Did you know that Budapest Hungary is made up of two totally separate towns called Buda & Pest? Let’s start there shall we. I had NO idea they were separate until a week before going, when a friend told me.

Cassey & Sherrie Budapest HungaryNot only are they 2 distinctly separate towns, they are environmentally separated by the Danube River, and Buda holds most of the city and is flat, whereas Pest has most of the greenery and some hills. If I could recommend a place to stay, I’d tell you Buda.

Budapest Hungary HostelThe plan was to meet up with Morgan a friend I met when I was stationed in Norfolk Virginia who is now stationed onboard a french warship out of Toulon, France. The beauty of both being stationed out of Europe, we can meet anytime anywhere.

I also convinced Sherrie to join (There wasn’t much convincing needed) and she and I decided to fly in Thursday night and would need a place to stay because the check-in for the air bnb place didn’t begin until Friday morning.

Ol’ Sherrie pulled through on this one. She found us a place at the Best Choice Hostel Budapest which was really nice, exactly what we needed for a late night arrival, and cost 22 euro total for the both us for the night. We arrived after midnight and were ready to crash right away because it was late and we had both worked that day.

The hostel is actually really nice and I definitely recommend it. Our room was clean and tidy, our sheets were clean, and the common areas, kitchen and bathroom were also very well kept. Plus, did I mention it’s right in downtown? So yeah, definitely a place you want to stay if you are looking for cheap, affordable, clean, place that’s in the center of town. You’re welcome.

Budapest Hungary Hostel 2Our room at the Best Choice Hostel, even had shelving inside of our racks! Guess what else? When we woke up in the morning, showered and got ready for the day, we realized that our walk to the air bnb place was less than 5 minutes. Heading over to Vorosmarty Square we decided to weave in and out of the shops and get some food.

I ended up with a leather back pack and Sherrie decided on a bread bowl full of goulash. She’s been a bit under the weather after a work trip to Africa and a bacterial infection. Let’s just say the Hungarian foods are a bit on the harsher side so she was a huge champ this weekend.

Budapest Hungary Markets

Vorosmarty Square Market

At the Vorosmarty Square markets you can find local hungarian food, crafts, bags, and of course scarves and gloves, it was still quite chilly in Hungary even at the beginning of April.

After checking into our place and setting up shop, we decided that we would go to one of the free walking tours, Budapest. There were a few options and we chose the communist walking tour. I highly recommend a free walking tour offered in any European city.

For 1, its free, you can meet people to hang out with later in the evening if you are traveling alone, and you can learn a lot about a city which will give you other ides for things to do if you have more time another day.

Budapest Hungary Communism Walking TourAll of the tours started from Vorosmarty Square (lucky us) and walking to the statue in the square, we signed in and waited to begin. Heading off, this was our first stop, to hear a brief history about Hungarian commusism.

note taking in Hungary

Learning much and taking many notes, haha

Here’s a link to a more depth look at Hungary Communism.

Budapest Hungary 50

Walking through the streets of Budapest Hungary


Budapest Hungary 27

Parliament Building, Budapest

Meandering through the streets we ended right next to the Parliament building, listening to the plight of Imre Nagy and the Hungarian Revolution of 1956.

After the tour ended, but before we headed back to our place, they took us to a Ruin bar (more about these later) and showed us some paraphenalia when Hungary was a communist country.

Budapest Hungary 28Learning some information on the way people lived in communist Hungary.

Budapest Hungary 29Red vs. Blue, a red passport allowed Hungarians to travel freely… to any other communist country, while the blue passport allowed you to travel to the world but only with an approved visa, which sometimes took years to process.

Budapest Hungary 32

Can’t say I completely understand all of the statues around here.

Budapest Hungary 33After a beer and mulling over times past, I caused a rucus in true fashion and Sherrie was just crazy enough to bite. I told her about a picture I had seen on instagram from @Natgeo of the Parliament building, but it was from across the Danube River.

Sherrie immediately agreed to go and we were off. Crossing from Buda to Pest we realized the sun was setting too quickly and we were going to have to make a run for it.

I’m glad we did because it was worth it!


Parliament Building, Budapest

Budapest Hungary Parliament Building 12Starting to round the bend just after crossing the bridge, still a ways to go to get in front of it.
IMG_0601Still running down the road, the sun was setting on Pest hitting the parliament building head on.

