Budapest has become one my favorite cities in the world, which is funny because I'm not able to point out exactly why. It's not that it has the best food(Although I could eat Langos forever), or that it's the most beautiful place in the world (Albeit it's certainly beautiful), it's just that my experiences there were always amazing. Simply hanging around the hostel (Hostel One in my case) led to some really nice city sightseeing and led me to met a lot of wonderful people. Coupled with some I had already met before, this really turned a short stay into one of my most cherished memories. Maybe it won't be the same for you, but I really think there's a story for every traveller in every city, and Budapest is certainly a lovely place to make this stories happen.
Day 1 -
My plane from Athens to Budapest got delayed a few hours, so instead of arriving at a comfortable 8pm ready to have some dinner, I ended up arriving around 12am after a scary turbulent flight and, even scarier, an empty stomach. Luckily Budapest perfectly connects its airport with the city through their bus system, which is also super cheaply priced at around 2€. And that's the thing about Budapest, everything is really cheap. The food, transport system, hostels and even airbnbs are very fairly priced as far as european countries go. You can score a room for yourself in a nice neighborhood near the bridge for around 20€, or a hostel shared room for a lot less.
As soon as I got to the hostel and checked in, I went to sleep. Then I reminded myself I'm not 80, and went outside to explore the city a bit in search for some dinner or at least a nice walk to check around the city. This in turn reminded me that I had brought almost no winter clothes, and it's already autumn in Central Europe, so don't be like me and get a coat when you go out. The city center is the same as in most european cities during the night, some nice 24hs shops, some bars and even clubs and a lot of people walking around. After getting some Langos, a delicious deep fried bread served with toppings, I said goodnight to my little exploration and traced my way back to the hostel.
Day 2 -
During the day I walked around the city, checking out some of the beautiful buildings that comprise the city like the Parliament, the Buda Castle and the Hero Square. What I loved about all of these, and the city in general, is how old things look. I know it may sound like I'm dissing it, but what I mean is that it feels more authentic. If you have visited many europeans cities, you know from experience that most of the historic landmarks get restored from time to time. Maybe they do too in Budapest, but it certainly feels like old buildings are in fact old and that time has taken a toll on them, giving it a more rustic look and ingrained on me a sense of nostalgia. And that's only the famous buildings, but I found many more around the city, maybe not as lushus but with an equal comfortable sense of being part of history. That feeling to me is what defines Budapest.
I had heard about the famous baths and spa and had a mind to try going, but once I came back to the hostel I found out that Will Smith was having a free concert in the city for his 50th birthday, so after dinner we decided to hang around and check it out. When we came back the hostel offered a free pubcrawl (this is the case with every Hostel One, which is one of the reasons why I love them), which I ended up joining. Clubs in Budapest are a lot of fun, usually consisting of a lot of different floors with different music in each one of them so you'll certainly find your niche.
Day 3 -
Sometimes you just need a day to rest. Day 3 was my day to rest. I had already been travelling for 40 days by then so I just spent the day chilling with some beautiful people. At night we visited Szimpla, a really cool ruin bar in which you can lose yourself if you're not careful, with different counters, some rooms with live music, others with dj, ruin bars are something you definitely don't want to miss out on. Also do yourself a favor and try the cider. I wasn't a fan of cider before going to budapest, now I'd give out my kidney for a glass of the stuff.
Day 4 -
My final day in Budapest started with a dreamy breakfast while watching the view from the Bridge that separates Buda and Pest. After staying around for a while watching the cars come and go, while two big burly motorcycle dudes drank beer at 9am and discussed over their favorite rock band, me and my partner decided to start walking around until we got to the Gellert Hill. A beautiful maze of a park full of green, with an amazing view at the top and a small bar to recharge your energy. The view of the Danube with the city on both sides of it is unmissable. Nearby there's the Gellert Hotel, home of the public Baths and Spa if you're interested in them too.
Also, if you're lucky you might get to see a wedding photoshoot that will give the day a romantic touch in case it didn't already have it. The park is just incredible for a small hike, watching the sunset, a picnic, or even just laying in the grass watching the sky while spotify is on and you wonder why isn't everyday as simple as this. But then you think back on the city and its buildings and remember that time sadly isn't at a standstill. So when the day finally ends, you grab your backpack and go on to the next place.