I first traveled to Budapest over 14 years ago, I wasn’t looking forward to it.
We had been back packing all over Europe and Hungry didn’t sound very excitng.
But as soon as I got into the city, my attitude changed from blah to WOWSERS!
So much to see and do, amazing and super friendly people and the food and wine were awesome.
I hadn’t been back since then and I really wanted to go back and show my parents and husband.
I had hoped that my memories were clear and correct as we made our way there last week…
The city was everything I remembered and more.
My family fell in love with it and the hubby can’t wait to go back once it warms up a bit.
Since Budapest is not on the Euro, it’s still pretty cheap there so that is a big perk.
So many things to do, you can’t help but to have a fun time!
Most people spoke at least a little English, if not very good English so communicating is stress free…
Also, the airport is beautiful and modern jammed pack with places to eat, wifi & duty free shopping.
The Opera Garden Hotel & Apartments – I booked our hotel on Booking.com and still can’t believe how amazing it was..the location was excellent, right by the river, the Opera house, etc…and the neighborhood was safe. We had a 2 bedroom apartment like room w/a small kitchenette inside. The bathroom was a bit tiny but the rooms itself were huge and the beds were comfy. The rooms were very modern and clean and you were given plenty of fresh towels. The airport transfer was 25 euro per car.
The breakfast was included and was better than most hotel buffets in the USA. Eggs, breads, cheeses, oats, bacon, fruit, espresso, etc.. They even would make a cooked to order omelet if you asked and had a serve yourself mimosa bar!!! Between the hours of 7-10am and 5-10pm you could use the hot tub and sauna. The hotel staff were very friendly and spoke excellent English. They also booked our airport transfers, helped out with postcards, directions and booked our bus tour for us as well. I HIGHLY recommend this hotel. Our cost was 430 euro for 3 nights (breakfast & internet included).
Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour – There is lots to see and do in this category, but since we were only there for a weekend, we started with this tour. The hotel sold us the ticket and it was a mere 2 block walk to the Opera House stop to get on. I love these tours because you get some cool info, get to see the city, can use the tour as a transportation method, get freebies like goulash, beer and free shot coupons. Plus is was WAY too freezing cold and windy outside to walk around everywhere. Added bonus – the ticket is good for 48 hours and includes a free river cruise.
St. Stephen’s Basilica – Head to the church built in 1851 and go up to the top (for a small donation) to get a 360 degree view of the city. AMAZING view and a chance to take some great pictures.
The Flipper Muzeum – Probably the coolest thing we did while we were there… My parents found out about this place and they love pinball so we all went one evening. It’s only open from 4pm to midnight so you have to go at night. We had fun choosing to playing on the 130 different machines. You pay one price when you enter and then no money is used when you are inside.
We only stayed for an hour, so if thats the case, the owners refunds half of your money to you. It was an awesome place to visit, no matter your age… I HIGHLY recommend this attraction.
Széchenyi Chain Bridge – Walk across this suspension bridge built back in the 1800’s.
Snap a selfie with one of the lions grading the entrance
Hungarian Parliament Building – Mom and I walked to this area by the river which was pretty, cool gift shop underground and cafe and nice area to take pictures. I would have loved a run by the river but my face probably would have fell off from the cold!
Szechenyi Baths – Mom, Dad and Glen went to the thermal baths, as I had work to do and I have been before and they had a blast. This has an outside bath which they said was fun because it was so cold outside…kinda like a giant hot tub. Just remember to bring your own towel and slippers.
Food and Drink
DiVino Wine Bar – After watching my family eat a whole bunch of pork, I had to get something I could eat and I stumbled upon this awesome little spot. Right across from St. Stephen’s Basilica this wine bar had a ton of great looking food choices and drink options. (note: Budapest is known for their wine and most restaurants and bars only serve local wine.) My chicken salad dish was delicious and all of the wine I tried was excellent. They even had a DJ playing a mix of fun 80’s and 90’s songs.
Cafe Bali – This restaurant was listed in the coupon book given to us on the bus and it included a free beer so we hopped off and tried it out. A friend from college had told me while in Budapest, I had to try the Chicken Paprikish, so I ordered a dish for us all to share. OMG it was delicious, so delicious in fact, that we went back to the restaurant before we left on Sunday to order some more. This time we got 2 orders to share between the 4 of us.
Random Cool Things to Look For…
Mangalitsa – a curly, long- haired pig