Budapest, Hungary. It never made its way to my bucket list, but when a friend asked my husband and I if we would like to join him for a quick weekend trip there, we readily agreed. Not having any idea what there was to do there for such a short amount of time, we saw it as another country we could check off our map. If you haven’t been to Budapest, let me tell you, you are truly missing out. It’s cheap, it’s fun and they have a thermal bath on what seems like every block.
How to get there:
We booked the airline tickets through Eurowings.com. We chose the earliest flight on Saturday morning and the last flight coming home Sunday evening so no one had to take leave! This ended up working out perfectly. Although, I would have loved to spend a little more time in this beautiful city, a little over 24 hours was enough to enjoy it to its fullest.
Before arriving into Budapest, I looked to see how far the airport was from the city center. The city center was about 22 kilometers from the airport. There are many forms of transportation into the city, such as a train or a taxi, but we chose to take a shuttle because we found it was the easiest and most cost-effective route, costing around €50 round trip, for three adults. There are many shuttle companies waiting outside the airport to escort you, but we walked around until we found the one that offered the best price. They gave us a ticket for the return trip and all we had to do was ask our hotel to call the shuttle company for us when we were ready for a ride back to the airport and they showed up at our hotel 20 minutes before our requested departure time.
What to do:
Once we made it to the city center, I booked a free walking tour. This 3-hour tour started at 10:30 a.m. and took us to the most important sites of the city. Not only are the walking tours free, they are great when you are pressed for time. The tour guide took us to both sides of the city, Buda and Pest and explained the history behind it, took us over the famous Chain Bridge, showed us the best thermals to visit and most importantly, told us where we should eat and what else we should do while visiting. Budapest is known for a variety of foods, one being goulash. Our guide told us not to bother with because it is overrated. So, we listened and tried the lángos instead. It is garlic bread with a sour cream type sauce spread over it, topped with cheese. It was DELICIOUS! A heart attack waiting to happen, but delicious. Lucky for us there was a street food festival going on with all the best foods from around Europe. We didn’t have to go far for food! Later that night we joined a pub crawl through the same company that we did the free walking tour with. This four-hour pub crawl (you could leave at any time) took us to the best night life and the best of the Ruin pubs. The Ruin pubs, whether you are a fan of drinking or not, is a place you need to see when visiting Budapest. They began popping up more than a decade ago in abandoned homes, old factory buildings and garages. They each have their very own unique style and have no rules or boundaries of what they can do, serve or even how they decorate. This authentic tour cost us €12/person. This included three drinks, many Hungarian snacks, VIP entrance to all the bars on the tour and a tour guide. It was a great way to see the nightlife of Budapest!
The next morning, we packed our bags and headed for the thermal bath. There are multiple Turkish Baths in Budapest but we picked one called Rudas, which was highly recommended. It was super clean, super relaxing, and SUPER cheap. Well worth the $20 for all day access. After relaxing in a pool for close to three hours, we decided to make our way to the restaurant upstairs and grab a bite to eat. Here we ordered some of the best food, accompanied by the best drinks. Overall, the bath was well priced. We ended the day with a visit to the hot tub on the roof overlooking Buda. It was quite the experience!
Where to stay:
When looking for places to stay, I always try to find a really unique hotel. I am a sucker for Marriott’s so that is always the first place I will look when trying to find accommodations. Typically, the Marriott’s in big cities don’t always fall into our price range, but seeing we were only staying for one night we decided to splurge a little and found an available room at the Budapest Marriott Hotel. The hotel was right on the Danube River on the Buda side. The hotel offered free breakfast and by far the best view of the city from the panoramic rooftop bar, which happened to have a happy hour every night with free snacks! Priced at $124 a night it was well worth it for the view and the great service we received during our one-night stay!
If you are on the fence about traveling to Budapest or haven’t ever considered that side of Europe, give it a try! I can assure you, you will not be disappointed.