Been There: Budapest
I never go back to the same place twice: that’s my rule when it comes to travelling. Yes, I know it sounds a little drastic, but ever since I went abroad for the first time when I was 18, I made a deal with myself that I would see as much of the world as I could in my life.
Now when I tell people this is my rule, I always get the ‘that’s ridiculous, what if you really like somewhere?!’, but what’s to say the next place isn’t going to be just as good? My only * to my rule is that of course I will attend your wedding or hen or important social engagement if it’s in a ‘Been There’ country, i’m not completely stubborn, don’t worry friends.
So on that note, when my girlfriends and I were trying to pick a destination for a long weekend away, with warm weather and things of interest rather than sun loungers and drinking, we chose Budapest, an up and coming city for everything from design to dining.
We Airbnb’ed an apartment called Broadway Residence, and it was just a luxurious as the name would suggest. Peter, our host, couldn’t have been more accommodating when we arrived; showing us around the local area, giving us places to eat, drink and be merry. The apartment was kitted out with state of the art mods and cons and the little extra touches (which I won’t give away) made the experience a 5 star rating.
The city itself is beautiful, with Art Nouveau architecture and green rugged hills on the banks of the Danube River. It’s small enough to walk around but make use of the hop on hop off buses if you’re not great with a map or on foot. Climb the Gellért Hill in Buda (the city is divided by the Danube River, Buda is the leafy side, Pest is more urban) and take in the breathtaking views from the fortress at the top. You can see the infamous parliament buildings and for miles over Pests skyline. Cross over the river and visit the ‘Shoes on the Danube Bank’ memorial, representing the Jews that were killed by the fascist militiamen in Budapest during World War II – quite poignant.
Drop into the famous New York Kávéház to stare at the ceilings and eat exquisite desserts – don’t bother with Afternoon Tea, the sweet treats are the best part so just get them on their own.
Budapest is known for it’s spa culture and thermal baths (due to there being over 1000 natural thermal springs in the city), so a dip is a must to do as the locals do. There’s plenty to choose from but we went for massages and a soak in the Géllert Baths – it’s not luxury, but it’s an experience.
My friends and I would consider ourselves foodies, in that we love to eat good food, so it’s always imperative when going away to get recommendations or do a lot research as to where we’ll have our next meal (which tends to be almost every 2 hours). So we were delighted when we found the establishments below and devoured various cuisines in beautifully designed settings. Here’s a few must visit spots.
Liberté, a stylish bistro around the corner from our Airbnb, serving nice lunches and good coffee. Just check out that decor.
Mazel Tov, middle eastern cuisine in a fairy light and raw brick wall setting. Get a table out in the patio area for the best ambience and note, the portions are big!
Innio Wine Bar, guzzle Rioja and tapas is this authentic Spanish setting. Make sure to get the aubergine dip, it’s divine.
Ruin bars are a must to visit for drinks and sheeshas – there’s more crap hanging off the walls than you can shake your drink at, but it all adds to the character and wildness. Szimpla is busy and bustling (and touristy of course, but fun!)
BOB is a trendy late bar with good house music and nice cocktails. There’s plenty of clubs in the city, it just depends what music you’re into as to what one to pick. If you do book the Broadway Residence, Peter will hook you up.
So that’s a wrap, thanks Budapest for giving me new experiences and fun memories, but alas, I won’t see you again…what, it’s a rule!