Birthday weekend in Budapest

As a bonus after journey to Mallorca, we also took a short weekend trip to beautiful Budapest where we visit the must-visit places and try and explore as much as possible in three days.

Arrival/Birthday

We took the day off to be able to fly off on the day of my birthday to the beautiful Budapest, Hungary. Not much happened really, we started off being super early to the airport, got us some food, landed and got a pre-booked cab straight to the hotel.

We stayed at Queens Court Hotel and Residence, five star apartment building. We’d never lived in such a big apartment, even less so stayed in a superior suite before, so this was an experience itself.

The apartment was on the 6th floor of the building, the room was about 40 square meter, had a small kitchen, a bigger hotel bathroom with bathtub, a queen size bed and a balcony facing the inner courtyard which was also the entrance of the hotel.

Compared to the other apartments/hotels we’ve stayed in while in Crete and Mallorca, this one was closer to paradise.

Oh and did I mention the smaller pool and jaccuzzi? Yup.

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Central Market Hall

It took a while to walk to the Central Market Hall, it wasn’t quite as easy to spot as we’d think but with good reason. It was a 30-35 minutes walk from the hotel but for us, it’s a good way to enjoy the city while on our way to explore a must-see place of Budapest.

While there we were kind of overwhemled with how high the ceiling is. And the small stands on both ground and second floor were huge, crowded and had a lot of variety in supplies.

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We worked us down from second floor which had all this typical Hungarian things like handmade aprons and hats, glass figures, chess boards etc. Besides decorations there were a couple of restaurants on the second floor as well, most of them sold Hungarian cuisine like goulash and langos.

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The ground floor on the other hand was more of a gigantic food market with everything from duck heads, pig legs, ham, egg and sausages, to different kind of vegetables like chili, potatoes, peppers and honey. You could basically find everything you needed to cook a meal at the market. We went a quick run on the basement floor which had food like mushroom and truffles and fish. The basement floor wasn’t quite as big as the other ones, or as crowded. It really felt more like an underground parking lot with food stands here and there.

Gellért Hill

We’d done a lot of research before heading to Budapest, and Gellért Hill was one of the must-visit places while in the huge city. We looked it up and it wasn’t quite that far of a stroll from the hotel so we jammed it into our schedule just because we’d probably regret it if we didn’t go.

The hill itself was easy to spot, it kind of stood out among all the city buildings. The statue located right at the top of the hill really gives it away too.

At the beginning of the hill, there’s a Cave Church which we visited. None of us are Christian or really much of a believer so it felt weird going inside. Had we known it was more or less an ordinary church, we probably wouldn’t had gone in. It was cosy and dark but other than that, I wouldn’t recommend a visit unless you’re religious.

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And se we begun our way up this really, really steep hill. It was tough for me who isn’t very fit and have knee problems, but after a real tough walk we finally made it all the way up. 
The view was definitely worth the struggle (and the three days pain in knees and legs that followed).

The hill is located above the trees, so you end up with a really beautiful panorama view of Budapest with the Buda side on the left and the Pest side on the right. Of course, you get a really good view of Danoe splitting the two sides apart.

It’s definitely a spot I recommend for those who want a first-class view of Budapest at no cost.

Matthias church

Another spot really high up in Budapest. But this time, there are buses, both turist buses and regular buses that goes all the way up the hill and leaves you right at the entrance. Of course, us being young and healthy, we decided to walk up the whole way.

It wasn’t quite as steep as Gellérts Hill, and the houses were pretty and there weren’t too much traffic. Add to the fact that it was nice weather made it perfect for a walk up the hill.

The church itself is an old Gothic one. Rebuild since a huge part of it was destroyed during World War II, but it was still quite a sight to see.

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We never went inside as this cost about 3 euro, and since we aren’t really interested in churches, we decided to skip the tour and headed right for the Fishermen’s bastion that’s located behind Matthias Church.

Fisherman’s Bastion

Described as having “fairytale towers” doesn’t really stand out as much as it could. It took a while for us at least to differentiate the church from the bastion since everything looked more or less the same. The view was really nice though, even if there were a lot of tourists in almost every one of the seven towers. The most popular tower was by far the one that looked like a lighthouse and which held a café that sold Hungarian homemade wine.

If we were to go to Fisherman’s Bastion again, I wouldn’t go the hours that we went. Later in the evening or even at night is probably to prefer. We were there at 4 pm so it felt like a real waste of time to wait for nightfall and for the city to turn into a beautiful black painting.

So we decided to go home and relax for a while there instead. After all, we were a bit away from home and we were going to get hungry on our way back.

Thermal bath, pool and jaccuzzi

No weekend trip is complete without relaxation.

Even if sightseeing and walking is relaxing, nothing beats sitting a luke-warm pool and just existing.

If you’ve read about Budapest, also known as the City of Baths, you probably know it’s known for its thermal spas. We actually went to one of them, Szechenyi.

To be honest it was a bit of a disappointment. Maybe we had too high hopes for it but it was more like a bath-house than a spa. The only real spa thing about it was the 36 degrees heated, outdoor pool. Which was crowded. And this is in October. I can’t even imagine what that pool is like during the summer.

It did have a lot of dressing rooms however, and the lockers felt pretty okay. The staff wasn’t very service-minded but we were aware of that and didn’t really care to be honest. The pools were clean as well so there wasn’t that much to complain about except for the part that it didn’t feel luxurious.

Summary

And that was our Budapest-trip, summarized into 3 pages of really long text. Overall it was a nice and relaxing trip, the best birthday weekend I’ve ever had for sure.

Though it was nice to be in Budapest, the longing to stay there-feeling didn’t really quite as bad as other times. Probably because I wanted to celebrate with my sister as well, and because we knew family were waiting once we came back home.

Not to mention it was pretty nice not having to convert forints into Swedish crowns.

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