Budapest was never a place I planned on traveling to, in fact I was quite ignorant of its’ existence. In February, I had classes when most people had a break, but I figured I could do a quick three day trip somewhere. Once it got to a full two weeks without travelling *woe is me*, I desperately asked my friends who was going to be where on the weekend. I ended up joining three other girls to Budapest, and later discovered 4 of my guy friends were going to be there as well (the perks of travelling on exchange). See what I thought of Budapest, along with my travel tips, below.
Nova Apartments: This ended up being an amazing spot. I definitely recommend it if you have 3-4 people. It’s pretty much like renting an AirBNB but with a front desk. Our apartment had one bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and living/dining room with a huge pullout couch (which I slept on and it was actually comfy). Our guy friends rented an AirBNB and I can tell you, we got the better deal. It’s super affordable too (same price as a hostel). Nova Apartments are located right by the Ruin Pubs and a walkable distance from nearly everything (especially in nice weather). We only took the metro once and it was getting to and from the Thermal Baths/Heroes Square.
Danube River Cruise: is especially worth doing at night. There are so many beautiful sites to see in Budapest, and most are along the river. They light up everything so it looks magical. Our tour had audio sets to tell us the history and free *price included* champagne. Regardless of whether you go on the river cruise, just walk along the Danube River after you’ve had dinner, it’s beautiful.
Chain Bridge: you’ll see it walking along the Danube River. We walked across it a few times to get to the Buda side of the city (where all the lookout points are). Like pretty much everything in Budapest, it’s worth passing at night.
Fisherman’s Bastion: a beautiful lookout point and a prime location for a photoshoot. Looking up at it from the hill, it reminds me of Hogwarts (seen below).
Heroes Square: is especially worth seeing at night. There’s not much to say other than it’s breathtaking. I wish I knew the history that went along with it *opens Google*.
Szechenzyi Thermal Baths: You will make a huge mistake if you leave Budapest without going to a thermal bath. This one in particular was special. It’s likely the one you’ve seen in photos; surrounded by yellow buildings and sculptures. Surprisingly, it’s outside as well. We went in February, and it was so nice having the mix of crisp air and warm water. Warning: there are lots of old men, but they don’t creepily approach you in the baths. If you have gained weight from studying abroad *inevitable* and are on the verge of spilling out of your bathing suit top, then the old men are going to notice! My friends and I were making our way from the women’s locker room to the baths when an old man passed us and, covering his eyes, yelled “OH!” then threw his hands in the air and yelled “FANTASTIC”. We burst into laughter, covered our chests, and ran into the baths as fast as we could to hide our indecencies.
Parliament: we only saw this from the river cruise, but it the architecture was stunning – especially lit up at night. Whether you see it on the cruise or not, it’s worth stopping by.
Buda Castle/Castle Hill: don’t be lazy and walk up Castle Hill to Buda Castle. Once you are there make your way along Castle Hill to the Fisherman’s Bastion (mentioned above) and there will be lots of great sites to see along the way.
Ruin Pubs: since I arrived the second day of the trip, I missed out on visiting the Ruin Pubs. We attempted it the night I arrived, but our pre party lasted too long that by the time we got to the bars, the lines were massive. We waited in the line, but as soon as we got to the front, they were at max capacity and we’d have to wait another hour. This was at 2am so we called it quits. Everyone who’s been to Budapest recommends going to at least one of the Ruin Pubs. I think it’s one of the main elements that draws young travellers to Budapest. Just don’t make our mistake and maybe arrive before midnight!
Sadly, there is SO MUCH MORE that I would have loved to see in Budapest, if we had another day or two. New York Cafe, Vajdahunyad Castle, and the Liberty Statue are just a few of the places I wish I’d seen!
Try some traditional Hungarian food! There wasn’t a specific place that I would recommend but here is a Buzzfeed post that shows you the delicacies you can treat yourself to.
Finally, here’s the tune that’s probably stuck in your head:
Once again, if you have any questions or suggestions feel free to comment below!