Budapest Travel Blog
This first blog post of 2018 is starting on a real high note because after 3 years of having Budapest on my bucket-list I finally got to visit the city I’ve been dreaming of. The danger of bucket-list destinations is that when you build up so much hype in your head reality can disappoint. Budapest however exceeded my expectations and if you follow me on Instagram I don’t think you’ll be surprised that I pretty much fell in love with the city. If you’re a travel blogger the photo opps alone will make you want to go and if you’re just looking for a fun weekend away keep reading, you’ll be convinced, trust me.
When travelling I get so much of my inspiration from travel blog posts and travel bloggers and Budapest was no exception! I love getting insights from people who have visited the city and know the best places to visit and this trip was based on blog posts, recommendations from friends and Instagram posts that grabbed my attention. So I hope this Budapest blog post helps you to start planning your own trip. Budapest is so doable on a budget, as you’ll see but equally if you had money to spend you could make this guide more luxurious!
Budapest : the basics
How to get there?
We flew with Aer Lingus from Dublin direct to Budapest, Ryanair also have flights so between the two you can find some good deals. The flights weren’t the cheapest compared to other destinations, but the cost of accommodation and food in Budapest balances it out. Flying in January, low season also meant we avoided the summer prices we can get pretty costly so I’d recommend planning this trip in advance to get the best deals.
From the airport take a minbud – its a direct shuttle service which costs less than €10 per person each way and drops you direct to your hotel. Its super stress free and you’ll only make max 1 or 2 stops along the way to let other passengers off.
Where to stay?
There is a lot of choice when it comes to accommodation, we stayed in the Atrium Fashion Hotel which was good value, central and the staff were lovely. It also included breakfast which I always appreciate because it makes it much easier to start a day of exploring. The one issue was that the rooms face onto the atrium and you cant open the window so the rooms get quite hot. We visited in January, the coldest month, and were too hot so I’m not sure its the best choice for a summer stay.
Hungary uses the forint which is about (check the exact rate) 300ft to €1 or 3000ft is €10. I never actually had to take out money or use my card because my boyfriend (who clearly didn’t listen to me telling him the exchange rate a million times) took out way too much money so we had cash for the entire stay (and some to exchange back at the end). I’d recommend only taking out as much as you need because you lose out when you exchange back. I also just signed up for a revolut card after reading The Wander Womens travel tips. Apparently its really good to use in a country that uses a different currency, I’ll be testing it out soon so I’ll update you then!
Budapest Travel Blog : 5 Day Guide
Day 1 Budapest Castle and the Fishermans Bastion
On our first day we headed straight down the Danube, its where all the major sites are and after seeing so many beautiful photos I needed to see this area first. Start out at the chain bridge and cross the river to get over to the Budapest Castle. This is a beautiful castle located at the top of a hill, the best views are from the Chain bridge. To get to the top you can take a funicular (€6 return) or its a simple 5 minute walk up the hill (free). We didn’t go in to the Castle itself – the exterior and the view seemed to be the main attraction.
From the castle you can stroll down to the Fishermans Bastion which I absoultely adored. It was beside a beautiful church and the Fishermans bastion is honestly just stunning. (Instagram worthy spot, see the pictures above <3).
For lunch we stumbled across Zing Burger which was so good – it’s a simple menu – burger and chips but it was so good and only €9 for a burger, chips and lemonade. They have a few locations around Budapest and if you like a good burger check out Zing.
For dinner we found a small sushi place called Oishi Sushi that was brilliant value, so good that we ordered way too much. We got it to take away but they have a few seats and you could definitely sit in.
Day 2 Szechenyi Baths
After spending the previous day exploring a relaxing day at the baths was heaven. Budapest is famous for its thermal baths, there’s a few to choose from, we went to the Szechenyi baths which are the largest with 17 pools. Its €18 for an adult for a day and you can stay as long as you want. Included in the ticket is a locker or a cabin – definitely get the cabin. Its your own private changing room where you can leave your stuff all day.
Inside are lots of different sized baths and pools as well as steam rooms and saunas. However the most impressive part was the outdoor baths (pictured above), these were amazing. There’s two large baths and one swimming pool. They’re heated by hot thermal springs and the temperature when we were there was 28 degrees Celsius. Outside it was 12 degrees, so getting into the hot bath was heaven. Going to the baths in the winter months is a fantastic idea, we spent nearly four hours just relaxing, mainly in the outdoor baths. Its a great excuse to leave your phone behind and take an actual break. (** Instagram Reality Check: To take this photo we had to get our phones from the cabin, run out to the freezing cold, take photos and run back in and leave our phones back haha)
Summer bath parties are well known and I can only imagine what they’re like, I may have to return in Summer to find out!
