Before you ask: Yes! I was extremely hungry in Hungary and luckily, the food was AMAZING! I fell in love with Budapest. It was one of those cities you could just stay in forever. I spent five nights in total and there was never a boring moment. I stayed at Hive Party Hostel, which lived up to its reputation and had me sleeping in until noon each day, despite the fact that I thought my hard-core partying days were over. It turns out that I am still able to stay up until the sun rises! Budapest comes alive at night. Take a few shots of Palinka to get you warmed into the evening before heading out to explore all the live music, clubs and ruin bars. The next day, you can relax in one of the many Thermal Baths and dine on Langos, a deep fried bread topped with glorious delights. Here are some of the highlights of this vibrant city!
1. Relax in the Thermal Baths
There are several famous baths throughout the city. We visited Terme Szechenyi, a short metro ride from the city. There are many pools of different temperatures, inside and outside. If you happen to be in Budapest on a Saturday night, you can even fork out a slightly expensive ticket to go to a “Spa-rty” where you can swim, listen to music and drink beer well into the evening! I’ve heard this is an amazing experience, but it can be very crowded and things can get rather crazy!
2. Feast at the Karavan Food Trucks
I ate here every single day – it was so good! Located down a small alley, you can choose anything from Hungarian goulash served in bread bowls, pizza, pasta, burgers, nitrogen ice-cream, beer, wine and much more. The food is cheap and delicious and the vibe is buzzing!
3. Browse the Market Hall
This huge warehouse building is full of all sorts of goodies. Upstairs you can find a myriad of delicious Hungarian delights, including Langos, Hungarian Beef Goulash and much more! Downstairs, do your local grocery shopping and shop for souvenirs.
4. Take a free walking tour
Like many of the European cities, Budapest also runs free walking tours of the city, which are a great way to get a general over view of the important monuments, local language and culture. We were taken to both sides of the city (which is divided by the river into Buda and Pest). The guides always have great tips for places to eat and attractions off the beaten track. My tour started at 2.30 pm outside St. Stephen’s Basilica, though there are other options available.
5. Go shopping and check out the local talent
During the day, there is plenty of shopping to be done and many street artists to admire. I was lucky enough to be able to watch these street dancers, who spent ages spinning around on their heads. There is a lot of talent around!
6. Have a night out in the ruin bars
Complete with open mic night, live music, DJs, black and white movies, shisha pipes, fußball tables and much more, Szimpla Bar was my favourite bar in the city and conveniently located a two-minute walk from the hostel. For an equally exciting vibe, get your dancing shoes on and check out Fogas, another ruin bar with many rooms and different styles of music. You can even go clubbing down in the basement here. For more live music, head to the beer garden at Hive Party Hostel, which has events every night of the week. And don’t forget to try the traditional Hungarian shots while you’re at it. Palinka is a fruity schnapps that will knock you off your feet!
7. Party the night away on a River Cruise
In case you needed another excuse for a party, you can book a river cruise at night, complete with unlimited drinks and a DJ/dance floor. It takes you up and down the river. All the old buildings, like Parliament and the Royal Palace, glow under the golden lights. It is relatively cheap, though I was so confused with all the thousands of Hungarian Forints that I can’t remember the exact total – just book through any of the hostels. Afterwards, you will most likely end up at another popular bar in the city.
8. Watch classical music in Vigadó Concert Hall
For 3 Euros, I was able to get a ticket to a classical music concert in the Vigadó Concert Hall. Dress up and enjoy some high culture, sip on champagne in the interval, and admire the beautiful interior of this magnificent building.
9. Climb Gellért Hill for amazing city views
For a bit of exercise, this climb is well-worth it for the stunning city views, which show you much more of Budapest than if you’re standing at the Royal Palace. If you’re not feeling very energetic, you can also drive to the top. But sometimes, the effort of climbing enhances the view! At the top, you can also admire the Liberty Statue, which stands triumphantly on watch over the city.
Of course, there is much more to Budapest than meets the eye and I only just touched the surface. I will need to return there some day and continue the adventure! Until next time!
Have you been to Budapest? What are your favourites spots?