It was time for another ladies holiday away but this time with the purpose of celebrating Ginny’s 60th Birthday. She was given the task of deciding where she would like to go and Budapest was a popular choice due to the fact none of us had been there but had all heard good things. After some travel planning earlier in the year we managed to find reasonable flights from Stansted with Ryanair and a lovely looking apartment from Booking.com and away we went.
We had a reasonable flight time from Stansted and used Jet Parks before bussing to the airport and getting our flight. Unfortunately myself, Chris and Kirsty were slightly delayed due to queues to get out of the services but never the less we made it to the airport in time and after an hour delay off we went.
We had organised transfers through our apartment for 40 euros (approx 13k HUF) and despite the delay, this was still all fine and after a short wait, we were transferred to our accommodation which took approximately 40 minutes. We had booked to stay at Gabriel Apartment for our 3-night break. It is located quite centrally and had really good reviews. We had a short delay to get the keys which was no problem as we grabbed a drink and some sharing platters at a restaurant just down the road from the entrance. The check-in process was easy and we were more than happy with our apartment which had everything we needed during our stay and was clean and tidy.
We decorated the apartment appropriately for the celebrations, unpacked and went out for dinner quite late after some drinks in the apartment. After much deliberation, the birthday girl managed to find us a restaurant that was still open called Cafe Vian for dinner. The restaurant served a variety of food including Hungarian Cuisine and we enjoyed our late night meal stop. Alas, we were all very tired after our long day so retired back to our apartment for some well-earned sleep!
After breakfast the next day and getting ready we decided to head to Vaci Utca (Street), probably the most famous street in Hungary. We were able to use to Bolt taxi app to be able to get XL taxi’s which fitted all 6 of us. This proved very handy throughout our stay and we paid approximately £4-5 each journey for 6 of us each trip. We headed towards the Danube River and it was very hot…the temperature was in the 30’s…..
We came across the Inner-City Parish Church, which is the main parish church in Budapest, and took a walk over the Elisabeth Bridge. We loved the views from here. We determined we were actually staying in Pest and the other side of the bridge was Buda!
After a short drink stop to cool down we decided to do a boat cruise. Joy managed to negotiate us a hop on hop off cruise for 2500 Huf (approximately £8) and away we sailed! We were able to see the Parliament Building, the Royal Palace (Buda Castle), the Chain Bridge and Margaret Bridge. We also enjoyed copious amounts of pink fizz; the breeze on the river was most welcome after the heat of the day and we did two circuits on the boat before deciding to disembark back by Elisabeth Bridge.
After heading back to chill for a bit we headed out for Ginny’s big birthday meal!! Ginny and Joy had chosen a lovely looking restaurant called Dubarry We had browsed the menu and were excited to sit on the terrace outside which overlooks the Danube. The restaurant really was lovely; we spent several hours there until way past sunset and had lovely food and drink and celebrated with the birthday girl. It really was a lovely relaxed evening.
On our way home we stumbled across a riverside bar/club called Raqpart. We stopped here for a drink before heading home, chilled out dangling our feet over the Danube and taking in the amazing views. It was a lovely end to a lovely evening.
No ladies trip away would be complete without a trip to a spa! Prior to coming to Budapest, I had done some research into the best spa we could visit and from all reviews, the Szechenyi Thermal Bath was the most highly rated and recommended. We spent most of the next day here bathing in the mineral waters, sampling the different temperature pools and generally having a really relaxing and fun time. Whilst it was busy and initially difficult to get enough loungers for us (luckily Laura was on the case and managed to get us all one!) it was still mostly ok and not overcrowded. It cost approximately 5500 Huf or £15 to spend the day here and there were food and drink outlets. We loved it here and would highly recommend a visit.
In the evening we went on a night boat cruise which included a couple of drinks. As Chris had missed the night views the night before due to feeling unwell this was an ideal opportunity for her to see Budapest at night and for us to see even more. The boat departed at 10pm and we managed to make it just in time. We were not disappointed by the cruise which was an hour and a half long and we even had string musicians playing Happy Birthday to a very embarrassed Ginny. It was a lovely experience and the photos do not do it justice as we had a few camera issues between us with night photographs. We headed again to Raqpart bar before heading home rather merrily for the night! Joy and Laura managed to get us some chicken burgers after failed attempts at pizza!
For our last day although we had had a fantastic time so far we hadn’t done much in the way of sightseeing; we had seen things from a distance but one place we really wanted to see was the view from the Citadella overlooking Buda and Pest. After breakfast and packing, we headed up to the Citadella where we admired the views, had a spot of lunch and did some souvenir shopping. Kirsty tried a cheesy Langos, a traditional bread with a topping which is favoured in Hungarian cuisine.
The Citadella is found on top of Gellert Hill and was built in 1851. It features the Liberty Statue which was erected in 1947 to celebrate the Soviet liberation of Hungary which ended the Nazi occupation. The statue commemorates those who sacrificed their lives for the independence, freedom, and prosperity of Hungary
Our final stop before having to head to the airport was the Parliament Building; a very impressive building which is the seat of the National Assembly of Hungary. It is currently the largest building in Hungary. We had seen the building from our boat trips but it was equally as impressive close-up. Given the heat, Kirsty decided to find the only bit of shade possible!!
Just down from the Parliament building approximately 200 metres we also discovered the ‘Shoes on the Danube Bank’. This is a memorial to honour the Jews who were killed by militiamen from the fascist Arrow Cross Party during WWII. They were ordered to take off their shoes and then shot so their bodies would fall into the Danube and be swept away. The memorial represents their shoes left behind on the East Bank.
Alas, our time in Budapest had come to an end but I think it was unanimous that we all loved the city and had a great time. The birthday girl really did enjoy her celebrations and we fitted a lot in for the short time we were there. Budapest is a lovely place to visit and there were still many things we didn’t manage to see such as the Royal Palace; however, we made the most of the time we had and combined sightseeing with some r&r. Thank you, Budapest we had a great time visiting and lots of giggles along the way!