Last weekend saw my friend Amanda and I headed off to Budapest for a quick European city break. A first for both of us to Eastern Europe and Amanda’s first Christmas Market too!
I wasn’t sure what to expect, other than that many friends mentioned it was one of their favourite European cities. However, a quick Wizz Air flight over from London (not even delayed, can you believe it), and a £16 (6,000 forint) taxi later, and we were in the city!
We stayed at the Radisson Blu Beke Hotel. Its location was great and its beds incredibly comfortable, but otherwise nothing really to write home about.
Where to eat and drink
Having arrived at about 1am, we headed straight to bed on Friday night so sadly skipped out on a dinner experience. However, on Saturday morning, we wandered the streets towards Luft Cafe, tucked away at Krúdy Gyula utca 4.
For about £5.60, I enjoyed a delicious ‘Luft guac’ and a pretty decent coffee. This was brown bread toast, filled with homemade guacamole, baby tomatoes, bacon strips, sunny side up egg and cheddar cheese.
In the afternoon, we stumbled across Ebrestzo coffee, near to Parliament and the river. Despite being rather minimalist in its interiors, it was cosy and the coffee was good!
One spot I had been recommended to try was one of the many Hummus restaurants dotted around the city. We picked hummusbar, right by St Stephen’s Basilica. For about £10, (3500 forint), we tucked into a delicious shakshuka, falafel, chicken, multiple salads, and of course, hummus! It was pretty delicious and so cheap!
The following day, for a rather fabulous brunch spot, we headed to Liberté. A real win for its interiors, it was my favourite spot for the weekend where I tucked into some delicious french toast, with cinnamon cream and berries. The coffee wasn’t the best of the weekend, but I really loved the atmosphere in there.
For another late afternoon pick me up, Budapest’s famous New York Cafe is unmissable! They say it’s the most beautiful restaurant in the world, and to be honest, it’s hard to disagree!
We also visited the world famous ruin bars, opting for Szimpla Kert. A crazy, messy, haphazard collection of old abandoned homes, full of character and old discarded items. Oh and lots of alcohol, making this unique space a firm fixture on any trip to Budapest.
Lastly, and sadly, we ran out of time to eat at Le Petit Bistrot. We stumbled across it and adored its exterior – so for next time, we’re heading there!
What to see and do
We found the rather gloomy and dark weather quite a factor in our weekend activities. Unfortunately, it made some vantage points and hilly walks quite pointless. It also made the Danube river look ever so dark and dingy. It wasn’t until the darkness descended over the city that it really started to look beautiful, as it was all lit up.
One of the most enjoyable things to do in Budapest (and most cities), is to simply explore by foot. Both sides of the river (Buda and Pest), as well as meandering through the streets are a great way to get a feel for the city.
It just happened by chance to be the opening weekend of the city’s Christmas Markets so the city was full of tourists and locals exploring the stalls and tasting all of the Hungarian goodies and treats. A lot smaller than my first Christmas market experience in Nuremberg, Germany (read about this here), but a lovely warming market for sure!
Last, but not least, we visited the Szechenyi Baths. Top of most tourists’ lists, and for good reason. Aside from the incredible architecture and the totally unique experience, there are 18 pools, all heated by naturally hot spring waters. Some say the water has medicinal properties, which I wasn’t sure I could attest to with such a short visit. We enjoyed a pleasant hour or two, and I could definitely go back. You could even go at night and enjoy one of the bath’s notorious Saturday night sparties!
I hope this has been helpful if you’re planning on heading to Budapest in the coming months, or inspiring if you didn’t already have plans!
Feel free to ask any further questions in the comments section below!
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