distinct and alluring Greek charm. Hence, if you are looking for a traditional villa that reflects the ancient Greek culture or a modern villa with a contemporary architecture, you are sure to find exactly what you want. If you don’t want to make an impulsive booking and would prefer to compare the various villas on offer first, I would recommend doing some research for the top companies. For example, I found Blue Villas to be one of the top Santorini villa providers who have a range of different villas across the island.

  1. Your Very Own Pool

Most villas in Santorini feature an outdoor or indoor pool. Unlike hotels where vacationers have to struggle to get a spot in crowded pools, villas offer privacy, comfort and a luxurious lifestyle.

Many Santorini villas also offer an infinity pool. Depending on the type of property you select, certain villas may have access to a public infinity pool, while a few will have private ones. Moreover, such pools are also deep enough to dive in, giving you the ultimate adrenaline rush.

  1. The Breath-taking View

The views in Santorini are magical. Certain villas are located on top of the cliff and therefore offer a view of the entire city, while others are located close to the beach ensuring easy access. From the balconies, you can view the beach, watch boats passing by and interact with the locals and other tourists – all without ever having to leave your room.

  1. Conveniently Located

Santorini features numerous waterfalls and beaches, making it ideal for tourists and vacationers. Most villas are located conveniently near the beach; therefore, vacationers don’t have to worry about the commute or the distance to the beach. Furthermore, many historic landmarks are also in proximity which further adds to the charm and convenience of private villas.

  1. Spacious

If you are on a family vacation to Santorini, booking a hotel may not be a smart decision. Most villas are spacious and can accommodate more than two people depending on the size. This means that you get to spend more time with your loved ones and your group doesn’t have to split up. Furthermore, your privacy is guaranteed as you won’t be bothered by noisy children (unless they’re your own) or other occupants which is always the case when staying in hotels/public resorts.

Also, if you are traveling with a group and are planning to book a villa, you won’t have to worry about separate accommodation expenses. Rather all guests can pitch in and pay, making your trip extremely economical.

  1. Great Cuisine

Many Santorini villas are conveniently located near the beaches. Most beaches have several bars and small restaurants along the front that offer delectable local cuisine. If you are a foodie, you wouldn’t want to miss the decadent and mouth-watering dishes that Santorini serves. Moreover, if you are on a diet or would like to prepare your meals yourself, then you can always choose to cook for yourself in the private kitchen in your villa.

If you don’t feel like cooking on your vacation, you could also hire a professional chef for your stay. The possibilities are endless, which makes the villas in Santorini perfect for your holiday.

Everyone wants to have a peaceful and relaxing vacation – the villas in Santorini offer exactly this. The appealing views, luxurious lifestyle and numerous amenities will make you fall in love with the island. Moreover, the hospitality of the locals along with the decadent cuisine will make your trip truly memorable.

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Think You Can’t Afford Travel To Europe? Think Again!

If you’re planning a trip over to Europe, then the chances are that you have a pretty big trip planned. If you’re heading over from the US, then the flights alone to get there can cost quite a lot as it is. Plus, the travel time to get there can be quite a lot too. So it’s not a destination that you’ll just go to for a long weekend, is it? It makes sense that when you’re over there, you will look to spend as little as possible. So here are some tips and tricks for making travel to Europe more affordable. There is no need to spend a crazy amount of money when you’re there.

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Internal Travel

When you’re over there, you might have just chosen one country to visit. And that is totally fine. But with so many of the countries close together it means that seeing quite a few different countries is definitely an option. Take the UK, for example. Using something like https://www.megabus.co.uk is a great way to travel around. You could arrive in London, but see cities like Manchester or Edinburgh inexpensively as part of your trip. Boat trips in countries like Greece and Cyprus can be pretty cheap, as well as train travel on the Eurostar. So don’t think you will always need to hire a car.

 

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Accommodation

The lucky thing about travel in Europe is that there are so many options of accommodation available. But if you’re looking to save, then hotels might not be the best route to go down. If you’d prefer to rent a room in someone’s home in a city like Copenhagen, then looking somewhere like Airbnb can be a really cheap way to do it. Hotels in a lot of capital city locations can cost a lot of money. If you’re staying by the beach or traveling with children to somewhere like Greece, then a villa like these, http://www.villasingreece.co.uk, could be a better option. You still get the comforts of home but get more for your money than a hotel room. Hostels can be inexpensive too but would be better if you’re traveling as a couple or solo, rather than for family travel.

