Budapest “The Paris of the East”
I am just back from an amazing city break in Budapest. I spent three days in the picturesque city of Budapest and I can honestly say that it really is a hidden gem! Ever since last year, I have been seeing things popping up for Budapest, After returning home from Dubai earlier this year and having the post-holiday blues I decided to do some research and I booked a trip to Budapest. In this post, I am going to share everything from where I stayed to the cute places I explored. I also put together a Youtube travel Vlog too for you to check out as I think a video shows it in its full glory! I will leave the video at the end of the post.
Where we stayed and getting there
The city of Budapest is divided by the river Danube, one side of the river is Buda and the other side is Pest. When researching Budapest I noticed that a lot of people stayed on the Pest side. However, We decided to stay on the Buda side as it looked more picturesque and seemed to be quieter. We stayed in the castle district and we stayed in the gorgeous Maison bistro and hotel. I found Budapest to be great value for hotels. Compared to the popular cities of Paris and London the value for money was amazing.
I flew with Ryanair from Dublin and it took just under three hours. I had researched getting a bus/train from the airport but the taxi was cheap enough so I got a taxi from the airport to our hotel in Buda. Like with all big city airports, make sure you get a taxi from the kiosk outside as there are unregistered rogue taxi’s. The taxi rank was easy to find and was located outside the arrivals terminal. It took us roughly twenty minutes to get to the hotel from the airport.
Fun things to do
Tuk Tuk tour
I love to do a tour of a city but I am not a big fan of the big bus tours and I like to do something different, so I was delighted when I stumbled across a tuk-tuk tour on budapesttuktuk.com for €54. This included a tour of the city in a tuk-tuk with a tour guide sharing their knowledge of the city. The price also included the boat tour which was handy as we went on the boat after the tuk-tuk. The tour brought us all around the city and it was great to find our bearings. If you only have a short time in the city then I highly recommend this tour. Our tour guide was really friendly and knowledgeable. We stopped at the Opera house, Heroes square, explored ruin bars in the Jewish district and took in the breathtaking views at Citadel.
When on a city break I tend to walk everywhere, I stumbled across the cutest spots whilst walking. The castle district was in full bloom and I was delighted I got to see the cherry blossom trees in full bloom. The streets of the castle district reminded me of Bruges, colourful buildings and gorgeous architecture. It had a really relaxed vibe and there was also some cute cafes and restaurants if you wanted to stop for food. We didn’t use public transport as we found it easy to get around by foot, there is a really good bus service and also trams.
Buda Hill Funicular
I was so excited to go on the Funicular, I had read it in a travel book and it was on my list to do. The Funicular was a short walk from our hotel. It cost 1800huf for a return ticket or 1200huf one way. I recommend seeing it from both angles and getting the return ticket. You get a great view of the city! The only downside is that it only lasts a few minutes. I could have stayed on it for ages. So fun!
I was dying to row a boat after seeing it in my travel book. There is a lake just behind heroes square and in Winter it is a giant ice rink and in Summer it becomes a lake and you can row boats on it. This was really fun and you get to take in the scenery of the castle. It was roughly €5 for 30 minutes and you could get a pedalo or an actually rowing boat.
Budapest is known for having amazing thermal baths so we couldn’t come all the way without visiting one. The most popular one is the Szechenyi baths. We headed to this one and it was €20 for admission and a cabin, that was weekday prices, the prices may differ for weekends. Now, I will be honest, I was glad I visited the thermal baths but there was a lot of hairy men! a lot of speedos! I had forgotten how liberal European men are with their nakedness lol! I did get into the baths and I found them really relaxing and we left feeling really chilled. These baths are a must see and I would recommend them but be warned of the hairy men! ( apologies if I offend any hairy men ). Another popular spa is Gallert, I would like to try this next time I visit.
Vintage Garden cafe
I got a recommendation to go to the Vintage Garden cafe and I was not disappointed. It is on the Pest side and a 10-minute walk from the river. It is very Insagrammable, it has faux cherry blossom trees and little wooden shaped houses inside. It is gorgeous! We just stopped and had some coffee here but I did see people eating and the food looked gorgeous.
Ruin bars are a must see and worth popping in and having a drink. We stopped in Szimpla Kert which is one of the popular ones but you can search on google maps and find other ones. A ruin bar has its own charm. It isn’t my style of bar but I did like some of the decor. A ruin bar was once a derelict building that was made safe and turned into a bar. You can see graffiti on the wall and the quirky decor throughout. There was even an up-cycled car and bathtub in the one we visited.
Food & Drink
We found eating out to be really reasonable and found the local beer to be really cheap. I have no restaurant recommendations but we did go to Jamie Oliver’s Italian restaurant one of the nights and this was fab! It is located in the castle district and it was really close to our hotel. We loaded up on breakfast in our hotel and then ate out for lunch and dinner. I did get a lot of recommendations on Instagram but the messages are buried in my inbox, I am not a foodie and I would eat anything so I hate to give food recommendations.
I did find the currency a little confusing but you can use your debit and credit card in most places. We only had some cash for taxis but even the taxi’s accepted cards. I was told not to exchange money at the airport in Budapest as you can get ripped off with the exchange rate. I changed money in Dublin airport and if you order it online you get it commision free. The local currency is called Forints and I noticed a lot of places accepted Euro too.
I hope you liked today’s post, I really enjoyed my trip to Budapest and I would highly recommend it, whether your a couple, a solo traveller or a with a group this city has something for everyone. I can see why it is nicknamed the Paris of the East! Let me know if you have been and if you have any recommendations for readers, you can comment below and share your tips.
Thanks for reading,
Check out my Youtube video