We recently spent a long weekend in Budapest, Hungary. It was a city I had only seen in pictures and it looked like something out of a fairytale. We visited without knowing much about it and tried to learn as much as possible during our visit. Without further ado, here are a few snaps and memories of our time in Budapest.
Budapest is Hungary’s capital, famous for its castles and old architecture. The city is split into two by the river Danube, creating the historical Buda district and the more modern Pest. It’s the perfect place to go to relax and unwind because there are just enough things to go and see and do – but plenty of time to do absolutely nothing!
The summer and winter months are the most popular times to visit the city – owing to its city break potential and multiple outdoor pools and its famous Christmas market held in the Pest’s main high street. Fortunately, we visited in off-peak season but got to enjoy the best of both worlds. We were blessed with endless sunshine and 19 degrees but the chance to see the preparation of the market which should now be open!
To see and do
We stayed at the Aquincum Hotel which was perfectly close to the suburban metro – which made getting around easy peasy! There are a few must-see spots during your time in Budapest such as The Parliament, which is the most expensive and elaborate of Hungary’s buildings. The opera house is also beautiful, with gold detailing on the outside that glints in the sunshine. You should visit Buda Castle and take the historical fernicular up the hill. Did you know it is only the second of its kind in the world? We really enjoyed mooching around the historical sites in the Buda district but our particular favourite was the Fisherman’s Bastion which had the most beautiful cathedral set as its backdrop. You should also definitely visit the shoes on the Danube and read about it’s history – if you go at sunset the candles are so beautiful.
After a few days of walking around the capital city, you absolutely must unwind at one of the country’s thermal baths – of which there are around 1,500 if I’m not mistaken. Many hotels in the city have thermal baths to enjoy in their basements, which ours did, but you have to experience the famous Szechenyi or Gellert baths.
After a spot of research, we decided to spend our last day in the Szechenyi baths. If you are approaching via the suburban metro, it can be difficult to find, and there are perfectly good lockers on site so do take your phone to help you find it! These iconic baths are the perfect backdrop to relax in but are also rich in their history and in their minerals! We couldn’t quite stomach the inside since it smelled of sulphur and looked as old and worn as they truly are. The outside baths, however, were just as we imagined if not better.
Give the swimming pool a miss if you’re not seriously into swimming caps and swimming and have fun whirling around the rapids in the back pool or steaming yourself out in the main pool. We enjoyed 38 degrees of soothing heat, watched the locals play chess and eased our skin and bones with sulphite, sodium, calcium, magnesium, hydro-carbonate, fluoride and metaboric acid.
Budapest is a fantastic long weekend city break if you are looking for equal parts of historical wander and ways to relax and unwind. For us, a holiday is still a holiday and we love to treat ourselves with good food and good spas as much as facts and culture! Above all, Budapest was very cheap! Since it is recovering from communism, it is humble in its way and wages seem low, meaning entertainment and food is also low priced. You definitely have the budget for it – and should treat yourself!