My favourite day in Budapest was spent in Varosliget, the largest green space in Budapest. You could spend a day in this city park, home to an abundance of romantic walks, eerie corners and relaxing spots.
The entrance begins at Heroes’ Square, a World Heritage Site that was built in 1896 to commemorate the thousandth anniversary of Hungary. A 36 metre tall column is topped by the archangel Gabriel whilst a crescent monument holds seven bronze statues, each representing a chief of the Magyar tribes. The square is framed by two beautiful buildings, the Museum of Fines Arts and the Kunsthalle (Hall of Art).
As we crossed into the park we were drawn in by the sights of the Vajdahunyad Castle, a striking, peculiar assortment of Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture. Here I fell in love with Budapest’s architecture (so much so that I’ll be doing another post all about it!). Created as a replica of its Transylvanian twin in 1896, the castle enticed us closer to explore its courtyard and towering buildings.
Walking through the gated arch, my inner child was reminded of the Beauty and the Beast castle, before it was transformed back to its beautiful self. Delicately sculpted figures donned every point of the grey and toffee coloured buildings.
As we tried to imagine what secrets lay behind its walls, we ventured further into the grounds coming across a sinister looking statue.
The black hooded man Anonymus, as he is fittingly called, sat in the middle of the courtyard, like a death eater frozen in time.
Surrounding the castle was a thin lake of frozen waters. Used for boating in the summer it now played host to impressive skaters gliding across the rink. An older couple practising their professional moves immediately caught my romantic self’s attention.
Walking back over the bridge we made our way to our lunch spot. Sitting on the edge of the river is Robinson, a popular terrace restaurant that has attracted many famous names over the years from Schwarzenegger to David Bowie.
The interiors are open and informal, a wide panoramic window looking out onto the waters beneath. We were lucky enough to reserve a corner table by the glass, watching the birds dip and swim as we tucked into our meal.
Cosy inside, we decided on two warming pasta dishes, Allyn ordering a spaghetti bolognaise and a creamy beef truffle linguine for myself. Both were generous in size and as pretty as they were delicious.
I was also served a glass of Hungarian red wine to accompany my pasta, recommended by the restaurant sommelier who matched my choice to my lunch. It was a fantastic red that I hope to find in the UK.
Comforted with our warm meal, we made our way back out into the cold, not without appreciating the restaurant’s book Christmas tree first!
A short walk from the waters is the famous Szechenyi Thermal Spa, an inviting warm building that pours steam from its hot outdoor baths.
32 degree waters flow from two natural springs into the romantic atmosphere of the spa, built in the early 1900s. Allyn and I hired a private cabin (just big enough for two) to change before we held our breath and quickly stepped into the freezing cold air.
Stepping into the boiling pools was a dream. We instantly relaxed, floating around and bobbing along for a good hour! You can stay in the spas for up to 2 hours or longer if you wish, but an hour felt long enough for me.
During our stay the skies darkening as the hot steam rose, creating a mystical surrounding. It was the perfect way to finish our day in the park as we quickly put on our layers upon layers to wrap up and make our way back to the Corinthia hotel.
In my next post I’ll be sharing some of my favourite buildings in Budapest. What beautiful city parks have you visited?