Morning: Brunch is the only way to begin a city break and A La Maison is a good place to start your trip. This restaurant is nicer than an average brunch place because it has an upmarket feel, but it’s not super fancy. I recommend one of the Eggs Benedict options that are on the menu, alongside a cocktail.
When you’ve finished breakfast, make your way to St Stephen’s Basilica. It’s a Roman Catholic church, which isn’t too expensive to get inside (bring cash). The church itself is beautiful, but it’s the view from the top that I visited for.
It’s time for your first glimpse of the Danube. The Hungarian Parliament Building sits right on the edge of the river, and it’s the largest building in Hungary, so you won’t miss it! You’ll be able to get a better view from the other side of the river. But first, why not stop for a refreshment by the water?
Afternoon: You’ve spent the morning on the Pest side of the city, so it’s now time to explore the Buda side. Budapest is split in 2 and is connected by the Szechenyi Chain Bridge. Walk across the bridge and jump on the funicular, which takes you to the top of Castle Hill. Here, you can walk around the castle, Matthias Church and Fisherman’s Bastion. It’s a lovely walk through the different sites and feels very different to the Pest side of the river.
Evening: Iguana is quite a big Mexican restaurant that serves tasty Tex-Mex food. The nachos and quesadillas were my highlights, along with plenty of margaritas! Budapest is famous for its Ruin Bars, so I would spend the rest of the evening exploring a couple. Szimpla Kert is one of the most well-known and it’s a really cool spot for some beers. Every room has a different vibe and there are some alternative seating options to choose from (including a car). Instant is another Ruin Bar that’s good for late night drinks and dancing, as well as a good place to try (a small amount of) Hungary’s traditional alcoholic spirits of palinka and unicum.
Morning: Start today with breakfast at Cirkusz, which I loved! I chose a mimosa and pulled pork eggs benedict, which I would happily have again. The casual restaurant gets super busy, but it’s worth the wait. In between Buda and Pest, on the Danube River is Margaret Island. This is a lovely, green area to enjoy a walk or some people watching.
Afternoon: One of the most fun activities we did in Budapest was a cruise on the Danube. We took a walk along the Promenade and headed on to a speed boat, which took us down the river whilst we enjoyed drinks and nibbles. This was a great activity for our group, but there are different boats/cruises you can embark on to, depending on the kind of afternoon you would like.
Evening: After an exciting afternoon, Karavan is a fun place to grab some dinner because it serves up delicious street food. There are lots of cuisines to choose from and the chance to sample from different stalls and share food with friends.
Szechenyi Baths are a must-do in Budapest, and you can visit at any time of the day. Or, tick a Sparty (spa party) off your bucket list by visiting the baths on a Saturday night. I’ve been to the baths both day and night and it’s beautiful no matter when you visit, but I had a lot of fun at the Sparty. It was a complete mix of people and ages, and it was a much better night than I expected. On your way to the baths, stop by Heroes Square for one last dose of culture.
When it comes to late night food, langos is definitely up there with the best. It’s delicious fried dough and Retro Langos has a huge selection of toppings, with the Mexican being one of my favourites. This is a must-try before leaving this beautiful city.