Cost: £ – budget friendly
Rating: 10/10 – you’ve got to go
Trip length: 3 nights is ideal
I booked flights & accommodation in January for a September trip so 8 months in advance.
Flights (from London) were £115 (out with RyanAir (blergh) & back with EasyJet)
*ALWAYS CHECK SKYSCANNER FOR THE BEST FARES*
The Airbnb we stayed in was UNREAL with the best views in Budapest.
PARLIAMENT MAGIC VIEW APARTMENT
It sleeps 3 (2 in a double bed & 1 on the sofa) and we paid £380 / 3 = £127 each for 3 nights in Sept (prices may vary depending on the time of year). It’s really nice inside too but I didn’t take any pics.
If you’re on a tighter budget, a friend of mine stayed in an Airbnb with 3 others for £10 each a night!
The currency is Hungarian Forint (HUF) and we were totally confused by it.
HUF 1 = GBP 0.0027 meaning HUF 100 is about 27p! Everything is pretty cheap in Budapest so we just hoped for the best whenever we were ordering.
Some places take EUR but not all so make sure you have some local currency on you.
Because it was late when we got in, we jumped in a taxi from the airport which was around HUF 10,000 (£28). I think the taxi drivers hear an English accent and double time the meter so beware! If you plan better you can get on the airport coach for HUF 900 (£2.50) and get the metro from there.
If you’re not a walker, I would recommend buying a Budapest Card for the duration of your stay which covers all transport in Budapest as well as giving you access to the Lukács Thermal Bath and free entrance to 13 museums. For 72 hours this costs EUR 43 (£38.50). The metro is very easy to use and some of the stations are so cute – mini museums in themselves.
What we did…
1 – Buda Castle District
20 min walk from the apartment! You can get the Funicular to the top for EUR 6 (£5.40) OR hop on an open mini shuttle bus for the same cost which is what we did! You can hop on and off and they’ll take you around the whole grounds.
We went in the morning and the inside didn’t open until 12pm so we didn’t go in, but the views are great, we watched a military band and enjoyed breakfast in a little restaurant.
2 – Fisherman’s Bastion
You can walk from the castle / jump back on the hop on hop off bus. It’s really impressive and pretty and has amazing panoramic views at the top. Have fun fighting off the other tourists to get a spot in one of the arches to get the perfect Instagram shot.
3 – Oldest Church
Again, you could walk from the castle / bastion or jump on the bus! It’s the oldest church in Budapest and not much of it remains. You can pay HUF 900 (£2.50) to climb to the top of the tower and enjoy the views.
4 – Lunch in Pest
Initially we went to Kispiac Bisztro in our quest for traditional Hungarian goulash. When we found out it contained rooster testicles, we politely ordered a beer then left and went to the Drum Cafe for the less traditional but still authentic Hungarian beef goulash. It cost about £2 and was delicious. It’s right by St. Stephen’s Basilica which is another ‘to do’ on TripAdvisor. It seems to be in the middle of a car-park which sort of makes it less impressive than the other buildings but still worth seeing.
5 – Walk along the Danube in the dark
Very pretty walk – especially when Chain Bridge lights up.
6 – Sparty!!!
A party in the most famous thermal baths in Budapest every Saturday from 10.30pm.
Girls, there’s no point in doing your hair and make-up – it gets rowdy and you’re going to get very wet! It’s full of horny boys so I would recommend going in a big group – safety in numbers. Splashing seems to be the main way to flirt which wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t for the fact your drink fills up with the water full of chlorine / bodily fluid (blergh) which makes it pretty much undrinkable… and you need to be drunk!!
Although it’s pretty gross, it’s also a lot of fun – loud music, fire-dancers / eaters & water dancing is strangely enjoyable! A number of people said it was better than Ocean Beach Ibiza. Just make sure you shower when you get home 😛
It’s EUR 50 (£45.60) per person for standard entry which gets you a basic locker (think age 10 swimming pool changing rooms) but in all honesty that’s fine. You’re in the pool for the majority of the time anyway!
7 – Parliament
You must go during the day – it’s very impressive and right on the river. You can go on a guided tour but we just walked around the grounds and sat and took it all in on one of the many benches. (They seem to have a lot of seating in Budapest!!)
8 – Shoes on the Danube
Just a 5 minute walk along the river from parliament. It’s a memorial to honour the people killed by fascist Arrow Cross militiamen in Budapest during WW2. They were ordered to take off their shoes & shot at the edge of the water so their bodies fell in and were carried away. It represents the shoes left behind on the bank.
9 – Citadella
A 20 min uphill walk to a 19th Century fortress which is the highest point in Budapest. You have amazing panoramic views from the top!
10 – A sunset cruise
There’s plenty to choose from but we chose the 7.30pm sunset cruise which was EUR 15 per person (£13.40) and included a drink on arrival. It’s only an hour long and quite nice to get a view of the city from the water. Drinks on board are very cheap!
11 – Heroes’ Square
In 1896 this was constructed to mark the thousandth anniversary of Hungary.
12 – Szechenyi thermal bath
This is where the Sparty was and it’s somewhat more civilised during the day. Get a cabin for an extra £2 and you have space to privately change and leave your bags! It’s around £31 per person for entry, access to outdoor and indoor pools and steam rooms. Worth doing 🙂
13 – Ruin bars and the Jewish Quarter
Ruin bars seem to be all the rage in Budapest. They’re in the ruins of abandoned buildings in the old Jewish Quarter and have totally mismatched furniture and quirky bits and bobs. Most famous ruin bar is Szimpla Kert. We went during the day but apparently it gets very busy and fun late at night! Definitely worth a visit.
In terms of food, we didn’t do our research and in all honesty the food we ate wasn’t amazing. I’m sure with a little forward planning you’d find some fantastic restaurants with delicious food – we saw plenty of cute little places but just chose the wrong ones. At the bottom are some foody recommendations I was sent by friends.
All in all, I think Budapest is amazing. Beautiful, lots to see, great for exploring, fantastic for partying! It was relatively inexpensive – we weren’t watching what we spent and ate / drank / did everything we wanted. Our spend was £300 each for 3 nights / 4 days (this was including all transport in London (to and from airport) and Budapest).
Cost per person
Accommodation: £380 total for 3 nights / 3 = £127 each
Spend: £300 each
Total = £542
Other things –
I’m sure there are lots of things I’ve missed, but a few things which come to mind…
Boat party – we saw these cruising up the river when we arrived and it looked quite fun for a view and a drink. Only on Friday nights!
Budapest eye – in a square in Pest – not sure what the view will be like but might be a cute thing to do.
Cave church – underneath the Citadella.
Museums – I’m not a massive art person but plenty of museums to visit.
Places to eat –
Pierrot – Michelin star restaurant in castle district
Mazel Tov – delicious, lovely interior, good price
Vintage Garden – as above
New York Cafe – supposed to be beautiful inside but it’s fancy and pricey