Budapest was the destination for the trip I got for Christmas from Chris. A country and city neither of us had visited before.
Perfectly timed, our trip started on the 3rd of March on Chris’s birthday! Earlybirds as we are (ehh…. maybe not so much me), we had the alarm set for 5:30 am, just enough time to brush our teeth, close the suitcase and make our way to the train station. Our way to the airport is fairly easy, but does take about 1h 15min. One good thing about Denmark is that public transport is cheap! We only pay around 50 DKK for the whole journey.
We had a quick breakfast from Joe & The Juice (looove the Tunacado!) at the airport, before our flight to Budapest. The flight was only 1:50, so it went quick! And the good thing about getting the early flight is that you arrive in daylight, and you have the whole day ahead to explore a new place.
Unlike me, Chris likes to plan things for a trip. Something that does come in handy at times. For example we didn’t have to pay a fortune for a taxi to get us into town, or to cue up at the ticket office. Thanks to Chris’s research, we just bought two bus tickets at the little kiosk, and had a very simple and cheap journey into Budapest city center. A bus straight outside the airport took us half the way, then changed to a metro that took us right to town. Easy as!
It was a lovely surprise to find Budapest bathing in sunshine when we arrived, and it was actually to warm to wear our coats! What a treat! And a thankful escape from scandinavian winter.
Our hotel was located on the east side of the river Donau, and on the side called Pest.It was very central, and only a street away from the square outside St. Stephen’s Basilica. We stayed at Hotel SasOne. The entrance to the hotel is actually in a residential building, and the reception isn’t much to brag about. But the hotel has great location, lovely big rooms and nice breakfast. For the price we paid, it was perfect.
Since it was Chris’s birthday, I had contacted the hotel in advance to ask for a surprise bottle of champagne to be in our room when we arrived! I had also brought presents, balloons etc to make it festive! But, my disappointment was rather big when I discovered only a warm bottle of white wine sitting at the desk, and nothing more. Not even a happy birthday from the receptionist. Oh well, the thought was good…
We spent the Friday wandering around, and admiring all the old beautiful buildings that are everywhere in Budapest. We stumbled across a small street food market outside and decided to have some local bulgarian food for lunch. We tried the famous Lángos, which is fried dough with toppings. Like a type of pizza. A plate-sized sheet of fried dough that is usually smothered with sour cream and cheese. We had one with sour cream, grilled paprika and roccet. I thought is was delicious!
Friday night was the big birthday night, and we got dressed up and ready for the town! Chris had found us a great restaurant using Tripadvisor, and booked us a table. Before dinner we wanted a quick drink, and randomly found a wonderful winebar serving hundreds of kinds of hungarian wine. They even had a two-man jazz band playing, and the atmosphere was really great. We would have stayed a lot longer, if it wasn’t for our table reservation. The place was called ETAP deli & night.
(We did try to go back to this place on sunday, but unfortunately it was closed! 😦 )
We had dinner at Konvy Bar & Restaurant. A small and cosy placed looking more like library than a restaurant. Great atmosphere, great service and lots of nice food on the menu. Unfortunately I managed to chose the wrong dish, and ended up with a meal completely over salted – what a disappointment! Chris’s duck was amazing, and so was our Creme brulee for dessert. Too bad the waiter did not give us any discount on the bill after our complaint, and sort of ruined our experience. Shame on you!
We had an early start on Saturday, so no time for a lie in. Bud we managed to stuff our faces pretty well with the hotel breakfast. You know, when it’s free….
And then we were off for the Spa!! You know, Budapest is known for all of its baths and spas. It was horribly difficult to chose one actually. We ended up going to Gellért Thermal Baths. One of the biggest and oldest in town.
We took the tram just accross to the other side of the Donau, and there it was. Connected to Gellért Hotel. The buildings are huge and old and beautiful. After reading a lot of reviews about this place, some of them said that the staff was unfriendly and unhelpful, and that the baths were smelly and dirty. Luckily we found that none of this is true! The staff was very friendly and helpful actually, and it smelled like any bath I been to. We had booked our entrance tickets as well as a massage in advance. We used this site: http://gellertspa.com/
The bath is quite big, so you actually get a map when you go in. As it was a lovely sunny day, we started off with a splash in the outside pool! They have two pools outside, but only the smaller one was open. But it was really nice with 36 degrees in the water, and with the sun on our face it was really enjoyable.
After this it was time for our treatment, 50 minutes of the Royal Thermal Massage. Two nice ladies treated us, and it was great. Mine was a little bit disappointing, since I was expecting a proper rub, but it was more relaxing really. Chris was very happy with his. But for the prices it is all worth it.
