Tuesday 11 December 2018

Travel Diaries - Budapest

Hello! I am here again with another 'Travel Diaries' post, and I am so excited to write this one! So, I have just come back from a long weekend away to Budapest, I took my boyfriend for his birthday and we both absolutely loved it! Budapest is such a stunning place, filled with lots of raw history and stunning architecture, but also filled with amazing bars and pubs and delicious cafes. I think I can confidently say that Budapest is one of my favourite cities I have been too, and I am very eager to go back. So without further or do lets have a natter about Budapest.

So, I booked this trip for my boyfriends birthday, we stayed from Thursday-Sunday so a long weekend break. We flew from Manchester, and we flew with Ryanair, let's just leave that at that, haha! No but I booked our flights for a relatively cheap price, and it takes around 2 and a half hours to get there from Manchester, so not too bad of a journey.
I then booked us an apartment, so this is the important bit, and something I always say when booking a trip or holiday. Location is key! You really want to be staying somewhere in or around the main tourist-y hot spots, from my experiences anyway, I prefer to be around and near where everything is going on. And if you book enough time in advance you can get a pretty good deal on a nice hotel/apartment in the centre. As I know that is can be a bit pricier to stay within or around the main tourist spots.
So, enough of me rambling, back to where we stayed, we stayed at a place called "7 Seasons Apartments" and this place was perfect. The room we had was quite big, had a small kitchen area as well as a big gorgeous bed, huge bathroom, all that jazz. So a mini apartment, and it was in an amazing location, as it was surrounded by so many cool bars, pubs and restaurants, but was also around a 10 minute walk from the river which is where majority of the sight seeing spots are, but I will get to that later! The staff were all so lovely, and helpful and the price for us to stay for 3 nights wasn't too bad at all. I booked this through "Booking.com" so it was relatively easy to organise and get booked.
So if I tempt you enough with this post to pack a bag and go, or you already are wanting to go to Budapest, I couldn't recommend the "7 Seasons Apartments" enough!
Oh and also, before I get into the sights and attractions and write about how cheap drinking was over there and get really giddy, just a tip with currency!

TIP - In Budapest they accept both Euros and Hungarian Forint, so you can decide which one would work best for you. However, I brought cash with me that I exchanged before we came and we brought along our Caxton Card. I have spoke about the Caxton Card before in these posts, but you can sign up and order one for free, and you can basically top it up with money through the app and you can withdraw money from that, instead of using your debit/credit card and being charged a bomb for it. 
Also, I would also advise you to bring English cash with you to change at a exchange counter in Budapest, as they had an amazing rate. So as an example, I changed money at home at £1-345F but in Budapest it was £1-369F. Now it doesn't seem like much but when your changing over a big amount it can add up and surprise you! 

So, Budapest. One of the most beautiful places I have ever visited and I am already itching to go back! There are so many beautiful buildings, rich culture and so much history, along with so much to do!

Chain Bridge & Buda Castle Hill

So we started our trip by wandering around and taking in the sights and scenery, and our apartment was just a 5 minute walk from the River Danube, where you will find a great majority of the sights. So we first walked over from Pest to Buda via the chain bridge, which can I say is absolutely stunning! And we popped up to the Buda Castle. We got the funicular up to the castle and it cost around £5 each, and a funicular is like a lift on a hill, and is an amazing way to obviously get up to the castle, but an amazing way to get a gorgeous view of Budapest. There is so much up there besides the castle, including the gorgeous Matthias Church, Fishermans Bastion, and the House of Houdini museum, which is a key tourist attraction in Budapest. We simply walked around all these sights and it didn't cost a penny, and up this hill there is amazing viewpoints and great shots for that cheeky Insta! We also enjoyed an Aperol Spritz up there and got lots of cute piccies! A lovely must do when in Budapest and we very much enjoyed our morning up there!

TIP - Whilst we was in Budapest we walked pretty much everywhere and didn't need to use any public transport, but if your staying a little further out of the city centre or need the use of public transport, they do 24hr, 48hr, 72hr travel cards, you can get these on stalls around the city centre or from tram stations. It will save you some money in the long run than paying for each trip at a time! And the passes themselves aren't that expensive. Travel cards are able to be used on buses and trams!

Parliament, Liberty Square & Shoes on the Danube Bank

So one of the main tourist hotspots is the Parliament building, this building is huge and absolutely stunning, and a must see in Budapest. And with us going around Christmas time, there was a huge Christmas tree and nativity set up and it was so magical. Budapest itself is such a picturesque place and this building is no exception.
And the parliament building is on the Danube River and right beside it right on the bank, you will find the Shoes on the Danube Bank memorial. This is metal shoes on the bank, to stand as a memorial for jewish men, women and children who were killed in Budapest during the 2nd World War. But more specifically, in memorial to those who were shot and killed on the River Danube bank. It was such a beautiful memorial and a place where you really reflect on the history of the World War, and a place to pay your respects, a must do when in Budapest.
And then a short walk from parliament building is Liberty Square, a place where you can admire the monuments and a place where you can see so many cute dogs! As it is sort of like a park, but a beautiful place to walk through when getting to other parts of the city centre. There is also another jewish memorial, where there is a huge statue with various letters and belongings tied to the fencing surrounding it. It is so peaceful, and it is so important to take time to reflect on what happened during the war and pay respects to those who lost their lives. There are so many hidden treasures throughout Budapest.

TIP - A map is so useful in Budapest, it shows you all the tourist hotspots, bars, ruin pubs and much more. So make sure to pick one up from your hotel or a local shop!

