Here's why Budapest is marvellous


Why Budapest is marvellous

I should warn you now that this is a longer-than-usual post. The kind you should probably read with a cup of tea and a scented candle burning, rather than on your phone in a cheeky five minute break from doing your emails. This was originally going to be two posts; a ‘reasons why you should go to Budapest’ type thing and a more diary like one about our weekend.

And then it all kind of came out in one go, and I didn’t want to try and edit or split it up so this is what you’ve got. A beautiful mess if you like. And I hope it maybe convinces you to book a lil weekend away to this gorgeous city whilst those January sales are doing their thing.  Enjoy.

Why Budapest is marvellous
Why you should go to Budapest
Why you should go to Budapest

In the week leading up to our trip in July last year I got a rough cold and missed my friend's 30th birthday. Which was trivial compared to that fact that one of my Budapest companions was taken into hospital and was only discharged 36 hours before we left. And G's nan was also taken into hospital, meaning he rushed down to Kent suddenly and I didn't see him for six days.

During what should have been a sunshiny, happy week building up to exciting things, I mostly just felt worried about everyone and guilty for not being able to do anything.

But, at 6am on the Saturday morning, I arrived at the sheer delight that is Luton airport and waded my way through hordes of suitcases. Squinting through the obscene orange that is easy jet merchandise, I found one of my friends, E, on the phone and jumping up and down like a lunatic because she'd managed to lose my other friend, L, despite the fact that they'd arrived together.

Without so much as a word, I joined in the jumping up and down and was rewarded by L jumping onto my back.

And all was well again.

Luton airport gets more hideous every time I go but we got through security (with E proclaiming loudly how she didn't understand why it was necessary to point out that electric drills couldn’t be taken on planes) and we managed to grab croissants and coffee amongst the madness before heading to our gate. We were all sat separately yet I somehow ended up with a row to myself so heyhey things were looking up even more. We slept through the journey cos none of us can hack a 5am start.

Budapest is HOT in the summer. Think 30 plus degrees. This did not help our tiredness when we arrived. But we got through the shuttle bus and the metro (which is so, so easy to navigate btw) without collapsing, and found our little apartment (booked with major cheapness through Airbnb) just as were we wondering if it was time for a nap. And we looooved it. The building was set round a semi-circular courtyard with layers of balconies. Our apartment was on the top layer and it was beyond cute. It was probably designed for just the one person but it was perfect for the three of us for a couple of days, and gave us a taste of what it was like to live as a local.

We found a little cafe just around the corner where we had the dreamiest of flavoured lemonades. We didn’t realise then that this is a thing in Budapest and would be the first of many different flavours. We also had goat’s cheese burgers, which were literally the biggest, creamiest chunk of goat’s cheese in a bun with a whole host of other goodies. Guys, we were so happy.

Why you should go to Budapest
Why you should go to Budapest
Why you should go to Budapest
Why you should go to Budapest
Why you should go to Budapest

We had loads more energy once we were full of lemonade and cheese so we headed into the centre (we stayed in the Jewish quarter). I quickly gathered that Budapest was a combination of devastatingly beautiful and yet had a shabby-chic vibe going on, and I really did love it almost instantly. 

I’d done a bit of research beforehand and a lot of the internet suggested going to Gelarto Rosa was a must in Budapest so we pretty much headed straight there.

Why Budapest is marvellous
Why Budapest is marvellous
Why Budapest is marvellous
Why Budapest is marvellous
Why Budapest is marvellous

 Guys, the internet is right. Gelarto Rosa is ESSENTIAL. It’s ice cream expertly shaped into a rose. You get a whole combination of amazing flavours and it is fascinating to watch the rose being made; food artistry. My favourite kind. After we’d taken enough photos to fill our camera memories forever more, and exclaimed in joy at all the different flavours as we slurped, we kept on wandering at a very slow pace cos jeeeez, the heat but that was probably the best way to take it all in. We ended up in a bar on the edge of the Danube, drinking raspberry lemonade. Hey, UK, could you up your lemonade game please? It is poor in comparison. We chatted, drank and chatted some more before taking a walk over Szechenyi Chain Bridge which, FYI, may be the prettiest bridge ever, with some of the prettiest views ever and OMG IT’S ALL SO PRETTY. 

