Travel | 4 Days In Budapest

After having it on my travel wishlist for a hella long time, we finally booked a trip to Budapest this summer and to cut a long story short, it's probably my favourite place I've travelled to so far!

We were only there for a long weekend (Fri-Mon) and there was a lot we wanted to pack into the trip in such a short space of time, and boy did we pack it in! I've been sharing a load of my travel snaps over on my Instagram, but I wanted to come on here and have a good old ramble about the trip and what we got up to cos it was a good one...

Ruin Bars | If you visit Budapest, regardless of if you're a big drinker or not, you HAVE to visit the ruin bars, especially Szimpla (and I've heard Mazeltov is great if you're after more of a foodie vibe!). I don't even think I can do the ruin bars justice, expect to say that it was one of the most unique experiences I've ever had and the whole thing just felt like a massive house party!
The drinks are dirt cheap, and with Szimpla in particular, there are a million rooms all with a different vibe and you'll spend the majority of time exploring! We visited our first afternoon and it was a great place to sit and play some chilled games and had a real chilled pub feel, but then we went back on the Saturday night and the place was packed to the rafters and more like a club!
Definitely a must-do in Budapest, especially if you're there over the weekend - just stay away from the Palinka and thank me later! If the bar scene isn't your thing, the Szimpla ruin bar also hosts a farmers market every Sunday morning, so you can still experience the ruin bars but without all the drunken messes and loud music, and instead have a look at what all the local vendors are selling and explore at a more leisurely pace!
Take a marker pen with you too - we forgot to take one and felt a little bit sad when everyone was writing all over the walls (totally allowed btw), and we couldn't join in and leave our mark!

Karavan Street Food | Whilst out having a little explore on our first day, we stumbled into Karavan street food yard (stumbled quite literally after a few beers on the river...YOLO). The other half and I had seen it on a random Budapest travel vlog before our trip so we were excited to see what it was all about and it didn't disappoint!
There's so many options for food, so it'd be a great place to eat if you're with a group and can't decide where to go or what you fancy! Luckily, we went on the one day of our trip when it wasn't torrential rain so we were able to enjoy the outside seating and gorgeous sunshine and mix with a lot of the locals! I got the world's biggest (and most delicious) burrito that cost me something like £4 and it was bigger than my head...I kid you not. Lots of great options for veggies and vegans too, although to be honest, I think the majority of Budapest is like that!
Like many other bars in Budapest, you're given tokens with your drinks so when you're finished you can either keep the cup as a souvenir, or hand the cup back in with the token to either claim your money back OR swap it for something in the little shop at the end. An error in judgement was made and we chose to swap our cups for a little bottle of Palinka (a traditional Hungarian liquor), and while I'm glad we can say we tried it...NEVER. AGAIN.

St Stephen's Basilica | While I'm not at all religious, one of my highlights of the trip was definitely visiting the iconic Basilica. On previous city breaks, we've normally just been content viewing things from the outside and trying to steer clear of too many crowds and tourists but this time we thought 'TREAT YO'SELF' and paid to go inside and to the top of the building. Now, ya gals not good with heights, but I did myself proud and walked up a few verrrrrry precarious spiral staircases and the views of Budapest from the balconies well well worth the sweaty palms and jelly legs!
I think entry only cost a couple of quid at the most and they even do student discount, and it was definitely worth every penny. We found Budapest to be extremely affordable over all and nothing was too expensive, and the things that were a little more always left us feeling like we had gotten our moneys worth.
On one of our last nights after dinner, we found our way back to the Basilica at around 11pm and it's probably even more spectacular at night! It's lit up beautifully and it's worth popping to have a look if you're around the area after dark (plus there are less crowds so win win!)

The Parliament Building | On the day that ended up being one massive trek across basically the whole of Budapest to all of the must-see spots, one of my faves was the Hungarian Parliament Building which, in short, is the most beautiful piece of architecture I've ever seen in my life. To be honest, the whole of Budapest is stunning and there were too many gorgeous buildings to count but this was definitely something special and I'd recommend anyone going to Budapest to go and have a look at it, even just for five minutes!
Obviously we had to get THE shot too, so we trekked across the river to the opposite bank of the Danube where we could see the entire Parliament building in all it's glory. If you take the walk across to the other side, you'll find it's got a completely different vibe to the more commercial part of town and everything runs at a much slower pace. It's more residential but there's still a plethora of things to see, but you can take everything at a more leisurely pace.

