Helpful Tip #1- Get a Map.
After you arrive and check in, be sure to get yourself a map. If your staying in a hotel like we did, its likely the receptionist will highlight where you are on the map and the main tourist attractions in the city.
Where we stayed:
The interior is contemporary and modern while keeping in touch with the building’s historical past. The chandelier in the entrance and the black balustrade spiralling up the staircase are all original features, which add to its undeniable charm.
Walking through the entrance, we were greeted by a warm smile, making us feel at home. This was probably the quickest and easiest place we have ever checked into, and throughout our entire stay, the service and politeness from the hotel staff were second to none. We had breakfast every morning in the dining area which offered a variety of food including both continental and cooked breakfast which were well prepared, fresh and tasty.
The hotel had spa facilities including a sauna and steam room, as well as a fitness room with weights and various other exercise equipment; Perfect for people who enjoy keeping up with their fitness regimes whilst on holiday or business.
Where we visited:
The Christmas Markets are a must-see when visiting Budapest in the winter months. The Christmas markets were easily my favourite part of the trip. They are incredibly magical with all the twinkly lights, hot mulled wine and handmade gifts! You won’t be able to leave without feeling totally festive and warm inside!
Around every corner, you’ll find a coffee shop and from there you can pretty much follow your nose and ears. The market is to the left. The stalls offer a lot of handmade gifts and each aisle buzzes with activity. Your senses will be overwhelmed: from pastries to mulled wine, gingerbread, Handmade Christmas ornaments and roasted chestnuts…you’ll want to try it all.
The culinary delights are definitely a highlight of the market. The Hungarian grub includes Trudel, grilled sausages and meat, Christmas cookies, kürtös kalács and langos. Not forgetting the mulled wine and apple cider, which are both super tasty and an amazing way to keep you warm.
Then there are the quality hand-made products which range from jewellery to clothes and everything else you can think of. They are excellent souvenirs and make amazing gifts, too.
You can easily spend the afternoon here, and by the time you’ve shopped around and taken in the scenery, it’ll probably be time for a spot of lunch. The market’s food is delicious, I tried the spiced grilled sausage which was super scrummy! However, If you are a bit of a fussy eater or have certain dietary requirements, I’d recommend venturing into the main streets, as they are lined with cafés, restaurants and pubs that serve a wide array of food to suit everyone.
One of the things I enjoy most about visiting new places is strolling around and taking in all the new sights.
We took a short walk along the Pest-side of the river, which had great views up to Buda, of the bridges and the famous Parliament Building. Other notable buildings on the Pest side of the river include St. Stephen’s Basilica, a massive neo-renaissance edifice, and the Great Synagogue, the largest of its kind in Europe and second-largest in the world.
The book Café
The Book Cafe is located on the second floor of the former Paris department store, which currently homes the Alexandra bookstore. The cafe is decorated with beautiful chandeliers and a fresco-style ceiling, painted by Karoly Lotz.
What makes Alexandra book cafe particularly interesting is that both the building and its interior are examples of art Nouveau, while the cafe is reminiscent of a ballroom. It is breathtakingly stunning, the ultimate location to enjoy a hot mug of coffee and a slice of Hungarian cake.
The Ruin Bars
From the outside, these bars look like normal homes. They don’t have signs pointing the way, you don’t hear any loud noise, and there’s no line of people waiting to get in; But once you walk in and enter the inner courtyard, you find yourself in the middle of, what seems like, a scene from an Alice in Wonderland film.
Each of the ruin bars has their own wacky personality and added touches. All of them inhabit abandoned buildings with an abundance of thrift shop furniture, quirky artwork and eccentric antiques.
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Wishing you all a lovely Christmas!