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Food

Eating out when you travel can cost a lot of money,  especially if you’re in the tourist parts of a city or country. So if you can, the best thing to do is to predominantly cook for yourself, and then eat out occasionally, so you still get a feel for the country and culture. In Europe, the best supermarkets to look out for, other than small independent stores, are Aldi and Lidl. So if you see one of those, that is more than likely going to be your best options for a cheap place to buy groceries. Stock up on drinks from a supermarket too; bottles of water or Coke in places like Paris can cost over €4! So buying your own is the way to make the trip more affordable.

 

 

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European Cities: Tips To Ensure You See The Best Of The Best

One of the best things about Europe is the fantastic cities that are situated on the continent. In fact, travelers visit from far and wide to see everything the cities has to offer. After all, they have a wealth of culture and sights which leave people amazed. However, when making a trip to one of the cities, it’s so important to ensure you see everything it has to offer. After all, you don’t want to come home feeling disappointed that you never got to see a specific landmark. Therefore, here are some tips you need when visiting a European city so that you see the best of the best during your trip.

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Get a guide book

It’s always a good idea to get a guide book whenever you are going to a new destination. For one thing, these books normally include a handy map which will come in useful when trying to hunt down the attractions. Also, the guidebook will give in detail about the particular landmarks and attractions you need to see. In fact, they might mention ones which you have never heard of before. And this will stop you missing out on something which is top class during your trip. You can pick up guidebooks in your local store or online. Just make sure that whichever one you get, it’s not too outdated. After all, you don’t want to make your way to an attraction which doesn’t exist anymore! And make sure you don’t go for a book which is too large. Otherwise, it will weigh you down when you are trying to walk around the city!

Read travelers blogs

You should also get advice from a traveler who has been to the city before. After all, they are going to have some tips and advice about what they experienced. And what they wished they had done differently. You could firstly ask a friend if they have been to the city before. And if you don’t know anyone who has been to the city, you should consider looking online at travelers blogs. They will have some great advice about going to certain cities and what you should do while you are there. For example, you can check out our previous blogs for tips on going to cities like Monaco. And then you will be clued up to have a great trip.

Go on an escorted tour

You might feel a bit blind if you are going to a new city. After all, a lot of the large cities like Rome and Paris can feel like a minefield. And it’s easy to end up not getting to see the best the city has to offer. But if you do need some help, you might want to consider going on an escorted tour. With these tours, they will ensure you see all the major landmarks and attractions. And they can give you a taste of the lifestyle and traditions too while you are there. You will also be around other travelers, and you are bound to meet new friends. And companies like Travelsphere will even organise your flights and hotels, so you don’t have anything to sort!

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Befriend a local

Sometimes the best tips about a city can come from a local themselves. After all, they have a wealth of knowledge to ensure you get to see everything the city has to offer. And as well as guiding you to the best attractions, they can tell you about some places to avoid too. After all, you don’t want to end up in danger. Therefore, you should befriend a local to get wised up about a location. You can find people in the local area who are willing to give you tips and advice if you look online before you go. Or head to local restaurants and bars in your resort for friendly staff who will help you to have a great trip!

Book tours online before you go

If you decide to go ahead and plan your trips once you arrive in the city, you might miss out on good attractions and landmarks. After all, you might not know about everything that is available in the city. Therefore, before you go, you should plan out your trip in detail. You can even book tours online which will include particular attractions. That way, you know you will definitely not miss out on anything during your trip. Also, you should consider looking some form of citypass for your destination. A lot of the cities do these, and it will mean you can go to all the major attractions!

And remember to sort your transport before you go. It might be worth getting a ticket to a hop on, hop off bus or boat to ensure you get around the city easily.

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The Beautiful Canals in Amsterdam

I am in love with Amsterdam! I used to say that about Paris but when I saw the beauty of Amsterdam last year, I have been in awe.

I have always dreamt of visiting The Netherlands even when I was a young kid. I think I was only 5 years old when I made my bucket list of places to visit. Of course, that piece of paper where all this “wanderlust” nature started has been long gone, in my heart and soul, I know what they are.

Visiting Amsterdam last year for my birthday was something I have only dreamt about. So, you can imagine my amazement when I actually saw the canals in the beautiful city of Amsterdam in person. My friend and I were both awe-struck, to say the least. All we could utter was, “so pretty!” And yes they are!

Do you know why The Netherlands has plenty of canals? The country is below sea level. They need a robust irrigation system to divert the water out of the country through the canals to prevent flooding. The canals have been around since 17th century.  In Amsterdam, the canals reaches more than a hundred kilometres when combined and they are now used as ways to travel.

A view of the flower market in Amstel

This is near the Amsterdam Central Station

One of the beautiful canals in Amsterdam

This is near Hotel The Bird where we stayed in Amstel. 

