A few of my friends regularly go away for weekends to European cities, leaving halfway through Friday and coming back late Sunday evening. Yes you’re bloody tired Monday when you return to work but you’ve been away for a weekend and only (usually) had to take half a day off work. City breaks really are all they’re cracked up to be.
After changing jobs and finally having weekends free (hooray!) I was able to go with my friends on my first weekend excursion to Budapest.
Budapest is split in half, Buda (the richer part) and Pest (the working class part) are separated by a number of bridges and both offer plenty to do. We decided to get a hop-on-hop-off bus which was worth it (although sadly we didn’t manage to do the whole tour) but it gives you a great overview of the city and drops you off to view pretty much most of what you’d like to see.
The castle/ palace and the buildings in Buda are beautiful and there are some cute little markets as well, but the best view in the entire capital is Buda hill – the highest point of the city – and you can get some cracking photos here. Over in Pest the parliament building is genuinely one of the nicest looking buildings I’ve seen and the little winding streets all have something to offer.
The whole city is pretty much do-able on foot, apart from bits of the hop-on-hop off bus we only really used taxi’s getting to and from the airport. And I’d definitely recommend just walking round especially when you’re looking for somewhere to eat.
One of the best things about the city though is the baths.
There are multiple baths but the biggest two situated at opposite ends, one in Buda near the palace and one in Pest near Hero Square. We chose the later and loved the afternoon. There were two outdoor baths (one at 27 degrees and one at a staggering 38 degrees) and it was so relaxing (also a great thing to do if you’re suffering from the night before!) You can get a massage or enjoy the fun in a whirl pool or the sauna. The only thing I’d warn you about these baths is that it’s communal changing and showering! Remember you’re in Europe so advert your eyes as much as possible or you may see some things you don’t want to.
If you’re looking at going out then don’t bother heading out before midnight (places get started between 12 and 2) and be prepared to easily be out until 5am! We went to a three floor club called Instant on the first night which was a few minute walk from our accommodation and it was really good. It’s 3 floors but each floor had about 4 rooms so it did get a bit confusing but plenty of choice. The second night we went somewhere called Morrison’s again another multi room place but here there was karaoke and the equivalent to a ‘cheese’ room back home: they played Barbie Girl, Abba and Spice Girls. Clearly Hungarians love their English pop.
In general Budapest is pretty cheap for example a cocktail in a club was about £3, a litre bottle of jagermeister in a shop was about £9, a main meal and drink was about £7, a half hour full body massage at the baths was about £11 and a taxi half an hour to the airport was about £35.
I had a wonderful long weekend and would love to head back to the city: here’s to many more trips away