What a beautiful city Budapest is. When we were taking a taxi to our Airbnb, not to be shady, but I was surprised by how beautiful the city was. Lovely architecture, very clean and nice people. Here’s a run down on how I spent my 3 days.
We arrived in Budapest at midday and went straight to our Airbnb. The taxi from the airport cost us 6,800 forint between 4 of us and at this time the exchange rate was about 350 forint to 1 pound. All in all, it was pretty cheap between 4.
Our taxi driver was really lovely and rather dishy in a lothario kind of way. He taught us how to say thank you (cusi) and warned us not to be alarmed if we heard people saying pussy because in Hungarian it actually means kiss on the cheek.
Our accommodation was an absolute beaut. We stayed at in the 5th District of Budapest on Suto Utca which was super central to pretty much everything we needed. After we had settled in and did the obligatory Snapchat tour, we took to the streets to explore a little more. The main shopping street, Vaci Utca, was just around the corner from where we were staying so we went to do a bit of shopping. Then we went for food at this restaurant which I can’t remember what it was called but to be honest it’s really not even worth mentioning. It was one of those places you just end up because you are absolutely starving and as long as the price isn’t ridiculous you’re happy to make do. But the food was pretty average so I’ll delve a bit deeper into our better food choices a little later on.
If you only do one thing, do a cruise
After we had lined our stomachs we then headed to the meeting point for our wine cruise which we had purchased online for £26 each. It was called the Budapest Wine Tasting Cruise and we sampled 7 different wines during the cruise. Before arriving I had no idea that Hungary is home to 22 wine regions. (I’m sure by now you can tell I’m not really one to research my trip lol). I was a bit chilled out with this because I knew my friends had looked into things to do, hence I wasn’t really that motivated to look for activities but happy to just go with the flow.
So the cruise took off just after 7pm along the river Danube, separating Buda and Pest. I would definitely say this is a must for Budapest. And not necessarily to do the wine tasting one but there are 100s of sightseeing boats you can go on including dinner ones or just ordinary sight seeing boats to see the city from the river. Go for an evening one so you can see the sunset over the Buda hills. If you are however thinking of doing the wine tour I found that this was a nice little way to be introduced to Hungarian wine. For all my fellow wine lovers, don’t worry, those 7 servings are generous 😉
Don’t go to Peaches and Cream unless you plan on getting shitfaced
We docked from the cruise at 9pm and headed back to the apartment to prepare for the night time festivities. My advice is to stock up on alcohol during the day when the supermarkets are open. By the time we left our apartment to buy alcohol it was after 10pm and we were hunting down tabac shops and following strangers to unknown places (even though eventually we realised that there was one literally 5 minutes from where we were staying). We got there in the end eh. But for ease of life just get them during the day and so you’re all sorted for the evening. It was in the tabac that we bought Torley Charmant Doux which is now my new favourite sparkling wine.
We decided to head to Peaches and Cream, Hungary’s number 1 RnB club (not sure if that is self-entitled or not). I have stopped short here because I don’t even know where to begin with this place. First of all, entry is only 1000 forint and we arrived there at 1/1:30am. The music is aaaalright I suppose like it wasn’t the best in my opinion. I was dancing along and everything but I mean I’ve been on better nights out (namely in Milan, Italy – clubbing there was ridiculously fun). But yeah Peaches and Cream despite the online reviews was a bit of a let down. It was a major cockfest and the guys were super creepy, a lot of REALLY wasted people, some passed out on couches. It basically reminded me of a university party which 3 years later I have now grown out of. So yeah, not for me.
We left at 4 because some of the guys we were with needed to go to the airport to catch their flight home and the girls and I were ready to hit the hay. So we went back to the flat, ate our take aways, and went to sleep for the first time in 2 days.
Brunch at Á la Maison
Due to the level of fatigue from not having slept Friday night (we went out Friday night and went straight to the airport) we ended up sleeping until 1pm the next day. I know it’s a massive waste of a day in another city but please don’t judge us, we were tired.
As we didn’t want a repeat of the food we had the day before we researched (aka googled) brunch places in Budapest which returned a huge number of results all pretty much 4 stars and above. We ended up going to Á la Maison which was only a 10-minute walk from our apartment. The food was an absolute treat. I ordered the New York breakfast which came with French toast, eggs, tomatoes, bacon, hash browns, tea/coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice with minimal pulp.
