As you can gather from the photo above, we were in Budapest at the start of Christmas Market season. Our one month here started on Oct 29, and ended on Nov 29 when we headed north to Krakow Poland. During our time in Budapest, our friend Matt came to visit for two weeks, ten days of which we were on a road trip, covering Ljubljana, Slovenia, Prague, Czech and Vienna, Austria.
We were stoked to finally have a slower period of travel time, coming off nearly eight weeks of on the go European galavanting. If you’ve missed the last ten or more blogs, I cover ALL of that adventuring.
Upon arriving in Budapest, we got a gym membership ASAP. It was a block and a half from our apartment and we paid $30 per person with no initiation. This was music to our ears as we hadn’t had a gym membership in…wait for it…four, nearly five full months.
After that, we got settled in and it was time to live life in this city for one month.
The one thing everyone told us we had to do while in Budapest was visit a bath house. We didn’t get around to doing this until the last week there. Our friend Matt arrived just three days after we did, and he had 0% interest in doing this. Seeing as his time with us was HIS vacation time, we focused our time doing what he wanted.
It was important to us to be in a coed setting, so we chose to go on a Sunday to Gallerta Baths on the “Pest” side of Budapest. Yes if you didn’t know, Budapest is actually split by the river into “Buda” and “Pest.” We chose to go EARLY based on the busy times listed on google. There was zero to three people sharing the baths with us.
I highly suggest going near the opening time if you can swing it. This allowed us to really relax and it felt like we had a private spa day.
There was no photography allowed inside the pools, so no photos of the gorgeous inside. But you can view that on their site, here. I did happen sneak a few photos in the outdoor pool, which was my favorite.
There are several bath houses in Budapest. If we had discovered them earlier, this would have been a bi-weekly event for the Millers. Just search on google. You can see hours, coed hours, women only, men only, and nude or clothed options.
In general, you really can’t go wrong with hot mineral water, silence, saunas and cold tubs.
Like the bath houses, there were plenty of Christmas markets to choose from in Budapest. These have everything from clothing, to mulled wine, street food, and artisan trinkets. They are just a feel good environment for all ages, and a must if you’re in Budapest from Dec-Jan.
I must mention that Budapest is too large to be a walkable city. It is likely walkable within the area you’re staying, but to see all of Budapest you’ll need to use public transportation or rent a bike. Which is what we did to get most of the photos you’ll see in this post. We rented electric bikes, and set out to see the “must see” buildings in Budapest, most of which were in “Buda.”
The bridges connecting “Buda” and “Pest” aren’t anything grand or magnificent, but they are worth seeing and walking over if you can. The bath house we went to was near the first bridge, as well as the small castle-like buildings in the wall.
Does someone even go to Budapest if they don’t see the Parliament Building? I think not.
We rode our bikes along the “Buda” side of the water front, then crossed a bridge to “Pest” for a closer look. We didn’t go inside. In fact we didn’t even check to see if that was possible. But hey, you do you.
I have no clue what any of these buildings are, but they were on the “Buda” side and they were pretty. #judgeme.
Praise the Jesus for blue skies on our last day in Budapest. We visited the Hero’s Square and and some buildings deeper on the “Pest” side on a different day than our bike ride day.
Per usual, I know nothing about this square other than it was pretty and had pretty buildings + an ice rink near by. Definitely visit Hero’s Square if you ever find yourself in Budapest, no matter the season.
Back to the bike ride. Of course we’re back on the “Buda” side of the river. This gorgeous church was not easy to find, as it’s up on a hill and not seen from the lower ground.
If you throw mint and burnt orange together, you can count on me loving whatever it is. Enter, this church’s tiled roof. The church itself is decently small in comparison to other European cathedrals, but it’s the epitome of beauty. Just see for yourself.
This particular day was hazy and gloomy, but on a clear day, you’d get an amazing view of the river and city as a whole from this church’s surrounding walk-way. You can imagine it via the images below.
Sill on the bike ride, we headed back down to the river front, crossed back over to “Pest,” visited the last communist site and shook Ronald Reagan’s hand. This was the end of our adventure day around Budapest.
We were pleasantly surprised with the food in Budapest. From hummus and felafel to fancy-pants hot dogs and the most EXTRA oatmeal you ever did see, Budapest did not disappoint these foodies. You might have to walk a ways to get it, but you’ll be happy you did.
People in our lives + blogs we’d read had raved about Budapest and how underrated it is as a European city to visit. Perhaps this increased our expectations to a point which lead to our feelings of disappointment as a whole.
This is not to say we hated Budapest or that it is not worth going to. It’s decently cheap, has great food, and plenty to see. For these nature lovers, there was not much greenery, and as I mentioned, it’s too large to be walkable. Clearly these are our personal preferences. It was a livable city, but lacked the density of European architecture that was expected.
Overall, it made as a great one month stop, but I would not recommend it as a top European destination. If you’re in Eastern Europe, it’s worth visiting for two or three days. Hit up a bath house, eat good food, and tour both sides of the river. And I can’t deny it was a great a location as a home base to visit other cities and countries from. That was in fact one of our main reasons for choosing Budapest for a month’s stay.
As far as accommodations go, we stayed in “Pest” (before we knew that, there was a difference between Buda and Pest). I don’t suggest this. I would stay either closer to the river in “Pest” or stay over in “Buda”. If seeing most of the tourist attractions is your main goal, that is.
Remember that road trip I mentioned with Matt? The next three posts cover Ljubljana, Slovenia, Prague, Czech, and Vienna, Austria! Stay tuned my friend.
I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.
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