Budapest & Gyöngyös
This is a really special travel feature for me for a couple of reasons and a trip that i really deserved after months of working really really hard. The flights were UBER cheap when i booked them costing roughly €60 return, Winter tends to be the quite season due to the colder weather. Being Irish a spot of cold weather didn’t scare me off and to be fair it was much more pleasant than Dublin, less rain and wind. At the minute you can fly with Ryanair to Budapest from €80 return, the flights seem to be more expensive as the spring and summer come. That being said €40 one way is a good deal, and the city is super cheap in terms of food and transport.
The city blew me away and really trumped all expectations, it was surprisingly romantic (and it takes a lot for me to feel some cheese) the city almost has a magical mist surrounding it and i mean that literally. The tones of the city are grey but soft and the buildings are so interesting, everywhere you turn has something to offer in terms of architecture. Its quite interesting because you immediately feel the past influences but yet has such a gritty modern feel and everyone where you go smells like delicious sweet pastries. From the metro to the traditional cuisine and the endless list of sightseeing locations it is a city not to be overlooked and one i highly recommend to put on the bucket list.
In this travel feature i will share my 8 amazing days in Budapest with you, where to eat, where to visit, where to stay and some personal thoughts. During this trip i also traveled to Bratislava for 2 days, so be sure to read that post also.
- Currency – Hungarian Forint
- Exchange rate – 300 Hungarian Forint is €0.97
- Airport to City – Take the 200E bus outside the airport, then take Metro 3 to the city.
- Transport (Metro) One-day travel card – HUF 1,650/Three-day travel card – HUF 4,150/Seven-day travel card – HUF 4,950
- Accommodation – If you are looking for something really special and unique book The Aria Hotel Budapest prices start at €221 a night. The hotel offers endless benefits from the most stylish luxury bedroom to complimentary coffees and teas, delicious buffet breakfast, blissful spa and a two hour wine and cheese reception from 4-6 for all guests. You can find more information about the hotel in my diary below or on their website here http://www.ariahotelbudapest.com/ / If you are looking for something really cheap check out Elite Apartments Budapest. A self service apartment situated in the city center, with a bed, kitchen and bathroom. Also great if you are travelling in a large group and if you are really looking for a bargain. We paid €35 a night, meaning i paid €17.50 (2 people). For more information follow the link http://eliteapartments.hu/
- Sightseeing – The list is really endless in terms of sightseeing in the city. Here is what i recommend: Vasarcsarnok – The most famous hungarian market / Liberty Bridge / The Shoes on The Danube / The Parliament building / Gellert Hill for the best view of the city / Buda Castle / Halaszbastya building / Heroes Square / The Basilica / Szechenyi Baths. Read more in my diary below
- Food & drink – Be sure to avoid the typical tourist places, by doing that you will get much better deals and better quality Hungarian food. I think the most expensive meal i had in the city cost €13 including drinks. Try the street food, eat traditional foods like Goulash, dumplings and savoury paprika pancakes. Drink sweet Hungarian wine and you will also find that the most expensive beer you will drink will be for €1.20. Check out the patisserie cafes and bakery’s which you will find all over the city and be sure to try sweet cottage cheese anything.
Monday /Tuesday / Wednesday
Day 1 / Arrived at Elite Apartments Hungary at roughly 2pm on the Monday, it took roughly an hour to get from the airport to the city where our accommodation was situated. (Take the 2ooE bus then Metro 3 to the city) The apartments were so easy to find and before we knew it we were relaxed and unpacked and ready for our adventures. Highly recommend this location for anyone looking for inexpensive accommodation for their trip to the city, it worked out as €35 a night for two people. Also be sure to book in advance, we decided to stay an extra night with Elite Apartments last minute and paid €50 for the night rather than the original pre booked fee of €35 a night.
The first day was pretty simple taking a small walk around Deák Ferenc tér (Daek Square) which is the main shopping/tourist area. While there we decided to visit the famous Szamos Gourmet Palace to try some traditional Hungarian patisseries and cakes. I decided to pick two authentic cakes Dobos Torta (Drummer cake) and Hungarian Kremes. Little did i know this was only the first of many cakes to be eaten over the course of my trip, if i had of known i would have packed looser trousers. The country is renowned for their yummy cakes and rich food so be prepared to eat a lot.
