Hi everyone! I hope you’re all doing well.
Today’s blog post is one that I’ve been very excited to write! I recently took a trip to Budapest, capital city of Hungary, and I want to tell you all about it.
The reason for the 3-night getaway was to celebrate my boyfriend Jake and I’s 2 year anniversary. Woahhh, time really does fly!
Budapest had been massively hyped up to me before I went – I genuinely don’t know anyone who’s been and disliked it (mainly due to the fact that a pint of beer there costs about £2. Sold.) I was keen to discover if the notorious cheap prices were as amazing as people say they are, and they really were! 98p slice of pizza, I’m looking at you darling.
In this blog post, I’m going to tell you the prices of lots of things we bought here to the rough £ equivalent – for me, cheap breaks are always attractive and hopefully I’ll help tempt the more frugal traveller to venture out to this city!
I personally really liked Budapest, but if I were to return I’d definitely go in the Summer; everything is just so much more pleasant when it’s warm, visually and physically! The cold really just doesn’t do it for me, unfortunately.
So, let’s get stuck in!
When we arrived we headed straight to our apartment, which we booked via AirBnB – honestly, I would often recommend AirBnB so much more than a hotel, especially when it comes to more affordable areas such as Budapest. You can rent entire flats/houses (like we did) for quadruple the size of a hotel room and a fraction of the price.
I think our apartment cost about £30 a night, which is just peanuts, especially considering it was SO gorgeous as well as being in a perfectly central location. We couldn’t have asked for anything better!
The decor was amazing, it was super clean and it was slap bang in the middle of the ‘Pest’ side of the city. Perfecto.
Shortly after settling in we headed to the nearby supermarket to purchase some vital human necessities – that is, wine, chocolate and vodka, obviously. Thrillingly, I discovered that a bottle of decent wine cost around £1.80 and Milka chocolate cost 75p for a big bar. Bloody get in. Easily pleased, I am. They should have renamed the shop ‘Heaven.’
Coincidentally, one of my best friends and her boyfriend had booked to visit Budapest at the exact same time as us, so we had plans to go out with them that evening!
After downing a glass or three of wine beforehand in our lovely apartment, we headed to a Greek restaurant called Mazi. I’d checked the restaurant on TripAdvisor beforehand and the reviews were fab – they had a multitude of options for both vegetarians and meat-eaters, which was essential as there were 3 veggies versus my meat obsessed boyfriend. For once, the carnivore was outnumbered!
I really loved the atmosphere and decor of the restaurant – it felt classy and fancy, yet perfect for a casual meal with friends.
Apart from the olives which were so salty I genuinely felt like I’d taken a glug from the Danube River, the food was all deeelish.
I went for the Greek Village Pasta – unusual for me to order a pasta dish in a Greek restaurant, but it was really tasty, rich and creamy.
My boyfriend went for the Chicken Souvlaki Kebab, which he said was lovely. The potatoes that came with it smelt yummy too.
Considering we had 2 main courses, olives and a bottle of wine, I think £29 for the entire bill was bloody acceptable!
They also gave us a free mini dessert, which was a nice touch. Little things go a long way!
That evening we headed to one of the main ‘Ruin Pubs’, Szimpla Kert. If you’re unaware, the ruin pubs are iconic to Budapest – they’re basically bars built inside the ruins of old abandoned buildings in the cities Jewish Quarter.
They’re not your average pubs! They’re quirky, mismatched, colourful and vibrant and certainly give off a grungy, unusual feel. I loved them (not just because of the cheap drinks, I promise!) They were just a very cool change from the typical Irish pubs you get strewn across the world.
Szimpla Kert, to put it lightly, was colossal. I don’t know if it was because I was already slightly intoxicated (who, me?) But, it seemed to go back and back forever; loads of mini bars and DJ sets going on in all the nooks and crannies. Eurgh, ‘crannies’. What a revolting word.
