You’ve likely seen posts for a weekend or a day spent in a city (maybe, say, “Berlin in a Weekend”). This is hopefully the most abbreviated city tour I’ll ever write about. While I do love that we had a chance to see Budapest, even a tiny bit longer would’ve been lovely.
How did this happen? Well, short story: Berlin airport striking, flight cancelled, Budapest=closest airport flying to Greece the same day. 12 hours, 3 trains, 4 countries (Germany-Czech Rep.-Slovakia-Hungary) and we were in Budapest! Starting from our Berlin hotel at 3:45, we arrived in Budapest at 16:35, with a 19:55 flight to Athens. In order to hit the ground running, we grabbed the first yellow taxi we found. We were advised to use only yellow taxis by a friend we’d made along the way who was in a similar predicament to ours, but with Budapest as a final destination. She had some friends there to call on for advice after my research indicated taxis in Budapest were generally tricksters and cheats. Apparently the yellow ones are the honest ones.
Our driver estimated that our ride (including an extra stop and some wait time) would come to about 16000-17000ft (~60USD), though noted it was metered. For over an hour trip in total, this didn’t seem unreasonable; we hopped in. The total came to 17750ft, so he underestimated, but the tour we got of the city and atypically friendly service (by US taxi-driver standards) was certainly worth it.
My rapid-research led me to Fisherman’s Bastion as our sole stop in Budapest for two reasons. The first was the reviews all glowingly reporting on the views from the top. The second reason was the location. With an approximately 40 minute taxi ride to the airport from the city (Monday night 5pm traffic considered), the trip to Fisherman’s Bastion, and then from there to the airport looked to offer the quickest trip past many of the city’s streetside highlights. Sidenote: Did you know that Buda and Pest are the two subdivisions of Budapest?! I didn’t. Now we both do. The two sides are divided by the River Danube, and crossing over one of the bridges really offers amazing views. Unfortunately, trying to capture those views from a moving taxi is practically impossible.
We really did have an a good short run through the city, and even made it to the airport 5 minutes ahead of schedule, leaving us plenty of time to unwind at the airport lounge!