So recently I had a week off work and decided to try my new credit card out. This wasn’t may typical yolo solo tour to a far reach country but I wanted to explore some of the big cities in the continent. Often today Facebook is being flooded with everyone visiting cities around Europe for weekend break which always inspire me to visit more but I want to see those out of season or before they’ve become too ‘touristy’. So by chance after seeing an advert of TV about traveling websites I typed in my budget (approx. £200) and dates to one of those holiday search engines.
Budapest intrigued me first as it was a cheaper option but offered sights, food/drinks, culture and parties; great for the solo traveller. It is also a relatively safe city, well lit with big streets and 24hr public transport for getting around alone. For my own personal worries it is currently within my health care limits; in other words I didn’t have too worry that much about falling ill with a seizure and waking up to expensive bills!
The airport isn’t that far out of the city and you have several options- hire a car, taxi, or bus. Although I didn’t use the first two there are plenty of Cars and taxi’s available on arrival at the airport. However reading other reviews and the Lonely Planet book I would recommend booking before hand as prices varied greatly when I went to a few of the ranks to ask prices compared online. Apparently you should currently be paying around £15-20 depending on who or when you book with.
Public transport is the obvious option for saving money although it is the longest route. Saying that the complete journey to the inner city took me approx 55mins which isn’t bad. Its really a monopoly on how busy it’ll be but there are buses (200E) every 3-5mins to the metro station (Kobanya-kispest) which takes you into the city.
Even if you don’t get public transport from the airport, I would suggest looking into the travel passes that you can use on all the public transports within the city. The 24hr is bit overpriced but I got the 72hr pass which meant that I could hop on and off the trams, trains, buses etc., whenever it was too cold or I got lost. Good investment! and if you’re used to the London underground this Metro will be a Breeze to use even if it is in Hungarian.
Now whilst Budapest is a hotspot for great hostels there is also a great range of cheap hotels if you’re looking for a more private option. I went through expedia so my price included hotel and flights. I stayed at the Budapest Grand Central which was straight over from a metro stop in Southern Pest, opposite the Jewish district and Belvorous (inner Pest). To be fair I did get lost when I first get there cos a lot of the places seem to have this intercom system with double doors/gates…so ended up in a hostel initially called the Lavender Circus I think…but it looked amazing, so well worth a search in the Southern Pest section for hostels! Otherwise would look online to see where and whats available cos the prices varied on time I booked rather then where they were.
Food and Drink:
Probably my favourite part of the trip! Now I didn’t go with the intent of partying yet the city is known for their Ruin Bars and parties. I did manage to visit Szimpla one of the recommended ruin bars, which is a crazy mix of rooms stacked with vintage decor and bars (worth a visit). Anyway some of my favourite aspects of traveling is sampling the local cuisine. Whilst visiting somethings to try are- crispy goose leg, goulash, chicken liver with bacon, and the creamy soups. They’re very keen on the meats and carbs so not best for the diet! Saying that there are plenty of veg and vegan places so don’t worry, just didn’t visit them myself only walked past them (try southern pest). Some of the best places I tried- Borsso bistro, Kisharang and Fulemule.
Some of the best places I tried for drink were Lumen (great local beers), Csendes and Fekete. The last one a coffee shop but good price and great coffee! They were all very trendy and unique that’s for sure, no costa coffee or starbucks. When in Budapest though defo try the coffee, beer and wines; there’s a lot local to the country that isn’t always exported.
Don’t really know where to start so I’ll tell you about those that I saw. Saying that I didn’t go into all of them but rather walked to them and around. The Parliament- huge, amazing and impressive. On the edge of the river, worth the visit. Castle Hill- there are hundreds of things to visit here but I would suggest getting up to the top of the hill and strolling down. I got the bus (16) to the top and stopped at Matthius Church (amazing place to look over the river and good picture opportunity!), the Royal Palace, Hasburgs Stairway, Hungarian National Gallery and Castle Museum to name a few. If you’re going in winter like I did would highly recommend wrapping up!
Another sight that I visited was the Great Synagogue. Although I’m not religious this was really impress to see and you get a free tour in several languages – worth the visit if you’re into your history and culture.
If that all sounds a lot of effort (which it can be when it’s snowing!) then there is always the option of boat or bus tours. The hop on bus tours seemed to be everywhere I went! I chose to take a boat tour that was about 1hr, got a free tea and wine/beer for the price included. Very handy way to see some of the main sights from the river in the warmth!
This is another main attraction of the city. As I went out of season I had limited option
s so would defy investigate online before you venture to see
when they’re open and if they
oor pools too. I went to Gellert Thermal Baths which is in a hotel along the river, and although one of the more pricey perhaps is beautiful inside (like being in a grand hall) and very relaxing. Don’t leave without going to at least one of the Baths!
So that is a brief overview of my trip and tips from Budapest. I would highly recommend investing in a tour book, personally always depend on my Lonely Guides when traveling.
This is one of my first blogs so any helpful tips or further questions would be great to hear! I know it’s a lot to read but it’s such a busy city! And if you visit I’d love to hear about your adventures too!