A Weekend Guide to Budapest
Let me start this blog post with how this trip came about, in fact this all started with planning my birthday, I was thinking maybe we should go to a club in Stuttgart, when my best friend mentioned, “I wish you didn’t have to work and we can go away for your birthday”, the next day my boss told me I have too many over hours, if I want some time off around my birthday, and 24H later, a 23 euro return tickets to Budapest was booked. A city that was not even on my list to visit. The most spontaneous trip I have ever booked and one of the best weekends, if not the best weekend of my life.
I also have to admit that before we got to the airport, I didn’t know anything about Budapest. So everything I’m writing here, is a first timer/beginners advice. Obviously if I go a second time I will be a lot more prepared and know what to expect.
As three girls, one just flying back from Cape Town, me from Stuttgart and the other one from Munich we bought the tickets from Nuremberg, right in the middle of us. Wednesday morning our journey started by missing our Flixbus from Stuttgart to get to Nuremberg airport, in our distress we bought a ticket from Deutschebahn for 26 euros each, from Stuttgart airport to Nuremberg airport, which was more than a 3 hour journey, is a pretty fair price.
We arrived at Nuremberg Hauptbahnhof at 17:30 about 10 minutes after Melanie, my ex boyfriends sister from Munich who was joining us, which worked out perfectly. We made our way to the airport, and through security. Both girls got strip searched, and in the moment I thought it would be funny to make a snapchat, but I immediately got told off and was only able to snap this photo. haha
Once we were through security we made ourselves really comfortable, one whole day of travelling behind us and were not even on the plane yet. In duty free we realized we are going to arrive in Budapest after midnight, we need to buy wine now, for later. The cashier was a creepy man who gave me a cheeky wink, sending me off with “enjoy your party”
I forgot to mention the wine me and Julia were drinking/sneaking on the train on the way to Nuremberg already to calm our nerves after missing our bus. Photo added below.
Needless to say we wanted this girl trip to start already!!!!!
Our flight was about 1 hour and 10 min long. Landing in Budapest we needed to take a bus, the 200E from the airport to get to the nearest train station, a ticket cost about 350 Forint which is a bit more than 1 euro. At least we bought it at a machine that took credit cards so we didn’t have to exchange cash yet.
We then needed to get on a underground train and because we didn’t really understand the ticket system we just got on the train, thinking our tickets is valid, which it was not, luckily we didn’t get checked, this is between 11-12pm at night. But we were suppose to buy another single journey ticket. So getting from the airport to the city center will cost about 2 euros which is not bad at all.
The funny thing about public transport in Budapest is pretty much that they only know 2 speeds, “plat voet or breaking” Plat voet in Afrikaans would probably translate to pedal to the metal. But my goodness, we had to hold onto the railings on that train sitting down it was going so fast, and it was so loud there was no way we were able to hold a conversation. And the doors slam close so hard I kept imagining people getting chopped in half. I have a very graphic imagination. Even getting on the escalators, they seemed to be 3 times faster than in every other country. With your bag you almost have to leap onto it.
Okay so lucky for us our apartment was super central, we only needed to take the one train, get off at one of the main stations, and walk about 3 minutes.
Tip – You have to buy a single journey ticket for every single journey you take, pretty straight forward, I think we were just too tired to care….and you have to stamp them on the bus and at the train stations. Don’t forget!
Where We Stayed
Instead of staying in a hotel or a hostel, my friends and I arranged to stay in a apartment through Wimdu.de. Easily booked through their website, we found a small 1 bedroom flat in an old historic building in the central area of Pest.
Our host greeted us and handed over the keys to the apartment. As we walked up to the apartment, I couldn’t help but fall in love with the buildings old world charm.
The apartment itself was really nice and could easily sleep 4 people. It was also equipped with basic things like towels and linens. Even the kitchen was stocked full of cutlery, plates and all the needed appliances.
Costing about 125 Euros for three nights, the price is not bad at all when divided by 3 people or even a larger group. Definitely something to consider if you’re heading to Budapest with your family or a group of friends.
It really did feel like home for the weekend and it gave me a taste about what it would be like to actually live in Budapest. This living like a local experience isn’t a feeling that you’d get if you stayed in a hotel or hostel. For this reason, I’d totally recommend Wimdu.de and I wouldn’t hesitate in using them again.
Where We Ate
- For the first breakfast: Fekete Budapest, Múzeum krt. 5, 1053 Hungary
Julia was in charge as she is the biggest breakfast fanatic and she found this place online and we made our way there. It’s a very creative little place with little seating and the chairs were falling apart a bit and the portion sizes were super small. But i guess that is the style of this very creative cute cafe.