There was a funicular railway on the other side of the bridge, taking you up Castle Hill. I mean, sure, you could have walked up for free but why would you not want to take the vintage transport?!  Plus it was like £4 so you’re hardly gonna break the bank. Some maaaay have said that we enjoyed it too much for our age but they would be wrong. You can never have too much fun and it was the best. 

Oh man, the views from Castle Hill. You could see across the whole city, and we were up there just as the sun started to go down which bathed everything in a beautiful glow *insert heart eye emoji*. 

Why Budapest is marvellous
Why Budapest is marvellous
Why Budapest is marvellous
Why Budapest is marvellous
Why Budapest is marvellous
Why Budapest is marvellous

As well as bridges, Budapest has a lot of public baths that are a must-do if you’re there. It’s the city of spas after all! One of the most famous ones is the Gellert Baths and Hotel which we headed to on our second day after inhaling a lot of pastries for breakfast. The place was full of beautiful mosaic floors, marble columns and stained glass windows. Hands down, the fanciest bathing experience you will ever have kids. There’s naturally heated pools on the inside, which they are a little strict about (you have to have your hair in a net and that kinda thing) and then there’s an enormous bath (complete with wave machines) outside. It was equally as beautiful as indoors and a lot cleaner than you imagine public baths. The water was crystal clear and there was no chance of, ew, accidentally swallowing a plaster. We spent a good while basking in the waters, helping along that tan and chatting the day away.

Oh and just FYI, right next to Gellert Baths is a church IN A CAVE. Yes, you did read that right. Yes, you should go check it out.

The other must-do is Margaret island which was probably my favourite part of Budapest (if you absolutely forced me to pick). It’s right in the middle of the river, in the centre of the city and is mostly covered with parks, topped with medieval ruins. The summer is the perfect time to take a picnic and just chill, which we did expertly. We also did an awful lot of wandering, which was lovely as the sun started to set, and checked out the various food stalls. They all seemed to mostly sell the famous Budapest chimney rolls (kinda like long, hollow doughnuts – I recommend the cinnamon ones) and candyfloss. Quite frankly, I don’t think any three people have ever enjoyed their candyfloss as much as we did…

Why Budapest is marvellous
Why Budapest is marvellous
Why Budapest is marvellous
Why Budapest is marvellous
Why Budapest is marvellous
Why Budapest is marvellous
Why Budapest is marvellous

The best thing about Margaret island though, is the musical fountain. I’ve seen a fair amount of internet folk talking about this since we went, but beforehand, we had no idea it existed. And it was absolutely the best thing to unexpectedly discover. The water dances to the music. Every hour, it shoots water into the air, twisting and turning in hundreds of different patterns, all in time to music. And there’s lights to go with it. It was so magical and when we finally pulled ourselves away from it, we all had the biggest smiles on our faces. 

Naturally, once it was truly dark, we had to go check out the famous Ruin bars. We didn’t stay for ages because we’re old women who were needing our beds but we absolutely loved the quirkiness of them. They were shabby but beautiful decorated with hundreds of colourful fairy lights and other random objects. It was busy but pretty chilled; you didn’t feel crammed or like you couldn’t just go for a drink and chat. And the drinks were so cheap. £3 for a cocktail guys! 

The other thing I’d say is worth checking out (I mean, I’m sure there is plenty more but I was only there for 2 days so give a girl a break) is the Hungarian Houses of Parliament. I’ve never seen a building like it before. It was stunning. We went on a guided tour around the inside, which I wouldn’t say is essential but very interesting. However, it is essential to look at the outside of the building. Your Instagram feed won’t regret it.

Why Budapest is marvellous
Why Budapest is marvellous
Why Budapest is marvellous
Why Budapest is marvellous
Why Budapest is marvellous

Budapest was a truly magical place, and so cheap which is an absolute double win. The most magical thing for me, though, was my two travel companions. I'm so grateful for friends who have known me since I was an ickle kid with a bob haircut and northern accent (in a southern school... Honestly, you'd have thought I was some kind of alien). Who have seen me grow, seen me be my ultimate best and at my absolute low. I felt truly lucky to spend those few days together, laughing and nattering in such a beautiful city. 

Why Budapest is marvellous

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