Day one started with us catching the earliest Ryanair flight from London Stansted, taking us through to 11am when we landed in Budapest after a two and a half hour flight (allowing for a one hour time difference). I always fly Ryanair and I’ve never had a bad experience – in fact, I think they are better than other budget airlines like Easyjet in some senses because they allow you to have a cabin bag plus a handbag, whilst other airlines make you shove it all into one case which is so annoying. It’s cheap and cheerful, and does the trick for flights around Europe.
During our original search for accommodation, I wasn’t particularly impressed with what Budapest had to offer. I’m extremely picky when it comes to choosing places to stay – if a room boasts red carpets, orange bedsheets and dodgy old curtains, I’m not bloody interested. After a few days of unsuccessfully trawling through Booking.com, I stumbled across an Instagram post by one of the lovely bloggers I follow showing off a room in The Magazine Hotel and Apartments
. Fucking hallelujah.
It looked modern, clean and absolutely Insta-worthy. We booked it in a heartbeat, and it cost £200 for an upgraded double with city view for three nights (so £100 each, bargain!).
We booked a return transfer when we bought our flights, and this dropped us off literally a 2 minute walk away from the hotel which is centrally located just outside St. Stephens Basilica. This was perfect for making our way around the city and even more perfect for restaurants and bars; there’s a Starbucks around the corner where we satisfied our hot chocolate cravings every morning, tons of quality restaurants and drinking holes and it’s only a 10-15 minute walk to the Ruin Bars. We absolutely loved this hotel and when we go back to Buda, The Magazine Hotel
will absolutely be our first choice when booking somewhere to stay.
Our flight from London was super early so by the time we got to Buda (we were actually staying in Pest, but that doesn’t have the same ring to it) we were pretty tired. However, we dropped our stuff off and wandered out to go and explore, getting the lay of the land and scoping out venues for future dinners and drinks. In true holiday tradition, we then went back to the hotel and napped (something we did every day from about 4-7, it was fucking amazing). On our wanders we’d spotted a restaurant literally round the corner called Platz, and the full length windows with sparkly fairy lights were enough to win me over instantly. Keiran was thrilled to see a giant projector screening the Europa Cup final on the wall when we were directed upstairs (legit don’t know if that’s right but I’m going with it), and I was just happy drinking cheap alcohol and snap chatting the interior every time I went for a wee. We didn’t go out the first evening because we were so tired, so after dinner and, obviously, dessert, we popped back round the corner to our hotel and pretty much went straight to sleep.
(P.S. Has anybody noticed that when they go abroad, the only channel in English is CNN Worldwide? We went when the EgyptAir flight had just gone missing and omg I feel like an expert now.)
After our regular morning Starbucks we decided to spend the day exploring our surrounding on foot. The first order of business was checking out St. Stephen’s Basilica which was right outside our door. The architecture in Budapest is stunning, and this old basilica is certainly no exception. It was a Thursday when we visited so it wasn’t too busy (beware during the weekends, as with any tourist attraction), and it’s free to enter although you kind of have to make a “voluntary” donation when you go in. Inside, the detail everywhere is insanely beautiful. There are SILENCE signs everywhere in the basilica, so in respect of this, I decided to accidentally trip up over a prayer stool and make legit the loudest noise you’ve ever heard in your life. Cue some embarrassment, some quick walking and a swift exit.
Subsequent to this we made our way to the river Danube and saw the Houses of Parliament (which was obviously built by a blogger or a racist because it is SO.WHITE.) as well as some totally rando giraffe things that became a running joke for how small I am. Of course at this point I forced K-Ran to take some ootd shots for me, at which point we were 100% a bit hangry so we had to go in search of lunch.