2. Lunch: Meat boutique, where I had the most amazing cheese cake.
- Dinner: Pizza, cocktails and Palinka at Kelta – Budapest, Ferenciek tere 5, 1053 Hungary. No pictures or videos are PG enough for this blog after we had a shot of that Palinka. haha (I will add a link to the video Julia made and put on YouTube and there you can witness us having these horrible shots. This place does looks a bit dodgy from outside, but it was up the street from where we stayed, and we were really in the mood for a pub vibe, a meal and a drink. And the staff here were truly incredible. Our waiter made our night 🙂
- Breakfast: We walked around a bit and I ended up getting a very nice cream cheese, parma ham, mozzarella panini at a very lovely cafe I truly cannot remember the name of. No pictures we taken because I was starving!!
- Snack: We found a very weird coffee shop on the hill where we ordered a hot chocolate so we could use their bathrooms, but as soon as we connected to the WiFi we stayed longer than planned. This coffee shop had 1 table! We were their only customers, and everything else was just clutter and books, I felt like I walked into someones living room by accident.
- Dinner: As we walked back to the city center we were hungry again, and the food at the Christmas markets looked amazing! Honestly I ordered way to much just for me but I couldn’t help myself. I had Pulled pork, ribs and potato wedges. My friends had goulash.
- That night we went clubbing and the next morning we stopped at Starbucks for a coffee.
- Our last meal in Budapest, obviously had to be something from the Christmas markets again. I had fried bread with sour cream and mozzarella cheese. Life changing.
- And then I ended up sneaking my left over ribs through security and eating it in the boarding area while waiting for our plane back home. With my hands… Have you ever seen anything more South African haha No meat will be left behind.
Oh and in between Julia bought Kürtőskalács a few times and we nibbled on them.
Other less expensive dining ideas?
I have to say we didn’t go to any fancy restaurants and food in Budapest is fairly cheap but we could’ve saved more money if we cooked at home – One of the great things about renting a flat for the weekend, is that you can make dinner at “home.” But we unfortunately didn’t do it as we were barely there..
Where We Drank
- Ötkert, 1051 Budapest Zrínyi Street 4, Hungary.
This is the only club we visited while in Budapest, I actually wish we moved around and saw more but if time flies so fast, you know you are having fun. Although Google and other blogs suggested that there will be a super long line to get in, don’t arrive after 11 and entrance is pretty steep, I guess because it was off season but there was NO line, and NO entrance fee. We just walked in. So when we arrived there was some kind of dance class and they had the same song on repeat doing the same choreography over and over again. And birthday mood me (very very tipsy) decided to join this wannabe flash mob, these videos will never surface the internet, because everyone knows this lanky awkward thing cannot dance to save her life, never mind hip hop or anything with choreography. But at least as soon as they finished the party really started, the music was good and the Palinka was flowing.
Just as a side note, not that I’m available, but all the guys/people that were there were either German, British or from the Netherlands. Absolutely no locals. So even for November, very very touristy.
What We Did
Believe it or not, although we stayed in Pest, I feel like we almost spent more of our time in Buda.
1) Walk along the Danube
Although we were walking along the Danube the whole day, nothing beats seeing Budapest at night. Or even just the sunset.
2) Roar with the Lions on the Chain Bridge
The Széchenyi Chain Bridge is a literal linking point for Buda and Pest (the two towns that form Budapest). This dramatic chain bridge stands in contrast to the ornate and beautiful buildings that surround it. It’s even guarded by two stern looking lions on each side. We walked over it, over and over again singing, laughing, taking million pictures. We loved it.
3) Explore the Castle District
The Buda side of the city plays host to the notable Royal Palace and Hungarian National Gallery, Matthias Church and Fisherman’s Bastion. There are two ways to reach the top of the hill where the palace and other sites are located – either walk or take the funicular. We preferred the walk. There is more than one pathway and they’re all equally beautiful.
Random side note: Buda Castle is also that place where Katy Perry shot her “Firework” music video.
4.) Hungarian Parliament Building
Built in the 19th century, the Hungarian Parliament Building is one of Budapest’s most iconic buildings. Take a stroll down the banks of the River Danube and watch the sunset transform this building with its warm, orange glow.
So there you have it, my weekend guide to Budapest. I can’t wait to go back.
And just as a final good bye, photo credits are due to the wonderful Julia Mitereva and Melanie Gross. All these photos are from our phones as I forgot my camera and down here is the AMAZING video Julia put together for us. I can’t but help to smile when I’m watching it. Thank you all for reading and have a wonderful evening.
All my love Carla xx