The next day for us was a day of sightseeing. I do love some sightseeing, me. I especially love the big double-decker tourist buses you can catch – they’re such an easy way of navigating a larger city and getting to see lots in one day.
There’s lots to see in the city – I’ll show you some of the places we visited!
The bus tickets cost around £20 each for 2 days – possibly a little on the pricier side, but they’re so helpful. These tickets also came with free boat rides, walking tours and some free drink vouchers for specific pubs, which we didn’t actually make use of. I’d say it’s good value, to be honest.
After mooching around a bit, we came across a mini Christmas market and the various foodie aromas were making me feel like I’d completed a 24-hour fast. We each bought some traditional Hungarian ‘Plaki’ – essentially potato and onion pancakes which I believe were deep fried.
Mine was topped with cheese, sour cream and salad and Jake had his topped with a potato and pork stew. As you can see, we weren’t exactly on a health kick here.
It kind of resembled a giant onion bhaji covered in delicious toppings. Sorry, I know any Hungarians reading this are probably cursing at me right now.
Despite being utterly delicious, they were super oily and we both couldn’t talk about them afterwards without feeling nauseous.
We fancied going to a museum, so decided to take a walk to the Holocaust Memorial Center. It was so reasonable; only about £3.50 each if I remember rightly.
Obviously, this was slightly depressing but I found it really interesting and actually learnt quite a lot I never knew before. I’d recommend it if you want to learn more about the awful history of the Holocaust period.
After going home to get ready for the evening, we decided a ride on the Sziget Eye was in order. I’m actually really scared of heights, so I don’t know why I put myself in these situations (u ok Dayna hun?) Nevertheless, the views of the city at night were great, but I was happy to hop right off after our pod creaked slightly and I began saying my goodbyes to the world.
We were both feeling bloody knackered but like the troopers we are we headed out for a pre-dinner drink to another ruin pub, Instant.
After a quick tipple we walked about 1 minute round the corner to a restaurant called ‘Mazel Tov’ – a traditional, cultural Israeli restaurant with the most amazing decor. The restaurant was huge; it was open, airy and bright with green leaves covering the ceiling and fairy lights.
I opted for the Falafel Sandwich and Jake went for the Parsley Beef Kebab -we both loved the food and I’d definitely urge people to go here! It had such an upmarket feel yet the bill came to only £28 for 2 mojitos, olives and 2 main courses. I swear, you can live like a King here.
The next morning was our 2 year anniversary *hehee* so after opening our cards to each other we took a long walk to the Széchenyi Baths. Another thing Budapest is famous for are its baths with natural thermal springs, and we decided the Széchenyi baths looked the best as they were by far the largest!
It cost around £15 each which I thought was a little pricey, but I’m happy we did it! The outdoor baths were gorgeous – it was so bloody freezing outside that walking to the baths in swimwear made me question whether we were in the Arctic, but once you’re in the water its so nice and warm.
They also had tonnes of indoor baths.
We paid a little extra for a private changing room (a ‘cabin’) which was tiny, but big enough for us. Apparently they’re supposed to fit up to 4 people?! Unless the people you’re with are under 3 foot tall, I’d suggest taking turns.
I think a visit to a thermal bath is just one of those things you have to do in Budapest!
We had no plans for the rest of the day, so after popping back to the apartment for a shower we mooched along to the Buda side of the river and walked up a monstrous set of stairs *sigh* to the House of Houdini; a museum dedicated to the famous Budapest-born magician.
Despite the fact that the museum was surprisingly tiny and the woman serving us had the hots for my boyfriend (he said he didn’t notice, but I did. I SAW THE EYES) it was worthwhile and they had a magic show going on which you could watch. I love a good magic show, me. Mindblown.
Before our evening meal, we wanted to find some fancier bars to visit. Rooftop bars are my thaang, and we had tonnes of money leftover for our last night, so why not splurge?
This was at 360 Bar, and I loooved it – it had loads of igloo-type domes dotted around the rooftop; really similar to the Coppa Club in London.
