Budapest: 6th-7th May 2023

WHERE IS BUDAPEST? Budapest is the capital city of Hungary. 

WHAT LANGUAGES  ARE SPOKEN THERE AND WHAT'S THE CURRENCY? The official language is Hungarian which is spoken by 98% of the population and the Hungarian Forint is the currency.

3 INTERESTING FACTS: 1) Budapest was formed with 3 cities merging: Buda, Pest and Obuda back in 1873.    2) No building is more than 96 metres tall. 3) Budapest has the most thermal water springs when compared to any other capital city in the world. 

Fisherman's Bastion
Fisherman's Bastion

HOW TO GET THERE? Budapest Airport is easily accessible from many countries and the taxi into the city centre takes around 25 minutes. However, I've found that mainland Europe is well connected by train so you can also reach this capital city by train from places such as Bratislava, Slovakia.

WHAT DID I DO AND WHAT DID I THINK? I always preface this section by saying that my whirlwind visits don't even touch on what these destinations have to offer. Oh my word. I LOVED this capital city! I've found that there're some places like Rome which, for me, are extremely touristy, loud and perhaps a bit claustrophic. However, Budapest has a calmness about it along with feeling chic yet edgy. As a lone female traveller, I felt safe walking around. 

I stayed at the Radisson Blu Beke Hotel which is in the city centre and just a short walk from a major train station. It's a good hotel with a spacious, lovely lobby and very helpful staff.  

Cafe Parisi Passage

Top recommendation for breakfast is Cafe Parisi Passage. If you look online for ideas, you're bound to come across New York Cafe Budapest as it's been dubbed the 'Most Beautiful Cafe in the World'. However, not only can't you book ahead if hoping to visit during the daytime (and the queues are so long) but I read really negative recent reviews. However, Cafe Parisi Passage is located in what used to be a stunning shopping arcade. There's a great menu, the staff members are lovely and it's far quiet. Do book though! I can't recommend it highly enough.

Like many cities, there'a super hop-on hop-off bus which I think are usually well worth the money to get around the main highlights. With traffic being good compared to some other cities, I'd highly recommend this option for Budapest as you won't be sitting in traffic for long. There were 3 places which I wanted to visit: Fisherman's Bastion, Shoes on the Danube and a boat trip on the Danube. 

Fisherman's Bastion is a fairytale-like, romantic complex of monuments giving stunning views over Budapest. If you're after Insta photos, you really need to get there early in the morning as it's a popular destination but, even with the crowds, there's still room to amble. It's free to visit although you can pay extra to access the stairs and ramparts but that's really not needed to still get great photos. The hop-on hop-off bus stops at the base of Buda Castle and there're various ways to reach the dizzy heights of the bastion. You can walk up (it's a very long way and a lot of steps!!!), take the funicular railway or take the castle grounds hop-on hop-off 'bus' which I did. There's a few places to eat and a couple of well-equiped souvenir shops. From the bastion, you can also visit Buda Castle, Buda Old Town and take in the sights of this side of the Danube.

The other place I wanted to visit was the Shoes on the Danube 'art' installation. I'm not going to go into details about what this stands for - you may want to Google it- but it was important for me to go along. It's a lump-in-your-throat moment and close by to Budapest Parliament.

Nursing an injured foot, I spent the rest of my time on the hop-on hop-off bus but it includes a boat trip that lasted around 50 minutes. The nearest stop for the boat trip is the Cafe Parisi Passage.   

To get back to the airport via public transport, it's not all that easy and, not able to walk far, I had to no luck in hailing a taxi. However, I was so wonderfully helped by someone in a Starbucks who told me the best way is to download the Bolt app and, within 5 minutes, I had a taxi pull up that I'd been able to track. I knew what number taxi would be coming and paying on the app meant not feeling as if I was being taken for a ride in more than one way! I see that Bolt covers other cities throughout the world so it's one I'm going to use time and time again.   

Would I go again? YES! YES! Yes! It's a stunning city and I can imagine how wonderfully it changes through the different seasons. It's compact, friendly and a breath of fresh air.