Well hello there!
Again, apologies for the lack of posts, life was far too busy before Budapest – but I’m back and I’ve actually got a few blog post ideas! Can I get a hallelujah?
So as you guys know, I’ve just had a little holiday in Budapest with my boyfriend, Joe. We had an amazing time – lots of great attractions, delicious food, and a bit of warmth and sunshine. I didn’t realise just how much I missed the sun until I stepped out of that airport – now for some of that in England please.
I’m going to do a couple of posts about our time there, but I wanted to do a little travel guide for Budapest first – a blog post with my recommendations, tips and memories. It won’t be a proper guide persue, just what I would tell a friend if they asked for some Budapest advice! You guys are my internet friends, so why not give you some tips and inspiration?
Who’s it good for?
- Couples – the city is very romantic. Lots of lovely restaurants and bars, beautiful attractions, romantic walks…I’d head here for an anniversary.
- A big group of friends – Budapest is very chilled, but also very social. I think this would be amazing for a weekend away with the girls or boys. Also, check out these beer bikes?! I kinda want a cocktail one for my future hen do.
- Dog lovers – Dogs. Dogs everywhere. And super cute ones, too.
Obviously we only stayed at one hotel so I don’t have anything to base it on – but I’d fully recommend Roombach. It’s a bloggers dream – bright decor, copper furnishings, kooky rooms, mini pain au chocolat at breakfast…need I say more? The staff there are so friendly too, reserving restaurants for you or giving recommendations, and this hotel is so close to the centre of Buda.
I’d say definitely book a transfer to your hotel when you book your flights – Easyjet is really good with this. But when you’re there? I’d say don’t get a taxi unless you need to. We were conned on our second day and paid a stupid price, which left us feeling pretty bitter about the taxis there. If you are going to grab one – make sure it’s not between 3pm and 7pm – this is when traffic is at its busiest.
The hop on hop off buses are pretty good if you want a couple of days of solid sightseeing. They’re around £16 for two days, and include a boat ride, a walking tour, and a night tour. We bought tickets but only actually got on a bus once – we had our 6 days planned out to the T and they just didn’t work with our schedule. But if you’re more relaxed with your days, they’re worth it! We went on the boat ride too which was awesome and worth it for us alone.
But my biggest recommendation would be to walk – the streets are beautiful, and full of quirky, boutique shops, restaurants and cafes that you’ll miss in a vehicle. Sometimes the walks are long – around 40 minutes to an hour – so it all depends on how much you like to walk, too.
If I’m honest, I loved every part of Budapest. It was such a chilled, happy place, with lots of beautiful attractions. However, my favourites that I think people just shouldn’t miss were:
- Gellert Hill – Such a beautiful walk, with luscious trees and stunning vistas overlooking the whole city. It might look like a long way up, but it really doesn’t feel like it. And when you get to the top? The Citadel and its surroundings are incredible. Also, look out for little lizards on the path!
- Parliament – The architecture is amazing. Like, seriously amazing. It’s such a grand place, completely symmetrical with lavish interiors. The outside is worth seeing alone, but if you fancy finding out more about what goes on inside, you can head in for a fascinating 45 minute guided tour. I hate tours that last hours – so this was fab.
- St Stephen’s Basilica – The architecture at St Stephen’s Basilicia is absolutely beautiful – so grand and intricate, and the inside is just as spectacular. It’s also really close to Danube bridge, as well as A La Maison and Gelarto Rosa (which I talk about in a sec!)
- Margaret Island – We didn’t get much time on Margaret Island, but I loved it all the same. Maybe it’s my love of being outside/parks, but I could just picture having a picnic right by the river in the summer – bliss.
- The Church district – The architecture was amazing here, St Matthias Church has a gorgeous mosaic style roof, and the interior is spectacular – definitely worth a visit. Fisherman’s Bastion is quite a short visit, but the views are worth the extra money.
Ah, the food. One thing Hungarians do very well is meat – it’s high quality, tender, and full of flavour wherever you go. Most restaurants have wicked vegetarian menus too, so don’t worry if you’re not a meat eater. Lunches are an easy affair – most attractions will have a kiosk with cheap rolls that taste pretty good. Here’s a few of my restaurant recommendations:
- Tunings Bar & Burger – so good, we went twice. If you love a big, meaty, gourmet burger – this is a great place to go. The potatoes are salty and thick with a sweet onion sauce, but the burgers are the main event. I had the Juicy – beef patty, blue cheese, grilled betroot, egg and betroot mayo.
- Mazel Tov – very instagram worthy indeed – this is a gorgeous bar and restaurant with hanging lights, danging plants and dainty seats. Kinda like an indoor garden. We went here for cocktails a few times, and they were really tasty. The Hendrick’s Spritz and Hugo I really recommend.
- A La Maison – Chocolate orange french toast. Need I say more? They have other flavours too, plus savoury dishes, pancakes, waffles…
- Seasons – One night Joe and I decided to find a restaurant we hadn’t looked up on Tripadvisor first – and we found this place. We were surprised when two amazing dishes came out – their duck and mash potato was amazing, and we loved that it all came with little different sauces etc. Just expect slow service.
- If you travel up to the Citadel, walk around the right hand side and you might find some market stalls. Find the cooked food stall and get yourself a potato rosti with beef stew – it was really good!
- Gelarto Rosa – The flavours here are really good (especially the salted toffee), and it looks like a rose! It’s so fascinating watching them make it, too.
- Ahoy! – If you’re a fun of kooky restaurants/cafes, you’ll love it here. The menu consists of a variety of lemonades in mason jars, milkshakes, and hot chocolates – and they’re super tasty. The decor is so cool too, it’s quite small but it’s on three, jagged layers, with nautical style decor.
- A Presto – Amazing pizzas for a cheap price! Only £6 for a huge pizza, garlic bread/pizza and drink.
A Few Unique Things:
- The Széchenyi thermal baths are certainly the more popular choice – we did pop in to see it and it’s very grand indeed. But we decided to dip in the pools at Gellert Baths instead. It’s much quieter and less touristy – with awesome Roman-style architecture and a nice selection of baths. The 36 degree baths were our favourite, and I may have almost fallen asleep…
- A38 – What could be cooler than saying you went to a gig on a boat…in Budapest? We went to see Frank Tuner play at this venue and it was awesome. Definitely see if there’s a gig you’re interested in when you’re visiting. It’s far away from the city centre though, so expect a long walk.
- The Escape Rooms – We didn’t go to these, but if you’ve heard of the new trend of escape rooms (where you’re locked in a room and have to get out using puzzles and riddles), Budapest is where it all began.
- Central Market – If you like seeing where the locals hang, take a little peek into the main market. It’s mainly stalls full of fruit, meats and sweets, and it’s where many hungarians go to get their groceries.
- The Zoo – when I asked Joe what he wanted to do on his birthday, I knew he would say the zoo. It’s quite far out (near Heroes’ Square), but it’s a good one – and I now have a new love for armadillos.
And there you have it – my tips and recommendations for anyone fancying a trip to Budapest. I don’t think I could rave about it more, but hopefully this gets you inspired and aching to see the city for yourself. Oh, and don’t forget to come back here over the next couple of weeks for my Budapest diaries!
Have you been before? Anything to recommend for when I inevitably go back? Keep me posted.