Last December I paid a visit to Hungary’s capital city with my boyfriend, Marcus, to celebrate turning 22! (queue taytay’s song). The city of Budapest is split by the Danube river, on one side is Buda and on the side is Pest. We stayed on the Pest side of the city which we found to be a great central location. Here is a an overview of what we did in our four days in this lovely city!
We wanted this to be a budget break, which meant that our flights weren’t at the best times. This resulted in us being VERY tired when we first arrived, so we decided to take a relaxed approach to discovering the city. Once we had found our hotel (which, by the way, turned out to be a building sight, no joke) and unpacked our belongings, we decided to take a walk across the river to the Buda side of the city.
We decided to take a walk up Gellert Hill in order to reach The Citadella, where we were expecting to get great views over the city, and they did not disappoint. At the top we celebrated the start of our Christmas holiday by enjoying some mulled wine and taking in the view.
For dinner we just went to one of the first restaurants we found on Váci street as were both hungry and tired! Then we decided to call it quits and have an early night so we could enjoy the next day more!
We started our second day bright and early thanks to having a good nights kip! We had a quick breakfast at Starbucks (I just can’t resist a Gingerbread latte) and then continue to the Chain Bridge. We then had a walk around the old part of Buda, starting with the Palace gardens. We decided not to take the Funicular but walk up instead. We then went to Buda Castle, where the views were lovely and we were very lucky as we had a clear and sunny day!
We then continued walking through the old town until we arrived at St.Matthias Church. I’ve seen a lot of churches in my time but the colour of the roof of this one was actually stunning! We continued and walked around the Fishermans Bastion.
After this we decided to take a walk to Margaret island. We didn’t quite realise how far it was, but I enjoyed the walk. I imagine it’s a lot prettier in summer time but it was still nice to just take in our surroundings and explore. For lunch we tried a Hungarian national dish, called Langos, which is essentially deep fried dough. I had it with cheese on, but there were lots of different topping that you could have.
On way back we walked on the other side of the river so that we could see Parliament up close. This also gave us the opportunity to see the memorial to those murdered during the second world war.
We spent our evening at the Christmas markets. We drank a LOT of mulled wine and tried some of the food that was on offer. My favourite was the traditional Hungarian Chimney cake which we watched being made. We had our covered in chocolate which made it extra yummy!
Day 3 –It was my birthday!!
For breakfast we went to Bluebird Cafe which was a little hipster style cafe hidden down an alley in the Jewish Quarter, which had a very extensive menu! I had the french breakfast which included banana bread, a croissant, some fruit and some orange juice.
Then we continued on our way to the Szechenyi baths. We had prebooked this and so just had to show our booking confirmation and we were in. We chose just to get a locker rather than a private cabin which suited us fine. We started exploring by going in the main outside pool, which was just as warm as a bubble bath!! It was nice to sit and just relax in the warm waters, the only downside was having to get out into freezing temperatures after!
In the evening we went ice skating on the outdoor rink in City Park, aka Varosligeti Mujegpalya. We had to pay for skate hire and for entrance to the rink, but I have never seen such a big ice rink! It was so much fun and there was no time limit on how long you stayed so we had a little break for some more, you guessed it, mulled wine! The only slightly scary thing was that there were no barriers so you could just skate off onto concrete, which thankfully I managed to avoid!
For dinner, I did a bit of research as I wanted to have a nice birthday dinner, which as a vegetarian can be hard to come by in some places. I decided on a place called Koleves Vendéglő, which was an old ruin bar which is now more of a restaurant. Although not strictly vegetarian, it had a fair few options for me which was a nice change! For starter Marcus and I shared a vegetarian tapas. For my main I had a vegetable gratin, and for desert a tiramisu. It was delicious and tasted really fresh, exactly what I wanted! and I would highly recommend to anybody.
After we decided to end the night at the most famous of ruin bars, Szimpla Kert. I know a lot of people think its overpriced but it was honestly so cool so I didn’t mind paying a premium. We also tried another Hungarian delicacy, in the form of a shot: Palinka (which by the way was disgusting).
We spent a few hours here drinking and taking in the atmosphere, The most bizarre thing that happened was that instead of a shot girl going round, there was a woman going round selling raw carrots for people to eat! Not being a massive fan of raw carrot but still feeling a bit peckish as we swaggered back to our hotel, I took it upon myself to buy a slice of pizza for supper! Perfect way to end my birthday!
We started off our day by going for a very fancy breakfast at a place called Central Cafe, a few minutes walk from out hotel, which was very nice.
We then made our way to the Central market hall to pick up a few souvenirs. On the lower level is food and drink, and on the upper floor is souvenirs and cloth. I picked up some Paprika, a fridge magnet (have you really been away if you don’t buy a magnet?) and some Palinka.
After, we walked to the House of Terror, which is a museum that describes the horrors that happened in Budapest during the Second World War. We decided not to rent an audio guide which proved fine as there were lots of sheets with information on written in English around the way. I would highly recommend this museum, although I may be biased, but I thought it was really informative and very well displayed.
For lunch we went to Karavan which was a little outdoor street food place, lined with vans full of different types of food, with plenty of veggie choices! I went for a cheese burger, which was literally a burger made out of Camembert! It was absolutely delicious! Marcus had a burger but instead of bread buns, it came with two langos, which he also says was good! I’d definitely recommend it for a quick, easy and yummy lunch!
To end our time in Budapest we decided to go to the Hard Rock Cafe. I had never been to one before but was very impressed with the sheer amount of food you got! I barely had any of my main due to the fact that we filled up on some nachos as a starter!
I absolutely loved my little festive getaway and had a perfect time! If you haven’t already been i’d definitely put Budapest on your list of places to visit!!