Travel Diaries: Budapest

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If you follow me on my social media sites, you’ll know I was away in Budapest last week for four days with my boyfriend Yoseph. I had an absolutely amazing time on this trip, and after sharing some snaps of my adventures, you guys requested a travel guide with more information on what we did. I am so happy to be sharing this with you guys, as I really did have such a wonderful experience, and I feel like we managed to fit SO much into our trip, and on a very good budget.

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Cost: We’re all trying to get the best value we can out of our trips away, and I was so impressed with how inexpensive this holiday was. My flights (Ryanair) and accommodation for 4 nights came to under €200 in total, which is pretty amazing. We stayed in this amazing apartment, which I cannot recommend enough. It was modern, stylish, the location was beyond perfect (you could walk everywhere!) and the wifi was super-fast. What more could a gal want!? Andrew (the owner) even had a bottle of his favourite Hungarian wine left out for us, which was such a nice touch! You can see his facebook page here.

In terms of spending money, I exchanged €300 euros into Hungarian fronts, and that was all I spent over the duration of the 4 day trip (excluding a cheeky laser purchase in Zara!) and that amount was more than enough to have a great time with. Prices in Budapest are much cheaper than in Ireland, but can range depending on where you go. We constantly ate out, ranging from cheaper, quirky eateries and traditional markets, to super-fancy restaurants where they serenade you a your table. For now  I’ll just get straight into what we did during our stay, and I’ll share some more tips at the end. 

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Arrival. We landed into Budapest on wednesday at about 11pm, and Andrew had arranged to have a taxi driver meet us in arrivals and take us to our apartment. I had heard that some taxi drivers can try over-charge tourists, so it was great to have Andrew arrange a pickup with one that he knew and trusted. Our driver ended up being an absolute hoot, he was so friendly and helpful, acting as a mini tour-guide on our journey into the city. He even dropped us off at one of his favourite pizza places to grab a bite to eat, as we were starved and just wanted something simple before bed. 

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Day 1. Thursday was our first full day in Budapest, and we thought it would be best to do some on-foot exploring around the city first to get our bearings. We grabbed breakfast in a cafe right around the corner from our apartment, and afterwards we walked over to the chain link bridge and up to the castle hill area, which offers amazing views of the city and the Danbue river. We bought mulled wine from one of the vendors and sipped it as we wandered around taking it all in. Theres lots of old architecture and so much history there, so I recommended giving yourself a good bit of time for this one area. We also decided to pop into the art gallery/museum there to have a look at some of the paintings, and afterwards we headed up to the take a tour of the Castle Labyrinths, which were located just a few minutes walk away.  After our tour of the Labirynths, we stopped off at the famous Ruzwurm cafe just around the corner (the oldest cafe in Budapest) for some tea and traditional Hungarian sweet treats. I really recommended popping in here, its so cute.

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After that we headed (on foot again) back to our apartment to take a breather and get ready for the Opera! I had booked tickets for myself and Yoseph to see The Flying Dutchman, a German Opera with music by Wagner. I paid about €90 for two tickets (booking in advance of your trip is essential) and our seats were amazing. We ended up having our own little booth to ourselves and the perfect view, but there are cheaper seats available also. I had never seen an Opera before, and it was such a wonderful experience. I know Opera is not for everyone, but I absolutely loved it, and if you are into classical music or theatre at all, then I strongly recommend you book tickets. The venue alone was breathtaking, it really is an worldly building. After the Opera we headed back into town and grabbed a quick supper in a place called Vak Varju before heading across the road to a cute little spot called Boutiq for cocktails, and they were superb!

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Day 2. After a little lie in on Friday, we wandered up main shopping district to find a spot for a late breakfast, and we decided on this nice looking restaurant called Loft. This was one of the only places we ate in that we hadn’t researched on tripadvisor, and it was not great at all. Overpriced (by Hungarian standards) and the food was pretty crappy really, I dont recommend this place. Anyhow, we didn’t mind too much as we were off to the Szechenyi Baths next, which we were so excited about!

