It’s hard to tell now what happens next week or next month and when and how we can start travelling again. The crazy April weather wouldn’t help either, it’s raining and cold in Budapest and it’s hard to believe that summer is only two months away.

However, I’m optimistic and I got my first COVID-19 shot yesterday, so I start planning for the bright summer months to come. I’ll continue offering virtual tours because I know this is the only option for many of you for the next couple of months so feel free to book a live tour streamed from the streets of Budapest or an authentic Hungarian cooking class.

I’ll also offer social distance friendly tours, those were very popular last summer and I think that it’s a safe option for families and groups of friends travelling together. The social distancing tours are available in English and French, as for now I have four options:

  • Buda Castle District walk
  • Downtown Pest walk
  • Jewish quarter walk
  • Szentendre tour by car

All of the tours are designed to be 100% social distance friendly. We don’t take public transport, avoid crowds and admire all buildings only from the outside. It’s not a group tour, it’s only for you, your family or friends.

Rules are the same as last year:

  • Tours are maximum 3 hours long
  • Only walking and driving tours are available, we don’t use public transportation
  • Travellers, tour guide (and driver) are required to wear a mask for the length of the tour
  • No inside visit of the monuments, attractions, museums
  • No coffee or lunch break together
  • Maximum number of travellers on the tour shouldn’t exceed 4 people

Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any question or need more details.

SOCIAL DISTANCING TOURS

Today is a national holiday in Hungary, we celebrate the outbreak of the revolution of 1848-1849.

Today we celebrate our national independence, the freedom of speech, the freedom of press and we remember the heroism and the courage of the young Hungarians who became united to confront and fight the oppressors.

I hope that the spirit of the revolution lives on in the Hungarian soul and we never give up fighting for the values our ancestors had been fighting for 173 years ago.

 

… and it breaks my heart. I realise it’s a very delicate situation and every country’s government is responsible for the measures they’re taking. But I’ve also seen how differently other governments are dealing with the pandemic and only few of them decided to say no to tourists, brave and enthusiastic travellers who, despite of the spreading of the virus were still considering visiting my Beautiful Budapest.

This is all over for now, indefinitely, for 1 or 2 months, we don’t know. I’ll of course continue delivering Virtual Tours for the time being but I’ll miss terribly the real tours, the real adventures and the real people I’ve had the chance to work with these last couple of months.

You’ll find below a gallery of stunning pictures taken by one of my travellers, Jessica with whom I’ve had the chance to explore Buda, Pest and the cute little town of Vác last week.

With over 100.000 Hungarian and international artworks from as early as the ancient times to the 18th century, the Fine Art Museum is probably the largest and the most comprehensive art museum of Budapest.

The building of Classical Revival style is from 1906, from the outside it might remind you of a Greek temple, actually, the tympanum on the main facade is the exact replica of that of a Zeus temple in Olympia, Greece. The interior is just as magnificent as the artworks on display, the museum was closed for renovation works for almost 4 years and both the interior and the outside regained their original splendour. My personal favourite halls are the Romanesque and the Renaissance Halls, wondering around the building is like a real time travel for visitors.

The collection of the museum has six departments: Egyptian Antiquities, Classical Antiquities, Old Master Paintings, Sculptures, Prints and Drawings, Old Hungarian Collection. For more information on the museum and opening hours, you can visit the museum’s official website.

I’ve decided to share this blogpost originally from 2016 because my experience is that the Buda Castle District of Budapest is the most popular choice for the virtual tours. Most of the attractions below are to be seen during the tour and I’m happy to discuss the special architecture, culture and traditions of this beautiful neighbourhood. Feel free to contact me for further details on live or virtual tours!

The Buda Castle district is the oldest part of Buda, many of the buildings are originally from the Middle Ages. Buda became the capital of Hungary by the middle of the 13th century, the castle and the medieval town were constructed in the top of the Castle hill.

I don’t want to disappoint you but The Castle district is not a real castle. The Hungarian Medieval castle, residence of many of our great kings, constructed in Gothic and Renaissance architectures was destroyed in the 17th century. Only some parts of it are accessible in the Budapest History Museum, unfortunately the rest of the castle rest in the ground now.

You can walk up the hill along the ramparts of the Medieval Castle to get to the 18th century Baroque Palace which houses the Budapest History Museum and the National Gallery. The cobblestoned streets of the historical old town of Buda lead you to the Matthias Church, one of the oldest churches of the city originating from the 13th century. If you have some time, you really need to climb the 197 stairs to the church tower from where you can have the best view over our beautiful city.

From the top of the Fisherman’s Bastion you can enjoy the panorama over the Parliament building and the Pest side.

Continue your walk in the civilian town, admire the unique architecture of the National Archives and wonder around the old Jewish quarter. Probably the most interesting fact about the distric is that there is a 12 km long underground cave and cellar complex underneath the Castle District. There are 2 museums where you can discover this unique labyrinth. The Hospital in the Rock was a military hospital during WW2 and a nuclear bunker during the Communist era. The Labyrinth museum is all about scary fun and you might also meet Dracula, the infamous vampire count.

