Playing tourist in Budapest

by Khushboo on May 28, 2015

It seems like Budapest is the place to be year.  In the past month alone, I’ve spoken to a number of people who are planning a trip there, so I figured it would be helpful to share some recommendations from last weekend.   I had no idea what to expect but honestly, I thought Budapest was the perfect mix- delicious food, beautiful sights, extremely walkable, oozing culture, and a buzzing night life.   A quick disclaimer: I’m not getting endorsed for any of these recommendations- I was just a big fan of all of the below!

Chain bridge view

Where we stayed:

I went with 5 friends and after much researching, we decided to stay at the Kempinski Hotel Corvinus which turned out to be ideal.  Location is priority for me when choosing a hotel & the Kempinski is super central- walking distance to a square full of various restaurants & shops, the Chain Bridge connecting Buda & Pest as well a short walk from the Danube.   

Night Life:

  • Szimpla Kert Ruin Pubs: Ruin pubs are a growing trend in Budapest & essentially they are located in the ruins of abandoned buildings, stores or lots.  From outside these bars look like normal homes, but once you walk in and enter the inner courtyard, there are various smaller pubs you can wander into.  The crowd tends to be more on the hip & artsy side, some talking, others dancing and an overall laid-back atmosphere.  We went to the Szimpla Kert Ruin Pub which was recently listed as #3 on the list of great bars in the world by Lonely Planet. 

Szimpla Kert Ruin Pub

Source

  • Hello Baby: Despite the tragic name, this was possibly one of the most fun clubs I’ve been to in a while.  Once you enter the club, it’s separated into a room with house music & another room with R ‘n’ B music…obviously I spent most of my night in the latter.

Eating Out:

Talk about a nonstop food fest- everything tasted so delicious and you’ll definitely not go hungry in Hungary ;)!   Even better is that eating out/drinking was much more reasonably-priced compared to most other European cities.  A few of my favourites were:

  • Michelin Star Borkonyha Wine Kitchen: This was our first meal in Budapest and food-wise, my favorite.  Put it this way, you know a restaurant is going to be good when the bread basket alone comes with squid ink bread, fruit & nut bread and a caraway seed bread…all freshly baked.  I opted for the seafood entree which hit every spot: Market-Fresh Catfish with Mixed Salad & Yellow Beetroot.

 Borkonyha Wine KitchenJPG

  • Cyrano: Very few places serves breakfast food at 1 pm on a Monday in Budapest, but Cyrano was our saving grace.  Especially if eggs are your thing, you must try Cyrano.  I ordered an omelet which tasted eggs-ellent but I would’ve definitely ordered the Hungarian Eggs like the rest of the table if I ate pork: Baked eggs in a skillet with sausage & bacon– it sure smelled (and looked) delicious.

Cyrano

  • Cute Cafes: One of my favorite aspects of Europe in general is the abundance of “cute” cafes.  Especially when the sun is out, there’s nothing quite like enjoying a glass of wine or cup of coffee al fresco.  Two which I highly recommend (as do various reviews online) include Café Gerbeaud (we had Rosé/Prosecco but they’re renowned for the hot chocolate) & Ruszwurm Cukrászda Pastry Shop (promise me you’ll get the Hungarian vanilla cream cake & potato scone).

Ruszwurm Cukrászda Pastry Shop

Must Dos:

We really packed in a lot over the 4 days but if there are 2 activities I would highly suggest, they would be: 

  • Outdoor Thermal Baths: As Budapest is one of the richest cities in the world in terms of thermal and spa waters, thermal bathing is a huge tradition there.  Although thermal bathing is linked with medicinal properties including treatment of skin, muscular, and bone ailments, it’s also the ultimate relaxation spot.  We visited the Szechenyi Baths, which is one of the more popular baths there.

Szechenyi-Baths-outdoor-pools

Source

  • Escape Room Game:  As bizarre as it sounds, this was probably one of the most exhilarating hours of our trip.  It involves a collection of puzzles that you need to solve to exit a room that you are locked in. Within a certain time frame (usually 60 minutes) you have to solve logic-based tasks, puzzles & little quizzes that all build up on each other.  Especially as most of the tasks involve more than one person to solve, be sure to do it as a group activity.  Various kinds of Escape Rooms exist across the city but we opted for Trap.  

Must Sees:

Budapest has beautiful written all over it- I just couldn’t get enough of the architecture and sights!  From the Chain Bridge to Castle District, Mathias Church, Parliament Building  and Shoes on the Danube, I would definitely suggest devoting a full day to just sightseeing.  

Shoes on the Danube

Shoes on the Danube

And that concludes the longest post ever :)!

Have you ever been to Budapest?

What’s next on your travel bucket list? Japan, Maldives, Australia, South Africa..the list is endless! 

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Sam @ Better With Sprinkles May 28, 2015 at 2:11 pm

I really hope that Escape Room Game thing is a thing over here because that sounds so cool! I love puzzles and stuff like that. I’m glad you had such a great trip – I’ve never considered Budapest as a place to vacation but now you’ve got me rethinking that!

