Wednesday, 2 February 2011
Budapest is a great destination for a short city break. The people are friendly, the food is amazing and the atmosphere relaxed. Five days felt just about enough for us - not being huge city fans there was enough to see and do, but any longer may have been a bit too much. Here are my ever-present recommended do's and don'ts!
- Put away the guidebook. Some of the loveliest things we found in Budapest we might have missed if we had been following the maps and directions in our guidebook. As it was, my hands were in a continuous state of frozen the whole time, so even the act of reaching into my bag for the book sent my poor fingers into panic, and they refused to budge out of the relatively warm safety of my coat pockets. So we explored relatively map-free, and got a real sense of the city instead.
- Visit the labyrinth on Castle Hill. A real highlight of our trip, this atmospheric, unusual experience has something for everyone, with each room bringing new surprises. I would thoroughly recommend it.
- Eat, eat and eat some more! Oh, and indulge in many hot chocolates. The food in Budapest was some of the nicest I've eaten in Europe - lots of different flavours, interesting combinations and friendly service. The many cafes dotted around deserve similar merit with their thick, rich cups of the chocolaty stuff. Yum!
- Be tempted by expensive places to stay. We stayed in a very cheap hostel, right near the centre of town, which was one of the best I've slept at. The room was huge, warm and with a great bathroom, and from what I hear others are similar. No cramped inner-city accommodation here!
- Rush. Budapest is a fantastic city for wandering through at a slow pace, strolling along the river and finding little gems around every corner. Five days was perfect for getting the feel of the place and hitting most of the major attractions in and around the centre.
- Forget to buy a bag of the famous paprika! Ermmm, we did (after reminding ourselves every day that we were there, and every day telling ourselves that we'd do it the next time we passed a stall. Before we knew it, we were at the airport, out of the currency, and had missed our chance! Don't make the same mistake...