Travel Like A Celeb

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Who goes there?

Beau­ti­ful Bu­dapest is split down the mid­dle by the River Danube. On one side sits hilly, mys­te­ri­ous Buda, while the other side is made up of the flat­ter, more cos­mopoli­tan Pest. Both equally mes­meris­ing, yet both very dif­fer­ent. Choose your side care­fully be­cause it’s a long and wind­ing walk to the other.

There’s more to do in Pest, so if you’ve got chil­dren to en­ter­tain or you hate long hilly walks (what’s wrong with you?!) this is the side for you. But if you want to hide away near the cas­tle, eat good food and have in­cred­i­ble views of the city, try the Buda side. A-list faces who have stayed here re­cently in­clude Se­lena Gomez, Katy Perry, Lianne La Havas and Tom Odell.

What to do…

The build­ings in Bu­dapest are stun­ning and or­nate. Visit the world’s sec­ond largest syn­a­gogue, Do­hány Street Syn­a­gogue, the Par­lia­ment Build­ing, Fish­er­man’s Bas­tion and the Hun­gar­ian House of Pho­tog­ra­phy for starters. For a

lit­tle re­treat into na­ture, take a walk around Mar­garet Is­land, with its very own ther­mal bath and Ja­panese gar­dens. The House of Ter­ror houses a thought-pro­vok­ing ex­hi­bi­tion cov­er­ing Nazi and com­mu­nist rule in Bu­dapest – pick up an au­dio guide to learn more. Af­ter a day of walk­ing and sight­see­ing, book a trip to one of the city’s ther­mal spas. We rec­om­mend Lukacs and Szechenyi Baths, both beau­ti­ful and re­lax­ing – visit in the week to avoid week­end tourists. If you don’t get chance to have a mas­sage at one of the bath houses, pop into the Thai mas­sage shop on Do­hány street. An hour’s mas­sage costs just £22 and you’ll leave feel­ing brand new!

eat this…

Try a bowl of tra­di­tional goulash soup or Hun­gar­ian stuffed cab­bage at Pest-buda Bistro. Billed as ‘grandma’s home-style kitchen’ the food is com­fort­ing and staff are friendly. An­other great place for food in Buda is 21 Restau­rant. Try the chicken schnitzel and cu­cum­ber salad with a glass of Hun­gar­ian wine.

To cure a hang­over, snack on lán­gos – deep fried dough topped with gar­lic, sour cream and cheese. Or chim­ney cake, which is crunchy on the out­side and soft on the inside. Th­ese chim­neyshaped (no sur­prise there!) cakes of­ten come coated in sugar and cin­na­mon. Other stand­out places in­clude Cirkusz, a mod­ern, bo­hemian café serv­ing good break­fasts, and Stika in the Jewish Quar­ter for brunch.

Drink at…

The ruin bars, built in the ru­ins of aban­doned build­ings in the Jewish Quar­ter, are bril­liant. Avoid busy Satur­day nights by head­ing to the main event, Sz­im­pla Kert, on a Fri­day in­stead. This con­verted old fac­tory has an open-air cin­ema, farm­ers’ market and loads go­ing on. Over on the Buda side, try cof­fee and al­mond cake at Walzer Café – its spiced pump­kin latte beats Star­bucks!

sleep here…

Fam­ily-owned bou­tique ho­tel Pest-buda ( has just 10 rooms, but each one is ut­terly beau­ti­ful. We love the two Ate­lier Suites with their own free­stand­ing baths, liv­ing room, and two(!) flatscreen TVS. One suite comes with its own out­side ter­race, too. Lo­cated in Buda, you’re just five min­utes from one of the most unique churches in Eu­rope, Matthias Church, mean­ing you get to see it be­fore the tourist buses roll in! A ‘Frenchy’ break­fast is in­cluded with crois­sants, cof­fee, juice and amaz­ing home-made jams. Rooms start from £72 a night.

Matthias Church is one of the city’s land­marks

tom odell

Chill out at Pest-buda ho­tel

lianne la Havas

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