The sun was shining and we were feeling the holiday vibes, so with outdoor seating in mind, we opted for a cute Italian restaurant just beyond the Parliament houses. Obv lunchtime is cocktail time and I coerced Keiran into joining me for a mojito (or three, yay to daytime drinking), alongside our chosen pizzas – mine with goat’s cheese, red onion and salad, his as Pepperoni as possible. We sat and lounged and drank for as long as we fancied, laughing at the pigeons who were scrapping over our pizza crusts and discussing what to do with the rest of our day. Naturally, after locating some more bars and trying to decide where to spend our evening dranking, the next step was more food. I’d seen The Donut Factory bandying around on Instagram and being as easily influenced as I am, I made a slightly tipsy Keiran Uber there with me on the hunt for sweet treats. Whilst I went straight for the pistachio option, he decided to get three different flavours (fat fuck) and then shortly fell into a coma, meaning only one thing – nap time.
After a well deserved sleep, we got ready for a night of more food and more drink. The availability of vegetarian options is pretty good in Budapest, but the restaurant we went to oddly only offered one, which meant I had mushroom risotto for the second night in a row. After a few more cocktails and a little grump from me because I couldn’t find the bars I wanted, thanks to Google Maps and Keiran, we found a super cute cocktail bar complete with picturesque garden and recycled bottles. I’ve legit just spent fifteen minutes trying to find it on Google Maps because I can’t for the life of me remember it’s name, but unfortunately I can’t spot it so it will have to be a mystery gem for you lads and ladies! If you get a map from your hotel and it notes all of the different popular bars, it’s the one a little way away from the Ruin Bars and seems to be hidden down a side road.
Waking up on day three, we decided to give Starbucks a break and seek out a proper breakfast. We’d seen a sign advertising the ‘Full English’ just down the street from us, but honestly, it was the wierdest breakfast I’ve ever had. Upon arrival there were only three breakfast options, and not a single one came without meat. I asked if I could change the ‘bacon and eggs’ option to fried eggs on toast, to which the waitress responded with a super confused look followed by the revelation that I would still be charged the full price despite taking away half of the meal itself. I wasn’t that bothered, but when she brought out a plate of three fried eggs garnished with two baby tomatoes and some weird green foliage I was less than thrilled. Thank God she came back with a basket of tiny toast slices, although when we asked for butter (who the fuck eats toast dry???), she came back with one of those tiny square packets and we had to share it out between us because she was the most unhelpful person ever. Nevertheless, the coffee was good, you can’t really get fried eggs wrong so all in all it wasn’t completely awful.
We’d decided to make day three our super tourist-y day as I really wanted to see Fisherman’s Bastion and cross the famous Chain Bridge. It was a really beautiful day which made my job of creating a photo diary easy – I’ve said it already but it’s worth saying again that the architecture in Budapest is beautiful. After climbing the hill up to Fisherman’s Bastion I snapped a picture over to my brother and he said that it looked like something out of Hogwarts. If you get the chance to walk up then definitely do this instead of getting the bus – it’s worth seeing all of the beautiful buildings on the way up and makes having a refreshing bevvie at the top that much more rewarding.
By the time we got back over to Pest it was most certainly time for lunch. On our first day we had spotted a burger joint called Burger & Love, and having gone without halloumi for two days, I was starting to get the shakes. Burger & Love offered a whole range of different options (and more than one for veggies, yay!), allowing you to customise toppings and bread much like Five Guys. I opted for a flatbread with pesto, halloumi, salad and fries, whilst K-Ran went for a beef burger in ciabatta with lashings of ketchup. Subsequent to this we wandered for a bit more, went home for a nap and then went out for dinner and final night cocktails. I didn’t photograph any of this as I just wanted a chilled evening without blogging, but it was a perfect final night and I certainly made the most of the passion fruit margaritas. The next day we spent the morning lazing about, drinking more hot chocolates and trying (and failing) to find little holiday gifts, before hopping on our transfer and catching our 3pm flight home.
All in all Budapest was my absolute favourite break of all time, and I can’t recommend it enough. It’s cheap, it’s clean, and most of all it’s beautiful. If you have any questions or recommendations for future visits, please don’t hesitate to leave me a comment down below or find me over on Instagram and Twitter. I hope you’ve enjoyed my first proper engagement in travel blogging – please do let me know what you’d like to see in the future, and until then, happy Wanderlust!