Váci Street, St Stephens Basilica, Ice Bars & Christmas Markets

So Váci Street is one of the most famous streets in Budapest and here you will find many restaurants and high street stores. This street was literally a couple of minutes walk from our apartment, and we found a little Irish pub on the way, because if you don't find a Irish pub to have a pint when your on holiday, are you truly a British tourist? The one we found was really cute and a nice place to wind down and enjoy a nice cold pint! It was called the Longford Irish Pub. But back to Vaci Street, there is also a British pub, yeah I know I am so cultured, haha! But it is called the Pointer Pub, and they have a happy hour from around 12-5 I think, and they do steins of beer for like £1.20 or something silly! So cheap! So if your looking for somewhere even cheaper to grab a drink, here is a great place, has the vibes of a Wetherspoons, and you know how great that sounds to a British tourist! Hehe! But overall Váci street is a great place to find a few bars, have a mooch round the shop, and on here you will find a Mcdonalds to cure that hangover when drinking lots of alcohol! Your welcome.

Also, we found an Ice Bar here. It was only small and didn't cost that much, but it was pretty fun. And it was here that we had a first taste of the deadly Hungarian shot, I can't quite remember what it was called but it was one of the worst tasting shots ever. But it was around £30 for both of us I think, and we got entry and four drinks with that, so not too bad! It just called the Budapest Ice Bar, if your interested in doing it, its on Váci Street. 

So, we went at the end of November, so it is the run up to CHRISTMAS! Which means Christmas markets, which I love. And the Budapest Christmas markets were no exception, and they were spread all around the city centre, but my favourite spots were on Váci Street and around St Stephens Basilica. Absolutely gorgeous, and was so much fun walking around them all, taking in the Christmassy goodness, smelling the gorgeous food and hearing the sweet sound of Christmas songs. A must eat is a Hungarian dessert called Kürtőskalács, its a type of cake, and so so yummy! But Christmas markets are so cosy and cute, and the ones in Budapest are some of the best I have seen. And like I said, there are some market stalls situated around St Stephens Basilica, which is a beautiful building, and with the christmassy atmosphere surrounding it, it was truly stunning and there is also an ice rink situated right in the middle so another little something to do. 

TIP - Budapest is one of the cheapest places to drink that I have ever been too. Your looking at around 80p to £1.20 for a good pint of lager, and the local lager is so so good. So take advantage of the cheap drinking, you can go on a night out for £20.

Cat Cafes, Ruin Pubs, Drunk Karaoke & Night Time Views

So whilst we was tottering round Budapest, we stumbled upon a Cat Cafe, and it was the best thing ever. It is literally behind St Stephens Basilica, on a little side street. It is such a cute and cosy place, surrounded by the fluffiest cats, and you can grab lunch and drinks here, but we stopped for a hot chocolate as it was absolutely freezing! But if you love cats and want a nice cosy place to stop for a drink, then this is a perfect spot. 

Ruin pubs are a key tourist spot in Hungary, and there are so many of them. Ruin pubs are basically abandoned warehouses, buildings, that sort of thing and put bars in them and decorate them with lights and pretty much rubbish, but it looks so cool. The one we went too was called Szimpla Kert, its one of the biggest and oldest ruin pubs in Budapest, and it was such a cool place. You can get drinks and food, and its just such a cool atmosphere. You have to go to one if your in Budapest, I'd choose to stay and drink in one of these than a nightclub any day!
Speaking of drinking, I found a love of karaoke in Budapest. On our last night we was completely exhausted and wanted to call it a night quite early. But we both wanted to enjoy our last night in Budapest so we pushed through and went to a few of our local bars to our apartment. We then came across Blue Bird Karaoke room, and well we drank a lot of beer and sang Bohemian Rhapsody and Dancing Queen until the early hours. It was so much fun and I loved the atmosphere, definitely a must do when here and even better if there is a group of you. But me and Oliver had so much fun just us two. 

Now, if you get a chance, you have to walk up Castle Hill again and see the view of Budapest at night time. It is so beautiful and you get to experience the beauty of Budapest when its all lit up with pretty lights. You would have to walk up in the evening as the funicular doesn't operate in the evening, but to be honest the walk up there isn't that bad, and the views are worth the walk. And like I said earlier, its free to be up there, so even more of a reason to pop it on your to-do list. 

We did so much in this weekend I could write about it for pages upon pages, but I hope what I have included has been interesting and useful to you! And I hope I have tempted you enough to book a trip here, as I am itching to go back already and like I said one of my favourite places I have visited. 
Of course, we didn't do everything as there is so much to do in Budapest and we was only there for a few days, so there is definitely a lot I want to do next time I go.
I would love to go back in the summer when it is very warm, and visit the famous Thermal Baths, as we didn't get time to visit one and I thought it was far to cold to get out of my jumpers into bikinis, haha! 
I absolutely love writing these 'Travel Diaries' and I am so grateful I can go visit so many gorgeous places and do it with my favourite person, my boyfriend. 

Thank-you for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did writing it, and I'll see you on the next one!

Amy Shipley


anaslilblog said...

Wow - looks like you had a lovely time. I have never really considered visiting Budapest, but from the sounds of it, I need to! x

Soph Hearts said...

I'd love to go to Budapest, you have so many lovely pictures and it sounds like you both had a great time! I'd not heard of ruin pubs but they sound like such cool experiences!

Soph - https://sophhearts.com x

Amie Cadwallader said...

Budapest is literally on my to visit list, but it looks like you had the most amazing time & your photos are amazing!

Love, Amie ❤
The Curvaceous Vegan

Natashaleah.blogspot.com said...

It's look absolutely fantastic! The archicture looks insane, I'd really love to go there. Taken a wee note of places you've recommended.

Natasha. X