It’s been a while since I’ve written up a travel post! Bar a trip to Brighton, the last time I wrote up a proper travel post was actually all the way back in July last year when I went on a week-long girls’ trip to Malta. Since then I’ve visited Stockholm and Chamonix – but I decided to leave those out of the blog as Stockholm was only a 24hr trip, whilst Chamonix consisted of just drinking, eating and skiing – so in both cases, there wasn’t that much to really talk about. However, this time last week I was roaming around Budapest for the first time on the first full day of my 5 day trip. My old flatmate and I decided to take a short break there given we’ve never travelled away just the two of us, and although it was only a short holiday, it was more than enough time to really soak up Budapest.
For a while we were thinking about going somewhere sunny and beachy such as Spain – but we decided last minute to do something more cultural and completely changed our location from Southern Europe – to Central Eastern – as we’ve both always wanted to go to Budapest anyway. One big selling factor for Budapest is actually how cheap it is compared to London – you get so much more for your money. £1 is the equivalent of around 370 Ft (where Ft = Hungarian Forint), which makes it cheap as chips compared to what I’m used to living and working in the capital.
Your 4-5 Day Itinerary
In the past, I’ve been to certain countries where figuring out how to navigate their public transport system has become a chore. However, Hungary’s public transport system was so easy to understand. Travel from the airport to our Airbnb in Pest (yep, I was also mind blown to find out that Buda and Pest are actually two separate – but of course close – places), took around 1 and a half hours. I’d say we arrived around dinner time, and so tired from all the travel and typical flight delays, we decided that our first night would be quite a chilled out one, and chose just to go for dinner before knocking out.
On our first proper day there, we started with grabbing some brunch at a near by cafe (my friend tried the traditional Hungarian soup – ‘goulash’, whilst I was a basic b and had pasta), before heading over to the House of Terror. The House of Terror is a (very in depth) museum all about the fascist and communist regimes in 20th-century Hungary, where the building of the museum was actually where they would torture victims back in that day. I personally knew little to nothing about the communist regimes in Hungary and so it was very refreshing to get an insight from this museum. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t too great when we first got to Hungary (colder than England which was enjoying its hottest weekend of the year – typical), so for the rest of the day we decided just to explore our area just a bit that day (we ended up visiting the St. Stephen’s Basilica), plan out what else we wanted to see during our trip, take some cute photos (as cute as they could be anyway given the grey sky), and of course – we spent a lot of time pigging out on pizza, pasta and cakes for dinner.
St. Stephen’s Basilica
The next day we visited the ‘Central Market Hall’ Hungarian food market for our brunch given all its great reviews and promises of traditional Hungarian food. I have to admit – we walked away pretty disappointed and if you’re visiting Hungary, I wouldn’t recommend wasting too much time there. Whilst I got a mahoooosive hot-dog (which was oily and actually pretty sickening by the time I finished it), my friend picked up some hard rice and a dry slab of meat (which we were unable to identify). Needless to say we were not impressed. After the market we rushed away to enjoy a Budapest Parliament Tour – which I would 100% recommend. Whilst I can’t say that I was really listening to all the tour guide was saying, just taking in how beautiful it is was good enough to me. We spent the evening munching on burgers and also paying a visiting to Szechenyi thermal baths – this was probably my favourite part of the trip (because if you know me, you know I like to chill tf out), and what better place to chill in than what is basically an outdoor hot tub? Once it got a bit later, we decided to get a few drinks at some of the ruin bars nearby; these are always recommended as one of the must-dos if you go to Budapest.
The weather picked up again the next day so we chose that as our ‘exploring’ day over in Buda. But first – we opened the afternoon with a visit to the New York Café; my flatmate had spent the whole trip raving about it and how it was supposed to be the most beautiful café (they actually do call it ‘The world’s most beautiful café’), and I can’t say I was expecting much from it but I was thoroughly impressed. It most definitely didn’t look like the cafés we have here in London which tend to be best for their instagrammable coffees and brunches. We ended up spending a good amount of time roaming around the massive café afterwards and taking photos (along with a dozen other tourists). From there, we jumped on a bus into Buda where we visited their Castle Hill, which is the oldest part of the Hungarian capital. Whilst we were there we spent some time in Buda Castle, Matthias Church and lastly the Fisherman’s Bastion. We ended our final full day with a wine-accompanied river cruise along the Danube.
Special mention for our final afternoon has to go to Borkonyha Winekitchen – it’s a Michelin start restaurant in Pest that costs only the equivalent of maybe £35-45 per head (way cheaper than what you’d pay for a three course meal at a Michelin star restaurant over in London)! It tasted so damn good that sometimes I just stare at my photos of the food in awe. If you’re going to go – definitely splash out with a starter, some soup, a main and dessert – it’s so worth it and such good value for money. Also – book some days in advance, as they’re likely to already be booked up.
One thing I noted about Budapest is that it was also quite a romantic city (apparently the Paris of Eastern Europe), so I’d definitely recommend it as a trip for couples as well. Otherwise – if you’re looking to soak up some good culture, Budapest is a destination to consider.
Home now for quite a few more weeks before my boyfriend and I take Amsterdam for his upcoming birthday in May. So look out for that travel post next month. 😉