Its happened; I’ve got a new favourite destination in Europe!!
Had a fantastic time last weekend in Budapest and finally felt some sunshine on my face – bonus. We hit temperatures of 28 degrees in the day so if you are prone to burning you will need sun cream. It did drop quite considerably when the sun had gone, to around 14 degrees in the later evenings.
Flights & Pre-Holiday
Of course I made use of my favourite flight booking website – SkyScanner
Ended up booking London Luton – Budapest using WizzAir and this came out at £280 for both of us.
As we had an 8.10am flight we stayed in the Luton Centre Premier Inn the night before; this was only £38 and saved us having to get up at a ridiculous hour.
We drove to Luton so for parking used Paige Airport Parking – this is the second time we’ve made use of this service and couldn’t fault it. It’s friendly, efficient and only costs £25, including the airport transfers.
We had a real treat with our accommodation. Booked an apartment using Airbnb – Link to view – and it couldn’t have been more perfect. It was centrally located, decorated beautifully, had everything we needed and the host was lovely and informative. Would highly recommend.
Found this a little more complicated than some of the other places we’ve visited but not impossible. They have a double ticket system that was odd and you have to have both tickets present for them to work. Once in the city centre there are transport options everywhere you look (and it’s really cheap). We did most of our exploring by foot and the furthest sightseeing destination from our apartment was only a 50 minute walk.
We also made use of the hop on hop off bus, as we always like to do. We did go for a different company this time as they were the first to collar us on the street; Big Bus Tours; this was really reasonably priced and for £23pp we got:
- 3 days access to use the bus
- a river tour
- a shuttle tour
- a night tour
- a walking tour
We didn’t actually do the walking tour as we did this at our own pace but the river cruise was good fun and gave some great views, the night tour was a bit unfortunate that we were a couple of days shy of the time change, that would have incorporated the longer summer days, but nonetheless showed us around. The shuttle tour was also only running half of the route on the day we used this which was a bit annoying but it got us to the top of a steep hill that i really didn’t fancy walking.
Things to do
There is so much to do and see in Budapest and we were really lucky that it was 27 degrees in the day so plenty warm enough to wander around with a great excuse for regular beer stops.
This offers brilliant views from the Buda side across to Pest. I can only compare it to the Disney Castle. We used the Big Bus Tour shuttle to get up the hill to see this.
The grounds that this substantial building is situated on are beautiful. From the pest side you get views of the great expanse. This is definitely worth a wander and there is a restaurant along the front for a well deserved ice cold beer stop.
This is the other destination that the bus shuttle should have taken us to but was not running for some reason. We picked a morning to walk up to this, it was 27 degrees and all up hill – the top could not have come sooner. Luckily the route up is paved through woodlands and greenery with several sight seeing stops on route.
St. Stephens Basilica
For fantastic views and some great architecture this is your place. we got here reasonably early and upon leaving were very grateful of this; there is an option to take the stairs to the top and the queue for this was building substantially on our way out.
Reknowned for its cheap alcohol is it any surprise we paid a visit?
Szechenyi Thermal Baths
Think of Bath Spa and then times it by 20, this place is amazing and HUGE. It has 11 different baths at varying temperatures and the outdoor pool is amazing with the sun shining. one tip – if you want to use the leisure pool (to swim lengths) you have to wear a swimming cap. You can rent towels and even bathing suits if forget yours.
These are quirky little, mainly outside, bars that are built into ruins. If you fancy something a bit different then it is worth a visit. We spent an afternoon in here and made friends with 2 Americans who were absolutely hilarious and were forced to join in the jager shots with us, sorry!
In the middle
There are several different cruise options for the River Danube, some including meals, drinks etc. We did ours as part of our Big Bus Tour and it was lovely in the sunshine, of course accompanied by a beer, with music in the background and plenty of views.
This is a peaceful haven in the middle of all the hustle and bustle. Cars are not permitted on this island that is situated on the River Danube between Buda and Pest. We didn’t personally visit but we went past it on the boat tour.
The city itself is very picturesque and they keep it really clean. I read in my travel guide that they crush up contraceptive pills and put it in the bird food to reduce the numbers of pigeons – little fact of the day for you there.
Food & Drink
You will not struggle to find something to eat or drink whilst here, they have cafes and restaurants everywhere. As we were keen to fit in as much of the sights as possible we tended to go for a quick lunch of pizza most days, these are not only cheap but really yummy and all eateries were on par. We enjoyed beers in many different locations, from the riverside to the hustle and bustle of the main city streets. The cheapest we managed to find a pint for was around £1.50!!
For breakfast options they have bakeries serving an array of sweet and savoury pastries so we ate and wandered in the morning.
- Currency is Hungarian Forent
- You must try a kebab – they are delicious
- Don’t wear converse if you plan on doing a lot of walking (my little toes are paying a massive price)
- Pack sun-cream & sunglasses
- Don’t forget your swimwear