3 Days In Budapest

17 February 2020

One place that has been on my list for a long time is Budapest. The tale of two cities, stunning architecture, and let’s be honest the cheapness of Eastern Europe have always tempted me into going to the city. Finally, in the year of 2019 – I made it. For 3 days I explored the Hungarian capital in all its beauty. I had a feeling I would love the city and I can confirm I absolutely do – 3 days was more than enough time for anyone that wants a city break in the Hungarian capital but I personally cannot wait to head back for longer.

If you are looking for things to do in Budapest for a 3 day trip, look no further.

Day 1
Our flight landed into Budapest at 7pm, so after a short ride on the public bus to the city centre we arrived at the hotel. We were staying at the Hampton by Hilton Budapest City Centre, just behind one of the largest tourist attractions, St Stephens Basilica. I highly recommend this hotel, not only for the excellent location but the modern rooms and amazing service typical of the Hilton group.

Pros of arriving in the evening is that taking a walk along the river Danube is absolutely lovely and the icing on top of the cake is when you get to the Hungarian Parliament building. Designed like the U.K. Parliament, this building is best seen from on the Danube river itself or the embankment on the Buda side of the city. So, we took a river cruise along the Danube to see the city at night.

Cons of arriving in the evening and wanting to get the most out of your evening is that the temperature drops a few degrees and it becomes freezing! Even more so when you’re on a night cruise whistling up and down the Danube but for less than £10 we hopped on a river cruise with one of the many operators departing from the embankment of the Danube and spent just under an hour on the river – seeing the city by water is something I highly recommend.

Top Tip: UK nationals can tour the inside of the parliamentary building for free, you just have to arrive to the building super early on a weekday morning to book into a tour.

Day 2
First up was a walk across the river to the hilly side of Buda to explore the Fisherman’s Bastion. I had to come here 1) for the amazing panoramic views of the city you get from the top 2) to get my 10,000 steps for the day. Both done. It was super hilly but worth it, as the Fisherman’s Bastion is one of the most well known monuments in Budapest, located in the Buda Castle. We got there for around 10:30am, which was a bit too late for that quiet Insta worthy snap as it was already full, if you want that shot I defo recommend getting there a bit earlier. But if you’re like me and wanted a chilled start to the day, the walk up to Fisherman’s Bastion is one not to be rushed.

Whilst we were on the buda side, we also did the Budapest castle and had a whistle-stop tour around the Gaellini baths. Apparently, the most glamorous baths in Budapest, these are not to be missed if you want a quieter alternative to the most popular baths, Szechenyi Baths .

For the afternoon we headed to the New York Café. I love the inspiration Budapest has taken from New York City for its design and architectural feel (even down to the style of the taxis) , and the New York Café did not disappoint. We got there for 1pm and had booked a table for coffee/cake before and I’m so glad we did as when we arrived the queue was literally out the door and onto the street. Highly recommend, you make a booking for the New York Café if you aim for the lunchtime rush. The café was established in the 20th century and is the 'Most Beautiful Cafe In The World'. Fact. We opted for the Hungarian style afternoon tea, featuring goulash soup, and some of the New York Cafes signature coffees and cakes – if you’re looking at the menu confused what to have, because there’s so much to choose for – opt for the afternoon tea – it has it all. And, If you don’t go to Budapest and have goulash soup, did you even go to Budapest? . This café also had some of the best chocolate truffles I have ever tried, highly recommend this stunning café.

On our way back to the hotel we then ventured in St Stephens Basilica, the largest church in Budapest and stopped off at Anjuna Ice Pops for a fundamental part of the trip, Acai bowls. This place is a great for an afternoon snack, whether it’s a real fruit juice lolly or Acai bowl. Across the road from that is a Doughnut shop, (The Box Donut) where the doughnuts are made into square shapes (may or may not of bought two doughnuts from there on my way back from the Acai shop – I definitely did). Both of which are a very short walk from the modern day town centre where the likes of Zara, H&M and Berksha are there for a spot of shopping.

The Budapest restaurant /bar area we went to was around Dohány Street, with loads of places to choose from. Which is where I found TLV Eatery. This Israeli food haven is small but fully worth it. Israel is next on my travel list, so having a taste of the amazing food they offer (I’m talking meat, cheese, fresh salads and bread) has tempted me more than ever to book that flight to Tel Aviv.

The food is mouth watering good, made fresh and is a decent portion size – having opted for the sharing mezze platter for 2 people and thinking that it won’t be enough – it was enough. Also, we had the nicest bartender who was on a mission to make sure we left TLV eatery having a good time and leaving with a solid knowledge of Hungarian spirits and drinks– we did both. In all the places I have visited, between the New York Café and TLV Eatery, I have not found 2 food places that I would recommend anymore.

Day 3
The one thing I do not regret in my life (no matter how grumpy I was at the time) was waking up at 5am to head to the most famous thermal baths in the world, Szechenyi (lets ignore the fact that I did fall asleep in one of the baths). The baths open at 5:30am, and in my opinion this is the best time to go, as it does not have a single tourist. Go in the early hours of the morning and you’re in the midst of locals having catch ups, reading the newspaper and doing exercise classes. When entering the baths, you pay a one off entry fee which lasts the whole day, an amount of around £20. Although, I didn’t spend the full day there, I can see how someone could as there are 3 massive pools outside and around 15 smaller pools and saunas inside - it was dreamy. I’m in need of another holiday centred around thermal baths, Blue Lagoon in Iceland anyone?

In the afternoon, we stopped at Margaret island, a beautiful island in the middle of the Danube – like most of the things in this post, I highly recommend a trip there (but maybe in summer when it’s warmer) and you can spend hours wandering round the acres of park and the zoo.

I’ll definitely be booking another flight to Budapest sometime soon!

Have you been?


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