Recommendations: Bring a towel, bathrobe and flip flops. We only brought a towel each and were pretty freezing after a while, we also didn’t get the memo about the flip flops so running out to the outdoor pool wasn’t very pleasant with the freezing cold ground.
For dinner we headed to Gozsdu which is a courtyard with lots of restaurants which was recommended to us as a good spot for dinner. We choose 4Bro Downtown Bros Kitchen after being enticed in by the decor. It was a cool place with more fancy-ish food at good prices. Our meal was delicious but if you don’t like rare meat you mightn’t be a fan. Its a good place for a more ‘date night’ meal and the desserts are fab.
After dinner we made our way to Szimpla Kert which is a ruin bar about 5 minute walk from Gozsdu. Szimpla is probably the best bar I have ever been to. It was just so quirky, cool and super relaxed. There was a mix of all ages and people from all over. You’ll also find a bar within it to suit you whether you’re more into cocktails, wine, craft beer or just cheap pints for €2. If you’re in Budapest you HAVE to visit Szimpla, its a difficult place to explain so really worth visiting to find out for yourself.
Day 3 Budapest Parlament and Danube Wine Tasting Cruise
We had heard about the terror museum and decided it would be the one museum we would visit. Although it was insightful, the museum lacked explanations of what each room was which meant that we didn’t understand what each part of the exhibition was about. There was lots of information about different events but it was really up to you to try figure out how everything fit together. My boyfriend loves history but even he found it difficult to fully understand.
After the museum we headed to the Parlament which is seriously impressive! To get the best views of the Parliament you’ll need to cross the river or get a cruise (See below). Its such a huge building that when you’re up close to it you don’t get the full picture. We didn’t visit the inside as the queue was just too long but its a nice area and I would recommend visiting (even the outside) because it’s really beautiful.
For our 3rd night which was a Saturday I had booked a wine tasting cruise as a Christmas present to my boyfriend and it was one of the highlights of our trip! I’m going to do a separate review on that next so be sure to check that out.
Day 4 Foodie Sunday
Sundays in Budapest are better than some other countries, in France everything closes and I was afraid Budapest would be the same but there was actually lots open. If you want to see Szimpla in the daylight (you should!) or if you’re a family or just really don’t like bars at night it has a farmers market on a Sunday. You can buy veg, cheese, meat etc. and they even do a brunch. You get to see how quirky the place is in the daylight.
Beside Szimpla there’s a food truck street which is supposed to be good, but unfortunately is closed until March. However if you want to try a seriously good sandwich and don’t mind waiting for a few minutes (it’s worth the wait) try Bors Gaztro Bar, their sandwiches are something special. We got the pulled pork and it was one one of the best sandwiches I have ever had – and its only €3/4. Its just a few doors down from Szimpla and has brilliant reviews on TripAdvisor.
Or if you want to try something a bit different try a Langos from Langosh, which is just a few minutes walk from Szimpla. Langos is a deep fried dough usually served with Garlic, sour cream and cheese. Beware if you get this it is huge! It only costs about €2 but still one each is wayyy too much. I did see sweet ones in the Market (see below) the next day and I think I would have preferred that.
Because I knew we were doing the wine tour the day before I hadn’t really planned much for the Sunday which was a bit of a mistake because I woke up feeling fine! Sunday could be a good day for the baths although they are a bit (a few euro) more expensive at the weekend and apparently more busy.
Day 5 The Great Market Hall
Our flight wasn’t until late evening so we had most of the day to explore. We got the tram to the Great Market Hall and I’m so glad we did. Firstly getting the tram, which you’ll see all over the city was a fun experience – we went the wrong way, couldn’t validate our tickets… but it was fun nonetheless haha. The market hall is huge and sells everything from fruit and veg, meat, souvenirs and hot food. If you plan on getting souvenirs they are cheaper here. There was loads of choice for hot food, including langos and goulash so lunch time is a good time to come. We also found a stand selling every type of strudel which was great to finally try.
If you have forint left over at this stage there are lots and lots of exchange offices in the city, don’t wait until the airport where they will rip you off. We found an office that had good reviews, do look at the reviews online because some were a big rip off.
Budapest: extra tips
Travel tips: If you plan on using public transport get 10 tickets for 3000 forint (€10), its good value and means you don’t have to keep going to the machine. You can use them across the metro, tram and bus. Make sure you have a ticket ( a validated ticket) for the metro because they are very strict and you will get stopped multiple times!
Also if you want to try chimney cake – you cant get it from lots of the metro stations for 300 forint (€1) compared to 2000 forint (€6) in more touristy places.
If you want to see more Budapest travel blog posts check out My Suitcase Diaries which was a big help to me – especially the wine tour post – you have to do it!
I have another big trip coming up this month so make sure you’re following me on Instagram to find out where I’m headed (It’s an exciting one!) Find me @indieandlily