Europe

A first taste of Budapest, Hungary


Very few times I have been so surprised by a destination, I thought: “how come I did not know it would be so beautiful? And fun?”. Well, that is exactly that happened the first time I visited Budapest, the capital of Hungary.

Full disclosure here – I did not go on a normal weekend away, I visited the city as a guest of Corinthia Hotels, which had organised a special weekend to celebrate the 120th anniversary of its Budapest hotel. As a result, there was a pre-set programme for guests and I did not do things like go out for dinner – so obviously I need to go back and explore some more of this beautiful city. Incredibly beautiful city.

Here are some thoughts and ideas for your next trip to Budapest.

 

The Hotel

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Exterior and interior views of the Corinthia Budapest

We stayed at the Corinthia Budapest, which was located in one of the city’s main streets and within walking distance to The Boulevard and the main shopping street in the city.

The hotel has been refurbished and is in good condition – but I found the service did not match my expectations. Whether it was to make a spa appointment, or to get a drink at the bar, I felt that nothing really flowed. And whether we were ‘with the VIP group’ or on our own, it did not really make a difference, I am afraid.

The rooms were comfortable and modern and we slept well – which is what you would expect.

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Our Executive Room at the Corinthia Budapest.

One of its special features (if you could get an appointment) was, without a doubt, the spa. I had only one treatment during my stay as it was fully booked, but was really quite impressed with the quality of the therapists and treatments. I had a massage and it really was exceptional (priced at 100 Euros for 50 mins).

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The spa, bar and internal courtyard

 

Sightseeing and entertainment

On the first morning, we sneaked away from the programme and made our way to Budapest Castle – this is where we got our first glimpses of this truly majestic city. We also had a photo shoot with Flytographer (because I love them) and a chance to explore the old part of town.

I am glad we went early (say around 10am) to beat the crowds visiting the attractions.

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Isn’t this gorgeous?

I was blown away by the city and I was ashamed of myself for not having a clue how beautiful it was before actually arriving. Everyone can picture Prague, for example, but I did not have a visual for Budapest. I now do.

We had a private tour of the city with a driver and guide (that was somehow surreal as she did not shut up for one single minute, which actually at a point became quite funny). Nonetheless, it was a great way to get a general feel about it and have further ideas of what to explore on subsequent trips.

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Happy in Budapest captured by Flytographer

One of my favourite things was a Legenda boat trip on the Danube – it took around 30 minutes but was really a great way to see the city from its heart. Priced at 60 Euros per person, it really was incredible.

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Spectacular views of a spectacular city

One evening, we went to the Opera House and watched a performance. The venue was incredibly beautiful and I have to say, I was disappointed with how half the people were wearing suits and dresses and others were wearing jeans. Also, modern opera not for me. The performance had English subtitles so you could follow the storyline but it wasn’t melodic, so to speak. But it was still a good night out.

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The Budapest Opera House

 

The Bathhouses

You cannot go to Budapest without going to its famous bathhouses. But whilst I booked a massage at Gellert (which was excellent), I really did feel the baths were way too busy. I loved the idea of going to one of the ‘Sparties’, which take place at night time, but stupidly I thought you could go and not get yet. So whilst it seemed a great idea, it really wasn’t practical.

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The Gellert Bathhouse

I booked our VIP Massage (priced at 70 Euros for 50 minutes) online via email (and was very surprised with how efficient it was) – and was quite amused with the actual experience. As a pre-booked customer I had to queue to get a token by one of the ladies in the counter you can see above. Then, I had to queue with all the day guests who had not pre-booked and pay. It felt very 1957 and as I said, amusing. The least amusing part is that there were about 30 people ahead of us and we almost missed our slot. The VIP rooms were surprisingly very nice and my masseuse was young, very chatty and very very talented. I had snapped my calf muscle the day before whilst sightseeing and could barely walk and she really worked her magic. I had visions of being ‘beaten up’ by a very large older lady during this experience and it was the exact opposite.

 

Eating and drinking

And this is where things got really interesting. We were surprised by the number of rooftop bars the city offered – most with incredible views and very cool people from all over the world. Budapest is the new Berlin, some told us – whatever that means.

In terms of food, we enjoyed a very traditional Hungarian meal at Rosenstein, which was excellent. I would certainly recommend a lunch there (45 Euros per person including wine).

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Very interesting meal – it really was delicious

We also had a very good lunch at the rooftop bar of the Aria Budapest hotel. We loved the look and feel of this place too – and whilst it was empty when we arrived (perfect for photos), it was packed within an hour. We went here for Sunday lunch (around 80 Euros for 2 with wine) but heard it was one of ‘the places to go to’ for sunset and evening drinks.

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Great lunch at Aria Budapest

We also went to 360, another rooftop bar, on Saturday afternoon, before dinner. It was located 4 minutes from our hotel and I highly recommend a visit.

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The 360 rooftop bar

But what we loved loved loved? The ruin bars! I wasn’t quite sure what to expect – and I have to say, I couldn’t believe how cool they were. Also, I was worried we would be a bit too old for them – and you can go in peace. Great variety of nationalities and ages.

We went to Szimpla Kertmosi, which was also within walking distance of the Corinthia hotel and really enjoyed ourselves.

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How cool was this?

 

What else can I say? Budapest really surprised me. I did not expect it to be as vibrant as it was, and certainly will be making a return trip to explore some more, as it really is calling my name.

Have you been to Budapest? What did you think of it?

xo

Mrs. O

 

Disclaimer and Fact Box: I was a guest of the Corinthia Budapest and all opinions are, as always, my own. Room rates for executive room vary between 250-900 Euros per night per room, including breakfast. A 30-minute photo shoot with Flytographer (we had Dana and loved her) costs $250.


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13 Comments

  1. GIORGOS SPYRIDAKOS

    November 25, 2016 at 5:21 pm

    I consider Budapest as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. I ve been there 6 years ago and still remember everything very vividly! I was staying in a hotel next to Heroes Square

  2. Kathy Mac

    October 6, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    Gorgeous photos and ideas for our trip next year. We are planning Budapest, Prague and Vienna. Have you been to Vienna?

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      October 6, 2016 at 8:57 pm

      I am so pleased to hear. We went to Prague last year and really enjoyed it there, so do search for the post. No Vienna yet!

  3. Gessell

    September 26, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    Beautiful hotel. My husband and I had the chance a couple of years ago to go to Budapest and it was just lovely. It’s an amazing city!

  4. Linda Aksomitis

    September 21, 2016 at 7:36 pm

    I loved Budapest- it truly is beautiful. While I had many memorable moments I found Memento Park with the statues from the Communist eras the most fascinating.

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      September 27, 2016 at 11:27 am

      We only just scratched the surface of the city. Definitely going back!

  5. Olya

    September 15, 2016 at 9:36 am

    Budapest is a gorgeous city! It is worth visiting it, with its beautiful buildings and rich history. Your photos are great! Like this post!

  6. Natalie @ In Natalie's Shoes

    September 13, 2016 at 12:38 am

    Oh, this gives me so much nostalgia! Having been to Budapest once, and a million years ago, your photos took me right back. I wish I’d taken a boat ride, like you did, to get a better view of this gorgeous city.

  7. Stephen Garone

    September 11, 2016 at 2:39 pm

    I had the same reaction when I first went to Budapest. Glad you liked it!
    Stephen Garone recently posted..Where Politics Do Not Matter: The Best Churches in Washington, D.C.My Profile

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