We took the train from Vienna to Budapest, which was super easy and such a relaxing way to travel. We pre-booked online with OBB and selected second class seats in advance. The two hours went by really quickly and before we knew it, we had arrived in Budapest! The train station felt a bit run down and we actually had a little trouble finding the subway station…which turned out to be right next to the train station. The signage was just not great! Luckily, the subway system was super easy to navigate and it was a short ride to the city center.
We booked this Airbnb apartment, and it was a perfect location close to transit, restaurants, shopping and the river. The apartment itself is in an older building, but completely renovated on the inside. The highlight was definitely the over-the-top, but kind of awesome, colour changing lighting system.
Lángos: After some online research we realized that we had to try this classic Hungarian street food while we were in Budapest. It is basically a deep fried flat bread with toppings like sour cream, cheese and garlic. We searched out the Tomi Langos stand, which didn’t look too inviting from the street, but lived up to its reputation for serving one of the best langos in the city.
Central Market Hall: I love exploring local food markets! This large indoor market was fun to wander around and seemed popular with locals and tour bus groups. The main level is mostly stalls selling raw ingredients and the upper area has a crowded strip of ready-to-eat food stalls. We squeezed our way through the crowds and grabbed a plate of hearty cabbage rolls, sausages, potatoes and beer.
Meatology: There are so many amazing food options in this city! After working up an appetite exploring the city, we went for a late lunch at this highly rated, street-food inspired spot. The signature burger and rabbit ragout with dumplings were both pretty incredible! They also have a selection of homemade hot sauces to sample. Definitely recommended!
River Cruise: We decided to jump on a one hour boat tour on our first afternoon in the city. There are a number of options for tours and we weren’t looking for anything fancy, so we just went with the first decent looking option that we came across. Honestly, they all kind of looked the same! The boat was pretty basic, with three levels, plenty of seating and refreshments for sale. We grabbed a beer and settled in for some lazy sight-seeing. It was a great way to get an overview of the sights along the river and some fantastic photos of the impressive parliament building.
Széchenyi Thermal Baths: Budapest is known for its thermal baths and this is one of the most popular options, housed in a large yellow historical building built in 1913. The facility features a large outdoor courtyard with several pools and lots of areas to lounge in the sun. The indoor areas are a maze-like network of smaller rooms with pools of varying temperatures, saunas and steam rooms. We had a great time going back and forth between the saunas and cold plunge pools, and enjoyed a couple beverages sitting by the pool in the courtyard. A very relaxing way to spend a few hours. The people watching is also pretty spectacular…
Rudas Thermal Baths: After having such a delightful afternoon at the Szechenyi baths, we were determined to fit in another bath experience. The Rudas baths were highly rated and within walking distance of our apartment – perfect! The facility features a large modern section with hot and cold pools, saunas and steam rooms. Most of it is located indoors, with the exception of several relaxation areas and a large rooftop hot tub with views of the river. The outdoor hot tub was pretty packed, so we mostly stuck to the indoor areas. While the newer areas are super nice (much more modern than the Szechenyi), the real feature of the Rudas baths is the original pool area dating from the 1550’s! The central octagonal pool has an amazing vaulted dome with multi-coloured lighting. Be sure to check the schedule prior to visiting, as some areas are restricted to men only or women only on certain days.
Gellert Hill & Buda Castle: We spent an afternoon exploring on foot, starting with a walk up Gellert Hill. It is quite a steep hike to the top of the hill, but worth it for the spectacular views! There are a few food and beverage vendors at the top in case you need some motivation for your hike. After taking an excessive amount of photos of the spectacular view, we headed down the opposite side of the hill and along the river towards Buda Castle. We ended up taking the escalator up to the Buda Castle, but there is also a very vintage looking funicular which runs from river level up to the castle. We didn’t get a chance to ride it, but I’m kind of a funicular enthusiast, so I had to get a couple photos.
Overall Budapest was an amazing city and I would love to go back someday. The thermal baths alone were such a delightful experience…
Check out instagram for more of my photos from Budapest!