Our second stop back in November was to Budapest, in Hungary. Our flights were incredibly cheap – about £30 return – and to complete the budget city break we opted for an Airbnb rather than a fancy hotel. At £27 per night – including booking fee and cleaning! – it was a complete steal, located really centrally, within a couple of minutes of the market square, St Stephen’s Basillica and Budapest’s famous Chain Bridge.
We had 4 days in Budapest after arriving late on Sunday night, and so our first stop was for coffee, and a good look at a map of the city and our guide books. Nick is a serial planner, so he was in his element! I was more interested in the fact that our coffee was in Café Gerbeaud, one of the most famous cafes in Budapest, and a beautiful building!
We decided that we would spend Day 1 getting our bearings, by walking down the river to the food market, before hiking up Gellért Hill to get a view of the whole city. We had ‘langos’ at the food market – the most delicious garlicky bread I have ever had the pleasure of eating, and for just 60p too! The shop is on the first floor of the market, and is a must visit. We washed it down with a beer in the market, with a lovely view of the Liberty Bridge, and the hill we were about to climb!
On our way up Gellért Hill we stopped off for a look at ‘Sziklatemplom’ – the cave church. This church was founded in 1926 although it looks and feels much older. The altar was initially at the cave entrance with the congregation sitting outside. It was used as a hospital in world war 2, before the entrance was completely sealed with a concrete wall during the communist regime. It was a fascinating place to visit.
The walk up Gellért Hill wasn’t too horrendous, but we were huffing and puffing by the time we reached the top! We were rewarded with spectacular views of Budapest, as well as the knowledge that you can also get to the top via bus…!
Our evening plan was to visit St Stephen’s Basilica and go out for dinner. This plan was discarded once we realised there was a concert happening in the basilica, so we settled for a picture outside before going for a mulled wine in the Christmas Market stalls. We wandered across town to Ráday utca, which is well known as the main restaurant area in Budapest. En route we stumbled across ‘Monyó Café’ where Nick sang the praises of the real ale, before settling in ‘Púder Bárszínház’ on Ráday utca. The food was delicious,/!; the wine was extremely cheap! Our last stop of the day was ‘Szimpla Kert’, the most famous of Budapests ruin bars, on Kazincy Street. I think it’s safe to say this was one of the most bizarre places to enjoy a beer!