IMG_0613We were able to run down and get the shot and I was ecstatic!

Then walking back we stopped to get some street food and headed back to our apartment before heading to the ruin bar block, so we could check out one of the most popular bars called Szimpla Kert over by the Old Jewish Quarter and the Great Synagogue.

Budapest Hungary 14Romkocsma, in Hungarian translates to ruin bar. After Nazi Germany rule during WWII and Hungarian Communism under Stalin, the city was left with some very poorly managed and run down buildings, that definitely were below fixer upper status. And a genius plan was hatched.

Negotiate little to no rent fees and turn these rundown buildings into the biggest drinking area for tourism in Budapest. And so, Romkocsma was born, Szimpla Kert is the most well known of all of them.

Budapest Hungary Szimpla KertWe waited to get in for over a half hour sharing drinks with a bachelorette party from the UK. The wait is worth it. Once inside there is much to take in. All of the walls and furniture look like pieces from a dumpster and give quite an eccentric flare.

After buying a drink at the bar, Sherrie and I found ourselves wondering upstairs to sit at one of the unsteady tables to relax and chat.

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Budapest Hungary 11There’s always time for a little Fooseball, even in Hungary.

Budapest Hungary 12The hookah is also in abundance here, which is always good.

Budapest Hungary 13The place was packed and I’m sure it is a much longer wait in the summer. Definitely a fun time.

IMG_0662After multiple drinks and a little fun, we decided to head home so we could wake up early and get ready to meet Morgan when she arrived from the airport.

Budapest Hungary Expresso with Bailey'sI don’t know what the draw was for a bailey laced coffee but it became my drink of choice for the weekend and it was so delicious. Everyone should have bailey laced coffee in their life.

A recommendation from our air bnb host brought us to this bookstore/cafe, just past the Opera house on the right hand side of the street. Opening at 10:00 we were at bookstore Alexandra, taking the escalator to the second floor cafe. We were recommended to go there because it’s beautiful, because the foods good, the chairs comfy, and just look at the place.

Budapest Hungary Alexander Book Store I sank into my chair and settled in with my bailey’s laced coffee.

Budapest Hungary 16Looking at the menu I decided to get the spicy cream cheese, baguette, and salad. The perfect pick me up after a night of drinking.

Budapest Hungary 17After our lunch we continued farther down the road on the left hand side to the House of terror for a tour.

As the HQ for Nazi Germany during WWII many terrible things have happened in this house and many people were tortured and killed in the walls in the basement.

It’s not a pleasant place but its full of history and also serves as a monument to remember all of the victim’s that have passed through here.

House of Terror

House of Terror

Budapest Hungary House of Terror 2Pictures of victims who suffered and were killed within the walls of the house.

After walking through the house, we headed back down the street toward Vorosmarty Square where we dipped into the Opera house just for a second because we had an important date to meet up with Morgan and didn’t want to be late!

Opera House Budapest HungaryAt the opera house there are plenty of shows for you to catch, but if you would just like a quick tour and to watch the singers warm up then you can buy a ticket for one of the daily tours at 1500 or 1600 in the Opera House gift shop.

Its an extra 2 euro for a wrist bracelet that lets you take photos during the tour.

Inside the Opera House in Budapest Hungary

Inside the Opera House Budapest Hungary

At this point running back to Voromsarty Square we were able to meet up with Morgan, drop her stuff off at the apartment, freshen up, and off we were again buying more street food and on our way through the city center, past the Great Synagogue and the National Museum to the Great Market.

Budapest Hungary Great MarketsInside you can find a number of things, fresh fruits and veggies, meats, chicken, fish.

Budapest Hungary Great Markets 2From above, you can meander through the house wares or get to the really good stuff. The restaurant area.

Budapest Hungary Great Markets 3Lace & trinkets.

Budapest Hungary Hungarian Hot DogWhich is where I was able to get a Hungarian hot dog with all the fixings.

Leaving the Great Market we crossed the Freedom bridge to Pest and paid the 2 euro to take the funicular to the top of the hill, walk past the National Museum (there’s 2 locations in Budapest) and walk down to the Matthias Church & Fisherman Bastion.

