Over the past few weeks, I have talked about my trip to Eastern Europe that I went on back in June. The beginning of my vacation started in Munich, which I talked about in part one. And in part two, I shared all of the incredible small villages I got to explore. Which now brings us here to part three, where I talk about my favorite place I visited during my trip, Budapest.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Budapest going into it. We were stopping there during our river cruise and would only be there about 24 hours. Plus, I knew very little about the city. We were scheduled to dock around 2PM so I sat at the front of the ship to watch us arrive. As soon as I saw us approaching Budapest I said “Yeah, I’m going to like this place”. It was absolutely beautiful. To give you some visuals, the city is actually divided into two parts with the river in-between it. One side is Buda and the other Pest. So while we were arriving we were becoming surrounded by beautiful architecture and historical buildings. Everything in Budapest was already so impressive I couldn’t wait to hop of the ship.
Now I gotta be honest, I was a MAJOR tourist that first afternoon in Budapest. I’m not normally one to want to do touristy things and often try and find activities that the locals do. In this instance, I am so glad I didn’t. Since we only had about 24 hours in the city, we had to cram as much as we could into the time we had. There is a lot to see in Budapest and like any major city, tons of traffic. So my family and I did a Tuk Tuk tour (see above), where we had drivers take us around the city in little motorized rickshas for a few hours.
I have to say, if you are in Budapest and want to knock out the major sites and hear history from the locals, I definitely recommend doing one of these tours. The Tuk Tuks are small, so the guides can maneuver them on streets, sidewalks, up hills, and in the bike lane, which saves a ton of time. The tour guides know all about the history of Budapest and its sites, and they’ll even recommend places to eat and see afterward. Each tour can be customized to your liking, so if you want to skip something or add something in, they will happily do it.
After our long day of touring, we headed back to the ship for dinner and to prepare for a night out. We had a pub crawl planned but first, I had to find a rooftop bar (I swear I do this every new place I visit). We arrived at 360 Bar just in time for sunset. This was definitely a trendy place to go, with delicious craft cocktails and plenty of outdoor seating.
We headed to our meeting point for the pub crawl shortly after. My uncle arranged it and I was SO nervous that it was going to be super lame where they took us to empty boring bars. By the time the tour started, we had a group of about 30 all from different parts of the world. It was so cool to meet new people and hear about their home countries. The pub crawl took us to five different bars; some were local and some were the famous ruin bars. If you haven’t heard of the ruin bars, they are bars and clubs set up in old shops, apartment buildings, and lots in the Jewish district that were destroyed in World War II. Since Budapest didn’t have the money to tear them down or start construction, they turned them into bars for the locals.
Out of all the places we went to, the last ruin bar Instant was like something I have never seen or experienced. It was massive. I can’t even begin to explain how big. It was once an apartment complex that is now 20 rooms connected by stairwells and hallways that each have different types of music, DJs, and bars. If you are only going to go to one bar/club in Budapest, this should be it. Words can not even explain how insane this place was. There had to have been thousands of people there and you would never know because it’s so large. Plus, it even has a pizza shop connected to it in case you need a midnight (or 5am) snack.
We had the following day till about 1 o’clock to see more of the city. Since we had seen all of the major sites the day before, we were much more relaxed on the second day. We spent the first part of the morning wandering through the Great Hall Market. It is the largest and oldest indoor market in Hungary that is filled with tons of food vendors and tourist shops. I wish I had taken photos, but to be honest all of the amazing food was way too distracting. We ate breakfast there and continued on to do the one thing I had wanted to do when we got to Budapest, visit a thermal bath.
Thermal baths are a huge thing in this part of Europe. They are essentially Hungary’s version of a spa, where they have pools filled with water from thermal springs (they’re basically giant hot tubs). We decided to go to the Szechenyi Baths, which are the largest thermal baths in Europe. It ended up being a great idea because we were able to relax after walking so much the past week. If you are ever in Budapest, you should go and experience a thermal bath. It is filled with local regulars swimming laps, sun bathing, and enjoying their days, which was cool to see what Budapest citizens like to do on their downtime.
After the Szechenyi Baths, we slowly began to walk back to our ship while stopping at different pubs for beers and appetizers along the way. There was so much beauty to take in that honestly I can’t say 24 hours was enough time spent in Budapest. If I had the opportunity to go back I would without a doubt. They’re is so much to explore and too many delicious foods to eat to not want to go visit again!
Did you miss out on parts one and two of my travel diaries? Check them out below!
Two Days In Munich, Germany