That evening we had a reservation at a restaurant called Aszu. I’d done some research beforehand to find a really special place for our anniversary, and the reviews of this place were optimal. Push the boat out, why not?
I swear when you venture out to a high-end, more extravagant restaurant, you notice the difference immediately. The service was unbeatable, and within 5 minutes of sitting down we’d been given water and some complimentary homemade bread and butter. Free carbs? Holla at me.
They had live music playing which was really romantic and just added to the elegant feel of the place. Despite reserving a table and the restaurant being pretty busy, they gave us a choice of 3 tables which we appreciated; I hate being stuck on a table squeezed up to other people or shoved in the corner, so obvs we chose the prime spot.
I’d pretty much planned my entire meal before we arrived just to make sure they had an option for me – vegetarian problems.
I went for the Homemade Rosemary Pasta With Sundried Tomatoes, Kalamata, Baked Aubergine and Goats Cheese Espuma. Well… basically, this would have been a lovely dish, but it wasn’t – only to the fault of my own! Like the silly girl I am, I decided to not ask for the dish without goats cheese, even though I despise it more than anything. It tastes like the devils shite.
I assumed the goats cheese would just be a little blob and was too embarrassed to come across fussy, but unfortunately…
Oh dear. I was so gutted I didn’t enjoy this meal, as I know without the goats cheese it would have been gorgeous – it’s just such a strong, overpowering flavour. Apart from that, the homemade pasta was so light, and I’m a sucker for sundried tomatoes. Honestly, though – it didn’t ruin the restaurant experience, because the rest of what we had was on point, as was the service and the atmosphere. This was pretty much my own fault.
Jake opted for the Feather Blade of Angus Beef, Cheese Flavoured Mashed Potato, Glazed Mushrooms and Confit of Garlic Spinach. I didn’t get a snap of this as he’s always on a mission to ruin my ‘insta-worthy’ pics, but he said it was probably the best bit of beef he’d ever eaten. Jake 1 – 0 Cow Welfare.
Since I hadn’t eaten too much of my main course *oops* I decided to order a dessert. Anything with chocolate is a winner for me, so I got the Milk Chocolate with Coffee, Salted Caramel and Honeycomb Toffee. One word – deee-lish-asssss. Wait, is that three?
We left after some complimentary dessert wine, happy with the fact that we still had plenty of cash leftover. For a bottle of wine, 2 mains and a dessert in a classic, elegant restaurant, I wasn’t too miffed that we racked up our most expensive bill so far of just over £60.
After this, we visited another rooftop bar (obvs), the High Note Sky Bar, which was just amazing. We sat right in the window and had such a beautiful view of St Stephens Basilica whilst sipping on a tasty cocktail.
The theme of this bar was ‘forest’ – it sounds weird, but it was actually really cool; there were plants and crunchy autumn leaves everywhere, and shrubbery was sandwiched between glass tables. It doesn’t sound especially luxury, but it was!
Romantic anniversary? Check. Now was time to spunk the rest of our money (I do apologise for using that word) so we met our friends to get sloshed. We visited 2 bars: Rumpus Tiki Bar and the Spíler BistroPub.
Really cleverly, we decided to stay up till nearly 6am drinking, and subsequently, almost missed our flight home. Luckily we were all on the same flight, so we were in panic mode together.
Waking up consisted of heads pounding, vomit rising, sweat beading… realising my phone read the time ’10am’ and our taxi was due to pick us up at 9:45am… oops.
I say this to myself every time I go abroad, but I am NOT getting on a plane hungover ever again. DO NOT do it to yourself – it’s honestly painful to endure.
That rounds up this VERY long blog post about my trip to Budapest – if you’ve made it to the end, well done!
If you’ve been before, I’d love to know what you thought! If you’re planning a visit in the future – have fun!
Love, Dayna x
P.S, top tip – use the Hungarian Forint currency over the Euro – you get a lot more for your money and you get to feel rich for a few days swanning about with a wodge of 2,000ft notes!