June 28th – July 1st, 2018 | June 11th – 14th, 2019
I went to Budapest with my roommates from Barcelona and a few other girls from my program. I wasn’t expecting anything amazing but it ended up being great. I stayed at a hostel because there was no room in the airbnb with my roommates and ended up meeting so many great people.
Walk up and down both sides of the river. The river is definitely one of the most beautiful parts of the city. It is the easiest way to see all of the most beautiful buildings. You are able to see all of the buildings on top of the Buda side and the Parliament building on the Pest side of the river which can only be truly grasped from the other side of the river. If you want to not walk back and forth start at the Parliament building and walk up past the shoes (please don’t take pictures in front of them smiling that was my biggest pet peeve both times I was there – it’s not a light topic) and across the chain bridge then you can walk all the way down the other side and take the metro back to the center of the city that way you avoid walking back and forth like you’re pacing.
Hostel One Basilica is the best hostel I have ever stayed in. I stayed there twice once alone and once with a friend and both times I met great women who I went out with and both times I had an amazing night. There is also an amazing view from their common room of the Ferris wheel where they have drinking games every night and a kitchen where they have dinner every day.
The thermal baths – The first time I went with my roommates who were the types who only wanted to get a good picture so we spent the hour and a half we were there taking pictures. I was miserable. The second time I went with my best friend and a girl we met at the hostel and we took maybe 5 pictures and then swam for an hour, definitely worth it! All of the outdoor and indoor pools are different temperatures and even if it is hot outside it is worth it to try all of them. Also the whirlpool might make you dizzy but it’s a lot of fun.
Bars and clubs – After playing drinking games in the hostel each night we would all as a group go to a bar. The bars and clubs in Budapest are so much fun! You get to meet people from all over the world and get to hear different types of music. Instant was our favorite there are many rooms with many different types of music and dancing in each. There was another rooftop bar we went to called 360 Bar which allowed you to see the other side of the river (Buda) with all of the buildings lit up. If you don’t like the sound of either of these any of the ruins bars are worth your time they all have a great atmosphere and most of them have pretty cheap drinks.
Walking around the quiet streets in the morning and looking around the shops. There is the Main Street with the high shops but if you wander off a couple streets there are some really nice shops. There are also nice shops near the Ritz Carleton next to the park with the Ferris wheel (Oysho is my favorite).
Playing drinking games with the people from my hostel, going out to a club and dancing all night, leaving the club at 2:15 to collect my things, taking the bus to the airport and taking a 6am flight back to Barcelona (surrounded by screaming babies may I add). It was definitely a night to remember.
Other things to do (that I didn’t try):
Explore the Buda side of the river, take a hop-on hop-off bus, go to one of the many museums, Gellert Baths, St. Stephen’s Basilica, Fisher’s Bastion, Central Market Hall, Buda Castle Hill Trolly, sunset river cruise, etc.
Metro – The metro in Budapest is a little tricky. There are no signs that indicate which stops are where and some places don’t have places to buy tickets so make sure you are traveling through the main entrances so you can buy your tickets. Also make sure to keep track of Google Maps (or whatever mapping app you use) to keep track of how many stops you have until your destination. Another thing about the metro that you need to know is you need to stamp your ticket on the way into the metro. There are a few machines near the entrance down into the metro, use them! If you don’t you can get in major trouble and police occasionally wait to check at certain stations. That being said make sure not to throw out your ticket until you get to your final destination (I once had to dig mine out of the trash to show a police officer).
Bus – I haven’t taken the public bus in Budapest other than taking the airport bus from the center of town. We caught the bus at 3:30 am on our way to a 6am flight and it ended up working really well. It is definitely the cheapest way to get to the airport from the city, and considering you shouldn’t take taxis in Budapest, one of the safest.
Taxis – DO NOT TAKE TAXIS in Budapest unless you have someone call it for you from a restaurant or hotel. Taxi drivers there know you can’t speak the language and are known to make tourists pay outrageous amounts of money.
Next Up: New Zealand
Disclaimer: I do not in any way claim to be an expert on the cities I am traveling to or the countries that they are in. I would love to hear if you have other recommendations that differ from mine. Please be kind, I am new to blogging and sharing all of my life online.