Travelling on a budget is something I aim to do whenever the opportunity arises. I’ve heard so many good things about Budapest with many of my friends having visited and singing its praises. When I found flights for less than £40 each way, I just had to book!
I had never been to Hungary before and was looking forward to exploring a new country and culture. While researching flights and accommodation, I decided to look at AirBnB, out of interest and then quite religiously, swiping through the cute flats on offer. Usually, I always book my city breaks through Lastminute.com or Expedia as I love the ease of booking flights and hotel in one go, all fees up front and no hassle. This time however, I wandered from the known and took a chance. It definitely paid off. AirBnB, in the heart of Budapest (Pest side) for three nights came in under £90 for both myself and my fiancé Chev. BARGAIN. 3 nights, 4 days in Budapest for £170 for TWO people! I then booked seats through Ryanair which was still super cheap in a sale and then I was good to go. Only thing left to sort was travel insurance and currency.
I have to admit, it’s not a city I knew lots about prior to booking, but as soon as I had departed with the fees and fares, the research began.
Currency is Forint (although some places do accept Euros) and it is pretty cheap in the city. Forint is in hundreds and thousands which can often mess with your brain when trying to work out the conversion, but I decided to write down a rough exchange rate to refer back to when spending money- I highly recommend this if you’re not accustomed to the currency. One thing to note is that you will almost always need to pay to use a public toilet and expect to pay anything from 200 – 350 ft to relieve yourself. There are toilets everywhere… out in the town, in shops, in bars and even McDonalds! We only found one public toilet that we didn’t need to pay for which was outside the visitors centre at Parliament. Make sure you carry plenty of change for this reason.
Once we arrived in the city centre, we had a 30 minute walk to our AirBnB. This was a walk that we ended up doing multiple times a day and we certainly got our step count up! There was a Spar supermarket on the corner at the end of our road and once we had stocked up on supplies, we went exploring. Budapest is a vibrant city, with pubs and bars on every street. There was so much to see including; Buda Castle, Heroes’ Square, Basilica of St Stephen and the Szechenyi Chain Bridge (best admired by boat!). Two places that I highly recommend visiting is the Szechenyi Thermal baths and the Shoes on the Danube bank memorial. The baths are the best place to unwind and relax and you could easily spend a whole day there. Rain or shine, the outdoor thermal baths are open, however if bathing in the rain isn’t for you, then there are a number of indoor geothermal pools as well as saunas, a gym and facilities to receive spa treatments such as massages. Szechenyi bath is the biggest and most popular bath but there are plenty dotted around Budapest. It’s one of the more expensive attractions however we received a money off coupon with a bus tour we booked so keep your eyes peeled for offers. For something more historical and actually quite breath taking, you should visit the Shoes on the Danube bank memorial. The monument remembers 3500 individuals who were shot into the river Danube during the Arrow Cross terror. It is such a surreal moment when you come across the shoes and reflect on the tragedy that took place in that spot all those years ago. To locate the memorial, you’ll need to be on the Pest side of the river near the Hungarian Parliament. You can then enjoy a walk down the riverside, taking in the city’s beauty and admiring the Buda side from a distance.
Overall, this city oozes so much history that is just waiting to be explored. If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend visiting- especially as it’s not too costly to go. I know I’ll be returning!