In July 2018 my husband and I escaped part of the Australian winter and spent 7 weeks travelling through Europe over their summer.
We flew with Qatar Airlines, transited via Doha and arrived mid-afternoon in Amsterdam, tired but ready to explore. We spent the early evening walking around checking out what was close to us. We came across a pop-up museum for Banksy’s artworks, these were terrific quirky pieces to see. There was also a street parade happening so there were people everywhere and the streets were crazy busy! We stopped for a drink at Café Belgique and watched the parade from the window before heading to dinner.
Overall I loved the vibrant and busy atmosphere, the small streets with narrow houses and the many canals, it really is an amazing city!
We woke up early the following morning for a cycle tour with Yellow Bike Tours – this was great, we rode around the city, through the parks, over the canals and stopping at attractions and different areas being shown what is unique about the area. We had a great lunch after this in one of the main squares people watching before a walking tour learning about the history and finishing at Anne Frank’s House.
Later that afternoon we visited Rijksmuseum – this was an extremely large museum; we saw some amazing pieces but couldn’t quite get around the whole museum before it closed so soaked up what we could before heading to the Heineken Museum, this was great fun! We walked through and saw the history of how the beer was created and bottled as well as a few fun activities along the way then finished off with enjoying a Heineken at the end in their bar.
The following morning, we flew to Budapest with KLM Airlines and arrived within a couple of hours. We spend the afternoon on another cycle tour with Blue Bike Tours exploring the Pest side (the flatter slide). We rode around this great city admiring all the history, monuments, and gardens – it is truly a stunning city! Budapest is well known for its ‘ruin bars’ so we started our night at Szimpla Kert!
The next day we walked through Heroe’s Square on our way to an amazing breakfast by a castle at Anonymus Etterem, before arriving at Szechenyi Thermal Baths for a swim. We strolled back to our hotel having a look in some shops and stopped for a late lunch at Művész Kávéház és – this was delicious, then walked through and to the top of St Stephen’s Bascilica.
Early that evening we crossed over to the Buda side of the city to watch the parliament house light up at sunset – we walked over the bridge, came by a Frida Khalo Exhibition at the Hungarian National Gallery so enjoyed a champagne while admiring her spectacular pieces! We then wondered and explored Fisherman’s Bastion and stopped for a cocktail and some food at Halaszbastya – the views here overlooking Danube and the city are beautiful.
Budapest has so much to offer – it’s history, beautiful buildings, parks, attractions and nightlife, it is truly a stunning place.
We flew with Finnair the following day to Helsinki. We enjoyed a couple of days with family and spent it walking around the city, picnic lunch in the park, visiting Market Square, admired their attractions and beautiful city views, enjoying an afternoon drink on a rooftop bar overlooking the water with view of all the boats coming and going – it was lovely to see their city and how they spend their time.