Hello sweet peas,
Two months ago I was in the beautiful city of Budapest and it was fantastic. Budapest is the capital of Hungary and has always been a tourist hotspot both in winter and summer. I went with three of my best gal pals and we had a blast, exploring the infamous thermal baths, indulging in a bit of culture on walking tours and visiting the important hotspots of the city. We were incredibly lucky with the weather, bearing in mind we went late January, with most days between 0 and -4 degrees. Of course, that also meant snow (!!) which brought back my Christmassy mood and Budapest just looked so picturesque with snow on the branches and buildings.
Flying from the UK, prices were very reasonable so we soon jetted off to Budapest for roughly £60 return flights and the prices in Budapest just continued to lower. It is such a cheap city with beer cheaper than water so it is definitely the place to have some fun. Working out the cost of money is always a small hassle especially with 410 HUF to 1 GBP when out shopping but at the end of the day, everything is so cheap money wasn’t really a problem. We stayed in a decent hostel in the centre of the city which meant we walked everywhere. We had looked into the public transport and different travel cards but I definitely don’t think anyone would struggle to walk around such a beautiful city.
Food-wise, there is a lot of goulash but it is so delicious that you just can’t help but have it nearly every night. If you’re big on trying local delicacies like me, then this is the perfect city for you with the majority of touristy and non-touristy restaurants providing an array of beef goulash, gipsy styled pork and wholesome soups. 100% I would recommend that you visit Bors gastro bar, even if you are only in Budapest for 12 hours because it was the best soup I have ever had in my life- almost Michelin star soup!!! Also keeping with the theme of local delicacies, you must try a Langos. It is a deep fried doughnut without the hole and can be filled with plenty of yummy fillings from cheese, bacon, Nutella and sugar galore. That, along with some mulled wine which we kept topped up on whilst exploring the city, was the perfect snack combination. There are so many good food places across the city, it would be a bore to name them all however, I will give a BIG shoutout to the teeny and quaint Darjeeling Tea Room where we ate breakfast most mornings and Fat Mamas which supplied great local beers and piping hot food! If you’re a coffee snob, check out Cafe Frei near the Szechenyi Baths for a worldly coffee experience. The coffees are labelled by bean continents of origin e.g. Africa, South America, Asia etc. and then all have fun character country names. My first coffee was so good that I had to try another! (plus the fact it was so cheap, I couldn’t find an excuse not to). To fulfil all your food fantasies, you must visit the Central Market Hall to not only see the locals buy their fruit, meat and bread but also to get some of the best food in town!
In terms of what to see and visit, there is plenty to do in Budapest. You can go all the way up the top of St Stephen’s Basilica and see some incredible views of the city. Luckily it wasn’t too foggy so we got some wonderful photos of the snowy city. The walk seemed like forever as the stairways got smaller and windier but it was so worth it. If you’re a student, remember to take your student card with you because at most large cultural exhibits and tourist attractions, you can get a student discount! You should also 100% visit Hero Square and the Castle Gardens. It seems like Budapest is one of those cities that looks just as grand in both rain, snow or shine so the weather should never ruin your trip. Over in Buda across the Chain Bridge is the Church in the Rock which is well wortha visit also. There are plenty of museums and walking tours to divulge in some history and culture. We took a fantastic free Communism walking tour across the city visiting Parliament, many different statues and interesting stories to go with it. We didn’t have a chance to visit the House of Terror due to building renovations which was a shame because I had studied about it in one of my lectures. That being, I will definitely go back in order to visit that museum.
Of course the most important thing you should do when in Budapest, is visit one (or more) of the famous thermal baths. We spent the entire day at the Szechenyi Baths, and it was bliss. Prebooked at our hostel, most places are very happy to book it for you, we skipped the queues and also booked a massage. It was so much fun; with 18 pools and 10 saunas, there is plenty to do. The 18 degree outside pool with jets and a whirlpool was great because all the steam produced, created a mysterious vibe around the pool as the day went on. The saunas really cleared my skin and I felt so healthy and cleansed. The best thing about visiting the baths was the massage I received- 30 minutes of being beaten up but the pain was so worth it. The baths aren’t very expensive at all and there are plenty across the city so take your pick! After a day of relaxation, you should spend the evening at Budapest’s infamous ruin bars in the Jewish quarter of the city. Good beer, good company, crazy vibes and Hungarian house music, I could have spent all night there. There is over 15 ruin bars but the most famous are Fogas Haz and Szimpla Kert- they are well wroth a visit. Unfortunately I couldn’t get any good photos inside because of the funky low key lighting so you’ll just have to visit them yourselves!
Budapest is definitely a 4 day city in order to get the most out of your visit. There is so much to do, so much to eat and so much to enjoy. I would love to visit in the summer as well because I think you could have a completely different experience of such an awesome city. My next adventure is to Tallin, Estonia and Helsinki, Finland with my boyfriend in a couple of weeks time. I am super excited to update you about my future travels soon.
Love Poppy x