The past three weeks were spent scattered across Paris, London and bits of Hungary for work, but I managed to squeeze in some quality family time and some holiday as well. The hiatus started in Paris, where I visited Bryan for a quick weekend to see him play in the Coupe de France. From there, I took the Eurostar to London where I stayed for a week… then the next destination was Hungary! More specifically, Velence and Budapest. I stayed in Velence for a work project meeting for four nights…. But I won’t bore you with those details… we’ll skip to the more interesting city: Budapest!
Budapest was on my radar more and more after working with a few Hungarians. I knew very little of their culture and history, so I was very interested to learn more. I decided to stay an extra four days in Budapest for a holiday… and luckily this timed well with the direct flight back to Malta for an easy post-holiday-work-trip transition. I was even luckier to have a good friend, Lauren, join me in Budapest. So, on the Friday morning, I purchased by 990 HUF train ticket (equivalent to 2 eur or so) and travelled 45 minutes into Budapest. Once on the metro, Lauren and I beat the odds of metro-meet ups and met on the exact some carriage! We hadn’t seen each other since December in Belgium, so needless to say it was a hilarious start to the weekend and it all got better from there.
Our AirB&B was located in the old Jewish district of Budapest, which we later found out was a perfect location for food, culture and transportation. We only used the metro on the first day and walked for rest of our time in Budapest!
We settled into our cute apartment and then set off to tackle some sights with our free afternoon. We walked through the old Jewish quarters and had a quick bite to eat at Juicy + Budapest Bagel. I don’t think I’ve had a bagel since living in Canada… so this was especially delicious for me! To get to the Buda castle, we crossed the iconic Széchenyi Chain Bridge and over the Danube river. Once we reached the top of the plateau where the castle sits we had a beautiful view of the city. We continued our way to the Fisherman’s Bastion where we stopped for some mulled wine in a restaurant that had a view over the river (Halászbástya Étterem). During our weekend stay, Budapest was having their Easter Markets… which is equivalent to Christmas markets except everything is in pastel colours and selling spring clothing and lavender (a speciality of the area). For this reason, they were still selling mulled wine and we made sure to take full advantage (Lauren and I tend to visit each other during mulled wine season, so this was perfect!). From here, we walked through the Vienna Gate (Bécsi kapu) and down to the riverside for a look at the Parliament building. We kept on walking because it was a beautiful day and we didn’t have any plans which was great! We walked over Margaret Island, which looked like runners heaven. On our way back, we saw the parliament building lit up in the evening.
Here is the breakdown of the rest of our trip!
- Buda Castle
- Mátyás Templom (loved the style of the churches in Budapest!)
- Fisherman’s Bastion
- Vienna Gate
- View of the parliament from across the Danube
- Margaret Island (we were told there was a cool bar at the water tower… but wasn’t the season for it)
- Dinner and beer for under 7 euros each (Kiadó Kocsma)
- Walk along the water front to the Parliament
- Jewish shoe memorial
- Szent István Bazilika
- Great Market Hall
- Dog and Wine party at Szimpla Kert (what better combo??)
- Drinking in a bath tub at Szimpla Kert
Day 3: Spa Day!
- House of Terror
- Hero’s square
- Beer Spa for 45 minutes at Széchenyi Thermal Bath
- Two hours or so in the actual spas
- Chimney cake and mulled wine for post-dinner dessert 😊
- Walk around Városliget (city park)
- Vajdahunyad Castle
- Walk around Jewish quarters and shopping
Our visit to Budapest was very relaxing… I mean, how can you not relax when you go to a dog and wine event or drink beer for 45 minutes in a thermal bath?! This was a sightseeing trip but also a foodie trip… like any holiday I suppose. There are plenty more things to see, to taste and to visit in Budapest, and we both would love to go back! A couple things I would make sure to do next time were: Rudas baths and a hike to the Citadella. Both of which are across the river.
I made a list below for a quick recap of the restaurants and bars we visited and would highly recommend as well!
- Istvánffi Veggie Burger
- vegażżi nápolyi pizzeria
- Oh My Green
- Falafel Bar
- Slow Foodiez
- The Goat Herder Espresso Bar
- Fill Good Vegan Artisan Bakery (Cinnamon Buns!)
- Madal Café (two locations)
- SMUZ-viragneked cafe
- Kiadó Kocsma (not vegan, but very cool, cozy, local spot ; very cheap)
- Sunshine Restaurant and Confectionery
Let me know if you have any recommendations for Budapest! There are plenty of low cost flights from Malta so I’m sure I’ll revisit that beautiful city 🙂
Thanks for listening!