Budapest was the grand finale of Summer Trip No. 1 and it was the perfect accompaniment to a delightful dose of nature and outdoor activity in Slovenia where we began our trip and the following slice of sea and sunshine we devoured in Croatia. Budapest offered luxe relaxation and the varied (and much appreciated) dynamic of a larger city to our itinerary.
Here’s the details of our stay.
5 PM Check in at the luxurious Four Seasons Gresham Palace.
Chris husbanded well and ordered a sneaky couple of glasses of champers while I freshened up which we enjoyed with the amazing view of the Széchenyi Chain Bridge from our hotel room window.
6 PM Eager to relax after our 6 hour train journey from Zagreb to Budapest, we took advantage of the beautiful pool and spa and complimentary iced tea.
8 PM Dinner at KOLLÁZS. After being wowed by our experience so far at the Four Seasons we had high expectations for the restuarant and it did not disappoint. The decor is beautiful, the staff were wonderfully attentive but the star of the night was the three delicious courses with matched Hungarian wine.
10 AM After an exquisite buffet breakfast we headed off to soak up some relaxation at Rudas Baths. Built in 1150 during the Ottoman rule it offers 6 therapy pools with temperatures varying from 16 – 42 degrees. It was so refreshing to dip from one bath to the next. Our favourite combo was a 16 degree dip (this one literally had ice in it) followed by a 42 degree dip. Also, one of the baths is situated on the rooftop with a great view over the Danube River.
12 PM We set off on foot to explore the streets of Budapest.
Budapest is home to some of the prettiest courtyards. This one below is Paloma where you will also find a cafe and a bunch of independent shops. You can wander up the stairs and there is such a lovely atmosphere. I visited here after reading a recommendation on Townske. I only recently discovered this site and its mini visual city guides are such a great tool for travel inspiration and planning. You can also get the app on your phone. I highly recommend!
3 PM Pit stop at Embassy Espresso. Great coffee and cakes. This was lunch for us. I had baked cheesecake and an iced latte, Chris – banana bread and an iced americano. YUM!
4 PM Visited Parliament Building and memorial on the Danube River
Below is the Shoes on the Danube Bank memorial to honour the jews who were killed in the Arrow Cross Terror in Budapest during World War II.
We continued walking along the river and over the Széchenyi Chain Bridge…
7 PM We then took the funicular up to Castle Hill. There were great panoramic views on the way up and it was nice to avoid the steep climb after walking most of the day!
Castle Hill has the best views of the city, brightly coloured buildings, cobble stone streets, Matthias Church and the Fisherman’s Bastion.
8:30 PM After enjoying the amazing view and sunset we head back down the hill on foot.
9PM Just off the street that houses the popular ruin bars we found a delightful wine bar with live Jazz music called Doblo Wine Bar. Great atmosphere, Hungarian wine and antipasto plates (and a really cute dog who had a hard day)!
9 AM Morning bathe at Szechenyi Thermal Baths. With this bath being the most popular in Budapest we came early to avoid the crowds and it worked! With 18 pools and 10 saunas, and the famous yellow architecture it’s easy to see why this place is so loved.
12 PM We headed to the famous Andrássy Avenue and visited the House of Terror Museum. The building which has been transformed into the museum was used in the two terror regimes of Fascism and Communism in 20th-Century Hungary for imprisonment and torture. The museum exhibitions present what it was like for Hungarians under these regimes and also serves as a memorial to the victims.
This museum was definitely a heavier note to end a holiday on, but I’m so glad we visited. Too often you can visit a city and see the ‘highlights’ – the neatly displayed shops and the curated cafes that leave you oblivious to the history that lies just beneath the surface. I’d strongly recommend anyone visiting Budapest to check this place out to get a deeper understanding of the history of Hungary and this incredible city.
To wrap it up… we absolutely loved Budapest! Couldn’t recommend it highly enough as a city break for anyone looking for a bit of luxury, relaxation and history in a weekend.
C + P