When I hear the word Budapest, the first thing I think of is George Ezra singing about the city and his ‘hidden treasure chest’. With his voice echoing through my mind, I was excited to see what it was all about. We went just for three days, which was probably the perfect amount of time to spend there. We arrived on Saturday night and as we approached the Chain Bridge to our Airbnb, the city came alive as you are surrounded by the Parliament building, the Palace and the Castle lit up against the night sky.
I have big love of architecture and the detail which becomes a unique identifier for the location, for example Paris, London or Amsterdam. Budapest was something different though, with elements of unique styles being put together to form something quite different. Throughout our time there, we discovered that Hungary had been influenced heavily throughout it’s history by many different countries, including by royal marriages.
I was also not entirely sure what to expect when it came to food as I could only imagine thick soups, stews and meat dishes. There was of course the inescapable Goulash, but due to the influences of different countries I mentioned, there was a great selection of French, Italian and mixed nationality restaurants. With my husband being vegetarian, there was a bit more restriction with not all places offering a veggie option, but we did find one place in particular which, although not at all cultural, was some of the best vegan food I have ever eaten. Vegan Love does burgers and hotdogs all 100% vegan including vegenaise and health juices. I have never had a good tofu experience, but I decided to try a tofu-dog and it was honestly amazing! If tofu isn’t your thing, they do sweet potato or quinoa based burgers. For something a little more authentic, it is also worth trying Trattoria Pomo D’ora who have a great Italian menu with some local dishes. They have a sister wine bar across the road where you can have a drink whilst waiting for your table – D.O.C Vino Bar. Of course, if you are a meat eater then there are literally 100’s of great looking restaurants, these were just some of our veggie friendly faves 🙂
Aside from the eating and drinking, there is quite a lot to do in Budapest, although I think some things are better than others. My top three things would be:
- Go to a thermal spa : Budapest has something like 125 thermal spas, but some of the bigger ones are the Szechenyi Baths which are quite far out to get to, but they are the biggest and the building is beautiful. Alternatively, Gellert Baths are the easiest to find and it has several different pools. I am a bit of a germ-phobe and it took some getting used to as they do not seem clean to the UK standards, but the cloudy waters I am reassured are just full of minerals!
- Wine tasting : Who knew that Hungary produces some really good wines?! I did’t actually get to do this as you need to book three days in advance (!), but Faust Wine Cellar offer wine tasting evenings in the caves under Budapest Castle. It is meant to be a great evening and super romantic. If you cannot book into one of these, do try D.O.C Vino Bar (link above) as they have excellent local knowledge of the wines and can point you in the direction of the best to try. As a bonus, wine is very cheap out there at only about £2 a glass!
- Explore : This one is very obvious, but actually taking a stroll around Budapest is the best way to get to know it. The central part in Pest has lots of little streets and is not that big compared to other cities as it is quite compact. I also recommend walking along each side of the river and pop into Balna Terasz for a glass or wine or coffee. We walked a total of 15 miles over three days, which sounds a lot, but it is a great way to work off all the food/drink!
I am sure there are lots of things that we missed, but these are just a few suggestions if you are thinking of taking a trip. I bombarded Instagram already (apologies) but here are some other photos in case you are interested: