Earlier this month I spent a few days in Budapest. No major trip this year where I’m gone for weeks on end. Rather I decided to take a few short city breaks. Budapest was my second destination this year, the first being London and the final one being Rome. My Budapest trip was only 3 days long, but I still feel I got a good sense of the city. Today I’d like to share with you what I did while I was there.
View of Pest, from the Buda side near the palace
Budapest is a pretty affordable city to stay in. I booked an apartment via Booking.com called Central Apartment and it was great. The location was insanely convenient, close to two different supermarkets and a bakery across the street, as well as major transportation hubs and Fövám Tér, where one of the biggest food markets is located. Tourism has been booming these past few years, but if you want to you can easily avoid the crowds by taking a different side street.
Courtyard of my apartment building
I arrived in Budapest around 19.45 (I flew Wizz Air btw) and set off for the apartment straight away. I got some Hungarian Forint, got myself a public transport ticket and was bound for the city. You have to take a bus and then a subway to get into town btw. Buses are cheap. A one way ticket is 350 HUF and if you need to transfer you pay 530 HUF: just under €2. I unpacked an went to sleep early so I would be able to do loads on day one.
My hotel was near Gellárt Mountain and the Danube, so I walked the length of the river for a bit and went in search of Deák Ferenc Tér. Here, a ‘free’ walking tour would leave which would take you pretty much all around the city in 3.5 hours. It took you round to all the major highlights such as the Chain Bridge, the Palace and Mattias Church. Here’s an impression of some pictures I took on that walking tour.
St. Stephen’s Basilica
Chain Bridge from Pest side
Chain Bridge from Buda side
Already some glorious views of the Parliament during the walk. After the walk, I browsed around the Buda part for a bit and took this selfie. I had a Hungarian cake at a local restaurant and took the bus back downtown. I walked Andrássy Út (the Champs Elysee of Budapest) for a bit and then made my way back to St. Stephen’s Basilica. You pay 200 HUF to go inside the church. Going up to the top of the dome is another 500 HUF. That’s roughly €3.50 in total.
St. Stephen’s Basilica interior
The Holy left hand of St. Stephen
On top of the dome!
After the church it was time to rest my feet. I walked to the Danube river and found a boat tour I wanted to do. It cost 2100 HUF (€ 7) for a one hour boat tour with Dunayacht. It was nice to just sit and enjoy the view and the insanely good weather for a bit. These are some shots I took during the boat tour.
Bishop Gellárt on Gellárt Mountain
After the boat tour, I went into the shopping street, Váci Utca and browsed around for a bit. I found a German drugstore called Müller (German drugstores are everywhere by the way) and bought some beauty bits I couldn’t pack in my suitcase as I few with hand luggage only. Since I got a lovely sunburn, I also stocked up on some aftersun. I had dinner at the Hardrock Café, because I fancied a burger and that was the end of day 1.
View from Gellárt Mountain
Day 2 was a bit less touristy than day 1. I spent the morning on Gellárt Mountain. I took a bus closest to the fortress and statue and then just browsed around for a bit. I had a refreshing drink in the shade and then set foot to walk downhill. It was 31 degrees C that day, so I didn’t want to exert myself too much.
Liberty Monument near Citadella
Yes, I’m really here!
Gellárt Baths interior
After a short hike down hill, I walked over to the Gellárt Hotel & Spa. Budapest is renowned for their thermal baths and I knew I wanted to spend some time at one. I paid 5500 HUF to gain entry. Gellárt Baths has no time limit on how long you can stay and the price included a cabin to change into your swim suit. You can rent towels and anything else you may not have with you for an additional price.
As you can see in the picture above, the baths are stunning! I spent all afternoon lounging around in the different pools, sauna, steam rooms and had lunch at the spa as well. Around 5 PM I felt really tired and I went back to the apartment to change and have a nap.
But I still needed dinner! Around 6 PM I walked to the Jewish quarter. This district is the clubbing/ bar district of the city and I had heard there are some pretty cool places there to eat street style Hungarian food and so called ruin pubs. I had dinner at a place called Meat & Sauce and had this sandwich with dripped beef. Think pulled pork, only beef, saturated in a slightly spicy very tasty sauce.
I had more of a walk around the district and stumbled upon the Great Synagogue, which still happened to be open. The Great Synagogue is the second largest synagogue in the world. After that I strolled back to my apartment and called it a night.
Centrál Káféház interior
My final day was only half a day, so I spent that hunting for souvenirs and having a late breakfast at Centrál Káféház. Another thing Budapest is famous for are its coffee houses and a friend tipped me this place. It has a beautiful art nouveau decor, lovely tea, great service (some of the best I experienced in the city, to be honest, hospitality is something that most food places can still work on) and delicious french toast.
And that was the end of my short but very sweet trip to Budapest. I truly enjoyed the city and am glad I visited before mass tourism truly runs over the city.
What’s the last place you visited?