Day 2 / Started my day at Hungary’s most famous market hall called Vasarcsarnok where you will find typical Hungarian goods for sale like paprika, sausage, savoury & sweet pastries, traditional meats and cloth. A great spot to see but the prices are definitely a little higher being a tourist destination. I found breakfast only a stone throw away at a bakery called Friss Pékség which is literally across the road from the market, you wont miss it. There i picked out four pastries (For 2 people) and one being a sweet cottage cheese pastry, sounds strange but it is absolutely YUM and they are famous for this filling so please give it a try on your trip. The total cost including a coffee was €5.
The rain didn’t stop us jumping on the metro and checking out some of the major tourist destinations including Szabadsag Hid (Liberty Bridge) Kossuth Ter (Parliament) The Danube and The shoes on The Danube (World war 2 memorial)
For dinner we visited the amazing Drum Cafe Langosh & Gulash Bar which was only about five minutes from our apartments. Not only was it INSANELY cheap it also had the most delicious traditional Hungarian food i went for the chicken paprika pancakes and the beef goulash i also had two glasses of sweet wine, the bill came to €9.
Day 3 / Started day three on a serious high trying the best of Budapest’s street food in a great little deli called Ica Mama. I ordered a range of Hungarian staples from steamed cabbage, stuffed paprika to black pudding and sausage the total bill cost was €9. Yep all the food below cost only €9 and in Budapest fashion we ate outside watching all the street activity. After breakfast we walked 45 minutes up to Gellet Hill where the best view of the entire city waits. Check out the views in my photographs below where i am totally in love with the views of the beautiful city.
After Gellet Hill we continued by foot to the The Fogaskereku lifts, a really cool little route up to Buda Castle. A spot you must put on your list when visiting Budapest. From there we continued to the amazing Halaszbastya
After our day of exploring Budapest we decided to jump the bus back towards the city where i found myself in a spot of trouble with the local transport control, as i forgot to validate my travel ticket before getting on the bus. Lesson learned as we were given a penalty of 8000 Forint/€25 each for the mistake. In some ways i found it quite entertaining as i had only seen the Hungarian art movie Kontroll, but that being said it was a silly mistake, so don’t forget to punch your ticket after you pay for it. After our ordeal with The Kontroll we went for Hungarian all you can eat buffet at a spot called Gastland Bisztró Oktogon. There you can try a range of Hungarian classics, things like potatoe stew, stuffed cabbage, cabbage stew, fried cauliflower, potatoe and sausage stew and sweet treats like sweet cherry balls. I enjoyed my fill here with a glass of wine and a mind blowing bill of €4.30
Day 4 & 5 – Travelled to Bratislava (Read the full Bratislava post for more information)
Saturday / Sunday
Day 6 / Arrived back in Budapest after an amazing two days in Bratislava. We arrived into Keleti Station and made our way to the WONDERFUL Aria Hotel Budapest just in time for the complimentary wine and cheese, which they hold complimentary for their guests every single day from 4pm-6pm. This is a really really special place and i can honestly say the best hotel experience of my life, from the moment i walked in the doors of The Aria Hotel i felt like a queen. It would be the perfect choice for those looking for a modern, glamorous stay whilst in Budapest. A great idea for valentines day or a romantic luxury break. The hotel was so good i didn’t want to leave and found that i spent most of my weekend at the hotel enjoying the amazing music inspired hotel and not to forget the blissful Harmony spa.
For more information on The Aria Hotel Budapest check out their website here – http://www.ariahotelbudapest.com/
After settling into The Aria Hotel Budapest and unpacking i jumped straight into the stunning bath in my room, where i listened to some of my favourite music on the complimentary ipad. After fully exploring our amazing bedroom at The Aria we made our way into the city and to the main social area District 7 where you will find some really cool restaurants, cafes and bars like Kuplung where i enjoyed a cherry Palinka and an amaretto sour. After that we found ourselves in a bar called 4-es 6-os which was filled with young locals and a great atmosphere, not to forget the cheap drinks.
Day 7 / (Note to any future Budapest visitors, Sunday is a quite day in the city with MOST things closed. So be aware before making plans)For the first time i enjoyed the sound of a late alarm which didn’t go off until 10am, i had one of the most amazing sleeps of my life and i am still not sure if it was due to the amazing bed at The Aria Hotel or the couple of Palinka’s i enjoyed the night before. Mornings at the hotel are always to be looked forward to, with the most colourful and delicious buffet breakfast being served until 11am perfect for those who want to sleep in just like me.