We then set out to explore the rest of the thermal baths. It was one big swimming pool in the middle, and here you have to wear a swimming cap to go in. We weren’t here to do laps, so we didn’t bother with this. On each side of the pool you find the thermal pools. There are two on each side, as well as saunas, steam rooms and small cold plunge pools. The rooms are beautiful in art nouveau style, and it’s a very relaxed atmosphere.
My favourite bit, besides from the outdoor pool, was to have a quick dip in the cold plunge pool, before going into the hot thermal pools. What a refreshing feeling! The coldest one was just 10 degrees!
We finished the spa-experience off by a cold beer outside on the sun deck. Two thumbs up for Gellért Thermal Baths! 🙂
All the bathing made us hungry – and the next plan was to find the best pizza in Budapest!
Its no secret I am a big fan of pizza. But I am also quite fuzzy, and I like it the italian style with a proper crispy crust. Chris had found a place on TripAdvisor, and it is actually number 4 out of 2457 restaurants in Budapest. (But as we all know, Tripadvisor can be pretty deceiving, so never trust it completely!) Local Korner was our destination, and it is located in a…what can I say.. different part of town, compared to what we’ve seen so far. The area was a little dodgy, and I wouldn’t want to walk these streets on my own in the dark… BUT! It was day time, the sun was shining, and our bellies were hungry! We found the place eventually, and it is actually nothing more than a tiny take away place not looking anything special. But, as soon as we walked in the doors we could tell we were in good hands. The two guys working there were super friendly, and the place had a cool atmosphere. It only had one small table, but thats all we needed! 🙂 Let me just say that it was one of the best pizza’s I’ve had, along with a really yummy cherry beer, it was a great lunch! We even got to taste a local hungarian brandy of some sort..haha.
Would defo reccomend the Local Korner!:)
After a long day of exploring, we needed a few hours rest in our hotel room, and it was hard to get back out! We ended up just going to a close by italian place for some pasta, not worth saying anything else about. An early night it was, and some well needed hours of sleep so we could get the most out of our last day in Budapest.
Not so lucky with the weather this day, with grey clouds and a bit of rain we headed for the shopping streets! Quite successful for the both of us. They have all the normal high street shops, as well as some of the more expensive fashion boutiques. But luckily I also found some new shops I’ve never seen before, with a bit more different clothes.
We were determined to try out some more hungarian food before we left, so Goulash was our goal for lunch today. Yet again Chris had found the most popular local cafe to have goulash, and we found our way there. Surprisingly it was actually a small queue outside! Definitely a popular spot! A tiny two story place called Drum Cafe. Famous for their simple hungarian food.
We only waited about 5 minutes before we were seated at a tiny table in the corner. The place was packed to the rim with tables and guest. Not the place to go if you want to have a personal conversation 🙂 But, the food was cheap and tasty, and so was their cherry beer on draft. Goulash soup for me, and regular beef goulash with rice for Chris. Both very happy!
The rest of the day we spent looking around the other side of Donau. The Buda side. We saw the Buda Castle, and just wandered the streets. This part of Budapest is quite different from the Pest side. ALOT less people, and not as much life. Lots of hills and great views over Pest.
For our last dinner we meant to go back to the fantastic winebar we stumbled upon on friday, but as mentioned it was closed. That meant we had to find a place on the wim, and from saturday night’s experience we were a bit sceptical. But, we were in luck! On our way we had walked past a restaurant that looked very busy and cosy, so we went in there. They managed to squeeze us in on a table in the window, but it was perfect for us. A bit out of the way, but still nice. Két Szerecsen was the name of the place, and it was the best food of the weekend. Chris had another duck, while I had beef cheeks! It was just delicious! Good service, good food and good wine. We really enjoyed it.
Since it was our last night, we treated ourselves to a drink at the Ritz Carlton Hotel on our way home. Very fancy hotel! And a nice ending to our evening.
Monday our flight was early, so only had time for breakfast and to get ourselves to the airport. Budapest has quite a nice airport by the way. A few shops and lots of restaurants.
I am glad we had almost 3 full days to spend in Budapest. It is quite a big city, and there is lots to do and see here. We could easily have spent another few days to really get to know the city and to see some more of the sights. I am very pleasantly surprised about the city. It is very beautifull, has lots to offer, friendly people and loads and loads of cool places to eat and drink. Would definitely come back here one day, to try some more of the spas, eat more hungarian food and explore more of the city.
Thanks Budapest! ❤