Friday, 25 July 2014

Top 10 Things To Do | Budapest

It's the final Budapest post! This time, it's my list of favourite things we did when we were there, hope you enjoy!

1.  Go inside Szent István Bazilika (St Stephen’s Basilica)
I know I mentioned that St Stephen's was my favourite building to look at it my last post, HOWEVER, you can go and explore the church, for a small donation! Inside are the most awe-inspiring ceilings, stained glass windows, and statues. It proves itself to be just as fascinating on the inside as it is the out.

2. Experience the nightlife
If you only visit one bar in your entire life, make it Szimpla (I'm probably exaggerating how good it is slightly, but it is THAT amazing). One of Budapest's ruin bars, and named as The Lonely Planet's 3rd best bar in the world, it is one of those places that just can't be done justice in pictures or words. There are speciality cocktails, a maze of different rooms and levels, graffiti and awesome decoration everywhere, a stage, a food booth and even a leaflet of Szimpla's Guide to Budapest! Ahhhh, I want to go back so badly!
Asides from Szimpla, there are many other great destinations, two others I visited whilst I was there were Kèkló, the self-proclaimed "coolest bar ever", and a club called Instant (it has the most insane house music room in the basement, but if you're scared of a little (a lot) of sweat, it may not be right for you!) The Budapest nightlife really does have something to offer everyone!

Here's Ella and I looking extremely happy in Szimpla

3. Go on a free walking tour
Walking tours are by far the best way to learn about a new city, and these ones are great because they run on tips, meaning you pay what you can afford to. It isn't for the faint hearted, lasting about three hours (make sure you take some snacks and have breakfast beforehand, we didn't and suffered!), but you get invaluable background knowledge to all the most famous landmarks, and some you wouldn't know existed without their guidance! Some of the best information they gave us was that all the fountains and taps out and about in Budapest are drinking water, meaning you don't have to pay for bottled water!

4. Visit Gelarto Rosa and get an ice cream shaped like a rose
If you haven't seen my post on these wonderful creations, here it is. I cannot describe how brilliant these ice creams actually are, and I am yet to hear about anywhere else that makes anything like them, especially for the same price! For 500 HUF, which works out at less than £1.50, you can get two delicious flavours, which I think you'll agree is a bargain!

5. Spend some time in a bath house
We visited Széchenyi Fürdõ, the biggest bath house in Budapest, which is located at the end of Andrássy Avenue near Hõsok Tere. There was a huge selection of baths, including two outdoor pools (hot and cold), heated and non-heated indoor pools, rapids (inside and out), steam rooms, different temperature saunas (we accidentally went in the hottest one, which was 60-80 degrees, I felt like my insides were on fire) and hot tubs. It was heaven!

6. Sziget Eye
The Eye was located in our favourite park, to the right of St Stephen's. We saved going on it till the final evening, and I really would recommend doing this for the beautiful view you get of Budapest at night. It was under 2000 HUF, and you get at least three trips round - great value for money!

7. Get a pedal bike/car and go round Margitsziget (Margaret Island)
We were a bit too excited doing this, especially seeing as we went round during a thunderstorm! However, if you're looking for a bit of shameless fun and a lot of laughs, rent one of these beauties and pedal away! By far the best way to take in the beauty of Margaret Island.

8. Take Tram #2 and go down the Pest side of the Duna
For great views of the Buda side of the river, this is a must! You can buy a single tram ticket at any tube station for 350 HUF - a ticket can be used on either a tram or the underground. Make sure you stamp your ticket using the machine as soon as you get on the tram, ticket inspectors are often plain clothed! Go towards Margaret Island from the Chain Bridge and you will also get a close and personal view of Az Országház (the House of the Nation).

9. Visit Fõvám Tér Piac (the Great Market Hall)
I love food, and exploring foreign markets and supermarkets, so this was a no-brainer for me. They literally sell everything here, from linens to Russian Dolls and paprika spread (a Hungarian delicacy).

10. Try all the food you can!
Gulyás leves, langos, strudel - you have to try it all! Hungarian cuisine was a thousand times better than I expected it to be, and I'm so glad we spent time tasting it all! We also tried to eat where the locals ate, and bought a picnic style lunch from supermarkets, experimenting with different meats, cheeses and breads.


Bread rolls; salted bread (we thought it was sugar); two HUGE purple apples; Hungarian cheese
(delicious but salty); mineral water from a fountain; children's chocolate animal biscuits.

Gulyás leves! In English 'goulash', it is supposed to be a soup, not a stew, and I really miss it!

Seeded and non-seeded scallop shaped bread; cheese baguette; brie; pâté; mineral water from one of the fountains;
coconut chocolate bar (delicious) and a truffle chocolate bar (tasted so strongly of the Hungarin rum Palinka that I
couldn't eat it!)

Langos with garlic (top) and sour cream and cheese (bottom). It is essentially fried bread and
is a Hungarian dish that you definitely have to try! We found ours at the Great Market Hall.

Our starter on the last night: mixed hams with tomato salad and Hungarian bread

Our final meal! Ella had a spicy sausage casserole and I had pasta with 'fat bacon' (fried bacon
fat) and Hungarian cottage cheese - it was a lot nicer than it sounds, but quite heavy! The bread
was free, another brilliant part of eating in Hungary!

11. Soak in the culture
Some of my favourite parts of the holiday were when we just sat in a park in the city centre and soaked in the atmosphere of Budapest, or when we took some time to wander round the streets and see what we could discover!

A park near the Széchenyi Fürdõ where we sat and had lunch

There's Matthias Church in the background

Ella playing in a massive water feature we discovered on the way to Parliament

Okay, so maybe there are 11...

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