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There are a few thermal bath spots to choose from in Budapest, just make sure you choose a unisex one if you need to. This was one of the largest in the city, and its best to go on a weekday to avoid the crowds. Bar the Opera, it was my favourite thing about our trip. It was so relaxing, and such a different experience, especially when the weather around you is in the minuses! You HAVE to visit the baths if you go. Make sure to bring towels, and a pair of flip-flops if you can, the short stretch of ground between the building and the baths is cold!We got the metro there, and after the baths we hopped on the metro back into the main shopping area (where our apartment was located) and picked up some traditional sweet pastries from a vendor as a little snack. So good! For dinner we decided to go to a fun place called Farm, which was modern and trendy, with a tapas style menu, and great cocktails! The prices were so so good, I definitely recommend there for a chilled out meal thats fun but not fussy. Before heading home we popped back into Boutique bar again (it was close by) for another cocktail or two.

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Day 3. Saturday morning we got up a bit earlier and walked over to the Great Market Hall, to see the citys famous traditional indoor market. This place is absolutely buzzing with enegry on the weekends, and there are so many delicious food stalls to choose from (I had the most delicious crepe!) as well as lots of gift and touristy stalls to pick up some trinkets in. Yoseph really wanted to watch a big rugby game that was on afterwards (don’t even ask me what, as I am clueless with sport!) so I took the opportunity to have an absolutely glorious nap! Nothing beats a holiday snooze in the middle of the day, eh?! In the evening we walked across the chain bridge again and up past Castle Hill to the Fishermans Bastion, a famous historical lookout point, that offers amazing panoramic views of the city. We had read that this was a must to check out at night time, as the bridge and city are all lit up, and it certainly didn’t disappoint! The views were spectacular! Hungry after our little trek upwards, we decided to go to the Fishermans Bastion restaurant, which is located right on the lookout point. This restaurant was by far the most up-scale we went to, and it still wasn’t overly expensive. The food was divine, and the service was fantastic, we had musicians serenading us all night. It was just perfect!

After out meal we decided we wanted to check out one of the city’s famous ruin bars, so we went to Szimpla Kert,  which was amazing! Such a unique, quirky place with a great mix of people and a fun vibe. The drinks were so reasonable, and the music was great! I definitely recommend checking it out, we had such a fun night. Oh and on the way home we picked up a kebab and some chips in one of the fast food places on the main street. I am not usually a fab of kebabs (bar Zaytoon’s in Dublin) but we were recommended to try them out in Budapest, and they were delicious!

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Day 4. Our last full day in Budapest was much more chilled, we had a sleep in and went in for Sunday brunch before setting off for the House of Terror Museum, which isn’t exactly a fun experience, but its important to learn about the Budapest’s history. Learning what the country went through really does make the present-day city seem all that more beautiful. After the Museum of Terror we took some time to chill at the apartment and digest all the information, and then headed out to one of Balthazar restaurant chains for dinner, which was so lovely and chilled. We contemplated going out after that, but we decided that for our last night we would go to a local supermarket and buy wine and local sweets and treats, and stay in to watch something together, which was actually so nice, and a great way of winding down at the end of the trip. The following afternoon, we were on our flight back to Dublin, and our little adventure was over!

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Top Tips:

1: Research! Look up all your restaurants, bars and activities using tripadvisor and you’ll never go wrong. Genuine reviews from travellers means you wont end up wasting money on a crappy meal or experience, so do some preparation and make a daily iteniary for youself, you will be delighted you did it!

2: Network Charges: Turn off your data roaming for the duration of your trip! BUT don’t turn on aeroplane mode. This stops you from getting charged by your network for internet usage, but it allows your smartphones internal satellite to still work (i’ll explain below) and you can connect to wifi areas easily.

2: Google maps: Favourite all your locations on your google maps app while you are in a wifi spot (ie your apartment, or even before your trip), and you will still be able to use them while out and about, as your phone’s satellite still works without internet. This was the first time I used this method and its THE BEST. You wont get that blue line showing you your direct route, but you still have your location (which moves as you move) and more importantly, you can see all your favourited spots on the map so its super-easy to navigate. It uses NO internet, so you wont get charged. Absolute lifesaver!

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I hope you guys like this special travel series, and please do let me know if you are planning to go to Budapest, I really cannot recommend it enough! Stay tuned for some more Style Diaries during the week from my adventures there.

Ciara

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2 Comments

  1. February 17, 2015 / 13:37

    I really enjoyed this Ciara. I went to Budapest a few years ago with Himself and we didn’t enjoy it but I am convinced we did it wrong and need to go back. We didn’t go to a bath house, for a start. I will pick your brain first if we ever do go back!
    Emma | http://www.fluffandfripperies.com

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