three days in budapest
How I got to Budapest:
I rook RyanAir, which was cheap, from Dublin to Budapest. Some helpful tips about the airline: They have some weird bag policies, which I couldn’t figure out. I think I paid to take my suitcase as a carryon, but my bag was so stuffed that I didn’t think it was going to fit in their tiny overhead bins and ended up checking it. It’s fine. It’s cool. I love wasting money.
They don’t offer complimentary soft drinks or even free water. They sell drinks, snacks, but also some things more substantial like sandwiches and lasagna, which normally wouldn’t appeal to me but I didn’t each much that day (two chocolate candy bars, piece of lemon bread on the train ride to Dublin). I wanted to eat at the airport but Dublin Airport has a serious lack of outlets and my phone was going to die soon. I had to choose between sitting at a restaurant or sitting at a desk with outlets. I chose the latter. My flight left at 8:30 and we were going to land at midnight. I knew there wouldn’t be any food open when I got there. Thus, why I was eager to eat gross pre-packaged sandwiches. But alas, RyanAir does not take non-European issued credit cards on the flight. So I was to be hungry until morning. Buttt….I was so surprised when I got to my Airbnb at 1:30am to find that there was multiple restaurants and cafes open. Young people sitting on sidewalk patios, smoking cigarettes, all over. I loved that the city was wide awake until 4am any day of the week.
PS: Hungary does not use the Euro. They use the Hungarian Forint
Getting around in Budapest:
Seemed like a vast subway system but I didn’t try it. No Uber. Be careful with cab drivers, they are known to rip off tourists. Try to negotiate and agree on a price before you disembark.
What to see in Budapest:
My favorite part of Budapest is the architecture. It is so beautiful. I was fascinated with Havana, Cuba for awhile before going in 2017, mostly because of the aesthetic, i.e. the colors, the Moorish style, architecture. It was a dream to go to. And I was really happy to find that Mexico City and Lisbon are very similar in that style. I love that kind of city. But Budapest (and Prague) were very different but just as stunning.
It’s small enough that you can most of the city (the areas you want to see) and it is truly worth it. It’s the best way to see the city.
- St. Stephens Basilica
- The Jewish Quarter
- Hungarian Parliament Building
What to do in Budapest:
Eat chicken paprika
Bath House. I went to Rudas, which was the first built during the original Ottoman rule in 1550. It was really relaxing and rejuvenating, but also a completely new experience. The bath house is co-ed, but a lot of private changing rooms. Most of the patrons were people in their 20s and 30s. A lot of seniors. I saw just a few small children. I think it was 6,000 forints (about $20) for an all access pass on a weekend day. The all access pass includes the rooftop pool, which has great panoramic views of the city, river, and mountains. I didn’t go in the pool, but it was fantastic to lay out on the rooftop. A couple of indoor pools. Hot tubs. Saunas. Steam rooms. Showers. A contrast bath, where you go from the hot tub to a cold pool off and off for a certain number of seconds.
- The coolest part: When you buy your admission you get a little wrist band that has a chip or something in there that locks/unlocks your locker, so you don’t have to worry about your shit. You can even put money on it so that you can purchase food and drinks at the bar/restaurant. They have towels for rent. Robes too. Even swim suits for tourists not planning on such an amazing activity.
- Szimpla Ruin Bar. Budapest has a bunch of “ruin bars”, which are “derelict buildings and unused outdoor spaces have been transformed into friendly, pleasingly chaotic bars” according to CNN Travel. Going to bars like this are the times that I wish I was traveling with people because I would have had a lot more fun there with friends. I was a snooze fest and I read in the Wine Bar section, which had seating only reserved for patrons of the wine bar. Other side, seating was rare. There’s a lot of bars in Budapest around that area. Like much of the city, the bar was open till 4am.
- I heard a river cruise is beautiful. I didn’t do it, due to lack of funds. But it seemed worth it if you’re someone like me that normally hates cheesy cruises like that.
- It’s a very fun city. I would recommend going there ready to party, at least a little. Although, I was a bore there and really loved it. I think Budapest is the new bachelor and bachelorette party destination for the British and Irish. My flight was full of loud dudes. And I saw lots and lots of groups of English and Irish dudes, and a few lady groups, roaming the city. Some more rowdy than others. But no one was rude or disruptive. What I learned from this experience was that it made it a little bit harder to be solo and party. When you go to a city where people are traveling in large groups it’s harder to infiltrate their group. It’s much easier to people when you’re alone in cities where people are traveling alone or in couples, like Berlin. More on that later. I still had so much fun there and I highly recommend going there.