Budapest as a place to visit came highly recommended to me from all corners of the globe. Everyone who has been told me how much they loved it so I broke my own golden rule and went in to this trip with high expectations. Never a good idea.
Budapest Airport is located quite a distance from the city and the most cost effective way to get in to the city is via bus and then the metro. It was hot, the air conditioning on the bus and train wasn’t really working and when you looked out the window you were greeted with buildings that were falling apart and covered in graffiti. The trains were also the oldest ones I’ve seen, ever. All part of the adventure right?
I stayed at Carpe Nocteum Original hostel because it had amazing reviews. I booked in to a mixed dorm and ended up being the only girl. Sharing with 7 guys was certainly an experience.. They were also super nice though and I had to laugh when they all lined up at my bunk bed to introduce themselves. The hostel was fine, but the a/c wasn’t working and it was around 30 degrees over the weekend. I was pretty happy to check out and go to a hotel #yesiamaprincess
I spent the next 3 days exploring, meeting new people, eating and drinking. Long weekends are the the besttttttt.
Here are the must do’s of Budapest!
- Hungarian Parliament Building is absolutely stunning. It is the third largest parliament building in the world and oh so beautiful. You can take a guided tour or walk through there on your own. Or simple marvel at it from different city points
- Boat Party River Cruise – They don’t start until 11pm, are super cheap and everyone gets a bottle of champagne. It’s tacky but good fun and a nice way to cruise up and down the Danube river at night and see both sides of the river, Buda and Pest. Everyone is friendly and there to have a good time. I would recommend it!
- Budapest Thermal Baths– A cheap place to relax and one to tick of the list. However, the thermal waters when it’s already hot aren’t that enjoyable and if you’ve been to geothermal pools in oh I don’t know, let’s say… Iceland, then you’ll be really disappointed.
- Do you own walking tour of Budapest. They have organised ones but I met up with a friend who I met in Wales and we explored the city on foot for all of Sunday. We of course had to kick of the day with a decent coffee so I did some extreme Googling and stumbled upon Espresso Embassy.The coffee was amazing and I managed a hipster photo #winning
- On the walking tour we covered most of the city and went up to Fisherman’s Bastion and took in the views. It’s quite a cool set up, all built on a hill, there are cobble stone streets, shops and places to eat, and great atmosphere.
- Visit the ruin bars– People lose their minds over these bars. Phrases like ‘the coolest thing in Budapest’ and ‘Best bar in the world’ were thrown around. Yeah, they are cool and worth a look but it’s very much an Eat Street-meets-Alfred-and-Constance-meets-the-main-street-of-Nimbin kind of vibe.
- Escape the Room– I’ve now done 3 of these. 2 in London and 1 in Lisbon because one of my work colleague’s, Shaun, is OBSESSED and now has our whole team on the bandwagon. They are an awesome team building activity and a lot of fun & actually originated in Budapest. Sadly I ran out of time on this trip to do but would highly recommend it. I’m doing my fourth one in Brighton next month (When I say obsessed, I mean OBSESSED).
I also did some shopping in Budapest because a) It’s cheap and b) the shops are so much more organised, tidy and less crowded than London.
Food and alcohol is super cheap in Hungary. The traditional food is quite heavy but I managed to offset it with some fresh salads and thai soups. The places of note were:
- Rostenstein– A traditional Hungarian/Jewish restaurant. Ed and I went here after the thermal baths, so think beach wear with wet patches and as we walked in we saw it was a pretty upmarket restaurant with the waiters dressed in bow ties. Thankfully they were super nice and the food was great and well priced. Note to all the vegetarians: You will have a tough time in Budapest. They LOVE meat, and it’s the only country in Europe (other than France) where it’s legal to make fois gras and torture Geese so it’s widely available and cheap. Awkies. For the record, I didn’t order it! 2 mains and a couple of drinks each was around $40.
- Bors GasztroBar- An incredible cheap place for the best sandwich you will ever eat in your whole entire life. They also do soups. Rumour has it the owner used to be a Michelin Star Chef. I’d believe it considering it’s a sandwhich shop that’s rated the 4th best restaurant in Budapest on TripAdvisor. I had a pork and chorizo baguette ($4) and it tasted incredible (just a little on the rich and salty side).
- Pomodoro– An Italian place that came recommended and we had to wait 90 minutes for a table. The food was on the disappointing side but I’m going to let them off seems it was about 10pm before we ate.
- Eat Goulash and Ice cream- both widely available. I ate a tourist trap so paid more than anyone should for Hungarian staples.
Fun fact about Hungary…. It’s landlocked by 7 other countries. So if you are in search of a beach holiday… keep looking ;).
Have you been to Budapest? What did you love about it?