Budapest was a whirlwind weekend adventure, full of great food, unforgettable sights, a few kooky characters and of course, amazing Hungarian wine!
…Kooky became my new favourite word in Budapest, but I’m pretty sure I was using it in completely the wrong context after looking up the dictionary meaning online…..When I say Kooky, I mean ‘unique, quirky, vibrant & different.’ Although the online meaning is ‘strange, eccentric & scary’ – That wasn’t my idea of kooky!
We arrived into Budapest airport at 11am on 24th August 2016, we were instantly greeted by an illegal taxi driver in the main arrivals hall, hoping to take us to our hotel in Pest for 40 Euros….Luckily, I knew straight away the amount he had quoted was double the estimated amount, therefore we politely declined and headed to the official taxi rank outside. The queue took around 15 minutes, however it is much cheaper and safer, to await the official taxi company. Try and estimate your route online before you head to your destination, to ensure you aren’t being ripped off by taxi companies. It always pays to be in the know!
We reached our hotel within around 20 minutes from the airport, at a cost of 6,500 HUF (approx. £18) you can use Euros or Hungarian Forint in Budapest, generally everything is priced in both, however I would always recommend spending the local currency, you normally get a much better exchange rate this way.
The Boscolo Hotel
WOW – This hotel is STUNNING!
I just wanted to take a picture of everything as soon as we got inside. I have never seen anything like it on my travels, the entrance is a work of art, its contemporary design mixes with the historical architecture and creates such a mesmerizing first impression…
The Boscolo is also home to the New York Cafe – ‘The most beautiful cafe in the world.
We were super lucky, as we were staying in the Boscolo on a B&B basis, we had our breakfast included at the New York Cafe every day.
…Everyone starts there day with Champagne right?!
The Boscolo is in a great location, it is around a 12 minute walk away from St. Stephens Basilica, or you can take the bus! There is a bus stop directly outside the Boscolo, making it a great option for easy transport links.
We generally love walking and finding our own little hideaways away from the crowds when we visit cities, but this time we absolutely LOVED the open top buses, we had a fantastic time being chauffeured around Budapest, it has opened up a whole new world to us! We even managed to get a sun tan (ahem….or….erm….a burnt nose) in the process! We would use the bus to drop us off at the main attractions, then enjoy a walk around the area to find quiet little hidden spots. It is really affordable too, on average around 20 Euros for a 2-day ticket.
You can find more information and pre purchase your open top bus tickets here: http://bit.ly/2bW3ssR
Time to Explore….
We hopped on our favourite little bus and headed towards the Basilica to find somewhere for dinner, friends had recommended a few restaurants to us which were all around the Basilica area, so we thought that would be a good place to start! We jumped on the bus which took around 9 minutes, with some lovely views along the route.
Then, we stumbled across the annual Junibor Wine Festival. We totally didn’t know this was happening in Budapest over the weekend, therefore we were super pleased to find this little gem! In future, we will always check for kooky little events like this, as it was one of the best nights we have ever experienced on a city break.
It is so in-expensive too. We spent £30 which lasted us 2 evenings (we got a little bit over-excited when we arrived and bought 10,000 HUF in wine tokens….WAY too many!)
Good News! It is back for 2017…
Aug 25, 2017 – Aug 28, 2017 More Information here:
Time to Explore….
We hopped onto the bus and headed over to BUDA.
Budapest is split into two cities, divided by the River Danube: Buda & Pest.
Pest is very flat, which is super easy to walk around, on the other side in Buda it is pretty hilly, with some really steep parts (where the bus comes in use) there are some stunning views from Buda, overlooking Pest.
We headed straight to the Castle District first of all, which is absolutely beautiful. We caught the bus to the top, we were wowed from the second we saw the beautiful view.
There is so much to explore inside the Palace too, we spent a good 3 hours taking a look around, finding all of the secret spots where it was less crowded to take in the beautiful views.
You can grab some lunch/coffee/ice-cream whilst inside too. It is also incredibly friendly for guests with pushchairs/wheelchairs. There is lift access to the top of the Palace, there is also an escalator inside too, to take you to the top. (Who would of thought it!?)
We started at the bottom in the Castle and explored our way to the top.
Then, we walked back down via Matthias Church, which is still located on Castle Hill right at the top, just outside of the main Buda Castle.
Walking back down took around 30 minutes……I don’t think it should of taken that long, we got a little bit lost (oops) Getting lost in such a beautiful city though is never bad, we found some really cute little side streets to explore!
They have music & wine festivals at certain times of the year around the Castle, plus you can hire Segway’s to ride around Castle District if you want to save your legs some work!
For more information on Buda Castle & the Castle district, see this link:
Time to Explore….PEST
Parliament is breathtaking, more amazing views this time over-looking Buda!
Walking from Parliament, we headed towards the Danube River, to see the memorial along the promenade. It is so moving, even to this day there are visitors dropping fresh flowers in memory of all of the people who lost their lives.
Dinner & Drinks – Innio Wine Bar
I would highly reccomend Innio Wine Bar, even if you are just after a quick pit stop for a drink. (They know their wines!) They are located by St Stephens Basilica.
We ate at Innio, enjoying the 5-course taster menu, with additional wine pairing.
The service was brilliant – Food even better. Easily one of the best restaurants we have ever been too, at a fraction of the price! It cost us 26,100 HUF for our meal, which is around £75 each. Definitely a must do for a night of great food and wine!
More details: http://bit.ly/2cAEgqm
The Donut Library
A trip to Budapest would’t be complete without a pit stop in the Donut Library!
If you stay near the Boscolo, you will walk past this little gem when you head towards the Basilica. It is on your right hand side….
St Stephens Basilica
The surrounding areas of St Stephens Basilica was one of our favourite places to hang out, night or day!
There is a paddling pool to dip your toes in to cool off just behind the Basilica, plus on a Sunday there is a market around the area to enjoy too, selling all sorts of souveniers.
It is a really vibrant city in the evening, we found some really cool bars and cafes along the way towards the Basilica.
Be sure to check to see if you have any ruin bars near to where you are staying, they are the perfect spot to meet some new people and socialise, plus, some of the drinks prices are as low as 340 HUF (0.90p) for a glass of house wine – Always a winner!
Enjoy Budapest – Hannah x