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We drove to Budapest for a four day weekend September 1-4 2017. This was one of my most favorite trips! We started driving in the early hours of the first so we could drive overnight while our children slept. When we got there we were amazed. The city sights are breathtaking.
The memories we made on this trip will last a lifetime!
Day One- Exploring
The morning we got in we used Trip adviser to search for a place to eat breakfast and stumbled upon an amazing breakfast spot! These were the best scrambled eggs I’ve ever eaten. And they had fresh squeezed orange juice. I love how fresh everything is in Europe!
The name of the cafe is called Hilda. I had the croissant sandwich but when I tried the eggs that we ordered for our children I just couldn’t get enough! They also had toys for our children to play with while waiting for the food, and they brought out water for our pup! The service was amazing and I highly recommend it!
Exploring Budapest on our own
From there we started exploring:
The first place we saw was St. Stephen’s Basilica, a Roman Catholic church. I stayed outside while Tj took the boys inside so I didn’t get any pictures of the inside.
Our next stop was the cat cafe! Our puppy couldn’t come inside, and since Tj wasn’t interested in seeing the cats he stayed outside with her and Sarai while I took the boys in for some cake!
I ordered a “catpuccino” and it was adorable! The boys loved the cake and looking at all the cats inside. All the cats seemed to like people, and not be bothered by all the people walking in and out.
Checking into our hotel
From there we went to check into our hotel. Now, this hotel my husband booked months in advance when he decided that we were going to go to Budapest for this four day weekend. I never checked it, which I fully regretted when we got there. It was outside of the city, the shower was dripping something from the ceiling and you could see through the towels. The staff was amazing though. I’ll leave the name of the hotel off of this post because I don’t want to leave a negative review since they were so nice but I definitely would have loved to stay somewhere else. But I must say, Tj has a new habit of booking places for trips that leave much to be desired.
Dinner and Hungarian Parliament Building
After we all napped from the overnight drive we headed back out to a place I had read about to try some Greek food. It’s called Taverna Dionysos. We got to try an amazing Hungarian appetizer of cold cherry soup. The children loved it, and I got a recipe for it from a Hungarian cookbook that I bought, I cannot wait to give it a try!
The food was amazing and when we left they gave me a flower! I got the gyros, which to my surprise didn’t come in a wrap! I have ordered gyros a few times now here in Europe, and I have yet to find them in a wrap, maybe when we go to Greece I will, or I might discover that wrapping them isn’t Greek.
After dinner, we finished our evening checking out the Hungarian Parliament Building. It was absolutely breathtaking. There were guards everywhere. I even asked one if they would take a picture of us, since they seemed pretty nonchalant but they said no.
Day Two- First time on a Big Bus Tour
If you don’t eat anywhere else I suggest in Budapest, you must eat at First Strudel House of Pest Restaurant. My husband actually found this place, I was hesitant to trust his judgment after the hotel fiasco, but I’m so glad I did!
They make the strudel right in front of you. Our boys were captivated by it! Here’s a video I captured showing them in the act!
Not only was watching it being made really cool, but they were so delicious I would go back to Budapest just to eat more. Oh and they also had fresh squeezed orange juice. After we kept ordering more and more because we literally just couldn’t get enough, they gave us a free plate of poppy seed strudel! The staff was amazing. I cannot say enough good things about this place.
Big Bus Tour begins
From there we headed to the Big Bus Tour store front and bought tickets for the tour bus. We found a place to hop on and started getting to know the city!
I loved these buses, they come with headphones and you can listen to the history of the city and learn about the sites as they drive! They also tell you what stops are coming up next. We loved it. Some of the buses had coverings on the top, we always chose those. Even our children enjoyed it. Can you see the smile on Sarai’s face??
The first sights we saw were the opera house and hero’s square.
After we drove past these there was a stop to get out and walk around and look at everything. We decided to not stop here but we hopped off to use the bathroom since the bus was taking a short break.
Budapest’s Great Market Hall
There is seriously so much to see in Budapest we had to make the most of our time, we really wanted to go the Great Market Hall. This is what the outside of the building looks like:
And this was the inside!
When we went in we looked around at all the little stands and found some Hungarian paprika to buy, along with some other spices. There was a little shop that had the cutest honey pot that I just had to have!
Next we headed upstairs to the food because we heard that we could get langos here. Langos are like large fried flat bread with toppings on top like a pizza. I could eat one every day for the rest of my life. I got a plain one for our children.
Now warning, it is so crowded upstairs by the food and the lines are pretty long. It was really hard trying to get through a large crowd with our stroller. My husband took the children back downstairs while I ordered the food because it was pretty unbearable.
After we got the food we took it outside to eat because of all the crowds inside. Which we immediately regretted because there were bees everywhere. And they wanted to eat our food and fly into my hair. I’m terrified of bees so this wasn’t fun. We chose to sit inside the McDonald’s and eat after ordering something to drink there.
When we were done eating I headed back inside the market really quick to buy some handmade Hungarian lace. There were so many shops selling them that it was pretty hard to choose but I got a few small pieces to sew into dresses for Sarai when I have time.
Next we took the bus to what’s labeled as Castle garden on the tour map. During the drive up the hill to the garden the tour tells you more about Budapest’s history and it’s resilience from war. I was so intrigued and impressed with the people of Budapest, if you take this tour make sure to listen to the audio guide!