If you decide to go here make sure you try some honey. Originally I was going to order the Los Angeles which comes with pancakes and maple syrup but they said they had run out of maple syrup and only had honey. The thought of honeyed pancakes just wasn’t what I had in mind but when I tasted the honey O.M.G it was the nicest honey that has ever tickled my tastebuds. I literally put it all over my French toast and on the bread that we had for the table and it was such a good addition to the meal. I’m gutted I didn’t find out what the honey was or even bought any so if you go let me know!
Carrying our food babies, we left the restaurant different, more jovial, and much less hangry women.
Next stop the thermal baths.
You gotta do a thermal bath
Now we did have a bit of a dilemma on which one to go to because the more famous and bigger one, Szechenyi Baths, was of course the one that people talk about but it’s also really crowded especially on the weekend. Instead we decided to head for Gallet. To get there we needed to get a tram so we decided to buy the BudaCard which gives you travel for 24hrs for just over 5000 forint and you get discounts on different sites and museums. This card didn’t end up being very beneficial for us because we really didn’t use it to its full potential, apart from getting 4 trams and a bus all of which had no inspectors. That’s not to say to jump the tram though, always buy a ticket because the fine I have been told is about 30,000 forint (around £80!) Ain’t nobody got time for that.
So we got to the Gallet baths and with our cards we got a discount so entry was only 4,200 forint. Towels can be rented there for 1000 forint plus a 2000 forint deposit which you get back once you return your towel.
We arrived at the baths at 6ish (they close at 8) so we chilled out in the 2 different baths. There was also an outdoor wave pool. Not sure what that was about but it was pretty cool and the water was cold. So if you find the thermal baths too much of a hot box you can head outside for a cool down.
Admire Budapest’s Lady of Liberty
On our boat cruise we had noticed this statue of a woman on a hill holding something that looked really intriguing (a leaf, doesn’t take much to intrigue me I tell you) and realised it was up the hill from the Gallet baths so we decided to head up the hill to watch the sunset. The walk up was a lot lol. You know it’s hard when at the bottom you’re all having big big conversation, laughing and joking around. Then as you start to get tired you begin conserving your energy by reducing conversation to a series of grunts, sighs and deep breaths to give your lungs a fighting chance. But our persistence was rewarded when we reached the top.
But our persistence was rewarded when we reached the top.
Dine at Hungarikum Bistro
After taking in Budapest’s Lady of Liberty and the sunset, we felt the need to try some proper Hungarian food. So once gravity dragged us down the hill we sat in front of the bridge with Google to assess the available food options and came across Hungarikum Bistro which had really good reviews. Some of the girls went for the set menu which included a goulash soup to start (traditional Hungarian dish), a duck leg main and Apple pie dessert. I decided to just go for the tenderloin steak with potatoes and sauteed vegetables and a bottle of Torley (wherever there is Torley I will be there).
The restaurant was really cute and quaint with live entertainment. The waiter bought us a traditional palette cleanser which is basically cubes of onion and garlic infused bread with some sour cream and paprika sprinkled on the top. After we were finished eating for the night our waitress bought us shots of Palinka which is basically the Hungarian equivalent of limoncella but it tastes like a tequila shot. But there are a number of different flavoured Palinkas. I tried the apricot one later which was much nicer.
Hang out in the Fritz garden
As we wandered back to the apartment at midnight we remembered the apartment manager telling us to visit the Fritz garden that was just across the road from us (literally like 200m) to try this drink which is basically rosé wine with sparkling water. So we went for a little drink here on Sunday night and left at 1 to go to bed.
Monday found us waking up reasonably early, mainly because we had a few things we wanted to get done, and we needed to check out before 11am. As our flight wasn’t until 9:50pm we decided to put our bags into a storage which only cost 870 forint for 7 hours. From here we headed to the central food market to have a snoop around and get some food.
Here’s a little tip: if buying souvenirs from here go to the shops upstairs at the back, with less footfall the prices for magnets and all that good stuff were half the price of the stands when you first come up the stairs. I initially saw magnets for 1000 each and by the time I walked to the back they were 300 each. Winning!
I do love a walking tour
With the food market securely under our belt we went back into town to do a free walking tour. The tour group initially looked massive but there were 2 guides so they split the group in 2 and I would say there were about 25-30 in each group. The walking tour lasted for 2.5 hours in which time we walked around both Buda and Pest visiting most of the main sites including Buda castle and the 19th century chain bridge. The tour ended in Fisherman’s Bastion with panoramic views of the city. The views were better from the statue of liberty however, the bastion is still a gorgeous place worth visiting.
After the tour we came back down to do a bit of souvenir shopping, went to grab our bags and then headed to vampiano for a quick bite to eat before hopping in a cab to the airport.
All in all, it was a really great weekend. The food was a treat, the place was beautiful and we just had a really good time.