Budapest: 5 things not to miss

The Parliament, inside and out

Budapest’s most prominent building really is an architectural masterpiece and you realize it even more when standing next to it! Impressive from the outside without any doubts, don’t skip the guided tour to see it from inside as well. The official tour is organized in many languages and short enough to enjoy the beautiful interiors without getting bored (book you tickets here). Highlights include the grandiloquent main staircase, the dome which is home to the guarded Holy Crown of Hungary (no photos allowed in that part of the building), the magnificent Assembly Hall and the famous numbered cigar holders. No smoking allowed nowadays but those have been kept because of their historical value. You will learn that when they were in use, the interest of a hearing could be measured by the amount of Havanas left consuming on them…

Parliament Building, Budapest
Parliament Building

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48 hours in Rio

Rio is one of those cities of the world with a real wow factor, thanks to its spectacular natural setting (in the same league as Hong Kong and Cape Town) and cultural diversity. In 48 hours you can cover the main highlights but you will have to hire a personal driver/guide. I recommend Marco Tedesco for his in-depth knowledge about Rio, kindness and flexibility (you can contact him at [email protected]). It’s funny how the landscape changes on your way through the city, from beaches to tropical forest, always guided by the Cristo Rendentor that can be seen from almost anywhere. Let’s find out what are the places to put on your bucket-list and how to spend 48 hours in this truly amazing city.

Rio's icon, the Cristo Redentor
Rio’s main icon, the Cristo Redentor

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Buenos Aires in 3 days

Buenos Aires has the right size for a nice few days’ city break. Quite European (especially for the architecture), yet with a very South American soul. I recently spent there 3 days and hired a guide (Jessica) from BuenosTours. Can’t but recommend her! Let’s see the places I discovered.

Aeroparque domestic airport, close to Buenos Aires' city center
Aeroparque domestic airport, close to Buenos Aires’ city center

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Duque Hotel: a gem in Buenos Aires

Duque hotel in Buenos Aires may be the accommodation with best value for money I’ve ever been to. Located in the neighbourhood of Palermo, it’s a charmingly small and cozy boutique hotel. City center is easily reached with a metro ride.

What I liked

  • the intimate atmosphere
  • the lovely garden and sitting area around the pool
  • the beautiful entrance
  • the location in trendy and quiet Palermo
  • the friendly and smiling staff

What I didn’t like

  • for 130 USD per night, there really isn’t anything to complain about…!
Poolside, Duque hotel
Poolside

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St Petersburg’s highlights

St Petersburg or “Peter” as the locals call it surely is one of the most interesting big cities in Europe. No skyscrapers but extravagant palaces, magnificent cathedrals and vast museums. What surprised me most is how clean and modern St Petersburg is! Pulkovo airport stands out as impressive as Hong Kong’s Chek Lap Kok airport and there is no trash in the streets of the city center. Roads are in good condition and traffic isn’t the mad hell you had imagined. Visiting in winter is a nice way to discover the city with less tourists, and I was lucky to have the best possible weather (snow on the ground, freezing temperatures and some beautiful sunlight!). You need to spend at least a few days in the city to experience a major part of what it has to offer.

St Petersburg skyline on a cold winter day
St Petersburg skyline on a cold winter’s day

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