Last April, my boyfriend very generously treated me to 9 days in Budapest for my 20th birthday. We had heard such amazing things from our friends about the city and thought we’d pay it a little visit. After completely failing to learn Hungarian before we went (it’s seriously so hard?), we packed our bags and with that, we were off! While we were there, we pretty much did everything one could possibly ever want to do when in Budapest. I took extensive use of various online travel blogs and Tripadvisor to make sure we made the most out of our 9 day trip there.
So, if you’re thinking of taking a trip yourself, here are some personal highlights:
Boat Cruise: One day we decided to take a trip down the Danube river, the river which splits up Buda and Pest. We went with a company called Legenda and the cost of the trip was around £10 (3900 HUF) for an adult. For that price, you get a drink (wine, beer, soft drinks), a tour for an hour or so and an optional 1 hour stop off on Margaret Island (which we opted for). If you have a spare 3 hours free in your day, I would definitely recommend the trip!
St. Stephen’s Basilica: We were lucky enough to have this round the corner of our AirBnb flat. To the best of my knowledge they ask for a donation before entering of around £1, and you can pay around £3/4 to go to the top and look out at the vantage point – which we decided against in the end. It’s the most beautiful example of architecture we saw there by far and a definite must if you’re ever in the city!
Heroes’ Square: We accidentally discovered this part of Budapest by chance when we were having a stroll after going to the House of Terror. It included a massive but very tranquil park which was really nice to have a walk round, a little lake which you can take a 30 minute pedal boat ride around for around £4 and some beautifully historic buildings. It was a great way to spend a very chilled 2-3 hours! It’s also very close to Budapest Zoo if that’s a bit more up your street. (However, we went to the Zoo on another day and was less than impressed with the conditions they keep the elephants and giraffes in – they didn’t seem to have a lot of room to move around in so I personally wouldn’t recommend it)
Thermal Baths: After days of persuasion, I finally convinced Jake to go to one of Budapest’s many public thermal baths. However, I wanted to go off the beaten track and try somewhere a bit more “local” and a little less “tourist”. After about 30 minutes scrawling the internet, I found one which was attached to a local hospital. My travel ethos is, if it sounds and looks dodgy, it’s probably great. The one I found was called Vali Bej and was actually used by the patients of the hospital in the morning and then opened up to the public in the afternoon. Once you’ve maneuvered your way through the hospital and found where you need to go, it’s very impressive. It was recently renovated and is beautiful inside and very modern. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take any pictures inside, but I have linked to their TripAdvisor above if you wanted to have a look. This bath was very quiet compared to the other ones in the city! For the price (I believe it was around £6?), you also are able to use their saunas, steam room and swimming pools.
Hungarikum Bisztró: It seems bizarre to be recommending one restaurant in particular on my blog but it was amazing. After another long TripAdvisor hunt and booking a table well in advance (this place seems to book up very quickly), we took a trip to the well-reviewed Hungarian Bistro. It’s on a street with pretty much nothing else When faced with the menu, it was overwhelming. We didn’t know what anything was so we thought we just had to blind-choose. But, to our surprise, the waitress brought over a tablet which had pictures of every single dish! They had a 3 course set menu for around £12/£13 or you could individually choose your meal like we did. I opted for Langos (fried dough with sour cream and cheese – sounds hideous, tastes amazing), duck leg with mash potatoes and an apple pie. While eating all of this, an old Hungarian man played the piano to us and the other 12 or so tables.
Gellért Hill and Citadella: Even though it only stands at around 235m tall, Gellért Hill felt a lot taller than it actually was. Let’s just say, there was sweat and profuse panting. Perhaps it’s just a sign of my sincerely deteriorating health? Besides the struggle, the view at the top was beautiful. Even though it was cloudy and rainy, you could still see all over Budapest. Well worth the hike just for the photo at the top. Although, make sure to avoid the vender at the top, who was charging around £5 for a Coca-Cola – it was a strong decline from me.
Although Budapest offers many amazing attractions, such as the National Hungarian Museum, Parliament, Central Market, Buda Castle – I would honestly be here all day. I hope this blog post has perhaps given you a bit of inspiration for your trip to Budapest and I hope I didn’t bore you.
See ya x