The Best of Budapest

I recently paid a visit to the Hungarian capital of Budapest with my partner and our two friends. I wanted to share with you all the best parts of my 5 day trip including where to stay, eat and what to do if you're planning a visit! 

Our accommodation 
We chose to stay in District VII, or Erzsébetváros, which is a casual part of the city buzzing with bars, Jewish culture and was once a part of the Jewish ghetto. Located in Central Pest, there's a whole heap of hipster cafes, ruin bars and street food vendors. It has a grungy, less polished feel than the Buda side of the river but is a great central location. 

Our apartment (you can find it here) building was nestled behind a large iron gate, down a small side alley and up to the 4th floor. Inside was spacious, modern and light with a scandi-interior. The free standing bath tub in our bedroom and the sauna room in the apartment really gave it a luxurious feel. It took us around 25 minutes to reach the apartment from the airport, as we had arranged pick up with the owners of the apartment beforehand. I wouldn't necessarily recommend this mode of transport, as on our final day we opted for the 100E bus which was considerably cheaper and only a few minutes longer. With a price difference of £35 for the taxi and around £3.50 for the bus, the bus was an all round better option.

Katie and her fancy hot chocolate

Where we ate 
Whilst there are many traditional Hungarian eateries around Budapest, one of my favourite places to dine was New York Café. It feels like more of a restaurant than a Café, but it's the interior that really matters. It is exquisite and has a renaissance style decor that gives it a real opulent feel. The food is pricey but worth it. Breakfast is a good shout as it's slightly less expensive. The iced coffee was very sweet and the eggs benedict was cooked to perfection. If you're feeling really fancy, go for the 24 carat gold hot chocolate that contains real gold leaf! 

When we didn't want to venture too far from our apartment, we visited the local Vietnamese street food place Quan Non Budapest. The portions were more than generous and I opted for Pad Thai. It cost around £40 for 4 people, with all of us having a main and a drink each, along with two starters between 4 of us. 

A Hungarian dessert favourite is Chimney Cake or "Kürtőskalács"  is a spit cake specific to Hungary. It resembles a chimney pot and it's coated in sugar or other toppings such as cinnamon, almond or vanilla. When you walk past a vendor selling these, you sure have to stop and take a sniff. They will set you back around 300HUF, which is less than £1! Mine was a snazzy one I picked up from near the Széchenyi Bath and was stuffed with Nutella and Ice cream.

A place that you MUST visit is Street Food Karavan, located conveniently near Szimpla Kert (see below). This is a vibrant little spot with street food vendors selling Pizza, Burgers, Hungarian lángos and my personal favourite "Las Vegans". I had a delicious mushroom patty burger, wedges and vegan nacho cheese sauce. 

Ruin Bars 
We were located a short walk away from Szimpla Kert, the most famous Ruin Bar. Budapest had many derelict buildings which remained empty following World War II. The concept of the Ruin Bars is to keep that distressed, edgy feel but give it a somewhat arty spin. The sculptures, graffiti and endless quirks really make this bar unique. The size of it is also pretty impressive, seating people both upstairs and downstairs with bars dotted throughout. This place even has it’s own little gift shop! 

Places we visited 

House of Terror is one of the most significant buildings in Budapest. 

Here, you will find artefacts and exhibits relating to the fascist and communist regimes in 20th century Hungary. Thousands were killed within it’s walls and it was a Nazi headquarters during the Second World War. 

It cost around 2000HUF (around £5) to enter and be prepared to read a whole heap, as a lot of the information in the exhibits are translated into English on paper. 

Cake and milkshake from Sugar! 

Museum of Sweets & Selfies 

Exactly what it says on the box. A cute, quirky stop off to take some sweet pictures and grab a cake afterwards. 

Top Tip: Head to Sugar! across the road afterwards - the milkshakes and desserts are out of this world ! 

St Stephen’s Basilica is a Roman  Catholic basilica that is well worth a look around, it’s simply beautiful inside and is the largest church in Budapest. Whilst there is no admission fee, it is customary to make a donation before entering. 

Széchenyi Thermal Bath

This is one of the top tourist attractions in Budapest. Széchenyi is the biggest thermal bath in the city but also probably the most commercialised. It felt like a swimming bath inside and the smell put me off (I think it was the medicinal waters indoors). The outside bath was very relaxing and reached around 38 degrees. 

I believe the ticket price was around 5500HUF and the towel rental 4000HUF, you receive 2000 of that back when you deposit your towel at the end. My tip would be to take flip flops and a bottle of water as you feel really thirsty when you’re there. 

Shoes on the Danube Bank 

These iron shoes lining the waters of the Danube are a haunting tribute to the thousands of Jews that were mercilessly shot along the banks of the Danube River during World War II. 

The different sculptures show men’s working boots, women’s smart heeled shoes and even tiny buckled shoes of a child, symbolising no age or gender was spared at the hands of the evil regime. 

Fisherman’s Bastion boasts some of the best views overlooking all of Budapest. Located on the Buda side of the river, the bastion has Disney castle-style turrets and a stunning panoramic of the city. It is free to visit but to take shots from the best turret there is a fee.

And my favourite part of the entire trip?

The Night cruise down the Danube of course. It will set you back around 16500HUF (around £40) and is worth every penny and more. We booked it on our final day with a ticket seller whilst strolling along the river. Included in the cost was a three course buffet, three drinks and a two hour cruise down the Danube. The meal was tasty and they had some great vegetarian options. The live violin players added a special touch to the evening, playing as you ate your food. But the most beautiful sight was going to the top deck to view Parliament, the bridge and surrounding sights at night. Highly recommend! 

I hope you enjoyed hearing all about my trip to Budapest! 

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