Budapest Travel Diary

Budapest Travel Diary

If there’s one city that surprised me the most this summer, it was Budapest. If I’m completely honest, Hungary was just never really on the list of countries I wanted to see in Europe. Whenever I’ve thought of visiting Europe, places like Italy… Spain.. France.. or Greece are generally what has always come to mind. So when my family said we were going to Budapest, it was probably the city I was the least excited for.. but I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Budapest is an absolutely breathtaking city. From the stunning architecture, to the interesting history, delicious traditional Hungarian food, and it’s amazing wines.. Budapest is a city that you have to experience at some point in your life. I hope that through reading my Budapest Travel Diary you’ll get just a little taste of what a wonderful city it is, and it will inspire you to take a trip there and see it all for yourself!

 

 

View of the bridge and Pest as seen from one of the many viewing points of Buda Castle

 

What to Explore: Buda Castle

The city of Budapest is actually two districts separated by the Danube river. A 19th Century chain bridge connects the hilly district of Buda with the flat district of Pest. If there’s one thing you have to do while in Budapest is head over to the Buda side and walk up to Buda Castle just for the view. The Castle itself is a sight to see, but the view from the city at the top is just stunning. If you’re not able to make the walk up the hill, there’s a funicular that runs up Castle Hill to Buda’s Old Town, and you can walk to the Castle from there.

 

 

 

 

The Architecture of Buda Castle was just stunning, and I could have spent hours just exploring it alone…

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoying the view of Budapest from the Castle

 

 

What to Eat: Stop for Kürtőskalács (Funnel Cake) in the Castle grounds

After hiking up the hill to Buda Castle and enjoying the stunning views and architecture, you’ve probably built up a decent appetite. It’s the perfect time to enjoy a real traditional Hungarian treat. Kürtőskalács, or funnel cake, is made from strips of a sweet dough that’s wrapped around a cone shaped baking spit, rolled in granulated sugar, and slowly cooked while basted with butter until it turns golden brown. While we do have a similar treat available in Canada, it’s just nothing compared to the real deal in Hungary.

 

 

What to Eat: Langos

Another traditional Hungarian snack that you absolutely HAVE to try while in Hungary is Langos. Langos is a deep fried flatbread that’s covered with all sorts of interesting toppings. It can be compared closest to Elephant Ears or Beaver Tails, however the big difference here is that the Hungarians traditionally enjoy Langos with savoury toppings. While you can find sweet ones, the real experience is to have it with sour cream and cheese. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t skeptical about it before I tried it… but it was one of the best things I ate the whole time I was in Europe! I would go back to Budapest for the Langos alone.

 

 

What to Drink: Hungarian Wine

I think anyone would agree with me that when you’re in a new country one of the things you have to do is try the local wine (or beer if that’s more your jam). Even though I have history as wine sales rep, I had never tried Hungarian wine so I was so excited to finally get to try it. Although Hungarians make a lot of wine (they have their own wine region which I would love to explore next time I’m in Hungary!), they keep the majority of it for themselves and only export a little… which is probably why we don’t see a lot of it here in Canada! It was so interesting to learn all about different grape varieties I had never heard of, Hungarians have so many different wines that were completely foreign to me. Our first evening we went with a bottle of the Kadarka Szekszard Bodri.. it was smooth, easy to drink, and so delicious! It definitely opened my eyes to a whole new world of wines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What to See: St. Stephen’s Basilica

Although there are lots of beautiful churches in Budapest, St. Stephen’s (dedicated to Hungary’s first king, St. Stephen) is the biggest and definitely one you can’t miss. For a small fee (200 Huf, or 1 Euro) you can check out inside of the Basilica on your own, or for a larger price you can get a guided tour. Fun fact – St. Stephen’s Basilica houses Hungary’s number one most sacred treasure… The mummified right hand of St. Stephen himself.

 

 

I think one of the best ways to experience a new city is to experience it at Night. While I didn’t get any pictures at night, I didn’t want to miss including some of my favourite things we did…

What to Do at Night: Ghost & Vampire Tour

One of the things I really wanted to do while in Europe was a ghost tour. I first saw people doing this while in Munich, and I had been dying to do one ever since. Finally, in Budapest, my sister-in-law and I had the chance to sneak away for a ghost & vampire tour of Buda Castle. We headed up to Buda Castle at night (which alone was more than enough fun to experience) where we met up with our guide for the evening. She led a small group of us through the castle grounds, telling us stories of the history of Hungary, and the many ghosts and vampires that haunt Hungary’s past. It was so fascinating to learn all the gruesome details, and even more so to have the opportunity to do it while walking the grounds of Buda Castle and the Old Town in the dark of night.

