4 days in Budapest, Hungary
Budapest is a city built around the River Danube. One side is called 'Buda', and the other, 'Pest'. If you're looking for nightlife and a lively atmosphere, be sure to stay in the latter; Buda is more residential with various historical sites.
Budapest is an all year round destination for tourists. A key activity for visitors are the heated baths (pictured above) that can be enjoyed throughout the year, during all seasons. Budapest makes for a great summer and winter break.
Day 1 in Budapest
Head for St Stephen's Basilica, climb the 364 steps to the top and get yourself a 360 degree view of Budapest. After, either head for the Chain Bridge or grab yourself a civilised drink overlooking Pest and St Stephen's Basilica at High Note Sky Bar (pictured above). A sophisticated yet friendly place for an afternoon cocktail (or coffee).
For an afternoon ice cream and/or snack, stroll along to Dunacorso restaurant. A good atmosphere, friendly staff and a violin player if you're lucky.
In the evening go for a riverboat cruise to capture the Parliament building (pictured below) in all it's glory; it's particularly pretty lit up at night. The cruises tend to be overpriced for what they are, and when they say free alcohol, enjoy your small glass of bucks fizz (unless you opt in for the riverboat party cruise).
Day 2 in Budapest
Margaret Island is a quiet escape from Budapest. We hired a small electric car (see pictures below) to explore the island. All you need are provisional licenses and some road sense. We spent the majority of the day enjoying the Palatinus Baths (pictured above). A less popular public bath, yet a larger space to swim and enjoy. The baths contain: an Olympic sized swimming pool, a wave pool, thermal baths, a water fountain pool, slides and a kids pool. Adult weekend price: £7.
Dinner suggestion: If you're looking for some Hungarian cuisine, go to VakVarju Restaurant. Expect reasonable prices, a quirky interior and yummy food. Try the local delicacy, Goulash.
Day 3 in Budapest
Queue for the UNESCO protected funicular (£3 one way) which will take you up to the Buda Castle. There's one every 10 minutes so you shouldn't be waiting too long. Once you reach the final stop, embrace the great views of Budapest (pictured below) or take a tour of the museum at Buda Castle. Wander towards the Matthias Church and Fisherman's Bastion for interesting neo-gothic architecture and more breath-taking views over the capital.
Spend your evening at some of the ruin bars of Budapest. The number 1 to visit in Budapest: Szimpla Kert, "the Mecca of all ruin bars".
Afterwards, head to Instant, Europe's largest ruin bar: containing 7 music floors and 18 bars. A place that will suit everyone's differing tastes.
Day 4 in Budapest
After a heavy night, or if you're keen to relax after a busy day of sight-seeing, be sure to visit the famous thermal baths of Budapest. Gellert Thermal Baths are located along the Danube River on the side of Buda; this may be a good option on a rainy day due to some of the baths being under cover. Another option is the Szechenyi Baths (pictured below) in Pest, an outside space with three pools, popular with both tourists and locals.
Gellert Baths - Entrance fee for baths, up to £20pp (weekdays and weekends differ). Treat yourself to a spa treatment whilst you're there.
Szechenyi Baths - Full day, fast-track access to the baths with a locker & private changing is around £17.
On both Friday and Saturday nights, a pool party is offered at the Szechenyi baths.