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  • Writer's pictureDan & Lois Gardner

A Long Weekend in Budapest

We'd go back in a heartbeat... It was 90 pence a pint...of course we'd go back!

Not only for that reason, but also because we didn't quite get around to seeing as much as we would have liked to in the time we were there... Maybe because it was 90p a pint? Who knows...

Budapest was a satisfying city to explore. Four of us travelled together and stayed in the Buda district in an Airbnb which worked out about £15 per night, per couple. Our accommodation was about a 30 second walk from Chain Bridge which takes you over to the Pest side. We found there to be far more to do and to see over in Pest, whereas Buda was much quieter with the History Museum & Buda Castle as it's main points of attraction up on the hill overlooking the Danube River.

Budapest had a lot to offer. In the daytime you can explore various museums & art galleries, walk along the Danube riverside, visit the New York Café, go shopping in the Great Market Hall, or visit Margaret Island (between Buda & Pest) for some crazy quadricycle shenanigans! Early evening is a great time to go for a soak in the Széchenyi Thermal Baths as well, if you're in to sharing a bath with hundreds of strangers that is.

Hungarian Parliament Building

The New York Café

They say it's "the most beautiful café in the world".. and it probably is to be fair. The place is practically a palace! The fact you can order an omelette for 9 Euros whilst listening to a man play the piano and gazing up at fascinating art on the celling is pretty special.

Just wandering around the city streets without a direction is where we found most inspiration though. The architecture, culture and rich history of this place is well worth educating yourself with. Walking past the "Shoes on the Danube Bank" was an eye opener to the pain and persecution this city experienced during World War II.

By night you can sit by the river bank and admire the Hungarian Parliament Building, Buda Castle and Chain Bridge as they are all lit up quite beautifully. There are some great food markets to try out late at night as well, a perfect stop after spending a night in one of Budapest's famous "Ruin Bars"...

These Ruin Bars are built in Budapest’s old District VII neighbourhood (the old Jewish quarter) in the ruins of abandoned buildings, stores, or lots that were left to decay after World War II. The places haven’t been repaired or fixed up at all, and there are still holes in the walls with visible pipes everywhere. Many of them have 2 or 3 different floors with vines growing up the old iron staircases. There is flea market looking furniture scattered around the various rooms, graffiti and art plastered over the walls and ceilings, as well as old bikes, instruments and rusty hand saws (a health & safety nightmare to be honest).

Also, for some strange reason they have the locals come in, walk around and try to sell carrot sticks to anyone who fancies some veg with their beer... not something you see everyday. We'd recommend visiting these Ruin Bars if you are ever in Budapest though, they are quite unique places to enjoy a 90p pint... and maybe a carrot.



Places to see: Buda Castle, History Museum, Hungarian Parliament Building, Chain Bridge, Margaret Island, State Opera House, Hungarian National Gallery, the Szimpla Kert 'Ruin Bar', Shoes on the Danube Bank.

Things to do: Go to the New York Café for breakfast. Quadricycling on Margaret Island. Go shopping in the Great Market Hall. Chill in the Széchenyi Thermal Baths. Explore the famous Ruin Bars.

Things to be careful of: If you don't like sour cream, then beware! One morning we ventured out to find breakfast and stopped at a little café in the Buda district. There was pretty much just two things on the menu, jacket potatoes with a choice of fillings, or a sort of lasagne looking cake thing. I was feeling adventurous, so I opted for the lasagne looking cake thing. To my surprise they served this with about 2 kilograms of sour cream on top. I didn’t quite know what to think, or do. It wasn’t just me though… The girls ordered jacket potatoes with beans, and they also served this with enough sour cream to feed a small family for a week. Hungarians must just really like sour cream. We ate it anyway, and to be honest it wasn’t as bad as we thought it would be, it was quite nice. We just didn't eat sour cream again for the next year.

Thanks for reading.

Dan & Lois

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