Thermal Baths | I wasn't really sure what to expect with the thermal baths after seeing them plastered all over social media, and we almost took it off our to-do list for fear of being underwhelmed with something so hyped up, but decided to give it a go in the end and see what all the fuss was actually about.
Can we just take a minute to discuss the fact that we walked for half an hour in what can only be described as a frickin' MONSOON to get there?! Like the heavens actually opened and we were more soaked through than a bunch of drowned rats - it was a bad day to wear an all-white outfit too! Miraculously and slightly comically though, as soon as we arrived at the entrance the rain stopped and we were able to enjoy the afternoon rain free.
And let me tell ya, the baths did not disappoint and I'm so glad we decided to stop being ridiculous and cross it off our to-do list! We had absolutely no idea that aside from the massive iconic baths that we'd seen in a million photos that inside were another good 30 or so pools to try out - it was never-ending! There were a load of saunas and steam rooms too, and even though we had to put on soggy shoes for the taxi home, we all left feeling extremely relaxed and the hype was completely justified!

Caf├ęs & Coffee Shops | Part of the reason I fell so in love with Budapest, I think, was the plethora of cute cafes and trendy coffee shops that are literally on every corner. I absolutely love my coffee, and was excited to see what Budapest had to offer in that department, and boy do they do coffee well! One of our favourites we stumbled upon was Dorado Cafe, which makes the best iced lattes that I've ever tried! The coffee menu was fab, and while the food menu was very small, we tried out their selection of cakes, including their banana bread - so good, I had to have 2 slices! It was absolute interior goals as well, and definitely one of my favourite finds of the trip. While we ate at a few places that we'd looked up beforehand, I much prefer to find things naturally and have an explore while I'm at it!
Another one of our faves was Bite Bakery, which did the most amazingly delicious - and huge - filled pretzels and again delicious coffee. Our visit there was somewhat dampened by an incident involving a white jumpsuit and a full cup of coffee and having to walk back through the streets to our Air Bnb looking like I'd been attacked by an espresso machine but apart from that it was a fab place to pick up some grub!
If you're after more of a sweet treat and fancy treating yourself for all the walking you'll no doubt do, I'd highly recommend getting yourself a delicious chimney cake - ice cream optional but absolutely necessary. We tried the Czech version (Trdelnik) when we were in Prague and it was absolutely delicious, so we couldn't wait to try out the Hungarian version and it was just as good, if not better!

Central Market | On our last day, to kill a bit of time before our flight, we walked through the city centre to the famous Central market, and while it was hella busy and I gave a few people an accidental elbow or two, it was fab to experience it and mingle amongst the locals!
The souvenir section of the market was your standard, although we had a look around some of the more traditional stalls and it was lovely to see all of the Hungarian embroidery and tapestries that loads of the vendors were selling - serving me with so much inspiration for my fashion degree!
The food stall area of the market was probably the busiest and most hectic so we didn't even dare try and order anything but I'd loved to have gone back at a quieter time to sample some of the Hungarian food because it all looked and smelled bloody amazing! The fresh produce downstairs was plentiful too and so cheap - I wish we'd visited earlier in our trip since we were staying in an Air Bnb and fending for ourselves food-wise. The building itself is beautiful and worth a visit just for that alone!

While Budapest isn't short on amazing boutique hotels as well as all of your well-known chains, I'd really recommend looking into an Air Bnb there as an alternative as the majority of them are absolutely BEAUTIFUL and so much thought has been put into the interior design and guest experience. It was my first time staying in an Air Bnb and we were blown away by the luxurious apartment we got for basically next to nothing! Most of the ones we looked at before booking were like something out of an interiors magazine, and even though they were fancy AF, the majority were dirt cheap and we managed to live the life of luxury for 4 days without breaking the bank.

Well I did warn you it was going to be a rambly one, didn't I! Like I said, Budapest is definitely one of, if not my favourite place I've travelled to so far and I'd go back in a heartbeat, perhaps in the winter which I'm sure is beautiful around Christmas time! I could have gone on for days about all of the other things we got up to and all of the food we tried but if you want to see a little bit more, feel free to check out my Instagram highlights from the trip!

If you've been to Budapest, let me know what you got up to and any recommendations in the comments below and I'd love to read any other blog posts about it! If you've got a trip there planned, I hope this helps you figure out some things to do and I hope you have the most amazing time!

Always, Alice x

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