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Khushboo June 1, 2015 at 3:46 am

Oh you must put in on your bucket list, Sam- it’s amazing!

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GOPINATH May 28, 2015 at 3:19 pm

wonderful post. Tks for sharing. I want to miss it but looks like i need to see it after your post. I am in europe for an year on deputation and started my visits in march and visited Paris, Rome, Venice, Florence, Pisa, Innsbruck and Salzburg till now. Planning for Swiss, Prague, Greece, Istanbul, Barcelona, Lisbon, Lagos and some places in Germany and Beligum before i go back singapore. Now i need to add Budapest too….

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Khushboo June 1, 2015 at 3:47 am

Thanks so much :)! Sounds like you have had some amazing trips this past year- envious!!

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Jen @ Chase the Red Grape May 28, 2015 at 3:27 pm

Wow Budapest looks stunning! Defintiely up there on my must see European cities! Those ruin bars sound fantastic and I can only imagine how good the food is! First on my list would have to be those thermal spas though…. Bliss!

I am off to Amsterdam in July, I have been before but am so excited to go back, it’s beautiful!

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Khushboo June 1, 2015 at 3:47 am

Oh wow that’s awesome- I’ve never been to Amsterdam but I would definitely like to! How far is it from London?

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Jen @ Chase the Red Grape June 1, 2015 at 6:57 pm

Its about an hours flight from London. You should definitely try and visit if you can, its stunning!

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Dixya @ Food, Pleasure, and Health May 28, 2015 at 4:42 pm

that puzzle room and thermal bath sounds wonderful. i have never been to budapest but seems like a fun city.

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Khushboo June 1, 2015 at 3:47 am

It’s amazing!

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Erin@BeetsPerMinute May 28, 2015 at 5:45 pm

My husband and I have been discussing which we’d rather go to this coming year (if we can swing it!) Budapest or Prague, so this definitely helps! I’m so excited to be living overseas now since travel is so much more affordable within Europe than it ever would be coming from the States! 🙂

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Khushboo June 1, 2015 at 3:48 am

I can imagine- my biggest regret is not travelling around Europe more when I actually lived in London!

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Shashi at RunninSrilankan May 28, 2015 at 6:25 pm

Budapest never was on my destination radar before – Khushboo – fantastic review – Budapest looks wonderful! I love those thermal baths and am totally intrigued by the Escape Room Game concept (the gallery for the Trap link is fascinating)!
This year is only US travel for me – but hoping to make it to London in the next couple of years…

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Khushboo June 1, 2015 at 3:48 am

Travel around the US sounds amazing to me- where all do you have planned?

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Parita @ myinnershakti May 28, 2015 at 7:04 pm

The escape room sounds fun! What happens if you don’t solve the puzzle?

And Budapest is on our list along with a million other places like Spain, Australia, Greece, Thailand…I could on and on!

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Khushboo June 1, 2015 at 3:48 am

Haha if you don’t solve the puzzle, the guy in charge lets you out..but that’s no fun!!

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Tara @ Sweat like a Pig May 28, 2015 at 9:46 pm

That Escape Room thing is in London too, and I’m dying to try it! It all sounds very much like Saw. Haha. I’ve been hearing loads about Budapest lately, so it seems like the place to be! I have too many places on my travel bucket list to count. But definitely the Maldives!!!

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Khushboo June 1, 2015 at 3:49 am

During your upcoming travels around Europe, try and sneak Budapest in!

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Arman @ thebigmansworld May 29, 2015 at 5:07 am

omg I’m so envious- Budapest looks amazing! I would never have considered it a place to have a thriving night life either!

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Khushboo June 1, 2015 at 3:49 am

You and me both!

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Lucie@FitSwissChick May 30, 2015 at 2:42 am

Oh wow now I’d loove to see Budapest!! I have never been there except for the landing and taking off at the airport 🙂
I love Thermal Baths, it looks beautiful!
I definitely want to see South Africa next.

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Khushboo June 1, 2015 at 3:50 am

Same here- I would love to check out the safari in South Africa!

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Louise Letsome June 2, 2015 at 6:57 pm

Budapest is definitely on my places to go list. I went to Prague early April, and we were going to do that Escape the Room game – but never got round to it! It’s nice to know you can do it here as well 🙂 The Thermal Bath also looks so nice and relaxing!

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Khushboo June 6, 2015 at 3:25 pm

How did you like Prague? I went a few years ago and found it absolutely stunning!

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Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets June 7, 2015 at 4:28 am

And I need to officially add Budapest to my travel list. It sounds and looks amazing.

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Khushboo June 11, 2015 at 1:20 am

Oh you must, Meg!

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Honey, What's Cooking? June 12, 2015 at 10:48 am

Very Nice.. Not sure when I’ll be visiting Budapest, but a friend of mine is going in Sept, and I’m sending this to her now. 🙂

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Khushboo June 15, 2015 at 2:06 pm

Yay I hope it’s useful to her :)!

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