What to Do at Night: Ride the Ferris Wheel  (& Drink Champagne in the Park)

One of the most magical parts of vacation are just going with the flow, having no plan and just doing whatever feels right at the moment. After our Ghost tour we weren’t quite ready to head to bed yet so my sister-in-law and I stopped at Erzsebet Square to ride the Ferris Wheel. While (surprise surprise) it wasn’t a cheap ride, it was so fun to see Budapest from those heights, especially at night.. and I definitely recommend doing it once! After riding the Ferris Wheel we stopped into a little shop across the square and bought a bottle of Champagne for ridiculously cheap, sat on a park bench and sipped Champagne while snacking on gummy bears into the wee hours of the night. Couldn’t think of a better way to spend an evening in Budapest than people watching from a park bench, with bubbles of course!

 

 

What I Wore Day 1 in Budapest

Dress – Zara // Scarf – Vintage // Sandals – Zara // Bag – Kate Spade // Sunglasses – Aldo

 

 

What to See: Hősök tere (Heroes Square)

Heroes Square is one of the major squares in Budapest, noted for its iconic statues featuring the Seven Chieftains of the Magyars and other important Hungarian national leaders. The square hosts the Museum of Fine Arts, and has played an important part in Hungarian history. It has been the host to many political events, and continues to host numerous events and concerts to this day. Heroes Square is located right next to City Park, so it’s the perfect place to stop on your way to Vajdahunyad Castle.

 

 

Statues of some of the important leaders in Hungarian history

 

 

 

 

 

What to See: Vajdahunyad Castle

Vajdahunyad Castle is just a short walk away from Heroes Square in the City Park of Budapest. It was originally built in 1896 as part of the Millenial Exhibition, and remains a highly visited destination today. Rather than taking on one look, the castle was designed to feature copies of several landmark buildings from different parts of Hungary. The most fascinating part of Vajdahunyad Castle is that since it was modelled after many different buildings from different time periods, it’s built using several different architectural styles. Parts of the castle display Romanesque styles, while others are Gothic, there’s Renaissance, and even Baroque. It’s absolutely stunning to see the four different styles and get a snapshot of what Hungarian architecture looked like over several different periods all in one place.

 

 

 

 

 

I couldn’t get over all the amazing architecture in Budapest. I felt like everywhere I turned there was something different but equally beautiful to see.

 

 

a Latte at New York Cafe

 

Where to Stop for Coffee: New York Cafe

The New York Cafe is an absolutely stunning ornate cafe and restaurant attached to the New York Palace Boscolo Budapest Hotel. Open since 1894, it became the most beautiful and beloved coffee house in Budapest at the turn of the 20th Century. At the time it was one of the favourite spots for numerous writers and editors, but unfortunately it fell apart after World War 2. It became a sporting goods stores for awhile, and then another cafe took over but didn’t succeed. In 2006 the New York cafe was restored to it’s original splendor, and has been a highly visited cafe by tourists and locals alike ever since. To this day it is considered one of the most beautiful cafes in the world and definitely worth a visit. If the exquisite decor and architecture isn’t enough, the coffee at the New York cafe is probably the best coffee I’ve ever had in my life. From the presentation to the taste, don’t visit Budapest without stopping here for a coffee!

 

Coffee at New York Cafe

 

 

What to See: Hungarian Parliament Building

Right on the edge of the Danube, the Hungarian Parliament Building is definitely a sight to be seen. Built in the Gothic Revival style, the Parliament is split into two completely symmetrical sides with identical parliament halls. One hall is used for politics, and the other is used for tours for those that are interested in seeing the inside of the building. While we didn’t get the chance to check out the interior, the exterior was absolutely stunning.

 

 

 

 

View of the Hungarian Parliament Building from the Danube 

 

What to Do: Take a Cocktail Cruise down the Danube

 

A beautiful (and fun) way to really see the architecture across Budapest is taking a cruise down the Danube. The Danube runs through the middle of Buda & Pest, so a cruise is your best bet for experiencing both at once. There are all sorts of cruises you can take down the Danube, from lunch & dinner cruises, to party cruises, to cocktail, wine, and beer cruises. Although you can buy tickets in advance, it’s easy to purchase them on site a few hours before. We boarded a cocktail cruise that took us on an hour and a half long journey down the Danube. The cruise included three cocktail, and it was really a great way to see all the sights at once!

 

My “hand the cocktail over and nobody gets hurt” face

 

What I Wore Day 2 in Budapest:

Shorts – Zara // Top – Urban Planet // Scarf – Zara // Hat – H&M // Sandals – Zara // Sunglasses – Thierry Lasry

 

 

 

On day 3 after checking out of our Airbnb and stopping for coffee, we said goodbye to Hungary and boarded a train headed for Prague…

 

Next Stop: Prague, Czech Republic

 

Stay tuned for my Prague travel diary!

 

xoxo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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14 Comments

  1. Cecile Wendlandt
    August 22, 2017 / 11:22 am

    I love reading your travel posts!

