Following on from my last travel post, Paris in a weekend, the second part of our trip was to spend the following 4 days in Budapest, Hungary. I knew nothing about Budapest before we went, and I’m glad I didn’t do any research. Sometimes if I do too much research on a country before I travel there I get too overwhelmed and focus too much on ticking everything off my list rather than enjoy the moment.
If you’re looking for a budget friendly city escape in Europe with a 2 hour max flight time from London, then look no further. I believe Budapest to be an up and coming city which is why it is so cheap compared to many other European cities.
I hope that my time in Budapest inspires you to visit this wonderful city.
We arrived in Budapest late afternoon from Paris. The easiest way to get into the city from the Airport is to take the bus. There are 2 buses you can get so make sure you get the right ticket for the right bus. Bus 200E departs every 10 minutes or so whereas bus 100E departs every 30 minutes. 100E is most likely the bus you will need to get (like us). The buses get very full very quickly so make sure you’re ready to squeeze on. When booking your ticket on the automated machine, make sure you press the ‘airport transfer’ option as this is the only ticket 100E will accept (we learnt this the hard way by purchasing he wrong ticket…). The bus stop you get off coming into Budapest most likely will not be the same bus stop you’ll get the bus back to the airport from so make sure you check in advance the bus stops and times.
We stayed in Avantgarde Apartments which is in the heart of Budapest. It is surrounded by bars and restaurants so you won’t be stuck wondering where to eat every night. Another bonus is that it is across the road from the oldest ruin bar in Budapest, Szimpla Kert.
We were starving by the time we arrived into Budapest so around the corner from were we stayed was a burger bar called Epic Burger. I wouldn’t rate this too highly, I felt that the burger to bun ratio just wasn’t right, there was wayy too much bun than burger and just not enough sauce.
We were eager to get out and start exploring after our long refreshing sleep. We made the mistake of going out early and found out the hard way that nothing is open until after 10am. So Maccas breakfast it was (and it was like this every day there).
Our first stop for the day was Fishermans Bastion. Don’t forget when you’re walking up the hill to get there to look down the little street, some are quite beautiful.
At the Fishermans Bastion you can get magnificent views of Budapest. Just a short way away you can go to the Hospital in the rocks which was constructed as a nuclear bunker during the cold war. There is a small fee to get in but is definitely worth having a look.
Next stop was to walk over to the Buda Castle which was just a short walk away. You can either take the cable car up to the top or you can do what we did and walk up. It is steep at some sections but it’s nice to get a little exercise. From here, again the views of Budapest are spectacular.
After quite an exhausting day it walking around, Buda Castle and Fishermans Bastion, it was time to head back to our apartment to have a quick nap. We crossed arguable the most famous bridge in Budapest being the Chain Bridge. This is a wonderful bridge during the day but at night is when it really’ shines.
For a late lunch one we got back to our apartments, we decided to check out the Karavan Street Food across the road. You’re spoilt for choice here as they really do have every cuisine you can think of. This place gets super busy at night. It’s probably the best spot to get your late night feed after a night of drinking.
For dinner we decided to treat ourselves and go on a dinner cruise. After much searching we booked through Legenda. This company was fantastic, easy directions to the pier for boarding the boat and it was a wonderful experience. We were lucky enough to be seated upstairs in the glass topped area which made the whole experience even more magical. The only downside was it was a bit cold but wow! There were only 3 other tables up there with us so it was a much more intimate and romantic experience. This dinner is a set 3 course menu, we splurged and ordered a bottle of wine because why not.
I highly recommend adding this to our Budapest itinerary. Being able to see the city from a whole other angle and at night was magical.
Our second day was much quieter and not as busy as the first so we took out time. When we eventually made it out of out apartment we went to Gerbeaud Cafe. My my it was not cheap but after reading so many reviews online I had to drag my boyfriend there. I was a bit worried being such a fancy place and we were clearly under dressed that we wouldn’t be allowed in but you can definitely walk in off the street. The cakes are delicious but a little sweet. I highlight recommend ordering Esterhazy Slice, it was incredible and I still have dreams about it, we also ordered a Dobos Kehley (middle) and a cafe late (right)
After our little treat we set off to the most famous baths in Budapest, Szechenyi Thermal Bath. From our apartment this was at least a 40 minute walk so make sure you have comfy shoes. The baths are very busy so don’t expect to be alone in any of the pools. You also might find you have to walk around a bit before finding a pool that you can fit in. I recommend taking thongs (flip-flops for all you non Australians) and a towel (take 2 if you like, 1 to carry around the pools with you and the other for when you dry off at your locker). You will have to hire a locker to keep your stuff but these are very secure. I don’t have any photos of the actual baths as I kept by phone in my locker and I’m glad I did. I didn’t want to be one of those people who took there phone just to get the perfect shot in the outside bath. It’s just another thing you have to worry about keeping track off, so take some advice and leave the phone in the locker and just enjoy your time there.
After a few hours at the baths we made the journey back to our apartment and had yet another nap. It’s actually so tiring just sitting in a thermal bath all day…. We headed (as it’s increasingly becoming a tradition) to the Hardrock Cafe for our last dinner meal in Budapest. Standard, yet expensive Hardrock food as usual.
Our flight didn’t leave for London until the afternoon so I started googling things to do in Budapest that wasn’t too time consuming. You may have heard of a little place called the New York Cafe? I hadn’t until now and boy am I glad I did. I dragged by boyfriend there and we were lucky enough to get a table without booking. If you do plan on going then make sure to book in advance. Not long after we got there the que for a table was getting rather long. It is a very fancy place so put on a nice top and jeans before heading there so you don’t feel too out of place. There was a live band playing classical music which made the whole atmosphere so calm and peaceful. I should also mention it is crazy expensive so make sure you have some $$ spare.
After our little splurge it wasn’t long before we were back on the plane home, back to reality, back to London.