The city itself is massive – there’s no way that you can explore the whole thing on foot. And so I highly recommend you opt for a Hop-On Hop-Off bus to check out Budapest’s historical and cultural sites. If you’re staying near the city center, St. Stephen’s Basilica is pretty easy to walk to. But otherwise, yeah, bus it. It’ll take you about a day to check out both Buda and Pest (the two sides of Budapest that are separated by the Danube River).
Budapest isn’t exactly a pretty city. Sure the above photographs may say otherwise, but when you compare it to Prague or Zurich, it doesn’t even come close. But what it lacks in beauty it makes up for in an abundance of personality. So much sass.
Naturally I stayed at a party hostel because where else would an Australian bunk in Budapest? The joint is run by Australians and, if you’re anything like me (values hygiene, privacy, comfort), don’t stay at one. I stayed in a private apartment that was branched slightly away from the main area, but it still wasn’t far away enough. And apparently Carpe Vitae Noctem is the least wild of the lot. (Retox is the worst.) But, you know, it could be your cup of tea.
Széchenyi– oh my god. Exactly what I needed. It’s one of the largest baths in Budapest (and all of Europe, in fact). There are pools of varying temperature (including a wave pool!) from about 26C to 38C. There are also steam rooms that can reach up to 100C (ridiculously hot, I felt like my fat was melting off) and also scented and colourfully lit ones (these are super fun – for what reason, I don’t know). Being me I did multiple ‘bath crawls’ until I resembled a giant prune. Absolutely worth it. Definitely make time to go here. If you’re a bit of a party animal, they do have spa parties every Saturday – but beware. I’ve heard they can get nasty. And by nasty I mean totally gross.
Upon entering Szimpla you wouldn’t know how to react – there’s so much crap everywhere. It’s awesome (and has been voted as the third best bar in the world – the whole world!). There’s a shisha corner, multiple cocktail bars and a car you can sit in instead of a booth. More than three levels high, there’s a surprise to be had around every corner. Definitely try to head a bit early as it can get very packed.
Food-wise I pretty much ate like a peasant. Gyros all day, every day.