Budapest in March (Easter Break Part 1)
My friend Alfonso and I traveled to Hungary, the Czech Republic, Austria, and Slovakia during our Easter Holiday last March. It was a tiring and overwhelming 12-day trip (we had work the morning we arrived back in Madrid) but a great experience nonetheless. We booked our flights in November 2017 because it was affordable and I was afraid the prices would increase as the dates get closer to our departure. We had prepared for it for months and we're glad it went smoothly!
Here's what happened during the first part of our trip. ♡
March 22 - 26, 2018
March 22: Madrid to Budapest
Our flight to Budapest was at 8:30 in the evening. Sadly, the Wizz Air flight was delayed to 9:55 PM so we arrived Budapest late, the bus that we could’ve taken was already out of service and so we took 2 buses to get to our hostel.
We hadn’t exchanged our money yet but thankfully the ticket machine outside the airport gate accepted our debit cards. I paid 530 forints (around 1.75 euros) for 2 buses (transfer ticket).
We stayed at Flow Hostel located near the Kálvin tér stop. We arrived at the hostel at 2 AM and the building looked sketchy but I later learned that it was a hundred-year-old historic building, so its sketchiness has been forgiven 😁 ). I liked the hostel because everything was well thought out. There were curtains for privacy, a cubby hole inside the sleeping area plus 2 sockets and a lamp. It’s one of the best hostels I’ve stayed in because they pay attention to the needs of their guests.
- Make sure you know which bus ticket you need before making your purchase. (My friend bought two separate tickets but we later read that there was a transfer ticket available so I opted for that instead because it was cheaper)
- You need to validate the tickets upon entering the bus. (I heard you need to validate when you exit as well but I didn’t do that haha)
- Try to take flights earlier in the day (the morning might be best) so that your transportation options aren't limited
March 23: Budapest
The first thing we did was look for a place to change our money. We already had one in mind because of the good reviews on Google Maps (the reviews said that they had the best rate). True enough, Prima Change had the best rate. The others we found offered to buy 1 euro for 309 or 310 Ft but Prima bought our euros for 310,5 Ft and the ,50 makes all the difference!
We headed to the Jewish Quarter to have brunch at Stika Budapest. We arrived at around 11:55 AM but there was a line so we were only allowed inside after an hour or so. I ordered their Sausage Eggs (2 Poached eggs, grill sausage, hollandaise sauce, and English muffins) - it tasted great, just your typical breakfast food and I tried their Hazelnut hot chocolate which I found too rich. The food and prices at Stika weren’t bad at all but in my opinion, it wasn't worth lining up for.
After eating, we had plans to meet our friends Clarice and Lyka at the Budapest Parliament but my friend Fonso and I decided to stop by St. Stephen’s Basilica to take some photos outside. Later we walked near the river on the way to the Parliament to meet our friends. We decided not to enter because we heard it was around 25 euros and we had to watch where we were spending our money.
Before heading to the Basilica, we stopped by Mr. Funk to eat some donuts. It’s a cute and quirky café with great tasting donuts! I am obsessed with unicorns so it was only right that I tried their unicorn donut. If you love donuts and cute things, go to Mr. Funk!
We then entered St. Stephen’s Basilica because we hadn't seen what was inside. There was an option to go up and see the view of Budapest for 400 Ft but it had already closed by the time we arrived so we proceeded inside instead. The interiors of the Basilica were beautiful! So golden and intricate!
Since we weren't able to go up the basilica, we saw The Budapest Eye and decided to do that instead. We availed the student’s discount using our resident cards from Spain (2400 Ft). So, if you are a student, you're in luck because they have discounts! The sun was setting so we had a spectacular view of Budapest! The sun shone on all the right places. Seeing Budapest from a high point is a must, in my opinion. You’re able to appreciate the beauty of the city even more.
We did some window shopping near the area before we had dinner at Bob Restaurant. They had big servings at affordable prices. We tried their goulash, paprika chicken and egg noodles, catfish with cottage cheese noodles, and stuffed cabbage with sauerkraut. We ordered so much food but at least our hearts were full as well. It was an enjoyable dinner. But we noticed that Hungarian food is salty... AND HEAVY.
March 24: Budapest
We took a bus to the Matthias church and met our friends there. We entered the church then took photos at the Fisherman's Bastion, Budapest's Neo-Gothic terrace. We then went down to eat at a restaurant called Ildikó Konyhája. The restaurant had a lot of high reviews on Trip Advisor and it did not disappoint at all.
Then we walked to Repertory Budapest (Check their Instagram here). A concept store with a lot of cute and well-curated items. I wanted to buy a film camera- the prices weren't that bad either but sadly they only accepted Hungarian Forints and I didn't have enough cash so I wasn't able to buy anything.
We also checked out the Buda Castle. The museum was already closing and so we just took photos outside. We had a spectacular view of Budapest. We waited for the lights to switch on, too. It’s nice especially at sunset.
We went down that area and took Bus 16 to the last stop. From there we went to Szimpla Kert, a ruin bar. It’s a very old building that was converted into a night hang out with small establishments that served shisha, food, and drinks. Funny, though because there was an establishment that sold CARROTS. Someone was walking around the building trying to sell carrots. 😂
Right next to Szimpla Kert was Karavan, a food cart park. We tried Lángos for the first time in the form of a Lángos burger (1550 Ft). I ordered beef and a friend ordered pork. Lángos are a Hungarian specialty. They're deep-fried dough, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside (if cooked correctly ;P)
March 25: Budapest
We went back to Karavan because we enjoyed the food from the night before and Fonso wanted to eat Lángos with Nutella. However, they didn't have any Nutella left so Fonso was disappointed. We ended up sharing a bread bowl with sauerkraut and sausages. We also bought their typical Lángos topped with bell peppers (1000 Ft). We also shared a waffle for dessert. Yes. We ate a lot.
After Karavan we went to have coffee and more dessert at New York Cafe - apparently the worlds most beautiful cafe.
The interiors were very intricate and beautiful. It’s a cafe connected to the hotel called the New York Palace. Hopefully one day I can go back to Budapest just to stay at the hotel hahah.
We had to line up at the café but we didn’t mind because it was unbearably cold outside. Once we were seated, we ordered a cake and hot chocolate.
From there we walked to Hősök tere (Heroes' Square) and explored the area but we didn’t enter any of the museums or galleries. We took a bus to the Parliament. Saw it at night and photos don’t do it justice. It's truly beautiful in person. We walked down the Danube River all the way back to our hostel.
March 26: Budapest to Prague
We started our day by grabbing a bite to eat at The Great Market Hall. It wasn't the best place to eat. The savoury meals were alright but the Lángos were nasty! We ordered it with Nutella and bananas and the bananas were wet and goopy. The best Lángos we tried were at Karavan. If you're in need of souvenirs, The Great Market Hall might be the best place to find some.
We still had a lot of time to kill before heading to the airport so we walked to the area near the shops and found an Easter market! We ended up buying delicious (but overpriced) crepe with Nutella.
From our hostel, we walked to the bus stop and took 100E to the airport (900 Ft).
Important tip: Line up and be prepared for a crowded bus and buy your ticket using the machine. You can buy from the driver but since the bus was crowded, even if the man handling the people outside tells you that you can buy from the driver, he won't let you in if the bus is too full.
People were pushing to get in and some even cut in line but good thing we bought our tickets beforehand so we were able to get on. We took the 16:35 bus. — again it got really crowded so if you can take it from Deak Ferenc or somewhere else, as long as you can avoid the long line, then do it!