Let’s get something straight, I wasn’t ever interested in visiting Budapest, I hadn’t ever thought about wanting to go to Hungary. I can’t even say I looked forward to going when we booked it. It was somewhere Alex had wanted to go. I compromised by picking the swankiest hotel I could find within our budget. That was my trade-off.
Now, after returning, I can honestly say Budapest is one beautiful city. It might be up there with one of my favourite cities in Europe. It is an ideal location for those who want to relax in the spa in the morning, head off for a walk around the city in the afternoon and eat luxuriously by the night, without spending a fortune.
How many nights?: 3 days is plenty to see the Hungarian capital.
Time Zone: GMT+1
Plug socket: European
Currency: Hungarian Forint
Language: Hungarian. English is widely spoken.
Climate: Summer (Jun–Aug) is warm and sunny. Winter (Dec–Feb) is bitterly cold and overcast.
Where to Stay
Budapest is one of the cheapest places when you’re looking for a hotel. It’s not uncommon to see five-star hotels for around £20 a night. Using this to our advantage, we opted for something more our style.
We stayed at the luxurious four-star Lanchid 19 Hotel which was perfectly located in the heart of Budapest, but enough out of it that you could escape and sit back and watch the city. Nestled between the famous Szechenyi Chain Bridge and Buda Castle, it was only a 10-minute walk to enjoy both of these sites.
It wasn’t just the location that drew us to Lanchid 19. There are so many great hotels located in the heart of Budapest that we were spoilt for choice, as you would be too. What pulled us in was the spectacular views. Sitting on the Danube, with nothing but low cut trees in front, the view was and still will be nothing short of incredible.
We opted for the Standard Room River View, to ensure that we got the view we were hoping for. We paid a little more to upgrade to make that that we got the river. We didn’t want to take the risk by just putting it as a request. Though, if you’re not fussy, the other rooms are of the castle, so either way, you’re onto a winner with the views.
We had booked a private taxi transfer with Travel Republic, which was around 35 minutes drive to the Budapest airport. Check-in was swift and welcoming in the Lanchid 19, they even have a cocktail ready for you on arrival which is very appreciated.
The room design of the Lanchid 19 is minimalist but cosy. It is a comfortable room and the panoramic views are the icing on the cake. The suite comes with a wall-mounted TV with access to a mini-bar and a multi-purpose desk. We also made use of the free WiFi a lot, which was much more important when roaming charges were around!
The suite comes with a small bathroom, but the bathtub with the jacuzzi feature makes up for it. The only thing that would make it better was if the bathtub had views of the castle or placed in the bedroom. But, you can’t have everything, right?
We also paid for breakfast at the hotel which is a good option. There were lots of options to choose from either typical Hungarian cuisine, British breakfast options and continental breakfast.
At the time, we paid £190 for two nights with Travel Republic.
Where to Eat
A lot of people will tell you how much they love the Hungarian cuisine and the restaurant scene over in Budapest. But, we didn’t really steer towards it. At the time, I was a very fussy eater. If you think I’m bad now, you should’ve seen me then!
Instead, a few doors down from our hotel was the Meat Boutique which from the menu seemed to tick the boxes for what we were after. We were not ready to have one of the best meals ever.
We had booked to go to Budapest for Valentine’s, so there was no way we were having a meal we didn’t enjoy. We are definitely not against having a McDonald’s whilst on holiday, but for Valentine’s Day, we wanted something a little bit more sophisticated.
Meat Boutique is a bistro-style restaurant which specialises in steak. The view from the Meat Boutique restaurant was the same as our hotel, but it’s just as stunning to be able to eat and see the view. It’s one of those views that you never forget. I’m sitting here being able to envisage every twinkling light from the chain bridge, the moon twinkling on the Danube and the soft sounds of the Hungarian music playing in the restaurant. If you’re into steaks and views. Meat Boutique is the place to go.
The food is simply spectacular. The bread is perfectly baked, the steak is cooked to perfection and the chips are simply incredible. The wine comes in rather large servings too. We had zero complaints. We ended up heading back to Meat Boutique on our second night stay. It is a little costly compared to other restaurants in Budapest, but it’s worth it.
To find out about about real Hungarian cuisine take a look at the Hungarian inspired menu Sophie has cooked up here: Glow Steady
What to See
Located on the Buda side of the river, the same side as our hotel is the Buda castle. Situated on the top of the hill, it boasts gorgeous views of Pest and the Danube. It’s definitely a spot for photos.
Buda Castle is part of the UNESCO World Heritage and once you lay eyes on the royal architecture, you’ll see why.
You can visit the Buda Castle by cable car or you can take a 10-15 minute walk up. It is free to enter the castle grounds.
The famous spas of Budapest are something you just have to do in Budapest. Even if it did mean Alex is now scarred for life from Helgar, his masseuse. Mine, on the other hand, was lovely and relaxing.
The Szechenyi Bath is a fair walk outside of Budapest. It is a fantastic experience of a traditional Hungarian bath. The grounds are huge and there are so many pools and baths to choose from. It is the most surreal of experiences putting on a bikini at -3 degrees, but feeling warm.
It is certainly an unmissable experience. We booked in advance with Get Your Guide.
Gellert bath opened in 1918 and offers a truly spectacular experience in Budapest. Both being so different, it’s worth heading to them both. I mean, who can complain about two consecutive spa days?
The magnificent bath has incredible features that you’ll admire as you’re relaxing. There really is so much to see. Gellert offers both outdoor and indoor pools at different temperatures. We opted to stay more indoors.
Filled with mineral-rich spring water, which is high in magnesium, calcium, sulfate and chloride, it is said to have several healing ailments which have proved effective for those with nerve pain.
Be sure to check out St. Stephens Basilica, Hungarian Parliament and Matthias Church whilst you’re in the city.
Getting To Budapest from the UK
We travelled to Budapest from Stansted Airport travelling with Ryanair. The flight was 2.5 hours, although on the way home we were on the plane for 4 hours, due to a member of the cabin staff breaking their leg, so we had to wait for a replacement crew member to travel from the other side of Hungary!
The flight was £40 return each, which is why we opted to go. It is such a low-cost luxurious destination so it’s worth taking a look at if you love European architecture and want to experience a taste of luxury without the Northern European price tag.
From somebody who didn’t want to go to Budapest. Budapest, we’ll be back someday.