WJ Tested: Hungary – Budapest City and Parliament Building Tour

WJ Tested: Travel Tips for Budapest Parliament Building Guided Tour

Budapest Parliament Building

WJ Tested: Hungary – Budapest City and Parliament Building Tour

Uniworld Eastern Europe Explorer River Cruise Included Choice Tour: Budapest Walking Discovery of National Treasures with a Parliament Building Visit

Day 12:

Uniworld River Princess docked overnight in Budapest, therefore we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast buffet in the restaurant before meeting our guide for the morning city tour. While in Budapest, Uniworld offered passengers the choice between two included shore excursions – the Regular Budapest Panoramic & Walking Tour or the Choice Budapest Parliament & Walking Discovery Tour.

Did You Know?… Budapest:

  • 20% of Hungary’s population lives in this capital city
  • Is dubbed “Pearl of the Danube”
  • Buda is on the hilly west bank
  • Pest rests on the Great Plain to the east
  • Was first occupied by the Romans in the first century BC
  • Hungarian tribes of Magyers settled here around 896 BC

After speaking with Cruise Manager Heiner Schmidt a few days earlier, he advised us to take the Choice Tour, it included a guided visit of the Budapest Parliament Building, and would show us some new-to-us sights from our previous visit to Budapest in 2008.

Budapest Tour Guide Oliver Rakaczky

Budapest Tour Guide Oliver Rakaczky

At 9:00 a.m. we met with two fellow passengers (essentially for a private tour) and local tour guide, Oliver Rakaczky, and walked the short distance from the ship to where the tour van and driver were waiting.

Vaci Utca Main Pedestrian Boulevard

Vaci Utca Main Pedestrian Boulevard

Sites Visited During the Choice Tour:

  • Statue of Ronald Reagan
  • Statue of Nagy Imre
  • Budapest Parliament Building Guided Tour
  • Walking tour along Váci Utca – the main shopping boulevard
  • Shown Cafe Gerbeaud in Vorosmarty Square – home to the famous pastry shop
  • Rode the Millennium Underground Railway from Vorosmarty Square to Heroes Square (Hősök Tere)
  • Exterior view of Museum of Fine Arts (Szépművészeti Múzeum)
  • Walked through the city park and viewed the exterior of Dracula’s Castle
  • Walked by Budapest Zoo
  • Széchenyi Medicinal Bath (we didn’t have time to go bathing)
  • Hungarian State Opera House exterior
  • Drove along the Danube and past the Chain Bridge

As the four of us in our little group were strong walkers, we were able to enjoy a fair amount of strolling from one site to another in between being driven to various sites. Getting an early start on a Sunday morning was also ideal as there was very little traffic on the roads, even though it was the height of summer.

Note: A visit to Budapest Central Market (Nagycsamok) and St. Stephen Basilica are typically part of the 3.5-hour Choice Tour, but as we visited Budapest on a Sunday both were closed. The included Regular Tour normally also includes visiting the market but that was not possible during this visit either.

Vorosmarty Square in Budapest

Vorosmarty Square in Budapest

Budapest – Top 6 Must See:

  • Explore the Millennium Underground Railway – the second oldest in the world
  • Tour the Central Market Hall (Nagycsamok) and sample some traditional food
  • Walk from Buda to Pest across the Chain Bridge
  • Stroll down Váci Street in the city center – the famous pedestrian shopping area
  • Visit St.Stephen Basilica
  • Tour the old Jewish Quarter
Cafe Gerbeaud

Cafe Gerbeaud

Budapest Underground Railway

Budapest Millennium Underground Railway

Heroes Square - Hősök Tere

Heroes Square – Hősök Tere

Dracula Castle - Vajadahunyad Castle

Dracula Castle – Vajadahunyad Castle

Budapest Zoo

Budapest Zoo

Széchenyi Medicinal Bath

Széchenyi Medicinal Bath

Budapest Opera House

Budapest Opera House

We returned to River Princess for lunch in the restaurant and then had the remainder of the afternoon to ourselves – we decided to skip the optional tours. After lunch we strolled back into the city and wandered around until we found an outdoor patio along Váci Utca to enjoy a beer and watch the world go by.

Szechenyi Lanchid - Chain Bridge

Szechenyi Lanchid – Chain Bridge

Note: We later learned from fellow passengers that took the optional afternoon excursions (Hungarian Puszta & Equestrian Show, or the Jewish Budapest Tour) that they were thrilled with them.

All aboard time was 5:45 p.m. and shortly after River Princess set sail for Bratislava. We made sure to be up on the Sun Deck for the sail away – views of Buda and Pest were spectacular.

After Heiner’s port talk in the lounge it was time for another delightful dinner in the restaurant.

Ham & Melon Appetizer

Ham & Melon Appetizer

Handmade Potato Gnocchi Entree

Handmade Potato Gnocchi Entree

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Port Wine Jus

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Port Wine Jus

Apple Strudel Dessert

Apple Strudel Dessert

If You Go:

Continue Reading WAVEJourney’s Uniworld Eastern Europe Explorer River Cruise Review:

Cruise Overview | Bucharest | Peles Castle | Bran Castle | Bucharest City Tour | Uniworld River Princess | Giurgiu: Embarkation | Rousse to Varna & the Black Sea | Veliko Tarnovo and Arbanassi | Captain’s Welcome Gala | Vidin, Belogradchik & Baba Vida Fortress | Iron Gates | Donji Milanovac | Viminacium Archaeological Site | Sava River | Belgrade City Tour | Deck Dining | Vukovar & Osijek | Cruising the Danube to Budapest | Budapest City Tour | Budapest Parliament Building Guided Tour | Gabcikovo Hydroelectric Dam and Lock | Bratislava City Tour | Captain’s Farewell Dinner | Vienna City Tour |

Notes: WAVEJourney travelled from Bucharest to Vienna as guests of Uniworld River Cruise Collection from July 25 to August 8, 2012.

 

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