Travel guide | Budapest
Budapest has often been described as the ‘Paris of the East’ and it’s easy to see why. Intimate rooftop bars, streets lined with top-class restaurants and impressive architectural landmarks are set against a beautiful backdrop. With the rolling hills of Buda, the buzz of Pest and the sparkling Danube river sitting between, Budapest has it all for a long weekend break.
Where to stay
The Aria Hotel sits on a beautiful pedestrian street just a stone’s throw from St Stephen’s Basilica. Part of the Library Collection Hotel Group, this hotel is as kind and friendly as it is luxurious.
The hotel is divided into four wings, each celebrating musical legends from either Opera, Jazz, Classical or Contemporary music. Most of the rooms have an open air balcony with a view overlooking the hotel’s Music Garden Courtyard, where guests can enjoy a complimentary cheese and wine reception with live music each evening between 4pm and 6pm.
The best part of this beautiful hotel though is undoubtedly its impressive rooftop bar. With views across Budapest and the impressive backdrop of the Basilica, the bar is well worth a visit – booking is advised due to its popularity.
If you are visiting Budapest over the weekend, a long boozy brunch at TOPRUM SkyBar is highly recommended. Between 12pm – 3pm the bar transforms into a fun brunch spot with live music, beautiful views across Budapest and incredible food. Try the pastrami sandwich and the pancakes (yes, have both).
Királyi Pál utca 4. Budapest, Hungary
+36 70 333 2113
First Strudel House of Pest
This traditional restaurant offers a range of delicious Hungarian cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but the showstopper is undoubtedly its freshly-baked strudels. Baked fresh in handmade batches throughout the day, the sour cherry and poppy seed and apple flavours are a delicacy not to be missed.
Oktober 6. utca 22, Budapest 1051
+36 1 428 0134
Perfect for a romantic dinner or a special occasion, Aszu offers fantastically cooked food with a great Hungarian wine list and authentic live music throughout the night. Try the Hungarian sparkling wine as an alternative to champagne and order the feather blade of Angus beef which literally melts in the mouth.
1051 Budapest, Sas str. 4
+36 1 328-0360
What to do
The Fisherman’s Bastion
Visited by tourists and locals, this historic castle built in 1902 provides unbeatable views of the city against a fairy-tale backdrop. Most of the balconies and towers are free to visit. Our tip: Visit when the sun is going down and take a bottle of wine.
Shoes on the Danube Bank
Walk on the Pest-side of the river up towards the impressive Parliament buildings and you’ll come across this memorial sculpture which gives remembrance to the 3,500 people, 800 of them Jews, who were shot into the Danube river during WW2. The 60 pairs of iron shoes in a wide range of sizes and styles represent how nobody was spared. Worth a visit for a quiet moment of reflection.
Széchenyi Thermal Baths
The largest medicinal baths in Europe, Széchenyi’s water is provided by two thermal springs. It has a wide range of indoor and outdoor pools with temperatures between 18 – 38 degrees. It’s worth setting aside a good few hours to properly relax and enjoy these baths. Take the opportunity to enjoy a very reasonably priced massage which can be booked along with your bath ticket. Prices vary throughout the year so visit the website for details and to book in advance.
St Stephen’s Basilica
St Stephen’s Basilica is the largest church in Budapest and is renowned for its impressive dome which towers above the Pest skyline. It’s worth climbing to the top of the dome for fantastic views across the city. If you get the chance, go to one of the Basilica’s organ concerts which are regular and very impressive.
Hungarian Forint (1 GBP is approx 360 HUF)
GMT + 1
Approx 2hrs 30mins from the North of England. Flights available from Newcastle, Manchester and Leeds (subject to seasonal changes).
HIGH LIFE TRAVEL TIP:
Almost every bar, restaurant and cafe in Budapest automatically add a 10% service charge. Check your bill to prevent over-tipping.