After our marriage on July 7, we went on a 6-day honeymoon to Budapest. This might seem like an odd honeymoon destination, but due to our Cuba trip we were short on days off. We were looking for a romantic city to spend a few days and ideally soak up some sun before going back to work. I can tell you, Budapest was the right choice! Since it was our honeymoon, we did not approach this trip as we usually would. We took some more time to relax and did not try to see as much as possible. We still managed to see & do some things we really enjoyed. Here’s our personal top 5. Many of them are very well-known, but don’t let that hold you back from going!
My favourite activity in Budapest has to be the wine tasting we did on our last evening. We had heard about this place and reserved a table a few weeks before our trip. It was hard to find, zigzagging through the Hilton hotel and descending several staircases, but then you arrive in a true ‘cellar’, with around 4 – 5 tables in it. If you want to do a tasting of Hungarian wines, there are several choices. There’s a “small” (6 glasses) and a big (9 glasses) tasting, and you can choose if you want reds, whites, or a combination. We ended up chosing the combined, big tasting. After all, it was our honeymoon: what better excuse to go for the full package?!
Well, I cannot say I came to regret this choice, but I did struggle to finish all 9 wines. Of course you can spit the wine out… but that would have been a waste of such great wines. With each wine came an interesting explanation from the owner/ sommelier about its origin. We truly enjoyed the tasting, and the setting was very romantic. Before leaving we bought a bottle of our favourite wine, that we will save for our first wedding anniversary. Luckily we found our way back to the apartment safely and with the bottle of wine still intact =)
We are true sunset lovers, so of course we had to see the sunset over Budapest. We decided to walk up to Fisherman’s Bastion, which offers great views over Pest (including the Parliament) and is a very popular spot. Technically, you cannot see the sunset from here, as it sets on the Buda side. But hey, just looking at the sky over Pest turning all kinds of pastel colours works for me too.
The Parliament is such an impressive building! It is so big that you have to go to the Buda side of the river in order to see the whole thing. On this trip, I did not prepare anything (that’s a first for me), so we did not book tickets for a tour of the Parliament’s interior in advance. We were able to get tickets for the next day. If you’re only going to Budapest for a short visit, make sure to book ahead. The tour of the Parliament’s interior was short (less than one hour), but impressive. This place is covered in gold, and there’s a huge reception hall with wonderful stained glass windows, ceiling frescoes and again, gold everywhere.
4. Have a drink at one of Budapest’s cool bars
We don’t really enjoy clubbing or partying, so I can’t tell you where to do that, but we did find some nice places to have a drink. Our two favorites, in random order, are actually the complete opposite of each other:
- Szimpla Kert is the most famous ruin bar, and with good reason. This place is so quirky and strange, it is a sight in itself. It has cheap beer as well. Oh, and if you get hungry: just around the corner is a Street Food Garden, where you can get anything varying from burgers and pizza to vegan food.
- The 360 Bar is a very sleek and hip rooftop terrace bar, that offers 360 views (who would have guessed) over Budapest. It gets very busy here, especially around sunset. We were lucky enough to find a table and ordered a bottle of rosé wine (at an affordable €12), that we enjoyed whilst watching the sunset.
Budapest has a lot of parks, the largest of which is Margaret Island. This whole island is a park, with lots of things to see and do. There’s a musical fountain, that plays a show each hour. The water shoots high into the sky and there’s this whole choreography to the music. Apparently, at night the water is illuminated with coloured lights, so that should be even more impressive! At the far end of the island, you’ll find a Japanese garden. The island is really big, so you could consider renting a bike or pedal cart.
Of course, this is a limited list of activities. Some things that didn’t make it in the top 5, are still fun and worth a short mention:
- Wander around Buda Hill. In the area between Buda Castle and the Matthias Church, you’ll find some wonderful small streets with colorful houses.
- Climb Gellert Hill. It has a nice park and as a reward you’ll get great views!
- Try some Hungarian snacks. We tried the chimney cake (warm cake covered in cinnamon, hmmm…) and ‘lángos’, which is basically fried flatbread, covered with cheese and cream. Doesn’t sound good, but it was.
- Széchenyi baths. Beautiful buildings and pools, fun and relaxing, but a bit expensive if you’re not planning on going a full day.
We are definitely planning to visit Budapest again some time. Did we miss anything that we should include in our next visit? Let us know!