The first time me and my sister visited Budapest, we had been aiming for Vienna instead, but the pricing worked out better to stop in Budapest between Turkey and Spain. I’ve written a ton of blog posts about the city already (see here) and everytime someone asks for Europe advice, I try to get them to go to Budapest.
Needless to say, we were really happy that we ended up in Budapest despite knowing almost nothing about the city. I’ve been saying I wanted to return since the day we left, and I made it happen in fewer than two years!
I was worried it wouldn’t live up to my expectations, but I left Budapest loving it even more than I remembered. I basically repeated all the stuff I had loved on my first visit and then did the stuff I had missed. Also, I napped a lot, because I was overtired from two overnight bus rides. Sorry for making you miss the sunset, Alex.
First, a note on our hostel….it was amazing! We stayed at Gaia Hostel and when we left all I could think about was how I wanted to live there. Our room was impeccably decorated, the kitchen was well stocked with things like free pasta (the key to my heart), and the owner Judit was the sweetest hostel owner I’ve ever met. She let us check in at around 7AM, right into the room, and stay until around 7PM. So we DEFINITELY got our money’s worth. She also let us borrow free towels for the Szechenyi Baths (more on that later), and she didn’t charge us extra for anything! So awesome. Also, this was the view from our room!
Fisherman’s Bastion & Batthyany Ter
I will always remember me and my sister’s glorious first view over Budapest from Fisherman’s Bastion, which we basically discovered by accident. I knew we had to come back here, but this time we took a bus as far up as we could, because I’m lazy.
The view was just as beautiful as I remembered, although this time the bar was closed and we couldn’t enjoy a drink while overlooking the most beautiful part of the view. If you don’t pay to go up to the top there is a pole blocking some of the panorama – it’s still beautiful, but we couldn’t get that perfect shot of the entire Parliament building. After a while here we headed down to somewhere we would be able to – Batthyany Ter!
This was new for me, but it was so beautiful. It’s just a town square/subway station, but the sidewalk alongside the river has an incredible panorama of the river, and especially the Parliament building. We had a little mini photo shoot here and it was lovely.
The one thing we really missed out on the first time I was in Budapest were the thermal baths. The city is famous for its variety of ornate hot springs facilities, and Szechenyi Baths captured my attention with its bright yellow paint and gorgeous outdoor pools. Getting in was a very confusing system, but we shared one cabin and each got a bracelet that allowed us admission for as long as we wanted.
Honestly I really do enjoy hot springs like this, but I always wander around for a bit and then get kind of bored and listless. I’m not good at relaxing! Anyway, we checked out all the pools as well as one of the saunas, but I’m a baby and couldn’t stay in the heat for very long. The outdoor pool was obviously the highlight. However, it was SO unbelievably cold getting from the main building to the outdoor pool; it was maybe 20 steps away, but in February with a bitter wind it felt a lot longer.
Next time I’d love to check out the Gellert Baths as well, and maybe the notorious Saturday night party at the Szechenyi Baths, but for now this was a great introduction.
I will always limit the extent of my restaurant recommendations to a few random shoutouts in random posts, but when I write about a restaurant, know that I really loved it! I dragged Alex to this vegan burger joint that had amazing reviews on Yelp. It’s also near Gellert Hill, so we wandered on up there after we were done. This burger was the best veggie burger I have ever had in my entire life, and I eat quite a lot of veggie burgers. Eastern Europe has never been my first thought for good veggie options, but with the places I’ve tried now, especially in Prague and Budapest, it just may be working its way up the list!
And that’s that for my random list of highlights and revisits in Budapest: the moral of the story is that Budapest is awesome and you should go.