I went to Budapest in the beginning of July 2014. I didn’t have time to plan this trip as well as I usually try to, so I went in with a very open mind, and I absolutely loved it. The city-centre itself was beautiful and what I really enjoyed was that all the buildings were a bit different, each one had its own personality. Budapest is the furthest east I have ever been (finally beating out Stockholm, which is a lot further east than you would think) and I was expecting something much more drab and stereotypically “eastern European”. The city itself was nothing like that at all, though I did just stick to the city-centre.
One of my favorite places that I visited was a “ruinpub” called Szimpla Kert. I unfortunately wasn’t able to take many pictures while I was there, but it is basically a ruined building that they turned into a bar. The vibe was amazing, with friendly people, multiple places to relax and great prices! Many sources have talked up Szimpla, so I am not the first to say any of this but it is highly recommended!
I also made sure to try as much Hungarian food as possibly, which meant an ungodly amount of Goulash, some Pálinka (local fruit liquor, plum was the most popular) and Lángos (like a savoury fried-dough with cheese and sour cream). It was all fantastic, though the goulashes were much more like a soup than the stew that I was expecting.
Some restaurants we tried were:
- Hungarikum Bisztro – close to the parliament building, delicious, very local menus, tons of food (couldn’t finish any course), very popular with tourists (had to book a table three nights in advance…)
- Klauzál Café – in the heart of District VII, very local vibe. We sat outside on the sidewalk and got to watch Budapest pass us by. Great bang for your buck, awesome goulash!
- Ladó Café – great live jazz music, but it got a bit loud at times. Air-conditioned, which was nice because I was there on a hot night.
There are so many other things that I would have liked to do, but I just wasn’t able to get it all in, like the famous thermal baths or the open-air aircraft exhibit full of all sorts of old Malév aircraft from the Soviet-era. I guess I will just have to go back again!