I always wondered why everyone who visited Budapest would get this glazed look in their eyes when they would talk about their time there. As if nothing will ever compare, or anyone that has not been will never really understand the charm and beauty of this much loved Eastern European Capital.
At the end of summer I decided the time had finally come – let’s go see what all the fuss is about! What makes their Parliament Building one of the most-photographed in Europe? What makes their quirky ruin bars such a unique nightlife experience?
Looking for Christmas break ideas? What about the Hamburg Christmas markets?
I was in for a real treat.
I believe the thing that makes Budapest such a special place that it is just as beautiful at night as it is in the day…if not a little more magical at night. It’s the kind of city you can’t put your camera away, wanting to capture every angle, every flicker of light, with beautiful architecture perfect reflections on the river, and early morning sunlight peaking out through ancient arches and under spectacular bridges.
And yet at the same time, you feel the need to put your camera away, sit down my the river watching the boats sail past against the sunset, just living in the moment.
Luckily for me, some of my travel blogging friends Laura and Tanbay actually live in Budapest (check out The Travelling Weasels on YouTube), so I was able to get a little insider info on the best places to eat, drink and play. As I had teamed up with Click&Go Holidays (an Irish company that sells city breaks to Budapest and beyond) to make a video about my time in Budapest, I was delighted to be able to get help from Laura and Tanbay – my video making idols!
We took an open top tour of the city, followed by a boat cruise down the Danube passing all the main sites and attractions…and laughing most of the way, taking a ridiculous amount of photos and videos. They then took me to Central Market, or Great Market Hall, one of the highlights of the city in my eyes. This massive indoor market sells everything from fresh bread and pastries, to handmade local crafts, Rubix Cubes (they originated in Hungary!) and a mad variety of red peppers!! The unique design of the market makes it a photographers dream – and the delicious smells and tastes and perfect for the foodies among us!
My week in Budapest consisted of getting lost in the city each day, walking almost everywhere (it’s an extremely walkable city) and simply getting lost in order to come across hidden gems I would otherwise not have found. I woke before sunrise in order to find the best sunrise spots and counted down the hours each day until sunset, excited to find a new angle to photograph or to simply watch the sunset from – be it Fisherman’s Wharf or Buda Castle.
At night, things livened up a bit, as I did what the locals do (and no doubt most tourists if we’re being honest) and hit up as many ruin bars as possible, with many remaining open until the small hours of the morning.
Budapest is cheap, especially the beer, so be prepared to have some pretty wild nights in bars that look like they’re housed in old warehouses, and yet contain about 17 bars and dance floors inside!
The decor in these bars is a little mad, so even if you’re not out for an all-nighter, they’re worth visiting for their quirkiness alone! The Times has a great article on some of the best ruin bars to visit.
You’ll find plenty of cute cafes each morning to help cure your hangover, with breakfast or lunch never costing more than a few euro. There also lots of great food trucks serving up both local and international cuisine. The best food trucks are found at Street Foof Karavan which you can find on a map here.
Book a Budapest city break
Click&Go Holidays actually have some amazing weekend break deals from Ireland on their site, with trips to Budapest INCLUDING flights and a hotel for 3 nights starting from €248 per person in a beautiful 5 star hotel and trips to 3-star, 4-star and private apartments for even less! Perfect for visiting Budapest Christmas Markets which start in a few weeks!
Some other great deals they have include:
- A 3 night stay in the 4 star Soho Boutique Hotel, plus flights and all taxes and charges, for just €240 per person.
- A 3 night stay in your own private apartment this November or December from just €202 per person!!
Why is a Budapest city break perfect at Christmas?
Two words… CHRISTMAS MARKETS! Budapest has some of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe (they oly allow handcrafted products for sale), and because it’s way cheaper than Ireland, you’ll be able to get some real bargains. The twinkle of fairy lights, combined with the magic of Budapest at night is a once-in-a-lifetime experience – and you can even ride a tram that has been covered in fairy lights.
The Hungarians seriously know how to go all out for Christmas! Drink mulled wine, and freshly baked chimney cakes, pray for some snow so you can have an early white Christmas and do a boat cruise down the Danube, crushing past chunks of ice floating in the river!