After breakfast we hit the streets of Budapest for more sightseeing and fun, with today’s agenda set on Hero’s square and a spot of food. Actually one of my favourite moments of the entire trip eating at Varosliget Cafe probably the most expensive place we ate in but the bill still only came to about €26 for two people. The atmosphere was just so relaxing as they had the most amazing singer set the tone while we enjoyed more goulash and cherry strudel, truly one of my highlights. After the best lunch of the trip we wandered around the beautiful Vajdahunyad Castle and Hosok Tere(Hero Square)
All i can say is thank god i was staying at The Aria Hotel Budapest on a Sunday, with the city virtually a dead zone we made our way back to the hotel to enjoy the facilities. I spent a relaxing evening at The Harmony Spa at the hotel which is 100% free for all guest, where you can use the pool, Jacuzzi, sauna or steam room. A real treat that i utterly enjoyed and needed after a long week of exploration. Followed by an early night in the beautiful Aria Hotel bedroom listening to music.
Monday / Tuesday
Day 8 / My last morning with The Aria Hotel Budapest and the day where i would be making my way to the Hungarian countryside and waving goodbye to Budapest city once again, so i made it my business to wake up extra early to enjoy my last moments and of course my last breakfast at the hotel. Each bedroom has the most wonderful balcony and i made sure to appreciate it one last time while drinking the best hot chocolate i have EVER tasted, literally like melted chocolate of goodness into a cup.
After saying goodbye to the hotel it seemed only logical to visit The Basilica which is situated less than a minutes walk from the hotel, which turned out to be my favourite tourist attraction of the entire trip. Not only was the building mind blowing but so too was the view at the top, make sure to put this spot at the top of your list. Also be sure to drop into the charming rose shaped icecream shop called Gelarto Rosa which is beside the Basilica.
After the rush of the bustling city i was so excited to be making my way to the Hungarian countryside where i knew the mountains were waiting for me. I didn’t take too many photographs or videos in Gyöngyös as i took the time to just enjoy myself and of course eat some REAL Hungarian food like Langosh. I found the countryside so interesting and a totally different aspect to my eastern European adventures. The communist influences of the past can still be seen here, which was utterly fascinating for me.
Day 9 / As you all know i am a serious lover of hiking and was pretty excited to be visiting both the highest lake Sasto and highest peak Kekesteto in Hungary. The day started at the small tourist village called Matrafured for a quick coffee stop and from there we made our way up the hills by car (Yup i didn’t do a pinch of hiking in the end) Although i still utterly enjoyed a day outdoors climbing the Sasto watch tower and visiting Hungary’s highest mountain (1014m) called Kekesteto mountain where you can enjoy a hot mulled wine and the most raw view of the Hungarian countryside. There are loads of accommodation options here from hotels to camping, and apparently its a serious spot for snowboarding in the depths of the winter, so no doubts ill be back.
Day 10 / A sad day of course, the last of my Hungarian adventures but i have no doubts it wont be my last visit to the country. We ended the trip back in Budapest where we decided last minute to book back into Elite Apartments, unfortunately we didn’t get the same deal due to the late booking. We paid €50 for the night between two people instead of the original fee of €35, so be sure to book in advance to secure the best deal. The last day we decided to visit the famous Szchenyi Baths and it really lived up to my expectations. It was the most expensive tourist attraction at €15 for a single entry but worth every single penny. We ended our last night in Budapest like a true 20 something year old Budapest local, ordering from a local takeaway and watching a local reality tv show. We ordered from the most used takeaway website called NetPincer and we ordered our grub from Kiskukta, which was decent enough.
Outfit details from the trip including vlog
Missguided green parker as seen in Travel Vlog – SU Parka Faux fur
Missguided black hooded jacket as seen in photos above & travel vlog –Padded hooded bomber
Missguided green cigarette trousers – Fabric Belt Cigarette
Missguided faux leather trousers – Premium faux leather trousers
Missguided Jumper – Peep hole jumper
Missguided khaki longline top – Longline khaki sweater
Black Dungarees €20 Penneys
Spring stripe shirt €9 Penneys
Red stripe Tshirt €4 Penneys
Black neck tie, black + white Tshirt, black cross over bag and fluffy bag accessory, black belt – PRIMARK / Penneys Ireland
I would like to thank The Aria Hotel Budapest for a wonderful and unforgettable experience
Be sure to watch my travel vlog all about Budapest
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