I believe that life is all about balance, eat something bad and then eat something good, have a lazy day and then have a productive day, spend a bit of money and then save some money and from my recent trip to Budapest I found it to be the perfect City Break where you can get a great balance of luxury and budget. Due to its location and economy Budapest is a city where you can get more for your money than you would in other European Cities like Paris, London, Copenhagen etc however you can also go there and do it relatively cheap and not feel like you’re missing out.
I recently visited Budapest with Jet2CityBreaks and I was able to experience some luxuries that I didn’t get to experience when I first visited in Summer 2015. The main different between my trips was that the last time I visited it was part of a month long trip around Europe and this time it was a long weekend to get me away from work and reality and when you take a long weekend trip its nice to indulge and spoil yourself a little and not feel bad for doing so!
Here are some ideas on how you can give some balance to your Budapest City Break by adding a bit of luxury but not breaking the bank.
Firstly you have to get there! I flew with Jet2 from Manchester, they are a low cost British airline however in comparison to other low cost airlines out there they didn’t feel that low cost at all! The flight times were great, we left Manchester at 9:30am and left Budapest at 17:30pm, there was plenty of legroom, they don’t charge you for not checking in online, there’s an option of having 22kg of checked luggage and we weren’t sold a bazillion things whilst onboard, so as far as European short-haul flights go, if you’re flying from the UK then Jet2 is a great airline to fly with. They have bases all around England & Scotland and they’ll be flying from London Stansted from Spring 2017 which I’m very excited about!!
Where to stay!
Now, where to stay. I stayed at the Hilton Budapest for 3 nights and wow, is this hotel incredible! It’s recently been renovated and the investment can certainly be seen! The public reception, restaurant and bar areas are impeccable with staff that are only too keen to help you out, and the bedrooms, well they are something else entirely, so much thought has gone into them and little things that you didn’t even know you needed in a hotel room they have thought about, like having multiple countries plug sockets, USB sockets, lower lights in the bathroom so you don’t blind yourself when getting up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, and then of course there’s the amazingly comfortable bed and river facing rooms which benefit from possibly the best view of Budapest that there is with big windows overlooking the River Danube, the iconic Parliament building and fisherman’s bastion!
The hotel also benefits from being on the Buda side of the city (the city is split into Buda and Pest by the River) so its nice and high on the hill within the castle district and surrounded by pretty, quiet streets where you feel like you’ve just walked back in time! The beautiful St Matthias church is just next door and the Castle is just down the road!
**For return flights from the UK to Budapest with Jet2CityBreaks plus 3 nights in the Hilton Budapest as part of their CityBreaks you’ll be looking at around £455.00 pp dependent on the time of year, availability and room occupancy**
Exploring the City!
A City Break is all about exploring and in Budapest there are a few options, you can head out into the city and explore yourself, you could take a free walking tour which is what I did on my last trip or you could take a guided tour. We took a guided tour with CityRama where we were picked from the hotel in a mini bus and driven around the main sights for 3 hours and this included stops where we got out and walked too.
I particularly enjoyed this method as it was pretty cold so it felt lovely to have a walk and time to explore and then have a comfy bus to get back into to get to the next stop. Not only was our guide very knowledgable he also had a some banter which we all liked! The main places we stopped at were the Castle, St Gellets Hill, (note that this hill is very high and isn’t really walkable by yourself unless you fancy a hike!) and Heroes Square, we also drove around the Jewish District which was really interesting, and we stopped at the Parliament building so we could see the huge impressive building up close. We then ended in the centre of the Pest side so we could explore a little further by ourselves (and because we were there in December we headed to the christmas markets!)
As much as i love exploring by myself I do love doing a guided tour as it enables you to get your barings, learn a bit about the history and then you can get some idea’s as to where you might want to go back to later on your own!
**The price for a 3 hour tour with CityRama with pick up from your hotel is £21.00 per person**
Food & Drink!
One thing Budapest is known for is its Ruin Bars, these are ‘hole in the wall’ type of bars. We visited one of the most popular ones called Szimpla Kertmozi in the Jewish area and it was very cool, although it was most certainly nothing fancy! It was one big room with lots of side rooms coming from it and it was decked out with the most bizarre items. Drinks were cheap in there and although we went at about 6:00pm on a Friday night it wasn’t too busy, I can imagine it gets a lot busier later though and is a great place to party.
**A beer was about £2.50 a pint in this bar**
If you wanted to combine your sight-seeing with a river cruise then you can do this too! We did a Danube Dinner Cruise on the Europa, we boarded at 7:00pm and for the next 2 hours we took in the sights of the city in the dark, including seeing the Parliament building up close and all lit up, listened to some hungarian music and most importantly ate as much as we could at the buffet that was served up!
**A river cruise, buffet dinner and 3 drinks is around £32.00 per person**
If you fancy something even fancier then we were told that Budapest has a few Michelin Star restaurants which they are very proud of so that’s an option if you want to splash out!
Or you could grab some food at a Hummous Bar (I went twice last year and loved it there!) for roughly £3.00 a meal!
In terms of extra activities, one of the things I would 100% recommend that you do in Budapest is going to one of its Thermal Baths as the city is very famous for them! We visited Szechenyi Baths which is the largest medicinal bath in Europe and therefore the most famous with its bright yellow building and 18 pools! After entering you can relax in the indoor and outdoor pools for as long as you want!
**Entry into Szechenyi Baths is £13-£15 per person and to save a bit more money then take your own towel!**
Overall I hope this post has inspired you to visit Budapest and made you realise that it’s a destination for all budgets and all types of travellers whether you’re a hard core backpacker or a City Break weekender!
I’ve seen Budapest described as one of the most underrated cities in Europe and I have to say that I think it’s true although more and more people are starting to go so make sure you get there soon!!
If you want to SEE my trip to Budapest then check out my 2 Vlogs!
*Have you been to Budapest before or are you hoping to go soon??*
This post was written by me and brought to you by Jet2CityBreaks but all thoughts, opinions and ramblings are my own.