Stuck for inspiration on holiday destinations? Spent the past week scrolling through last minute deals until your fingers get cramp, feeling like a weekend in a grotty dorm room in Benidorm isn’t quite what you had in mind? Here’s your new favourite place you didn’t even know you wanted to visit – Budapest, Hungary.
After spending just 4 short days here, I have so much love for this place I can’t even fully express. Bursting with history and beautiful beyond words, this amazing location is perfect for those wanting to explore a new area of Europe outside of the traditional options (Paris, Amsterdam etc), while also getting a lot for your money – and oh boy, I mean a lot!
First things first, a quick history lesson – Budapest is actually divided by the Danube river into two sides, Buda and Pest; the Buda side is a a beautiful hilly landscape, populated with a variety of different buildings that all hold so much character and individuality.
In comparison, the Pest side is flat and a gourmet coffee shop can be found at every corner. Interestingly, the streets reminded me of what I imagine New York to look like – definitely not what I’d expected prior to visiting! The whole city really has so much personality and it’s so easy to fall in love with it. The incredible detail of the architecture was fascinating, and the greenery in contrast to the bustling city is the most wonderful view.
The currency (HUF) makes you feel like a millionaire – perhaps another reason why I love the place so much! When we were heading out for brunch, you could expect to see a Instagram-worthy portion of eggs on toast from a nice café for approximately 750/800 HUF, which comes to around £2.00. Yes, really! You could definitely do this even cheaper if you tried, but even dining at nice cafés and restaurants you could still eat out on a budget. Drinks were very reasonable too – again, another very tempting factor for me to move to Budapest…
During our time in Budapest we stayed at a hostel, Retox Party Hostel. Putting it simply – if you’re wanting a quiet weekend with opportunity to get a good night’s kip, do not stay here under any circumstances. This was without a doubt the craziest place I’ve ever stayed, but it was so much fun! I definitely couldn’t cope doing more than a few days here (and neither could my liver) but for a short period of time it’s incredible, and you’re guaranteed to have the best time ever. It has a bar in the hostel, where the lovely waitress made the most delicious Espresso Martinis for us for 1000 HUF (£2.84, a far cry from Leeds’ cheapest option being at least £6.50) – but let’s just say after that weekend, I can no longer even smell *that drink* without feeling overwhelming sickness. In case you were wondering, it most definitely is possible to overdose on Espresso Martinis.
Side note: Retox was so indescribably crazy that I don’t actually have any photos of the room, the hostel or any of the time spent there. That’s the real sign of a good time, right?
On our last day/night in Budapest we actually stayed at a different hostel, Wombats – this was due to a booking error with Retox, but it all worked out for the best as I honestly don’t think my brain/body/soul could’ve handled another night at Retox. The location for this hostel was fab, as it was so close to the centre and situated just adjacent from the cutest little street that was filled with little stalls and vendors, with a whole load of quirky bars and restaurants. It’s also located near the famous Szimpla Kert, a vintage style ruin bar known for it’s eccentric vibe and vibrant atmosphere. In a side street near the ruin bar, we also stumbled across an amazing selection of food carts, including a whole host of vegetarian and vegan options – something I don’t usually expect in European countries!
I honestly cannot recommend Budapest enough – it was so mesmerisingly beautiful and I’d happily go back in a heartbeat. Come to think of it, celebrating my 21st back at Retox doesn’t sound like such a bad idea…
Have you ever visited Budapest? Which is your favourite location you’ve visited so far?
Thanks for reading!