I’d be glad to show you the famous attractions and the hidden treasures of the neighborhood, too, book the Buda Castle walk!

Most of the inquiries I’m getting these days are about information on how one can enter Hungary in light of the spreading of COVID-19. It seems to me that the general information available online is mostly in Hungarian and it’s not exactly easy to understand for most of travellers.

So, here are the latest news and latest rules for you.

The government of Hungary has been applying a colour-based categorisation depending on how serious the spreading of the virus is in the country of origin since the 15th of July. The three colours are green, yellow and red and it determines the rules of entry to Hungary. In case of transfer passengers the country of origin is applicable.

Travellers arriving from GREEN countries are:

  • allowed to enter Hungary without restrictions,
  • if they have symptoms of the infection within 14 days after entry, then they can’t leave their actual residence, and must notify the epidemiological authority immediately.

Travellers arriving from YELLOW countries:

  • have to undergo medical examination upon entry
  • if there is a suspicion of infection, the travellers are not allowed to enter Hungary
  • if no such suspicion arises, travellers are allowed to enter, but it is mandatory for them to go to home quarantine for 14 days.
  • no quarantine is needed if travellers have 2 negative SARS COVID tests (in English or in Hungarian) that were taken consecutively within 48 hours of each other and up to 5 days prior to entering Hungary

Travellers arriving from RED countries are not allowed to enter Hungary in passenger traffic.

The good news is that the spreading of the virus in Hungary is still under control and we don’t see sudden increase in the number of infections. As of today there are 4,465 registered cases and 596 people died.

I’d say that it’s still relatively safe to visit Budapest and visit Hungary, if you do so, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me to book a private social distancing friendly tour, 100% safe, 100% fun. If you decide to stay at home, I’m still here to offer you a virtual experience.

I’m posting a lot of pictures of Szentendre on my Instagram, this is such a lovely little town and is only a 30-minute drive from Budapest. It’s a popular destination for both locals and visitors.

I’m currently putting together an itinerary of a few tours for a traveller’s request in September and got the idea to include a countryside tour in my Social Distancing tours. So, here it is, 100% safe and social distance friendly, a private driving tour to Szentendre.

My Szentendre tour is a great combination of history, architecture and culture, the Baroque style little town that has inspired many generations of Hungarian painters and sculptors.

The village has a really unique Mediterranean atmosphere and stunning Baroque architecture. Its charm is due to its colorful houses and cobblestoned streets. The town is full of art galleries, cafés, restaurants and souvenir shops. We’ll see beautiful Baroque architecture, small shops and the sweet Marzipan museum. You’ll have a magnificent view over the city from the top of the church hill and will witness 1000 years of history and culture. You’ll also have the option to taste some local treats or coffee and to do some souvenir shopping.

This is a very personal note as I think it’s time to say THANK YOU. It’s hard for me to express my gratitude for everything I’ve been given these last four months.

I truly appreciate the kind words, support, phone calls, virtual tours and cooking classes, donations and all the great advice I’ve gotten so far. Thank you for postponing the tours instead of cancelling them. Thank you for booking tours in 2021, my calendar is filling up fast and I’m very happy. This is actually giving me more trust and strength to continue and to give the very special Budapest experience to all my travellers.

I know that for most of you travelling to Europe is not possible right now so I’m still offering virtual tours. Also, I’m certain that in the not very far future we’ll meet in person, we’ll shake hands and we’ll walk together around my Beautiful Budapest.

Ok, the timing might not be ideal. But. I originally created a Facebook profile for my tour guiding services some 5 years ago but I never really had time to take care of it and to publish enough interesting content. Now that I only deliver virtual tours obviously I have more time to work on my tours and profiles and uploaded some pictures and information.

I’ll try to post as often as I can so that you can learn more on my beautiful city and country:

Please like, share, comment, send me messages, so that I can see that you’re checking back on what’s new in Beautiful Budapest!

I know that these last 3-4 months have been extremely difficult for many of us. I delivered my first virtual tour on the 20th of March and haven’t had a real, live tour ever since. I love virtual tours and I think travellers that booked any of them all had a very special experience.

But. I need personal connection, I need instant reactions, I need to see and hear my travellers.

As of last Wednesday our borders are open to the citizens of the EU and some other countries. I don’t see many actual tourists yet but hopefully this will change soon. It was time for me to create my Social Distancing Tours.

Rules are very simple:

  • Tours are maximum 3 hours long
  • Only walking and driving tours are available, we don’t use public transportation
  • Travellers, tour guide (and driver) are required to wear a mask for the length of the tour
  • No inside visit of the monuments, attractions, museums
  • No coffee or lunch break together
  • Maximum number of travellers on the tour shouldn’t exceed 4 people

I hope I’ll have the chance to finally meet real people and to show them around the city that I love the most. I hope that this is just the beginning and very slowly life will get back to normal, if you still remember what normal is 🙂