It was the first of January 2015 we were washing away the sins of a New Years Eve celebration the night before. As I glanced through the rising steam I noticed Bianca was looking up, my gaze naturally followed hers skyward. It had begun to snow. The sky was wagering a gentle snowy war. The rising steam was set for a battle of elements. Each flake became tantalizingly close, before being vaporized by a wave of heat. In this moment Budapest’s, Széchenyi Thermal Bath was paradise. The Ruins Bar Szimpla had lived up to its impressive reputation. It was where we had danced away the night before, the culpable location of our lingering hangovers.
As we were coming in from Vienna we chose to do a blablacar. It was our first time using this service so we were a little nervous of how it would all go down. It paid off, the guy was really friendly and didn’t mind Bianca snoozing away. It cost us 10 Euros total and we were dropped right in the center of town.
Around town the public transport consists of trams, buses and a metro system which are all easy to use and very efficient. Although Budapest has so much beauty to see that Bianca and I simply enjoyed walking from place to place.
Our accommodation was one of those shockers you sometimes have to deal with. Travel isn’t always pretty and this place was rough. Some old lady looking to take advantage of tourism had thrown a few bunk beds in her lounge. The facilities included next doors WiFi and a shower toilet combination.
Budapest is cheap compared to most of Europe, so over New Years people horde in huge numbers. All the hot spots were booked up and we were left with a dud.
If you’re more prepared then a fellow traveler recommended to stay at ‘wombats’ It is a chain hostel and full of Australians but also a lot of fun!
- Langos – Hungarian fried bread, fried flat-bread goodness with different toppings to choose from that just melts into your mouth. This is a Hungarian speciality and found at street food stalls. Cheap, affordable and great for an on the go snack.
- Trofea Grill Restaurant – All you can eat Buffet from local to international food. This is where we had a delicious goulash, a select your own fish or meat grill and a variety of precooked dishes each of a very high standard. It also offers unlimited drinks. This Buffet restaurant was definitely worth every penny, it cost a fixed price of 499 HUF/person for a 2 hour gorge.
- Menza Restaurant – If you are looking for a juicy steak and at a very affordable price, check out the Menza restaurant!
Must see & do
- Szechenyi Baths – You owe it to yourself. We splashed out and got the Harmony aroma massage 50 minutes for two. It was 25,000 Ft (30GBP each) coming with all day access to the VIP zone (WOW) and all the fresh fruit you can eat. Ladies come around and asks to squeeze honey all over your grapes. It’s so nice. We ventured out into the general outdoor zone into the pool was ‘aaaghh’ simply magical.
- Szimpla – A series of ruined buildings taken over by culture. Bike rental, Street food, bars and cinema screens. It’s the place where there is something happening every night of the week and you will always have fun.
- Walking tour – Really good walking tour although it was a bit long and got very cold. Budapest has so much to see and do. Like many European cities it is easy to miss important pieces of history. The walking tour glazes over the history of buildings, statues, and the city itself… everything that might be of interest.
- Buda Castle – The walking tour will likely end up here. But if you skip the tour then don’t skip out on heading across the chain suspension bridge and climb up the track to the castle. There are some really nice photo opportunities as you stroll along the wall.
Tips & Advice
- If you have a week, linking Budapest up with Vienna and Prague makes for a really fun itinerary. All so close, so cheap and each have their individual charms for variety.