We ended up taking a bus from Zagreb to Budapest. It was a really simple and was only about 15 Euros each. Upon arrival, we decided to get a 7 day public transportation card. This card is about 14 Euros each and is completely worth it. The city of Budapest is massive, and to really explore all the different areas, there are trams and buses you can conveniently take. We stayed in an Airbnb just across from the Vig Theatre. It was in a great spot of the city with a tram stop adjacent to us.
So the city of Budapest is actually divided into 2 areas, Buda and Pesh. They are divided by the river that runs through the city. We chose to stay on the Buda side as opposed to the Pest side. We were told Pest (or called Pesh by the locals) was ‘more posh’ and not really where we were looking to be. We were looking for more nightlife with closer proximity to the bar scene.
In typical Rainier fashion, the first thing we did after checking into our Airbnb was going to a wine tasting at Tasting Table Budapest. It was a really nice and welcoming setup! There was a table of about 10 of us, and we tried an assortment of white and red wines. Hungary is well known for their wines, especially their sweet wines. Historically, wine has been quite the commodity in Hungary, and it was so important to Soviet Russia that there was a demand to focus more on quantity rather than on quality.
One of the coolest setups we saw throughout our travels was the Ruins Bars in Budapest. These are typically pre-war buildings that consist of all different types of rooms and themes. The rooms are outfitted with what looks like random items and furniture purchased from clearance stores. It’s one of the most bizarre, fun things we had seen. We went to the Szimpla Kert!
This is where we got to hang out in all of these bathtubs. It’s first come first serve for all the seating, so we were happy we got there a bit early and hung out. We ended up meeting a couple that was in town on holiday from Ireland. From the Ruins bars we went to another bar area and stopped at Racskert, and quite a few others. Finally we started the great journey home via electric scooters. We had a blast and it was a perfect way to celebrate my birthday! Budapest is DEFINITELY a city to explore the nightlife and bar scenes.
We were a bit slower getting up the following day… but finally made it out of the apartment in the afternoon. We went to Meatology Budapest for a great steak dinner to celebrate my birthday. It definitely made us miss being back in the US, since it had been awhile since we had a great steak. From there we explored the Christmas market. It was awesome! Its long streets were full of stalls and they had some of the best sweets yet. We got Chimney cakes, macaroons, and anything else that looked delicious. Between the music and all the people it was an incredible environment to be apart of.
The next morning we took advantage of the Free walking tour. They took us across the river to the Pest side, where we got incredible views of the city and was able to see the Castle District. There are 2 ways of getting up the wall. I recommend walking up the streets rather than the cable care due to the lines and the cost. Once you’re at the top there are plenty of restaurants and shops. The church at the top is beautiful and the architect is stunning. We were able to see a great sunset over this city from this view as well.
I highly recommend a little cafe called Ruszwurm Cukraszda which has incredible deserts and coffee. It’s a small little shop that’s almost 200 years old. We took full advantage of any calories we burned walking
We made our way to Szechenyi Thermal Bath for our final day. As I mentioned on the Hungary page, there are quite a few thermal baths throughout the country. We ended up choosing this one because it was only a few train stops away and was recommended to us. The water was nice and warm which was great on an especially chilly and gloomy day. There are a bunch of different options and packages when you are there, I highly recommend going to their website first so you know to bring footwear, towels, etc.
Budapest ended up being one of mine and Rainier’s favorite cities. It was the first city that we came across that people were frequently speaking English. The food and attractions were amazing and we just ended up having so much fun.