I visited Budapest in April with family. My brothers fiancee is from there so we helped her shop for wedding dresses. I had never been before and although it was quite a tiring weekend (especially as I was nervous about the travelling), I really liked the atmosphere, especially the cafe culture! You can easily have a ‘cheap’ weekend in Budapest. Just be warned; you will probably share at least one of your flights with a crazy stag or hen party…
- The coffee: SO many coffee shops. Everywhere you go. Every street, every corner, every square. The coffee for us is cheap (it was around 350 Hungarian forints to the pound when we went) and most cafes offer different types of milk – soy, almond, coconut. It’s a coffee lovers heaven.
- Donuts: SO many donut shops! we went to one amazing one with about 30 different types of donuts, some with very unique flavours. I had the oreo one of course and it was divine. I would have had more than one, if I had been alone and not judged!
- Langos: if you’ve never had Langos, you are missing out! it’s basically a heart attack on a plate. Delicious fried pizza dough, toppped with a sauce (mine was very garlicky) and a week’s worth of cheese. I somehow managed to finish the whole thing…
- Vegetarian/vegan food: there are lots of vegetarian and vegan restaurants and cafes popping up in Budapest now. We went to a vegan restaurant on the first night. It was interesting. If you like sauerkraut and seitan this is the place for you. From vegan pizza to steak, there’s plenty of choice (please note they don’t serve alcohol or fizzy drinks!) We also had an amazing Italian meal where I had the best home made pasta and ice cream I had ever eaten (please see photos below).
- Trams: there are the new trams and then there are the OLD trams. The old trams make you feel like you’re on a toy tram. But it’s really fun to go on. They also drive alongside the rivers and bridges, so you can use it like a hop on hop off experience. Travelling around is also super cheap which helps.
- Walking: Budapest is really good for walking and exploring. A city rich in culture and history, all the buildings are beautiful and grand. You can also cross the bridges into Pesh (either by walking, driving, tram or bus) up where the castle is (this is worth visiting, but please note it can be quite touristy and expensive for food/snacks) Or you can just explore both sides of the city at your own pace.
- Markets: they have glorious old fashion market halls. Mostly offering meat/fish (or sausage), but there are also plenty of fruit/vegetables/clothes/jewelry stands to look at. The main touristy ones can be a bit more expensive, but it’s fun just to look around.
- Shopping centers: these go on forever! they sometimes go underground (I think) and it’s mostly tiny independent shops selling very random items, but again, it’s interesting to nosy around. They also have huge food halls offering an array of cuisines to choose from.
One thing I didn’t really enjoy was the thermal baths. I know this is what everyone goes to Budapest for, but we unfortunately went on a Saturday and it was packed full of tourists, hen and stag parties making the experience a bit uncomfortable for me. I would suggest finding a smaller spa and going on a weekday, if you are going for this.
I am going back in August for the wedding, and plan to have a day to myself to explore the city further. Hopefully I will still fit into my bridesmaid dress as I have zero self control when it comes to coffee and donuts!