Last week we booked a very last minute 3 night trip to Budapest (mostly to avoid Glastonbury envy) but also because everyone that had been couldn’t stop telling us how awesome it was, and they weren’t wrong! So after a 2 hour flight from Heathrow we arrived at the Atrium Fashion Hotel (which had a great central location) and were ready to explore the city! As we only had 2 full days we made like proper tourists and got ourselves a ticket for the Hop On Hop Off bus tours for 48 hours, a good idea if you want to know where the main sites are and don’t have too much time to stumble across them yourselves! So here’s 10 things that we loved about Budapest!
1. The Danube
It once separated the two cities of Buda and Pest until the 1800’s and even now each side of the river is quite different with Buda being the more tranquil escape from the bustling city centre over on the Pest side. You can get some amazing views of the city from the Buda hills including up at the Statue of Liberty point.
2. Thermal Spas
If you’re going to Budapest you have to try out one of the thermal spa water baths, we went to Széchenyi Baths which are the biggest and most popular, it is an amazing way to relax whether it’s in the heated outside pools or the inside Roman bath style ones complete with plenty of saunas!
3. Dinner at a Michelin-starred restaurant
There’s not too many places (especially in London) where you can eat at a Michelin-starred restaurant without spending more than you would in your local Nando’s but at the amazing Borkonyha that’s what we did, the duck and the seabass were amazing, as was the Hungarian wine!
4. Ruin Bars
Budapest’s night-life is all about the ruin bars, occupying formerly ruined buildings and usually built around a courtyard the bars have an eclectic mix of different music and styles, with a ramshackle feel to them, we went to Instant which is the biggest one, featuring over 20 different themed rooms that are wall-papered, graffiti-ed and furnished in every colour, we ended up staying until it was turning to daylight, so a sure sign the ruin bars the place to party in Pest!
5. Night time boat cruise
As part of our Hop on/Hop off ticket we could get on one of the night cruises that took us down the Danube as the sun was setting, Budapest is a city that looks magical at night-time with all of the buildings and bridges lit up and the lights dotted into the Buda hills, luckily it was a gorgeous summer evening!
There are plenty of places to get an amazing view of the city, especially when you cross over to the Buda side and head up to the highest point at the Statue of Liberty, the old castle ruins or the church!
Budapest has some stunning architecture that you can see around every corner on both sides of the river, the imposing parliament building sits on the riverbank and from taking one of the boats down the Danube you can get an awesome view! We were also impressed by the Basilica cathedral and the second largest Synagogue in the world, while over on the Pest side there is the Matthias church next to the old castle.
8. The market hall
The Central Market Hall is one of the largest and oldest indoor markets in the world and it’s impressive site! most of the stalls sell fresh produce and you can grab a traditional Hungarian snack on the upper floor!
9. Statues, lots of statues!
We didn’t get the chance to make it to Momento park which is home to giant statues of figures from the communist dictatorship but we still saw a lot of other statues in our 2 days in the city – ones of important political figures are dotted around and there’s also the monuments and horse statues at Heroes Sq. (where Michael Jackson filmed the video for ‘History’ no less!)
10. Ice cream!
Last but not least, Budapest could give Italy a run for its money in the Gelato stakes, there’s lots of street vendors selling every flavour you could dream of!…even more impressive is we paid about £1.50 for one of these giant cones!
Thank you Budapest! We’ll make sure to stop by again soon! 🙂