  2. Aimara
    August 22, 2017 / 1:04 pm

    Wow girl! These photos are amazing! Budapest certainly looks worth visiting.
    The architecture is so impressive and I’m drooling over that funnel cake LOL.
    Def adding Budapest to my list and saving your recommendations 🙂
    Thanks for sharing!
    XO
    Aimara
    http://www.waysofstyle.com

  3. Sweet as Fiction
    August 22, 2017 / 1:17 pm

    This is such an awesome travel diary! The ghost and vampire tour would definitley be something I’d want to try out. Love your photos girl. Now I definitely wanna visit. ❤

    Sweet as Fiction xx
    http://www.sweetasfiction.com

  4. August 23, 2017 / 3:49 am

    Wow these pictures hun… stunning… stunning. Budapest is a beautiful and very old city full of history and very mesmerising buildings. There is simply too much to see… that is why it is on my list of cities to visit.
    Kisses

  5. August 23, 2017 / 10:48 am

    Kirsten! Wow I love this post! Your pix are all amazing and it’s not a place I’ve ever even thought of visiting but now it’s definitely on my list! Thanks so much for sharing!
    xoxo Karen

    http://www.kareneverafter.com

  6. August 24, 2017 / 1:36 pm

    I love reading travel posts where great destinations and photos are shared, showing why I should go there! I’ve heard of others going to Budapest and had no idea what it was all about and why I should visit. Like yourself, I love beautiful architecture and that Ghost & Vampire Tour sounds pretty intriguing. Thanks for sharing all of these gorgeous pics with us!

    http://www.thebeautybeau.com

  7. August 25, 2017 / 1:18 am

    Girl I absolutely enjoyed reading this post ,it was almost like I was on this trip with you,I was totally sucked in!!!Dont even get me started about your choice of outfits …ha loved it!!Now Budapest is in travel list armed with all your recommendations !!what a detailed post ,worth the read!!!!

    http://www.toyosigregoryjonah.com

  8. August 26, 2017 / 6:15 pm

    This is the most remarkable and amazing travel journal I’ve ever had the pleasure to read and ponder over. I first took a glimpse the other day and I was so intrigued and knew I would be visiting your blog when I could spend some more time and really get to read, reflect and enjoy it fully. So here I am, at the end of my first work week and I must say that although Budapest has never been on my travel wish list before it is now. The funnel cake and all the sweet and savory treats sound and look amazing! I would love to explore the magnificent architecture and would definitely enjoy the cocktail cruise!! Your outfits are so fabulous and I especially love the sunglasses you wore on the cruise. Thank you so much for all this wonderful travel and style inspiration!!

  9. August 27, 2017 / 12:03 am

    Hello my friend! Wow! What a beautiful post! I really loved every shot and all your outfits. You made me feel like I was transported to Budapest with you. I really need to go there now one day, and hopefully have a beautiful trip like you! Thank you for taking us on your journey.
    Love, Dom

  10. Rachael Sia
    August 27, 2017 / 6:16 am

    oh my girlyyyyy this is giving me such wanderlustttt!! The photos look amazing and this is such a great post! Reading it makes me want to hop on a plane and go on a vacation in budapest!
    xx
    Ray

    http://www.yourbaeray.com 

  11. Coco
    August 27, 2017 / 8:24 am

    Dear Kirsten, first of all congrats on your new website graphics, which is delightful. I like simple, clean templates, especially when the content of the posts is so rich with beautiful pictures. You know, I’ve never thought of visiting Budapest either, while it’s a true gem, especially for its majestic architecture. That flat fried bread looks especially delicious! Your outfits are always impeccable, and I love the family picture! Love, Valeria

  12. August 27, 2017 / 3:38 pm

    Dear Kirsten,
    Isn’t it funny how it’s usually off the beaten path we find the gems? We often go for the main attractions and what we’ve heard is amazing, but miss cities that are incredible. This happened to me with basically all of Eastern Europe as I was like “uh, whatever” when it came to those places, but after having visited Prague I fell in love with the culture, history, food and not to mention it’s not as touristy as the places you mentioned. I mean, Paris and Rome can be exhausting from the amount of tourists alone and you can’t walk anywhere without ending up in a crowd. I’m so glad you got to discover Budapest and it’s still on my list of places to visit and now I have a perfect guide for when I go there!
    Thomas xx

  13. Meg
    August 27, 2017 / 3:41 pm

    I completely agree with you – I never would have had this on my list. I really hadn’t heard much about it before. But this post certainly put it on my list. Thank you for sharing!

  14. August 29, 2017 / 12:50 am

    I love seeing all of these beautiful travel photos from your adventures around Budapest! The whole place looks incredibly beautiful, and bustling with life. That castle is so ornate, and rooted in historical value, and that funnel cake has more cheese than a pizza could handle haha It’s amazing how different architectural phases in history has altered the landscape, and still give us an insight to the values of older generations.

    Bernice | IG @bunnybernice
    https://www.bunnybernice.com/single-post/2017/08/29/MuLondon-Cleanser-and-Moisturiser-Review

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