Budapest is one of the most interesting cities i’ve been to. From impressive buildings to quirky backstreet bars there is so much to do, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard more about this place before I went.
We stayed in an Air Bnb right opposite the Parliament buildings which was an ideal location to explore the city from. We were there for 3 days and managed to squeeze (hopefully) the best things things to do in that time.
When you look over the river from the Buda side the whole Pest side looks packed full of insane buildings and it can be hard to know where to start. Also just a bit of advice, everything looks like its about a 5 minute walk away from each other. It isn’t. It’s a lot more walking than you think. So if you don’t have time to visit all of them then you must make sure you go to Fisherman’s Bastion, it really is the prettiest place. It’s like a genuine fairy tale castle! Great for photos too… if you’re into that kind of thing.
Szchenji Thermal Baths
So what can I say about the spa. Firstly let me set the spa scene for you. Budapest has many thermal baths and I think each one might be good for different things. You also may or may not be aware of the ‘sparty’ phenomenon in Budapest, but it is essentially where people get drunk listening to music packed into 38 degree heated water. I had been warned about these and advised not to go near a spa anytime during or after a sparty night as things could get pretty wrong in there (can you see where this story is going..)
But despite this I was adamant that the pretty yellow spa I had researched wasn’t like that, I’d seen the pictures, it was far too classy for that… SO i made a big fuss about this being THE spa we should go to and not listen to what people’s friends has been saying…
To be fair I still enjoyed myself despite the fact that several people I was with stepped on a CONDOM. It was just floating around chilling in the pool. I thought it was hilarious at first (I mean it wasn’t me who had stepped on it) until I realised i’d actually been rubbing the water all over my face thinking it was ‘healing water’. I definitely had strangely flakey eyelids for the rest of the trip thats all I’m saying
Anyway take from my story what you will, I’m sure other people have gone and not stepped on anything but if you want a guaranteed classy spa experience I have heard subsequently that the Gellert Baths are very nice! (And obviously everyone decides to tell me this AFTER I’d been so thanks guys!)
St Stephens Basilica
I was worried this was going to be too touristy and full of people but we were actually really pleasantly surprised.
The inside was very beautiful but also very churchy. I can see why people love it but personally it’s not my thing. What I did love however was climbing the (million) stairs up to the most stunning views across Budapest. You could walk around the whole top of the building at get views at every angle.
(Sorry about the lens cap in my pocket!)
I’d heard alot about the ruin bars before I went and I’m pretty sure if I went again I would spend alot more time in them. They are just so random! I mean in one of them you actually sit on a toilet seat for your actual seat (who doesn’t want that!?). One I can definitely recommend is Szimpla Kert which is pretty much the original one and a definite to go to. It’s full of crazy telephone boxes, electric jungles, giant plants and strange memorabilia, it’s pretty great!
In the electric jungle we were surrounded by creepy TV’s and crazy wires AND you could press random buttons and a hairdryer hanging from the ceiling would come on and blow in random peoples faces. I mean I didn’t know I was in to being generally annoying to strangers but it’s like once you’re there you just can’t stop yourself.
There’s also so many random sections for you to drink and explore! I am obviously a massive plant fan so all the crazy plants upstairs made me very happy.
The New York Cafe
This is allegedly the most beautiful cafe in the world so we kinda had to go. It really is insane, the outside looks pretty normal but as soon as you get in it’s like you’ve stepped into a different time. Every part of it is intricately decorated and there was classical music being played live off a balcony just because why not!? My first thought was oh god my ripped jeans and dirty trainers are going to stop me getting into this place, but actually it was just full of normal people in normal clothes much like any other cafe.
In fairness it isn’t my usual kind of place – seemed maybe a little bit over the top but then apparently I like toilet seats and hairdryers going off while I drink so you probably shouldn’t listen to me. It is definitely worth going though, especially as their Bloody Mary’s were great. (and that’s always a win for me).
Another thing is that the cafe is actually attached to a hotel which I didn’t realise at the time. On our way out we got a bit ‘lost’/ we were just being nosy and came across the most beautiful hotel lobby. I was going to just walk on by inconspicuously but the concierge man saw my camera and was like ‘go upstairs you’ll get a great picture’. So thanks concierge man!
Budapest at Night
One of the best things about Budapest is that is equally as good in the night as it is the day. All of the buildings are lit up so you can see them perfectly and obviously the ruin bars are ideal for a night out. We actually got a boat trip along the Danube which took you past all the famous buildings. If you know me you know i’m just not really a boaty person but I took one for the team and once I’d embraced it (had a few wines) then it was actually quite fun.
Sky note bar
Like probably every other person in the world I have a thing for rooftop bars. I just love being able to see the mix of city rooftops, a sunset and drinking!
This one had such a great view of Budapest and the sunset was epic. Again, the Bloody Mary’s were amazing (I promise I drank other things as well).
The Jewish Quarter
One thing you have to do if you have time is walk around the jewish quarter. It’s full of the best quirky bars and restaurants and full of streets lined with fairy lights. Plus you can find beers for like 82p (we did have to search for that one.) You can wander round little market stalls and find somewhere to sit and drink. It’s pretty chilled.
The Parliament building
This bad boy is a pretty impressive building! It’s also huge! We were staying right by it and with my terrible sense of direction it really helped staying next to one of the most famous landmarks! What was even better was crossing the river and seeing it from the other side. It’s genuinely really impressive.
Basically Budapest is one of the best cities I’ve been to, so much to do there! I would definitely recommend it!