Budapest is good. Actually it’s damn great! It is like a small treasure box that once you open it is hard to close. It has the old atmosphere meeting the young and vivid present. With affordable wine and cozy streets where you find things just by wondering around, Vicky and I felt at home celebrating our birthdays there.
Budapest has two sides, Buda (west) and Pest (east) and they are divided to districts; V, VI, VII and VIII being the downtown area and suburbs represented by the higher numbers. Buda offers a quieter and greener atmosphere with a beautiful park and a steep climb up to the Liberty Statue that gives amazing view of the whole city. We had a wonder around the gigantic Buda Castle area. It probably took us as long to go around the area as it did trying to find our way out again. Bloody labyrinth!
Pest is more vibrant and urban with the right amount of hustle and bustle. The amount of cafés, bars and restaurant it has is delightful! Buda and Pest are divided by Danube river but connected by several bridges. The bridges are an experience, especially during the night time due to their impressive lighting. Budapest is a city of night. Danube river being crossed by several lighted bridges and with the majestic Parliament House and Buda Castle resting on the river banks gave us goosebumps no doubt.
We stayed with Tomkha Apartments which was phenomenal. We booked it through Booking.com and paid all together 69 € for 3 nights. We stayed in the middle of the city at Holló utca 15. where it was dead easy to find our way around.
There is no real Budapest experience like finding yourself chin-deep in the salt baths in one of the historic bath houses. We admired the world famous Széchenyi Bath House from the outside and headed to the less known Király Thermal Bath. Remember to take flip-flops, fungus is a nasty souvenir!
Tucked behind the arches of an unknown building, Madách Imre út is maybe one of my favourite square -like places with a few just right type of cafés and hang-around places. Feeling hungry, thirsty or in need of a coffee, we were often heading this way. It offered some galleries and shops on top floors of the cafés to satisfy our visual needs. Ykra Store found from this street sells items from the best Hungarian designers. You can find some Finnish stuff there too.
The downtown area is compact and easy to navigate through. District V was especially fun for us. Lively place with loads of cafés and pubs. Near Holló utca. there is “bar street” that has plenty of restaurants and bars for you to join for a meal or drink. Us two being very fond of wine found a big wine bar called Divino Gozsdu (Király u. 13). Although being slightly more swanky than I usually like, it holds over 120 different wines from Hungarian wineries. You see, I am not a wine expert but I can tell you that a selection like that with affordable (expensive in Hungarian scale though) prices made Vicky and I smile like cheshire cats. From smaller places we got a full glass of wine for 2 euros and our smile got even bigger.
In district V we stumbled across Szimpla Kert (Kazinczy utca 53), that being the oldest ruin pub in Budapest. It looks like an abandoned housing that has plentiful pubs on its’ two floors. If you feel like partying and seeing heaps of English bachelor parties, that’s your place. Kazinczy street in general is pretty good for nightlife. Being blown away by Budapest we were not left with any time to visit any of the escape rooms that Budapest is famous for.
If you have any extra time in your hands, book a game and have an adrenaline filled hour trying to escape a room you are locked in. Sounds slightly claustrophobic but trust, it is so much fun. BBC Travel show – Budapest escape rooms .