This February, my boyfriend Fergal and I jetted over to Budapest for a fabulous long weekend. I was lucky enough to receive flights from him for Christmas (I only bought him a Nutribullet… oops!) and was so excited to tick another country off my bucket list. Here’s some snapshots and an overview of our trip:
We arrived early Friday afternoon and after checking into our hotel, Boutique Zara, we headed straight for the Great Market Hall. Food was a top priority so after a quick scope of the hall, we settled on a restaurant with Hungarian cuisine called Fakanal Etterem. The quaint, rustic interior really set the scene, not to mention the gypsy band playing in the corner! The Hungarian goulash was amazing and was washed down with a big bottle of beer.
After a wander through the rest of the markets (and sampling a few treats along the way), we crossed the Green Bridge over to the Buda side of town. It’s much quieter than Pest, but is really beautiful. After a very decadent Bailey’s hot chocolate, we headed back over the Danube to the Budapest Whale; a large glass building with various craft shops, restaurants and bars. There were some really great shops stocking handmade jewellery, modern furniture and design as well as antique pieces.
Later that night, we headed to the ruin bar district, where many old derelict buildings have been transformed into cool bars and clubs. We made our way to the biggest and most well known bar, Szimpla Kert, mainly because it was the only one our taxi driver knew of! However, it was so amazing and had such an unreal atmosphere (and cocktail menu!) we ended up back again two nights later!
There’s so many different rooms and levels with various knick knacks adorning the shelves, walls and ceilings. We played table soccer against another couple (and lost spectacularly thanks to me), drank Red bull mojitos, carved graffiti in the walls (it’s allowed, don’t worry) and had the craic with some really cool people from all over the world. I would consider it a must do!
Despite having some pretty sore heads the following morning; we were booked in for massages at the Szechenyi Baths so we had to power through. Everyone says checking out the baths is a must and I can understand why. It was a pretty cool experience and the main outdoor bath is impressive. I enjoyed relaxing in the indoor baths a little more as even though the water was warm, it was still only about 6 degrees outside! I’m not big on the sauna or steam room, but Fergal seemed to enjoy them.
The massage was good, if not a little awkward. You’re in what resembles a shower stall in the change rooms with no relaxing music or anything, just background noise from the baths. I think I would’ve been more relaxed if my stomach wasn’t growling so loudly as I was kind of famished at this point! Make sure you set aside a good few hours for the baths, as it is really an all day activity. If you walk for some of the journey, you can check out Heroes Square nearby also!
We spent most of our final day in Budapest walking along the Danube and exploring the city. We walked up to Parliament House which is such a beautiful building and saw the Shoes on the Danube Bank. The bronze shoes are a memorial for the Jewish people who were killed during World War 2 (they were made to remove their shoes and then executed on the bank of the river). It’s a lovely, but very sad memorial.
From here, we walked across the Chain Bridge and climbed the stairs to Buda Castle. Buda Castle offers some of the most spectacular views of the city so I would highly recommend checking it out.
Because Ireland were playing England in the RBS 6 Nations that afternoon, we naturally had to track down an Irish pub to catch the game. For any Irish abroad, Jack Doyle’s pub was a great find along with the delightful Australian pooch watching the match with his owner. His name was Dudley, was born in Melbourne and brought back to Europe to live. He even had his own Wallabies jersey, signed by Sterling Mortlock no less!
We had an amazing time in Budapest; great food, drink, sights and people. We were beyond depressed leaving and would go back in a second! Add it to the bucket list now, you won’t regret the trip!