Aoife Dowling takes us through her experiences of Budapest and shares very useful tips to make your experience in the Hungarian capital the best it can be.
The minute I stepped off the train station I knew Budapest had my heart. The massive entrance to the train station told us exactly what to expect from Budapest – endless treasures, spectacular architecture and a city steeped in history.
For this piece, I decided to record all the major red flags that I encountered when in Budapest and all those fabulous things you just can’t miss.
“Darn Gone it” (or maybe language slightly harsher) was our only response when we eventually converted the extortionate amount we were charged for our very brief taxi journey.
The local taxi drivers know immediately if you are foreign to the locality, inflating prices and unnecessarily elongating journeys. Beware!
The Hungarian forint is the greatest hurdle one must overcome when in Budapest. The currency is extremely inflated with one euro equalling 310 hungarian forint :O. This can lead to extreme confusion, especially after a few beverages in one of the many bars.
I was never a wine lover, indulging in a tipple only occasionally. However, I was a connoisseur (that might be a slight exaggeration) after my brief trip, not only is the wine wonderful in taste but it is also pretty sweet in price! Glasses of wine were as cheap as €1 in some bars.
Budapest has so much to offer when it comes to nightlife. The bars are all very authentic and quirky in style. A personal favourite was the well-known szimpla, it attracted a very nice crowd and was so cool inside. There are a lot of pub crawls but I would recommend the ruin bar one above the rest. It’s amazing how these old bunkers have been reclaimed!
I didn’t stay in hostels whilst in Budapest but I would completely advocate the hire of apartments, either on Airbnb or some other website! The standard of the most basic apartment is amazing and is especially perfect if you’re travelling with a group. We stayed in two different apartments during a week stay and both were incredibly good value and very nice!
If you are planning to take Budapest in around August definitely look into the Sziget festival. We stayed for the 7 nights (an extremely long time in a tent) but you can also get day passes. I would highly recommend it as the acts are phenomenal, every corner of sziget holds a new surprise or party. The camping is tough at times but you would survive it a lot better than you think! On the other hand, a lot of people hire hostels or apartments during the stay and go in and out from the festival as they please.
How can you write about Budapest without mentioning the Baths?? An absolute must visit when you’re there. I visited the baths during the day which is much cheaper than during the famous or in some cases infamous bath parties. I didn’t attend one of the bath parties having heard mixed reviews, one things certain, it’ll be a night you’ll never forget!
All in all, I would list Budapest as one of my favourite cities. Days can be easily filled with endless museums, architecture and exhibits, retail therapy is in abundance with shopping centres boasting well-known brands and restaurants are wide in both genre and good in value (make sure to stay away from the extremely touristy areas). What more could you ask for?