Our return flight from Budapest to London was in late evening so we had the full of day 4 to make the most of our final moments in the vibrant Hungarian capital. Seemed like 3 days in Budapest passed in 3 blinks of our eyes and we were on our final day to feel the final vibes of Buda and Pest. Make sure you had been following our experiences of day 1, day 2, day 3 so that you can join us in drawing down the closing curtains on day 4.
Margaret Island –> Guided tour of the Hungarian Parliament Building –> Lunch at Szamos Restaurant –> Vaci Street –> Afternoon Ice-cream at Gelarto Rosa and pre-departure pastries at Café Gerbeaud
Like the sweet dessert in a fine dining which is left to be savoured till the last moment, we also planned to join the guided tour of the Hungarian National Parliament our final day. The tour was timed at 1pm so we had ample amount of time after breakfast to make our way to the Margaret Island. We had to check out from our wonderful apartment before 1pm and our host Marton was kind enough to let us leave our luggage inside the flat until 2pm so that we had enough time to finish our explorations in the first half of the day.
Possibly the green lungs of Budapest, Margaret Island finds itself in the middle of the Danube River between Margaret Bridge and Arpad Bridge. Massive green space with some important medieval ruins, jogging tracks, an art-nouveau water tower, Japanese Garden, rose garden, thermal spas and sports centres – the Island provides the perfect spot for some rest and reflection. We hired a four-wheel bike for an hour in exchange of a small rental fee. Note that we had to deposit our passport for the duration of the bike rental. It was a pleasant and relaxing experience to push the bike through the graceful green while reflecting on the great experiences the city offered us in the last 3 days.
Time spent in Margaret Island was perfectly utilised, leaving us just enough time to grab some lunch at the Szamos Restaurant, situated conveniently next to the famous Hungarian Parliament Building, with a view of Budapest’s iconic yellow trams running frequently. We purchased the entry tickets for the guided tour of the Parliament here and it is strongly recommended that you buy your tickets well in advance for the guided tour in your chosen language at the specific time. The tickets run out very quickly and you also need to carry your passports during the tour as a proof of your identity.
We had been fascinated by the external beauty and grandeur of the Hungarian Parliament Building since the very first day of our arrival. We have enjoyed the first rays of the sunrise and the last rays of the sunset splashing its glorious colours on this glorious piece of architecture and historic pride of Hungary. No doubt that the anticipation to really enter into this mammoth structure was bubbled up during our entire stay in Budapest and we were simply elated to join the queue at the Visitors’ Centre just in time for our guided tour in English at 1pm.
Some fast facts first. No doubt that this is the largest building in Hungary with 691 rooms. 40 kilos of pure 24 carat gold foil was used to decorate the interiors of the Parliament and interestingly all the constructors had to be Hungarian who worked on this flagship project from 1885 to 1904. No doubt that the itinerary of the guided tour inside the Parliament was limited to perhaps a tiny fraction of the entire area it covers but it was enough to overwhelm visitors with its sheer grandeur and glitz. The 45 minute tour only covered a few areas such as the main stairs, one of the lobbies, one hallway, the House of the Lords and the section where the Hungarian Crown Jewels are stored. Make sure you stick with your visitor group and don’t trespass into areas out of bound.
After finishing our tour of the Parliament Building, we had to return to our apartment to collect our luggage. We found out earlier about this storage service provider called Budapest Luggage Storage so we went to drop our suitcases there in exchange of a small fee. We then decided to spend the final few hours strolling along the most famous pedestrian road in Budapest – Vaci Street. Lined up with numerous cafes, restaurants, clothing and gift shops, the street was indeed touristy but it was worth the stroll especially in the last few hours before catching our return flight.
A long queue in front of Gelarto Rosa, near the St. Stephen’s Basillica got us curious and we joined the bandwagon. Glad we did, not only their unique rose ice-creams looked irresistible to look at but it was also an incredible method in which they make them. They don’t scoop, but use a special spatula to form an ice-cream rose onto the cone in order to preserve the creamy texture.
The approaching sunset was perfect for us to sit for a little while at the famous Café Gerbeaud, situated at Vörösmarty tér 7. One of the most traditional makers of Hungarian cakes, confectioneries and coffee, this was certainly the best concluding tribute we could give to Budapest before grabbing a taxi to the airport.
These 4 days in Budapest felt rather different from our previous European short getaways. Budapest offered a perfect mix of history and modern day vibes located within close vicinity which meant the points of interest were all within a few short rides away. Also, unlike western European capitals which might have grown significantly, Budapest felt more on the rise and it was exciting to be immersed in the tide of forthcoming change.
If you have liked our day by day itinerary in the Hungarian capital, then we hope you will make a perfect plan to enjoy your time in Budapest. Share this post now with your friends and get your bags ready to leave your nest and fly out to Budapest, which just may be better than all the rest!0