I'll start by saying that this was the second time I've been to Budapest. I really love this city. So this time I didn't search for all of the tourist attractions (although I can recommend some of them).
This time I decided to get over there only because I found a really cheap flight from Israel (with WIZZ Air). I've decided not to make any plans except for the flight and the Hostel (more about that later).
The decision to not making any plans was really fun and forced me to know people to hang out with. Oh, I didn't say that but I traveled alone this time. I met a lot of great people over there (and on the way). If you have never traveled alone I can really recommend it, it's kind of different than traveling with friends or family. I used to travel with people I know and I've rarely made new friends or changed my plans. When you travel alone, you're just obligated to talk to people and make new friends. Humans are friendly creatures (usually) and don't want to be alone.
The trip started with getting from work to the airport, which was really empty because of the coronavirus fears. In the Terminal I met an Israeli couple and we had a nice conversation about this trip and previous ones. I told them about my trip to Albania which was really nice to remember (maybe I'll write about it one day).
I've boarded on the airplane and sat by two Israeli girls that traveled to celebrate the birthday of one of them. This reminds me, before the trip, my father called me and said "At least clean your seat, handles...", so I will not get corona or something like that. So one of the girls took an embarrassing video of me doing so (gotta listen to my dad what can I do). After landing, being the guy that didn't plan ahead I had to find some ATM because I didn't have any money. The first ATM was busted, but the second one worked.
Up until this point, I didn't know how to get to the hostel. I thought maybe taking a taxi (which cost about 8000-1000 HUF), but luckily the girls I've met told me about the bus they're taking. So I bought a bus ticket to line 100E that takes you to the city center (and 70m from my hostel). The ticket price was 900 HUF.
So I really recommend staying at hostels if you travel alone (and with no plans).
The hostel I stayed in is "Hostel One Budapest" right in the middle of the Jewish quarter which is the best place in the city for restaurants, bars, and parties. I really recommend this hostel, the staff was really nice and helpful, great vibe and has some group activities like free family dinner, drinking games and going partying together. It also has the cheapest bar around.
Getting lost in the city
On my first day, I joined a group of Israelis I've met at the hostel. We wandered through the city and the Jewish quarter. One of the things I really liked about the city is all of the graffiti paintings around. And I actually think that some of them changed between my two visits (the first one was at the end of 2016).
We also took a ride on the Ferris wheel which gives you a good view of the city (3000 HUF). and as you can see from the photos, it was cold.
After that, we went to the Great Market Hall. Which is a closed market that was built in 1897. It has shops of fresh food, fruit, cheese, and meat. and there's also a more touristic market for souvenirs on the 2nd floor. I really wanted to taste some of the food there, So I went to one of the bakeries, bought a fresh bun. after that, I went to a cheese deli and bought a fat chunk of a random cheese the seller recommended and then made myself a sandwich. Simple and awesome.
Then, we returned to the hostel. apparently, there was a boat party this night. So I bought a ticket (6000 HUF). It was nice and I've met more nice people but the party wasn't worth it.
The second day
After the party, I just woke up kind of late. I met in the kitchen Some people I knew from the party and they asked me if I want to join them on a brunch. They found a really nice place for brunch called "Cirkusz Café".
A friend asked me if I want to come to the thermal baths, so we took a taxi to Széchenyi Thermal baths. Those baths were built in 1913, and it's really nice being in the open air (which was pretty cold) but swimming inside a warm pool. The prices are a bit higher in the weekend, I paid 6200 HUF which includes a locker use. You'll find there a few pools indoor & outdoor, saunas and massage services. There's even something called "Beer spa" (56 euro for 2 people inside the same wooden "bath"). I can also suggest you bring your own towel, there's a towel rental but it's pretty expensive.
We took electric scooters back to the hostel and took a nap. if you really want to enjoy Budapest you got to go partying at night.
So we started our evening at the most known ruin bar in the Jewish quarter - Szimpla Kert which is built as some kind of a market. it's nice and just a fun place to go around and sit with friends. There was even a room with some dancing music.
If after you drank some beers you're hungry you can find next to the Szimpla a small street food market called "Street Food Karavan", so stop by and have a bite.
After that, we went with the hostel to a club called Fogas which apparently changed its name to Instant Club. and it's right in the middle of the Jewish quarter. There are a few dancing floors, each with a different kind of music, I've mostly been to the Reggaeton floor.
After the party, I got back to the hostel, packed my things and took the first bus to the airport. Same line 100E, the first one is at 3:40 AM and it's recommended to get there 15-20 minutes before because it will fill up before 3:40 and you'll have to wait for the next one.
Some other recommendations
- Free walking tours - if it's your first time in Budapest I really recommend doing the free walking tours. I do it in almost every city I go to. It takes you through the main tourist attractions and the places of interest in the city. Worth to mention that these tours are not really free, you need to tip the guide. If the guide was good tip him even more. I usually base my tip amount on the standard walking tours.
- Gozsdu udvar (Gozsdu Court) - Bars, Restaurants and Cafe's in the closed street between Dob st and Kiraly st - there's a passage with some good places to sit. I recommend you go through it.
- Taxi's - There's no uber in Budapest, they use an app called "Bolt" same as in Tbilisi Georgia.
- Tipping - Usually the tip is included and you don't need to add any. You can just round up the amount.
In conclusion, I had a great time in Budapest. Each one of my trips there was different and I'm sure I'll be there again.