Travel Like A Celeb
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!
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.
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!
Family-owned boutique hotel Pest-buda (pest-buda.com) 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
Chill out at Pest-buda hotel
lianne la Havas