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Friday, 29 December 2017

Five Reasons To Visit Budapest

I've never been away in December before. All of my trips have been in the Spring, Summer or Autumn and although I've always wanted to do a really festive, Christmassy, cosy winter trip, I've just never gotten round to it. Well, I did book one last year to go to Berlin's Christmas markets but my dog Harry ate one of the passports the day before I went so that didn't end up going ahead needless to say! Anyway, the week before Christmas, I finally got my wish this year and headed to Budapest for a long weekend of festivities, exploring and drinking endless amounts of hot chocolate. Budapest isn't a place I see too many people going but I absolutely adored it as a city and it has so much to offer! Here are a few of my favourite things about the city.


Obviously this is only applicable if you're going at Christmas but I had to start with the wonderful Christmas markets of Budapest, one of the things that drew me to the city in the first place. There are two major Christmas markets in Budapest and the first one I visited was Vorosmarty Square, which opens from mid-November each year. This market sits right in the city centre, surrounded by shops and beautiful buildings, a big Christmas tree sitting in the middle and Christmas stalls everywhere. There was a little stage with live acoustic music on while we were there and I picked up a few little trinkets from here, including a handmade candle with crushed flowers inside, an independent artist's work and a classic fridge magnet. The markets in the street outside of St Stephen's Basilica are also absolutely brilliant and in fact I think these ones may have been my favourite. There's a mini ice-rink in the middle of the markets that's free for kids and the markets here are amazing. The food is traditional Hungarian, you can get Baileys hot chocolates (best. thing. ever.) and the stalls are full of handmade Christmas decorations, baubles, keepsakes, mugs and anything else you can think of and they extend right around the Basilica itself and down the street opposite. There's also a really cool little light show on a night that's projected onto the Basilica and if I remember rightly it's on every hour. Wrap up warm if you do go at this time of year because I was freezing my little arse off for 100% of this trip!


Budapest is home to some of the coolest bars I've ever been to. Ruin bars have been around in the city for a number of years now and basically, they're bars built in old, run down buildings. Think of an old, abandoned house and then fill it with bric-a-brac, vintage furniture, graffiti, grungy lighting and a lot of alcohol and you have your ruin bar. But they're so much more than that. Szimpla Kert was the main one we went to, the first ruin bar in Budapest and the atmosphere is wonderful. It's laidback, cheap and is overall an amazing way to spend your night, filled with a number of different bars including a wine bar, a cocktail bar and more, plus rooms filled with squishy armchairs, shishas, decor from your Grandma's house. If Macklemore built a bar, basically this is what it would look like. There are a number of these places dotted around, each with it's own vibe, one being Instant which is more of a club. If you do visit Budapest, these bars are an absolute must! 


Budapest sits right on top a heap of thermal springs and because of this, the city is famous for it's thermal baths. There are a number of baths to choose from but we went for the Szechenyi baths, situated in one of the parks next to the zoo. Basically, the baths are selection of indoor and outdoor pools, offering massages and spa services and even parties on a night, which I would have loved to have had the opportunity to experience. We booked our tickets in advance and a full day entry with a massage cost us the equivalent of around £35 each which really isn't a lot of money for something like this! You get a little cabin to get changed in and leave your things in (which is very basic but fuck it, it's only a changing room innit) and then you can walk right into the baths. There are three outdoor baths, one of which is so warm I could have just laid there and melted into the pool. It was bliss, especially considering that it was 2 degrees outside. My advice? Pack fucking flip flops. Seriously. There is no worse pain than walking on cold, wet, frozen ground in bare feet. Also, take a couple of towels; it's not nice soaking your towel getting dried, leaving it on the side while you get back in the pool and then picking it back up to discover it's turned into a large sheet of ice. This of course is assuming you're going in the winter like me. If you're going in the summer, I can only imagine how beautiful this place is!


I'll admit that I was unsure about Hungarian food; it's traditionally very meaty, "dinner" like food as I like to think of it (northerners, you know what I mean right?!). However, we ate at some lovely little places in Budapest. Fat Mama's was probably my favourite restaurant we visited. It's right next to Szimpla Kert and is a cool little modern place with neon lights, serving mainly grilled and barbeque food. I had pork ribs and I'm going to be a basic bitch and just describe it as "I can't even". Trust me, they were good. There were a few cool little coffee shops that I particularly loved too, one being Varosliget, which is right next to Hero's Square. This is the place where I had the best apple and cherry strudel I've ever had in my entire 24 years of existence. I was nearly licking that bowl clean. We also stopped by Chez Dodo, a cute little macaron place right by Vorosmarty Square. The food and drinks in Budapest are really reasonably priced, especially if you look into where you're going first. Obviously the places in the more toursity areas are more expensive but that's standard everywhere. Similar to the Czech Republic, there were also loads of stalls to get traditional chimney cake, basically a funnel of cake with sugar and a filling such as Nutella and strawberries. All I can say is - GET ONE. 


Finally, Budapest is a wonderful city to just stroll around. There are loads of sights to see, things to do and places to go. You can go into the castle dungeons where Dracula was once imprisoned, you can go up the castle hill in a cool little funicular to see the incredible view of the city from the fisherman's bastion or you can walk across the famous bridges and take some snapshots of the skyline of the city. I loved going ice skating in the park next to Hero's Square but again this is a seasonal thing for the winter but just look at that winter sunset! There are river cruises, wine tasting and so many other cool things to do and see, we didn't even get close to doing it all in four days so you will definitely be spoilt for choice. One thing that does seem slightly toursity which I loved doing though was going on the Budapest Eye - the views were absolute beaut!

Would you ever consider going to Budapest?

Amy x

Add your comment

  1. It looks so amazing! A few people I know have been to Budapest and loved it. The spas look amazing, as do the Christmas markets and I love the sound of the ruin bars. Looks like you had a fab time xx

    Jessie | allthingsbeautiful-x

  2. Budapest looks amazing! I really really want to go one day, and this just excites me so much! Thanks for the blog post!

    with love, Bash   |   HEY BASH

  3. Would love to visit Budapest someday, thank you for sharing! Lovely pictures too x

    Summer, www.thetwinswardrobe.com

  4. Beautiful photos, Budapest looks gorgeous!

    Lydia x

  5. Gorgeous pictures and I definitely want to visit Budapest sooner rather than later!

    Cyber Mermaids | Alternative beauty, fashion and lifestyle blog

  6. Very beautiful pics. Thanks for sharing your experience. from Packers and movers in Delhi

  7. The food. If you love traditional European cuisine, then you'll definitely want to check out the restaurants in Budapest. From goulash to strudel, there's something for everyone.
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