OK, OK… before you start wondering what is wrong with me, hear me out. I just did not click with the town, ad I think there are plenty of reasons for that. I rarely am unimpressed with the places I visit but Budapest was one of those places. I think the hype around it has probably elevated it to an extent, and the reality was a bit more flat in comparison. Especially given my overall trip together with Zagreb, Ljubljana, Trieste and Venice. I will do a proper comparison post but let’s concentrate on Budapest here.
The city’s Parliament, Buda Castle, The chain bridge and Fisherman’s Bastion – all stunning buildings. However, that was about it. The rest of the city was relatively underwhelming, lacking the cosiness and warmth of Ljubljana and the authenticity of Zagreb.
I was a bit unlucky when it comes to cute coffee shops, as I was there during Christmas and everything was pretty much closed, so I cannot comment on this. I walked around a lot, like a LOT. You cannot get a taxi for the life of you, and Uber is banned. Once you get a taxi, taxi drivers are really suspicious if you ant to pay by card. Now, some of you might have read about my debate in English/Hungarian with a taxi driver thinking I am going to scam him with my unsigned debit card (is this really a thing any more, like where do you even have your signature?). I just felt overall, that people were much more unfriendly compared to Ljubljana and Zagreb. As Budpaest was my first destination out of the trip, I was a bit creeped that the whole trip would be carrying on like this, as they are neighbouring countries.
Where to stay:
If you do decide to visit, I would advise you to get an AirBnB rather than a hotel. I think the hotels with a cool view are super overpriced for what you get in the end (have a look at my Sofitel Budapest review). I think staying in Buda is probably a bit more ‘cosy’ than Pest. It seems to be the more hip looking area.
What to see:
I did visit the main attractions, so have a look at the visual guide below. Again, most indoor places were closed, so not much to show for that unfortunately.
What to eat:
OK, this is one thing that is pretty decent. The food is versatile and full of flavour. You obviously have to try gulash (if you are into A LOT of meat) or you can try the cabbage rolls if you want something more on the veggie side (I believe you can get them without meat).
A word of caution – exchange rate. Do not pull money from the airport, as all ATMs have a ridiculous exchange rate. This again is something that I have not seen since the early 00s anywhere else in Europe. Also, when you pay for meals and if you use your card you get ripped off on some imaginary exchange rate…not sure why this is but just be careful.
I am glad I got to see it but I really would not crave to visit again. Sorry guys :S x