How's it like to visit Budapest for the first time during a pandemic without an Immunity card.
Budapest is the capital and the biggest city of Hungary, it’s a historical city who’s cut in the middle from the Danube.
Budapest was officially created in 1873 with the union of the two adjacent cities of “Buda” and “Pest”, this division is no longer official but in the hearts of its people the city is still divided in two.
“Buda” if the most ancient part of the city where it is possible to visit the Royal Palace, it is the part situated on the east side of the Danube and hosts the most important historical monuments since it was the first real capital of the country. “Pest” is on the other side of the river, it is the side where you can find the parliament, one of most famous locations of the city and where is possible to find more shops and nightlife for young people and tourists.
If you travel by train you will probably arrive in Pest, in the “Budapest-Keleti” station which is the most famous and most important train station of the whole city or also very common is to arrive at “Budapest Nyugati” very near the city center and a very nice place to start your travel.
The best tip to have a nice trip is: choose carefully your stay, it is important of course to be near one of the main streets, is true that the city has pretty good bus/tram connections, but nothing beats the comfort of an easy to reach accommodation. If you choose carefully the time to visit the city you’ll be able to find cheap and comfortable places to stay in a perfect spot.
For the big question of the moment: is it possible to go anywhere without an immunity card? Short answer: no.
Sadly without the Hungarian immunity card it is currently impossible to enter in touristic attractions, museums, libraries, galleries, monuments and even to eat inside restaurants. It appears that this situation will change soon with the reach of the 5.5 millions of vaccinated people in Hungary, but up until now there are no news in this specific topic and that’s how thing works in the country.
But with this said, it is possible to enjoy the city as a tourist without the immunity card? My answer is yes.
If you’re not planning to spend more than 4-5 days it is perfectly possible to visit the city “from the outside”, there are plenty of beautiful places to see, walking in the many pedestrians' areas is a pleasure and with a little bit of luck you’ll find perfectly nice days and eating outside will be delightful.
Keep in mind that is anyway always possible to use public transport and going inside of shops and malls if you keep your mask on, and everything can be visit if you don’t get inside so almost every place in your to-go list can be checked!
The parliament is one of the most visited spots of the city and a nice walk there by night is an amazing view to add to your travel, not far away from there you have both Margaret Island and the “Szent Istvàn Bazilika”.
Margaret island is an island that you can find in the middle of the Danube, it is a complete open-air spot in the city, the best way to describe it is as a park full of activities and the perfect place to take a nice walk in the nature, right in the heart of the city.“Szent Istvàn Bazilika” is a beautiful basilica that has in front of it a square full of restaurant and bars where you’ll find something to eat or some pleasant nightlife.
Other than these places that you really can’t miss are the royal palace of Buda and the Fishermen’s Bastion who are breathtaking also without getting inside, but you have to be ready to walk a little bit and to get through some stairs. Also not to miss is Heroes Square, near that you’ll find museums and right behind there is the entrance to one of the biggest park in the city, where you can easily spend a couple of hours visiting that and the monuments and entertaining places it contains.
Last but not least a little tip: if you have difficulties in walking or your mobility is reduced please note that it will be possible for you to visit the city but it will not be as easy and comfortable as I found other European cities to be: not every underground passage has an elevator or ramp option, the trams can be really tricky to use and probably you’ll have to take a few longer ways to get to places so consider this and try to plan your visit in advance, maybe a nice idea would be to contact a touristic information point and ask for different possibilities. Just keep in mind that with the right place to stay a lot of amazing places are perfectly reachable even just walking.