In preparation for my visit to Buda, I thought it’d be a good idea to watch The Grand Budapest Hotel because I thought it would give me a glimpse to what the city would be like and what I was getting myself into. Fast forward 40 min into the movie and I fell asleep without realizing that the movie couldn’t keep my attention span for longer than 10 min at a time.
Anyway, picture my experience watching the movie the same as my experience visiting the city, except the exact opposite.
Days before coming, everyone warned me that Budapest was similar to Prague but on a way larger scale. And ya know what? They were damn right. The city is so vast and the buildings are built of ruins and rustic, destructed structures that were obviously there for decades. But I feel that all of that adds to the character of what Budapest truly is! Again, it’s not so much a city you can see everything in during one walk but there are scenic sights everywhere. Here are some of my adventures in 3 days.
Day 1: Citadella. Everyone told me “you have to climb to the top, it’s an amazing view of the city!” One person even warned me that the stairs weren’t a walk in the park and some have even turned back because they couldn’t make it.
But with every step, I persevered and saw this I had no idea what the city looked like so this really helped map out where to go next, what we wanted to see, and how we could get there.
From there we walked to the Fisherman’s Bastion where you could freely roam around admiring more panoramic views, with a castle like feel.
After that we walked along the strip and meandered through random landmarks that looked interesting and through the Chain Bridge.
What I unfortunately don’t have pictured are the bathhouses that we visited on day 2. There are numerous bath houses scattered throughout the city which are set upon natural hot springs (is this real life? yes) and one we chose was the Szechenyi Thermal Bath. We were debating between that one which is the ever most popular one, and the Gellert Spa and Bath which was rumored to be amazing and less crowded but we opted for the one that was open later to optimize our entire day to do nothing.
Was it crowded? Y E S. So, so crowded. Too crowded in my opinion but again, it’s summer and I can’t really complain because I know I’m a tourist just like everyone else there. But was it worth the visit? Yes 100%. It was a day of relaxing after a good week of traveling and even though it ended up raining (lol) they have indoor baths, hot tubs, and saunas that were the perfect ways to get the body temp back up.
Another activity to note that’s not pictured are the ruin bars!!!! The most popular one is Szimpla and although and I can’t speak on that particular one, I went to Fogas Haz which was an experienced that’s unmatched with anything else I’ve ever been to. These buildings are made up of old run down, abandoned buildings that have been reconstructed to the lively nightlife where they have rooms upon rooms of different activities such as a dance floor, foosball, more dance floors, and bars. From the outside, you’d never be able to tell because of how damn quiet it gets at night but the inside is like nothing else.
Where to stay:
I stayed at an airbnb I believe because it was cheaper. If this is the accommodations of your choice, don’t be alarmed at the quality of the buildings. Again, that’s just the character of the city; a lot of it is just genuinely old.
How to get around:
Tram! Mostly tram, buses, and lots and lots of walking. It’s definitely not a walking city but it’s worth it to explore and wander. They seem to be very lenient in my personal opinion with checking tickets because I’ve hopped on several times without anyone checking but just to be safe, buy them anyway and validate upon entering.
In my personal opinion, Budapest had tons to offer but in terms of feeling like a whole new culture, it wasn’t one that really stood out to me. A lot of it did feel like bits and pieces of Seattle/New York so it wasn’t a huge culture shock but the structures and buildings are unique in it’s own way.