This past weekend I took my first ever trip to Buda-Pest! I keep writing it like that because I was so fascinated to find the city name actually describes the two sides of the city separated by the River Danube (Buda and Pest), originally two separate cities combined in 1873. Ok, enough history. You guys can learn that in class 🙂
On to the (hopefully) useful tips. First up, where to stay.
This hotel, featured in several of my IG’s, is actually a 19th century building, stunning in its own right. I mean, did anyone see the bathroom on my IG stories??
I have a love-hate relationship with hotels in that you arguably spend very little of your time on vacation physically in the hotel, which tends to suggest going for the lower price point options. But then, the few times I’ve cut budget in this area, I noticed it actually drastically affects my mood & general ability to feel completely relaxed. As a result, I think where you stay really is part of your vacation and therefore it’s often wise to do your research and get the best value for money.
The Boscolo is one of the highest ranked hotels in Budapest. While it isn’t directly next to the Danube, the location is central not to mention it’s home to the unique Café (see above pics) situated across four floors with an open layout giving it the impression of moving layers (think: Harry Potter staircases). The decor is stunning, almost like a museum in itself and the staff friendly. Definitely can’t go wrong here.
Must see: Szempla Kert
This one’s a weird one: at first site, it’s definitely not my style. The actual term for this place is a “Ruin Bar,” a new concept of some 20 years which describes essentially a space where people can grab a drink, a bite to eat, or dance. The concept of the ‘ruin’ is mostly in the aesthetics. These bars, are located in buildings that were once destined to be destroyed. Rather than renovating, they utilize the existing structure and vibe and work around that, giving it a quirky feel and reminiscent of a garage sale (in my opinion). Definitely worth checking it out, but beware, despite being massive, the lines are huge after midnight so if you’d like to avoid them, opt for an afternoon drink there instead. *they also have shisha 🙂
Must eat: Christmas Market
Given the season of my visit, the Christmas Market was of course a must do and a localized one-stop-shop for all things must eat in Budapest. Be warned, this isn’t a light or ‘healthy’ cuisine so don’t try to diet. A few things to definitely get your hands on: Lagos (aka fried dough with cheese that looks sort of like a pizza), local spicy sausage & Chimney Cakes. Feel free to eat them back to back like we did and proceed to fall into a food coma.
Must know: Taxi Scam Alert
I know this happens in lots of cities, but I will never stop hating it, and warning you all about it. The local currency notes all look quite similar and end in way more zeros than I’m used to (monopoly money-esque). Our taxi driver took a 10,000 note from us and swapped it quickly with a 1,000 note claiming that’s what we handed him. And honestly, we weren’t sure and didn’t want to argue, which meant we ended up paying 10x the rate of our fare. Fail. Be sure not to fall for this trap!
Last but not least, traveling can be super tough on your skin with airplanes and change of weather and generally forgetting to take your makeup off (you know who you are guys). So it’s important to pack some essentials like the La Prairie Eye Cream & Erno Laszlo Night Cream.
Hope this was helpful! Happy travels guys!