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St. Stephen Basilica in Budapest

Hungary is home to Szent István-bazilika or in English, St. Stephen’s Basilica. It is a famous landmark in the inner city of Budapest, in District V (Belváros-Lipótváros).

I have been blessed to have set my foot inside this famous, and beautiful Roman Catholic basilica in Budapest. I must say, beautiful is even an understatement. It’s just very breath-taking, from the outside to the interior of the basilica. Everything is beautiful.

The basilica is named in honour of St. Stephen, the first king of Hungary.  It has a neo-classical architectural design with 2 bell towers and a grand dome, following a Greek-cross style layout plan. Most of the stone carvings are intricate and edges of the church’s dome and inner ceilings have gold foil. It is truly a magnificent architecture for many people to behold.

In the left side of the main altar, houses the relic of St. Stephen’s right hand. It said to be miraculous so many church visitors and tourists take their time to visit the smaller altar and view the relic.

I went there to see it for myself but cannot come any closer for the relic’s security and protection. It was housed inside an elaborate glass and metal container and you have to drop some Euro to activate the lights on for few minutes to have a better view of the right hand.
Getting inside the basilica is free. You can go up to the dome’s observatory to get a better view of Budapest but with a minimal fee. My friend and I didn’t go up since it was already noon and too hot and humid.

Aside from having an observatory, it also houses a big and smaller pipe organs. St. Stephen’s Basilica also functions as a concert house for musical events as it take active participation in the promotion of music in the country. 
It is truly a remarkable experience to step inside the magnificent St. Stephen Basilica in Budapest. I only see it in travel magazines and travel sites. The feeling is ethereal especially when you realise that you’re actually ticking another item off your bucket list.
So, if you are planning a trip in Budapest, include St. Stephen’s Basilica in your itinerary or in your must-see places. I am very glad that the apartment I booked in was just 5 minutes walk from St. Stephen’s Basilica. And waking up in the morning on the sight of the grandiose beauty of St. Stephen Basilica from our room is something I can only dream of. And it has happened…

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Experience The Blooming Amsterdam In A Limited Budget

People with a love for traveling keep seeking opportunities to travel in different places. When the spring is around, and you are low on your budget; the best place to go for is Amsterdam. There are plenty of reasons why to go to Amsterdam specifically in spring.

One of the main reasons is to see the Amsterdam city blooming with beautiful tulips. The tulips look very captivating,and you cannot miss this beauty and the charm they provide to the city. The tulips are the sign of emerging of spring, typically in the month of March.


Where Should You Go?
The place not to be missed, when you are visiting Amsterdam in the springs is Keukenhof Gardens.




Keukenhof Gardens
Keukenhof or ‘kitchen garden’ is known as the Garden of Europe. It is one of the largest flower gardens in the world. The park has more than 800 varieties of tulips, with more than 7 million bulbs in bloom in the spring.

The entry charge in this garden is €16 per adult. This is very reasonable as you can happily spend the whole day in the garden with your loved ones. The park is usually opened from 24 March to 16 May, from 8 am to 7:30 pm.

Various Activities To Do

Boat trips: Experiencing the exquisite beauty of the Keukenhof Gardens can be peacefully done by Boat rides. You can relax and enjoy the quiet of the garden while witnessing the blooming bulbs of tulips. The boat trip lasts for 45 minutes and costs €8 per adult, which is quite cheap.

Cycling: Bicycle is the best way to explore the area yourself. You can fall in love with the garden while riding the cycle. You may make a choice of the distance as per yourpreference, which can be from 5 km to 35 km.

Guided tours: If you want to know more about the type of flowers and learn all about the garden, guided tour is a must for you. And guess what? It is completely free of charge.

Restaurants: The garden is full of pavilions, stalls, and eateries to fill your stomach without losing much money. You can go for Juliana Pavilion, Beatrix Pavilion, Poffertjes house, Wilhelmina Pavilion, etc. to taste the yummy bites.

Accommodation: You can always find cheap apartments to rent in Amsterdam. Also, there are hotels nearby the park like Vakantiepark Koningshof, Rijnsburg, Camping De Zuidduinen, Katwijk Aan Zee,etc. to reside with your family.

Events to visit in the spring: There are many events taking place in Amsterdam in the season of spring. In this garden, you can enjoy food and flower festival, which is in the month of April. You can visit Keukenhof Flower market and flower parade here.

Shanty Choirs Festival is a party even to enjoy. Romance at Keukenhof is the classical musical event, which is carried out among the tulips. Family weekend is especially for families and children.

Conclusion

So, make sure you visit Keukenhof Gardens in the season of spring to experience the blooming tulips with reasonable price. You can create a lot of memories with your loved ones here.

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