A few weeks ago, myself, Lucy and birthday girl Kristabel set off on an adventure to discover Budapest. It wasn’t somewhere that was necessarily on my radar, but Kristabel had in mind as the place to spend the big 3-0, so we packed ourself into a car very early one morning and made our way to the airport.
My first impressions of the city were focussed on the heat, the beautiful architecture and the food. We walked and walked until I had totally blistered feet but we kept going anyway because there was so much to see…
I’m not really one for going out, but it couldn’t have been more inviting in Budapest. Outdoor bars line the streets, and cold drinks coupled with the mist that they spray over their customers couldn’t be more inviting in the 30 degree heat. There is no pretension about it – it couldn’t be more laid back. The night of Kristabel’s 30th saw us head out for our first night out together in quite some time, and we had such a blast, even if it meant that the next day was a total write-off!
Still, halfway through the day we picked ourselves up and decided to head to one of the famous bath houses. We went for Szechenyi, which in hindsight maybe wasn’t the best idea – despite the beautiful buildings, it’s not exactly luxurious – the pools resembled a human soup, full to the brim with bodies. But still, it was an authentic Budapest experience nonetheless.
I didn’t plan on shooting any kind of guide to the city, but ended up with a good few snapshots of places we enjoyed, so figured I might as well include them in a post to help anyone else planning a trip to the city (Kristabel has a slightly more comprehensive guide over on her blog!)
We’d heard about this famous ruin bar before our trip, and despite hearing that it was usually crammed with tourists, we thought we’d give it a go on an evening out. It turned out that it being full with tourists wasn’t such a bad thing – we ended up chatting with other travellers from across the globe whilst dancing to the Spice Girls and Backstreet Boys. There was a very high male to female ratio…Budapest is extremely popular for stag parties (with some bars not allowing them in at all), so that’s something to bare in mind.
After an early morning flight, the first place we hit when we got to Budapest was Mazel Tov. Another place that came highly recommended. We absolutely loved the Isreali food here, and ordered a huge spread. The service wasn’t quite as fantastic, but we didn’t mind taking it slowly and appreciating the beautiful surroundings whilst catching up.
A Free Walking Tour
We took a Free Walking Tour on our second day to get a better feel for the city and it’s history. It turned out that just about every other British tourist had also decided to take the same walking tour – but we were split up into groups and made our way around the city with our local guides. It was a great way to get a little more context and learn about the place we’d be spending the next couple of days. You’ll pay them in tips at the end, so not quite free, but you’ll definitely want to repay them for all of your new knowledge!
I think we’d all agree that our favourite find was probably Liberté. The interiors are stuff that dreams are made of! We sat here for brunch and enjoyed the ambiance as guitar and violin serenaded us. I only had french toast, so can’t attest for the rest of their food, but if it’s anything like their interior decoration, you’re in for a treat.
This was my favourite spot for views of the city. It’s like something from a Disney film! You may need to jostle with other tourists for a picture, but there is also a section at the top that you can pay to visit that’s quieter, so worth it if you’re trying to get the best shot.
The food scene in Budapest is amazing. We found more trendy-looking bistros and restaurants than we had mealtimes, so were grateful for the food market, Karavan. Here you’ll find some of the cities favourite eateries served from trucks, meaning that you can sample a few bits together or please your whole party. I had a burger (duh) whilst Kristabel tucked into a sausage cone (it’s a thing, apparently) and Lucy went for fried cheese. Yum.
We came back on our last day to try traditional Langos and Chimney Cake. All I can say is, a LOT of food was consumed here.
Cool restaurants most definitely outnumber cool boutiques here in Budapest, but one that we did fall in love with was Retrock. It’s a big vintage and indie label shop, with lots of really great finds. I nearly walked out with a huge blanket before realising I’d never fit it in my already-packed suitcase, whilst Lucy was eyeing up some sequinned crop-tops. Most definitely worth a visit!
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