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This is a summer story. And my whole family is involved. It is so exciting to travel with your family but you need to be well prepared. Our team – my boyfriend, our parents, and my brother.
What I missed to think of and how to organize a better family trip than mine? Actually, mine was awesome. You don’t need to believe me, just keep reading.
Summer of 2018. The plan is to travel by car from Sofia to Zagreb. Sleep one night and travel to Vienna. One day in Vienna and then on the road again to Budapest. Budapest was our last stop and here we stayed for 4 days and enjoyed the Formula 1 2018 event! Woop Woop!
Destination Zagreb reached. After 8 hours driving by car. We stayed in a cozy apartment near the Tesla Museum – Apartment Marija, booked via Booking.com. I can recommend the place for people looking for a clean apartment, with everything you need inside, sunny comfy place and nice attitude. One disadvantage is they don’t accept debit/ credit card payments. The price is totally worth it!
Not to be missed in Zagreb! Even we had just a day to walk around, we enjoyed the city and felt the spirit of the locals! Zagreb can be divided into Lower and Upper Town, located on romantic stone streets. Walking in Lower Town can be a lot of fun because of the many cafes, restaurants, bars, and music everywhere. Recommended street – Tkalciceva. The Upper Town is the old part of Zagreb and here there are breathtaking places.
- Cathedral of Zagreb – It is on the list of the hundred most beautiful cultural monuments in the world.
- St Mark Church. Roman Catholic parish temple in the heart of the Old Town (Upper Town). Located on Piazza St Mark, surrounded by the buildings of the Croatian Parliament, the Croatian government, the Constitutional Court and the City Hall of Zagreb. The roof of the church depicts Zagreb’s coat of arms.
- The Tower of Zagreb/ The Tower of Thieves, in the past part of Zagreb’s fortifications. Zagreb residents set their clocks with the sound of the gunshot. If you visit the Tower at an exact hour, you might enjoy the gunshot. There is an amazing panoramic view of the Tower. You can walk on the winding stairs from the Tower to the Lower Town. Really joyful walk, full of music, colors, and a beautiful sunset!
Ok, what actually happened is that me, my boyfriend and my brother really enjoyed the walk in the city but our parents got so tired and didn’t want to walk that much. They prefer to sit and relax somewhere.
Tip 1 for family trips: What can be better planned is to include one more day for visiting Zagreb.
4. Tesla Museum. On the next day, early in the morning, me, my boyfriend and the two mums have visited Tesla Museum. Actually, I don’t like museums but this one was awesome! I really recommend it!
Tip 2 for family trips: When planning a family trip, try to think of what everyone is interested in.
Destination Vienna. 4 hours from Zagreb by car. We arrived in the afternoon at our booked apartment Betariel Apartments S22. It was clean but not enough space. It worths the price and was fine for the night because we planned to travel on the next day but for long staying it will be better to choose something nicer. It was close to the city center and to the metro station.
Not to be missed in Vienna!
- Visit the famous Prater. It is nice for a walk during the night; there are many lights and music. You can enjoy Vienna’s wheel and the amusement park.
- My best is the Schonbrunn Palace and Schonbrunn Gardens – part of the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage. I took an audio guide inside the Palace and it was crazy interesting to touch this Habsburg culture! This is my second time being here. The first visit was during one cold winter and there was a huge Christmas market. I really enjoy the summer flowers and the colors everywhere now. TIP 3: BOOK YOUR TICKET ONLINE IN ADVANCE FOR SCHONNBRUN!
- The Zoo next to Schonbrunn Palace is the oldest existing zoo in the world founded in 1752. My brother loves it. It is huge and there are a variety of species. We really enjoy the 3 hours spent here and it was not enough but we were run of time.
- St Stephen’s Cathedral – amazing Cathedral! Stephen Piazza is a nice area with classy shops, chocolate, you can drink coffee here and enjoy the city. There are nice restaurants, bars, and other entertainments. The city center of Vienna is with historical building and nice architecture. 10 minutes walking from St Stephen’s Cathedral, you will reach St Peter’s Church.
We spend one night and half of the next day in Vienna and we were on the road, traveling to Budapest, Hungary. Hungary was our final destination before returning to Sofia. We needed more time here as everyone’s interests were different. Don’t forget F1 event!
Something that happened to us is that my mum broke the back window of my dad’s car in a ridiculous way at a gas station. My dad couldn’t be angrier but he needed to calm down because my mom got so nervous. We fixed the window with a special tape! and we had the luck to get back home like that! How Lucky people we are!
It takes 3 hours by car Vienna – Budapest. Destination Budapest reached. We booked our apartment here via Airbnb.com – Keleti Station Apartment. The apartment looked much better on the pictures. When we arrived there were a broken bed and broken stuff inside. This was an unpleasant surprise and we informed the host immediately. We informed the Airbnb as well and they contacted the host.
We were moved on the next day to another really nice and bigger apartment and no additional fees were taken. I will write in a separate post on how to avoid booking bad apartments and what to do if this happens to you. Coming soon! I promise.
This was stressful moments for the parents but we encourage them to just stay relax.
The second apartment was perfect! I really recommend it – Royalpest Residence. Our two hotels were located near the Jewish Quarter – I recommend this area for your staying as it is calm and not far from the city center.
TIP 4: ALWAYS KNOW AND DEFEND YOUR RIGHTS!
What must be seen in Budapest?
Budapest beats with the rhythm of two hearts – Buda and Pest. The river Dunav divides the two sides of the city.
- Fisherman’s Bastion – an impressive structure and beautiful views. Going down from the hill, on the way to the Chain bridge, there is a zero km Statue – the old city center of Budapest where the boundaries of the Empire were measured from.
- The Citadella – Hapsburg fortress with nice views and best photos.
- Buddha Castle and the Royal Palace on the Buda side.
- The Matthias Church – it can be seen from the Fisherman’s Bastion and it is on the Pest side. The first parish church. The area around is nice for a walk.
- The Chain Bridge – this bridge connects Buda with Pest. Before the construction of the Bridge, there were two different cities. During the Second World War, the bridge was destroyed by the Germans but it was reconstructed after the war and in 1989 becomes a symbol of Hungarian freedom.
- Walk on the river Dunav side – There is part with shoes along the Danube – a memorial in honor of the Jews who were shot on the Danube after being asked to get out their shoes. You can enjoy a boat trip on the Danube using normal public transport. Just buy a regular ticket (around 750 HUF).
- Parliament is amazing during the night and there are nice restaurants where you can taste traditional dishes, for example, Gulas and Hungarian bread langos. Don’t miss to enjoy the traditional Unikum drink! Cheers!
- Something I missed – Central Market Hall – it is open every Friday and Saturday and there is a variety of local food and drinks.
- The other thing I missed – The thermal baths. If you travel to Budapest during the winter – this is something you should enjoy a lot!
Formula 1 event! My father and my brother are big fans of F1 and they love Kimi Raikkonen. They enjoyed the 3 days spent at the F1 event a lot! They were so happy and full of adrenaline! The tickets were a gift from me and my boyfriend so we were so happy too that our surprise turns to be so cool! I will share with you in a separate post how to organize your next Formula 1 event!
Everyone was so emotional during the whole trip, there were smiles and tears, funny moments and some stressful moments but we all went home more adventurous and knowing each other a little bit more. It turns that this was nice teambuilding! You should try it!