Back in October (yes, I know this post is mega late!) myself and the Hubby went for a 3 day trip to Budapest for our wedding anniversary. We went with no preconceptions of what to expect and we were so pleasantly surprised – we both fell in love with this eclectic, vibrant city – imagine Shoreditch in London on a larger scale without the annoying hipsters and you are part of the way there with Budapest. I can see this place becoming a huge destination in the future so if I was you I’d book your tickets sooner than later!
The flight from London is around 2hours and 30mins and airlines such as Ryan Air fly there daily making it the perfect destination for a quick weekend or even mid-week city break. Also the airport isn’t far from the city centre – around 20 minutes in a cab costing you approx. £20 (or 6000-8000 HUF) which is a flat rate making it super easy. You can also get public transport (here is useful link with loads of info!).
Where to Stay
We decided to stay in the Corinthia Hotel in Budapest which was just stunning! We paid for the extra executive club upgrade giving us breakfast and access to a little lounge which served food and drink for free throughout the day – it was worth it as was the perfect place to sit and relax and read after a long day of exploring! The bedrooms are also gorgeous and although fairly close to the city centre (your around a 15/20min walk to the river front) it is lovely and quiet. There are also some gorgeous restaurants on site which come up as some of the best places to eat (if you don’t mind spending a little bit more). The big selling point of this hotel was its gorgeous pool and spa area – offering a range of treatments or just a space for lying by the pool and relaxing it is not to be missed – its gorgeous!
Things to See
What I loved about Budapest is that there is a lot to see but also you could just go and take in the views and food and vibe too without feeling like you’ve missed out on a lot! I can recommend a visit to see the Hungarian Parliament Building – its gorgeous in the day but I think it’s extra special at night when it is all lit up – just beautiful! There is also a great range of places to eat and drink in that area so perfect to see on a romantic stroll back to your hotel!
It is also worth taking the funicular up the hill to see Buda Castle – you get some breath taking views across Budapest making it worth it just for that or if you are an art lover it is now an art gallery which you can wander around at your pleasure. You can also walk up the hill if you are feeling energetic – we walked down through the grounds which was lovely!
If you fancy walking around some greenery then take a visit to Margret island based right in the middle of the Danube river it is now a stunning park with a few of the buildings from the old monastery still standing. It also has outdoors swimming pools if your visiting in summer and a great stand which sells the local delicacy Langos (more on that below!!)
If like us the weather isn’t great and you need a bit of shelter or if your a lover of visiting different churches then St Stephens Basillica is free to go in and walk around – it is beautiful inside with gorgeous domes. It also holds St Stephens mumified right forearm and hand – random but true!
You can also visit the Synagogue in central Budapest – sadly it was a Budapest national bank holiday and it was closed but from the outside it looks incredible and is on my list for when we decide to go back and visit!
As with most places I can also recommend a bus tour to take you around the city, it takes you to other places you may wish to visit including the UNICUM distillery (their national liqueur!) and to where you get visit Fishermans Baston if you should wish!
Where to Eat
Wow where to even start – we ate so much delicious food when we were there!
If you are looking for a quick stop off while walking around and fancy a sugary pick me up then I can’t recommend Box Donuts enough – just across from the train station it offers warm drinks and square donuts in SO many flavours – my favourite was the apple and cinnamon but the crème brule was also delish!
Also for sweet treats and also light bites then Vintage Garden is worth a visit – we picked up some macarons which I would rival the best in Paris! The décor is also so sweet and fresh – I loved it.
Also for those cat lovers out there the Budapest cat café was a random find which brought me a lot of joy! Not like the UK version you can wander in and grab a seat and enjoy cakes, tea and sandwiches with some furry friends – what I loved is they were all rescue cats and by the looks of things had a lovely life!
We sadly didn’t get in to the New York Cafe due to a huge queue but we did take a couple of sneaky pics of the ceiling – it looks gorgeous and if you’ve got the time to wait I would just for the surroundings!
If you’re a lover of authentic street food then you have to stop by and get some Langos. This light fried salted dough is then covered in sour cream and cheese and then toppings of your choice – I went for spicy sausage and red onion. I think this as simple as it is was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten – its so naughty but Is delish! I can imagine on the way home from the bars or even the next day when nursing a sore head this is perfect – a must eat if your visiting!!!
For something more substantial we head to instragram heaven in Masel Tov in the Jewish quarter of the city. This place serves Lebanese food with a Jewish twist – the vibe is amazing (honestly – it’s Instagram goals) with lots of real plants and the food and service doesn’t let it down. I had the special – homemade pastrami on rye sandwich while the hubby had shwarma – both were delicious and at a reasonable price – can’t recommend it enough!!
If you’re looking for something a bit fancier for a special occasion then head to Bistro Fine. We went for our anniversary dinner and it didn’t disappoint. It had some traditional Hungarian dishes (goulash soup which was delicious) mixed with modern classics using fresh, seasonal ingredients, I enjoyed a pumpkin soup and then pumpkin risotto with a panko stuffed pullet breast – it was so rich and delicious. The service is great and the interior boasts exposed brick and metal for an industrial but cosy vibe.
If you’re looking for a place to grab a drink you really are spoiled for choice and I could add loads here but my favourite was the wine bar Doblo – with arched windows with tiny booths, plenty of seats at the bar and lots of exposed brick and dusty wine bottles and candles this is cosy personified. They also have live music every night which is such a treat. If you are there over a weekend get there a bit early to get a seat – but if your happy standing and taking in the vibe with the locals you should definitely do it! The perfect way to end an evening!
So those are all my Budapest city guide tips and I hope it inspired some of you to book a ticket – you won’t regret it I promise!