Budapest Hungary 18Being at the top of the hill you can see out over Pest.

Budapest Hungary 19

Pest, Hungary

Budapest Hungary 20It’s a lovely little trail that wraps you around to the church square.

Budapest Hungary St. Mattias 2

Statue at the Church of St. Matthias

Budapest Hungary St. Mattias

Church of St. Matthias

Budapest Hungary St. Mattias 3 Budapest Hungary St. Mattias 3 Budapest Hungary St. Mattias 4Statue in the square, there are quite a few statues in Budapest.

Budapest Hungary St. Mattias 6Morgan and I, making plans to meet up again in August, this time in the UK at the Leed’s Music Festival, holla.

Fisherman's Bastion 3Can you see the Fisherman’s Bastion through the glass? It was Sherrie’s idea.

Budapest Hungary Parliament Building 7& wouldn’t you know, you can get a pretty clear shot of the Parliament Building from up here.

Fisherman's Bastion

Fisherman’s Bastion, the rampart walls.

As we walked down the walls we ended at the Fisherman’s Bastion before heading back to the funicular, instead of taking the ride back down, we walked, stopping at a cafe along the way for drinks and to catch up. Its very fun listening to Morgan tell stories about her time onboard the French Warship.

Fisherman's Bastion 2

Fisherman’s Bastion the Main Structure.

By the time we reached Buda and Vorosmarty Square a little tipsy we didn’t have much time to get ready for our galla event dinner. I say galla event because it’s probably the most money I’ve ever spent on a meal and it cost more than the plane ticket and 3 night stay in Hungary combined. eeeee!

This is all I will say in response to that. YOLO. Our dinner was at Onyx right off of Vorosmarty square and a quick 5 minute walk. Our choice for the evening was the Hungarian Tasting Menu, you can’t go wrong here. I had 7 dishes, fine wine with each one, and the food was to die for.

It was a night of toasting, of having some of the best food I’ve ever tasted, finished with a chocolate desert. And to enjoy it with these fine women, what a night!

Onxy Hungarian Tasting Budapest Hungary

Source: Morgan

Afterwards we did what any respectable ladies would do, found ourselves hulled up in a shisha bar smoking hookah with beers. At this point very tipsy from our drinks during the day and our 7 glasses of wine at dinner.

Shisha Bar Budapest HungaryWe definitely wanted to head to another bar afterwards, but it had grown so late it was already 01:00 and I knew the line at the ruin bars would be forever long and so after contemplating things, these ladies went back to our beds.

In the morning it was very hard to wake up which makes me really happy we didn’t stay out later but a Sherrie Bomb did the trick and after she shoved us out of bed we grabbed a taxi to Szechenyi Thermal baths.

Turns out they have big night parties, there which is a bit of a tourist trap, but we had considered going to the bath party, until our hungarian food tasting dinner lasted until almost midnight.

Szechenyi Thermal Baths 2The thermal baths were built in 1913 and receive water from 2 thermal springs. If nothing else its beautiful and relaxing, which is how we chose to spend our morning.

Budapest Hungary Thermal Baths 3 Budapest Hungary Thermal Baths Budapest Hungary Thermal Baths 2Quite a bit chilly outside, I had to jump in the water right after the picture.

Szechenyi Thermal Baths The other 2 girls.

One more trip to Vorosmarty Square where we pulled all the stops and ordered way to much food then we could handle. And of course stopped for a puppet show along the way, all in Hungarian.

Budapest Hungary Puppet Show Budapest Hungary 20Too much food for us to decide on just one.

Budapest Hungary 21I finally got the bread bowl of Goulash and it was SOO good. Did I ever tell you how obsessed with soup I am?

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Food as far as the eye could see.

All kinds of food. The perfect solution, a food coma right before Sherrie and I were to head back to the airport to catch our flight back to Naples. Morgan would be staying another day but we only had 3 days off not 4.

Which is where I will leave you.

At the end of our trip to Budapest.

My biggest piece of advice to you, is that a double decker bus tour is not necessary. We were easily able to walk throughout the entire city without any problems. I still have only recommended a double decker bus tour twice, Barcelona & London.

What did you enjoy most about your trip to Budapest or have you ever dreamed about visiting. One of my favorite stops in Europe so far.

This article appeared first on The Cassey Excursion.