View across the Danube from the Siklo
A little bit of a different post from me today - not related to beauty in the slightest. I'm a little nervous stepping outside of my comfort zone as beauty products have always been my main focus on this blog. I decided to leave the decision up to you guys and posted a poll on Twitter - would any of you be interested in a travel post? 100% of you voted to see what I got up to on my little trip away to Budapest, so without further ado....
WHERE TO STAY
We got the most amazing deal when it came to flights and accommodation; we booked a package holiday through Expedia for 5 days costing a grand total of £179 per person. I'm never too fussed about staying in a luxury hotel when I'm on a short city break - as long as I get to see a lot of the city and have somewhere relatively comfy to catch some z's I'm more than happy. We opted to stay in the Ibis Styles Budapest Center and I have no complaints at all. The location was fantastic and so close to one of the main Underground Stations so everywhere was easily accessible. The rooms were spacious and clean and the staff were really friendly and would go out of their way to help you. If you're looking for luxury though, this hotel won't be for you but I'd definitely have no problem staying here again.
THINGS TO DO
I'll attempt to condense this section into 'must see' areas of Budapest as there is plenty to do and it caters for so many different interests. During city breaks, I enjoy a mix of culture, sightseeing and relaxing and this city most definitely doesn't disappoint.
If culture/buildings/monuments is your thing then you need to take a trip to Parliament in the
Lipótváros region. You'll find the most well kept, beautiful buildings; I couldn't quite believe how clean these buildings were considering their age. Heroes Square is well worth a visit too where you can find the impressive Millenium Monument. My favourite was most definitely the Basilica of St Stephen, the architecture was just breath taking and I loved it so much that we went back to see it again!
After enjoying the sights of Heroes Square, we opted for some well deserved relaxation in the form of the Széchenyi Thermal Baths. I can't recommend this place enough, granted, it's a little bit strange as you're technically having a large bath with loads of strangers but it was so relaxing; wallowing in a warm thermal pool for hours surrounded by beautiful old buildings is my idea of heaven. I was slightly disappointed as I was expecting the water to be boiling hot (the signs said it would be 28 degrees), however, it was definitely more lukewarm than hot. Still lovely, but warmer water would be my personal preference. I'd also highly recommend taking your own swimming costumes, flip flops and towels because we hired ours and it was so expensive!
Next, we hopped on the Underground heading for the Víziváros district and spent a whole day sightseeing in the gorgeous weather- this was probably the most jam packed day of the entire trip. We stopped just before our destination so we could stroll across the Széchenyi Bridge. We then took the Castle Hill Funicular Railway (Sikló) to the top of the castle where there are some spectacular views across the Danube. The Matthias Church, Fisherman's Bastian and the Magdelene Tower are all a must see in this area too. If you're not a fan of crowds then this area will probably not be for you as it's full of so many tourists all trying to photograph the same stunning views. I swear I even saw some elbowing for the best space going on at some points!
I need to mention the Gellért Hills too, while there is not too much to do there, it is also famous for it's fabulous views - we walked along the Liberty Bridge and you can see miles and miles of Budapest. There's some quirky cafes and restaurants in this area too; we stopped for a cold drink in an Alice in Wonderland themed café!
There is such a relaxed vibe and a real buzz when it comes to the nightlife in Budapest. The Hungarians seem to know how to have a good time; there is something for everyone from quiet restaurants and bars if you'd prefer to avoid the hustle and bustle to packed nightclubs if you want dancing and a little craziness.
Two venues really stood out for me; the Vintage Garden Restaurant and the 360 Rooftop Bar. We had a delicious meal at the Vintage Garden Restaurant and ended up getting accidentally very drunk on their amazing cocktails. The Oreo cheesecake and the chocolate dipped strawberries we had for dessert were to die for. It's very aptly named as the interior is all in the style of a vintage garden!
The 360 Bar is an absolute must - it's a rooftop bar that allows you a '360' view of the whole of Budapest which is just incredible. There are fairy lights everywhere, a DJ and so many varieties of wine, beer and cocktails. It was so busy we couldn't find a seat at first - they have everything from high tables, benches and bean bags. I did feel like I wasn't really cool enough to be in a place like this as it was extremely cosmopolitan but the staff were so friendly and really made you feel welcome. I've never been anywhere like it before; it's expensive to get in but well worth it just for the experience.
Budapest has jumped right up there as one of the best European cities I have ever visited, I loved everything from the culture to the people and the nightlife. I'd highly recommend visiting if you ever get the chance!
Have you ever been to Budapest? Is there anything else you can recommend when taking a trip to this beautiful city?