Last week me and my boyfriend went to the capital of Hungary for his birthday. Budapest! A big, old and beautiful city. Art Nouveau is the main style of the city and it is truly amazing. Massive buildings, gorgeous decorations and beautiful interiors. A lot of fur coats and loads and loads of delicious food. Cheap Budapest is the perfect destination for a city trip.
The first impression I got when I arrived in Hungary wasn’t really a good one. The plane landed and everything looked grey, cold and sad. Which makes sense because it’s winter of course. When we were in the taxi to Budapest we said to each other: where the fuck are we? It looked kind of like we went back in time into the cold war. Which was pretty cool actually because this was the idea I had of Eastern Europe. When we actually arrived in the city I was blown away by it. The buildings make such a big impact. They are all massive and beautiful decorated. They kind of have a dark twist as well. I really felt at home.
Although, for me it was a little bit of a confusing city. But I don’t have the best sense of direction so maybe that could be it. We walked around a lot and every time we got to places we already had been but it just didn’t make sense how we got there this time which was kind of funny. There is so much to see so I really recommend to walk around as much as possible. Of course we used the subway for long distances but I always enjoy walking more cause you can just see more of the city.
Budapest has a lot of cool things to see. If you are a big fan of churches then this is the place for you. The Matthias Church is a beautiful place to see. As well on the inside as the outside. This Neo-Gothic church is located in the heart of the castle district of the city. It gives you a fairytale feeling together with the Fisherman’s Bastion which is built in the same style. I was really surprised by the inside of the church. Compared to other churches there were so many colors to see and it gave me a really warm feeling instead of this cold and dark feeling I get when I am in a church. Although I have to admit I am more attracted to the cold feeling but still the church was beautiful.
There was one other church that blew my mind. The St. Stephen’s Basilica. The biggest church of the city was finally finished in 1905 after decades of construction. It’s a beautiful, impressive building. It kind of looked like a small St. Peter’s Basilica on the inside. It is totally different than the Matthias Church. Still it’s highly decorated and it really shows the wealth of the church in general.
Another cool thing that Budapest has are the Bathhouses. There are a lot of hot springs underneath the city, which were already used by the Romans. We went to the Szechenyi Baths. This Neo-baroque bathhouse is with his 18 pools the biggest one of his kind in Budapest. It was so nice to get warmed up after a long day of walking through the city in the cold. When we were in the outdoor pool it started to snow. With the style of the building it just felt like a fairytale again. And if you liked the movie ‘’A cure for wellness’’ you should really visit a bathhouse cause it felt like we were in it.
If you have some free time you go to the big Heroe’s Square. It’s one of the biggest squares of the city and it’s quite impressive I have to say. Big statues of important people like national Hungarian leaders surround the square. After you visited the square, walk all the way back on the Andrassy Avenue. This is one of the richest streets of the city. A beautiful boulevard with really pretty, impressive buildings and a lot of cool shops. Perfect for an afternoon walk.
Shop but you won’t drop
For shopping I think this city is fine. It’s not the best city to go shopping. If you are a vintage lover there are some cool places to go like Retrock and Sputnik. Here you can find cool alternative vintage and second hand clothing. If you look carefully you might spot some vintage Versace or Armani pieces. Also there are a lot of second hand real fur coats you can buy. Now I’m not really a fan of fur coats but it’s different when it’s second hand. It’s better to wear it than throwing it away. I bought one for myself for only 130 euros! This is quite expansive for second hand clothing but come on, it’s real fur.
Of course there are also the big mainstream stores like H&M and Zara. I didn’t really see a lot of very cool, alternative places who had like special clothing brands or anything. So if you are really looking for a one of a kind thing make sure you are very rich because there are some really cool designer stores where you can buy exclusive things from Hungarian Designers but I am not going to pay 400 euros for sunglasses.
Food, food and more food
This city is amazing if you are a food lover. And I mean, come on, who isn’t. The diversity is so big you can’t really make a choice where to go. Not only the food is great but also every restaurant or food bar looks amazing. Everything has its own style and the interiors are so cool. For vegetarians like me and even for vegans there are a lot of cool places to go! Especially in the Jewish neighborhood. I recommend to just walk around and pick the coolest restaurant you see. Fusion kitchens are very popular and there was a lot of Arabian kind of influences. One place where you should go is ‘’Mazel Tov’’. It’s a typical ruin restaurant with an Israeli fusion cuisine. It looks amazing on the inside and it’s very cheap as well.
One thing you have to do is have breakfast at the New York Café. It’s quite expansive but it’s an amazing place to have breakfast. You really feel like you’re back in the 1950’s. It’s highly decorated and a little bit kitsch maybe but it’s just a fun thing to do.
For bars and drinks Budapest is one of the best cities to visit. The places look amazing and the drinks are really cheap as well. The city is famous for its ruin pubs. These bars are built in buildings that were doomed for destruction. There is no specific designs for these pubs and no rules how to make them. So every place has its own style. Szimpla Kert is my favorite. It’s located in a free space between two buildings. It started as a temporary pub and open air cinema. Through the years it got bigger and bigger and started to expand to the empty buildings around it. The demolition of the building got canceled so the pub could stay. Nowadays there are 5 bars located and a small shop as well. There is so many to see and it’s very fun to walk around and explore the space. There is no specific design. It’s just one big, beautiful and cozy mess.
(These images are not mine, it was too dark to take pictures)
We will meet again
I loved my trip to Budapest and I will definitely go back. If you are on a budget or you just don’t want to spend too much, this is the perfect place for you. Winter time (around Christmas) is a really nice time to go. Yes it is cold but the city is so nicely decorated with Christmas lights and the bathhouses are perfect for you to warm up. Also there are not a lot of tourists in this time so the famous highlights are not super crowded. If you really want to experience the party and underground clubbing scene I think it is better to visit in spring/summer. Budapest stole my heart and we will definitely meet again.
-Buy a Budapest card. You get a lot of discount on entry tickets, free use of public transport and free access for museums.
-When you visit during winter, bring thermal wear for underneath your clothes!
-Don’t take a taxi, the metro system is really easy and fast. Use your Budapest card!
-Talk to locals about nice places to go, online you’ll only find commercial stuff