When you first get there, there is an amazing lookout where you can see the entire city. It is breathtaking. When you walk further up you can see the liberty statue. The liberty statue was erected in 1947 in remembrance of Hungary’s liberation.
Here’s a tip, make sure you have lots of change on you when you travel around because most bathrooms require you to pay. This is pretty standard in Europe, it helps keep the bathrooms sparkly clean. The bathroom at this location requires payment. The lady even yelled at me when I tried to switch out sons without paying extra. She was my only bad experience in Budapest.
Dinner and dessert
After this we rode the bus back towards our car. We found a book store that I bought a Hungarian cook book from. It’s my goal to buy a cook book from every country we visit so I can make the food at home I love cooking! Then we walked across the street to a Hungarian restaurant. It was called Hung(a)ry? I’m pretty sure it just said Hungarian restaurant on the outside. This is where I ordered Chicken Paprikash. It’s a common dish in Hungary and it was so tasty!
After dinner here, we headed back to The First Strudel House of Pest for dessert. I knew there wasn’t going to be time to go the next day and I just had to have their strudel one more time! And they have dessert strudel! I’m pretty sure this goes without saying by now, but it was ah-mazing.
Day 3- My favorite day of our trip!
Breakfast at New York Cafe
Our first stop was at the New York Cafe. It is ranked as the most beautiful cafe in the world. This cafe definitely lived up to it’s expectations. It was gorgeous!
I must say though, the food was a little disappointing. The portions were very small and expensive and we all left still hungry. I’m not sure why we didn’t just opt for the buffet. If you go, I would recommend eating at the buffet instead. In the picture below you can see what we ordered and at the bottom, what the buffet looks like. And yes, that’s salad with french toast. After eating in Europe for a while, it doesn’t surprise us anymore.
Our first European Thermal Bath
After breakfast we went to the Szechenyi Thermal Bath. They have the largest medicinal bath in Europe. The water is supplied by two thermal springs. Tickets were around $20 and came with a locker. If you come here please remember to bring your own towels so you don’t have to pay to rent them and get your deposit back.
So when we went in we first went to the more calm bath side (picture in the bottom right of collage). And all of the people kept glaring at me. There was this lady that would not stop staring at me sitting there holding Sarai. But then the people who worked there came over and told us that the part we were in was too hot for our baby. We didn’t know. And I’m glad someone finally told us instead of just giving us mean looks like we were the “dumb tourists”.
So that’s when we switched over to the other bath (picture with the whole family in it). It was definitely colder than the first one but still bearable. There were bubbles that would spring up that the kids loved playing in. We played for a few hours and then packed up and left when it started raining. From there we drove home and took showers while the children took naps.
Lunch and more dessert
When we headed back out we grabbed some lunch from Jack’s burger.
They have really good burgers! From there we walked around and found Gelarto Rosa. I had searched all over for this place and we just happened upon it after lunch! They make roses out of gelato! And their gelato is really good too!
Next we drove to my most favorite place in all of Budapest. Fisherman’s Bastion. I read somewhere to go at sunset so we went later on in the afternoon.
We parked at the top and got lost. We went the wrong way at first and stumbled upon some war machine replicas. The boys loved them!
When we finally found it, my jaw dropped. I have to tell you, this was the most beautiful and amazing place I’ve ever been to. I couldn’t get over how clean it was, how beautiful it was and how breathtaking it was.
Here’s a map of the area:
When we first walked in we were on the opposite side of the castle and walked to the other end. I don’t know if I would call this a city or a town but the area was stunning.
There was so much to see here!
We also found the funicular that you can ride up when you park at the bottom. I wanted the kids to ride it and we had tickets that came with our Big Bus Tour so we hopped in one and rode it down and back up.
After this we walked around trying to find something to eat. We found a cafe on the corner that said cake. Cake is my favorite food so I had to check it out! It looked closed but we went in and they were open and we stumbled upon a cake I had been searching for to try! It was just a perfect find! This is ruszwurm cake. It’s similar to the cake I had tried in Pula, Croatia!
I honestly don’t remember what we ate for dinner, I was only concerned with the cake! On our way back to the car I checked out a few gift shops before finding some surprise boxes for our children. A surprise box is a box with a little hidden compartment that you have to open. I got two teeny tiny ones because I didn’t have a lot of Forint (Hungarian Currency) on me.
From here we left to catch the Big Bus Tour night cruise ship. They have food and drinks on the boat so if you’re hungry, know that you can grab a bite to eat here. Tj got a few things to eat because he’s always hungry.
So unlike the tour buses, there wasn’t an audio guide to tell us what we were looking at but since we had been in the city for a few days we recognized a lot of the sights. My only complaint was the windows at night had a bit of a glare. Which is why my pictures are somewhat blurry and crazy looking. I had to hold my phone right up against the window to not catch the glare, and of course the boat was moving so they’re far from perfect. But I must say, Budapest is beautiful at night.
We kept seeing advertisements for The Box Donuts so we decided to check it out on our way out of the city. I’m so glad we did because they were amazing! Although, my husband dropped me off in front and it took him forever to circle back around to come and get me because of the way the streets are set up. So I would suggest parking and getting out if you come here.
The perfect goodbye
On our drive out we got to pass under this:
This is Gellert Hill. And it took my breath away. Do you see the waterfall? It was the perfect way to say goodbye to this beautiful place.
There were so many things that we didn’t get to see or do, Budapest is full of beauty and culture.
Have you been to Budapest?