For years now, friends and family have told us we would love Budapest. Gorgeous architecture, great food, cheap alcohol, what's more to like? We were planning on going two days, as Paul and I are very good at doing A LOT of things in a short period of time, but eventually decided on three days when we had to rebook our flight because Transavia changed the departure time of one of our flights to something very inconvenient (this was long before our trip would take place so it wasn't a big deal to us). In the end we were very pleased it turned out like this, because we truly loved Budapest. I could've stayed another week!
Budapest is a beautiful, beautiful city. I can't stress this enough. Absolutely stunning. To be honest I didn't really know what to expect as I didn't really know much about Budapest or Hungary in general. But I was blown away! Pretty much everywhere you look there's a building that's lavishly decorated with statues or ornaments. There's the dramatic gothic architecture, elegant art nouveau, baroque, renaissance, ottoman and islamic influences, it's all there - the makings of a beautiful city. I also thought it was pretty amazing that most buildings were in excellent condition.
Fonciére (= insurance company) palace on the famed Andrássy út (avenue), with a statue of Hermes on top
We eventually had a very convenient morning flight from Rotterdam The Hague airport. From Liszt Ferenc airport it was about an hour to our hotel with public transport. First a bus that took us to Köbánya metro station, and after that a metro and tram to our hotel. The bus ride was the worstttt! The bus itself was alright, but the road... The bus had its own bus lane, and that specific lane was fulllllll of potholes. Literally every other second there was a pothole. But the trip was cheap, so, whatever. It was 350 huf for a one-way ticket (buy it at Relay, no line). We later figured out we also could've used our Budapest travelcards.
After dropping off our luggage at the hotel it was almost lunch time and we were getting pretty hungry. We opted for Karaván (Kazinczy utca 18), a wonderful collection of food trucks and food stands,
First stop was Lángos Máshogy, a lángos stand near the entrance. Lángos is typically Hungarian and is basically fried dough, often topped with garlic water, sour cream and cheese. Honestly, I'm alllll about pizza and flammkuchen, but when I saw pictures of these lángos, I didn't think I would like it. I know, super dumb, but the thought of uncooked crème fraîche didn't appeal to me and the super light cheese seemed it would be flavourless. I was SO wrong! I'm now convinced this is the BEST food to accompany a beer. Fried dough so crispy, garlic-y, the cheese not flavourless at alllll. Simple, perfect, fatty, cheap, hangover food. I'm totally not ashamed to say we ended up having this every day. This one was 850 huf.
Next up was this wonderful and dirty looking thing from Kolbice. A cone, made out of bread (!!), filled to the brim with different kinds of sausages, fried onions, cheese sauce, bacon, ketchup and mustard. Delicious! Also very good with beer, haha. 1590 huf for the works.
We were already pretty full by now, but these burgers smelled so good (even from afar) we couldn't resist, haha.
And obviously it was an awesome burger. Nice and rare, soft bun, lots of bbq sauce and chili mayo. Smoked bacon, cheddar.. I was so full, but this was so good haha! 1390 huf for a bbq burger.
I really loved Karaván! It got more crowded as we sat there, and the atmosphere was so nice! The food here is awesome, and you can try lots of different things. From traditional Hungarian to Italian to a paneer stand. There was also a stand that served Hungarian goulash in bowls made out of bread.
Oh, we could just tell, we liked Hungary already!
Oh, we could just tell, we liked Hungary already!
A 4 minute walk from Karaván lies the impressive Great Synagogue of Budapest (also known as the Dohany Street Synagogue). It's one of the largest synagogues of the world! The building reminds of a cathedral, with some arabic influences. It's 3000 huf to get in, which may seem a little steep, but you also have access to the holocaust memorial park and the Jewish museum.
I loved the interior, it's just so lovely and graceful. I'd never been to a synagogue, but this was a pretty good first experience ;)
Outside the synagogue there is a cemetery and the holocaust memorial. Seeing the dates alone made me very sad.
There's also a sculpture of a weeping willow, and the leaves are these metal plates with the names of some of the Hungarian Jews that died, Beautiful and sad at the same time.
Next up our list was the St. Stephen's Basilica. It was SO hot outside though, so we headed over to Gelarto Rosa across the basilica for some ice cream first. Gelarto Rosa makes the prettiest of ice creams!!!!! The ice cream was also delicious. My choice of flavours were salted caramel pannacotta, nutella and chocolate. The salted caramel pannacotta was especially good! 700 huf for 3 scoops.
The ice cream didn't cool us down enough, so we sat down at Platz for some refreshments before heading over to the basilica, hehe ;) Cocktails were cheap here! I had something with prosecco, cointreau and rum and it was only 950 huf.
After a cocktail or two we finally felt up to visiting the basilica. I just looooove religious buildings, and this is a pretty good specimen if you ask me :) Entrance is free, but like with most churches and cathedrals I always think people should donate some money anyway to preserve the buildings!
We weren't able to walk around much, as most of the basilica was closed off when this HUGE group of children (I'm not good at estimating things, but like, at least 100) came in, with their parents and families filling the rest of the basilica. We sat down in the back where there were a couple of benches open for tourists, to see what was going to happen. Eventually all the children started singing! Very cool, it made our visit to the basilica even more special.
After that we (mostly) took the elevator to go up the basilica, which gave us an awesome 360o view of Budapest. I think it was 500 huf or something, totally worth it!!!
Then we strolled along the Danube river. Everything in Budapest is so.damn.pretty.
We obviously didn't have enough to eat that day, so we went to Trattoria Toscana for a traditional Hungarian meal :') The menu was quite extensive, so I kind of doubted whether all these pastas were freshly made. ↑ was pasta filled with mozzarella, and it was excellent, so there you go. Paul had pasta filled with pear and ricotta, which seemed odd to me but was also really nice.
What better way to wash away all that food than with some more cocktails? We walked over to Kiosk, which is a restaurant/bar that also has an outdoor bar. Very cool and chill place!
Then, as we were enjoying our cocktails, it started raining horrrrribly haha. Time to call it a day! And what a day it was :)