We stayed at the City Ring Hotel, short walk from Budapest-Nyugati Railway Terminal and the Hungarian Parliament building. The hotel itself was fairly comfortable and based on what we paid for, I can't find any fault with it. There's free (but flaky) WiFi connection accessible from our room and a mini-fridge in the room. There is however no kettle (we brought our own kettle), something which we have learned never to expect in most European hotels.
We found four nights in Budapest to be just about perfect - not too long to overstay our welcome, and yet long enough to enjoy most of the attractions. Most of Budapest's attractions are within walking distance from where we were, and those which aren't, are easily accessible via their extensive bus and tram public transport system. The metro doesn't cover a significant portion of the city, so we relied more on the trams and buses - always a great method of seeing a new city. The flat'ish nature of the Pest district (east side of the Danube) meant that you could walk almost anywhere.
We spent two separate mornings visiting two of Budapest's most famous thermal baths - Szechenyi and Gellert. Szechenyi is the bigger of the two, with three outdoor pools and 15 indoors. Gellert has two (smaller) outdoor pools, one which was closed in winter, and five indoor pools. Both are architecturally different, with Gellert most famous for its art-nouveau detailing where as Szechenyi is built in a neo-baroque style. Both are priced similarly, though Gellert does not offer discounts for early morning bathers. Szechenyi is located in the City Park in Pest where as Gellert is situated inside Hotel Gellert on the foot of Gellert Hill in Buda.
Speaking of the parliament, you could visit the interior of the Budapest parliament building as part of a paid for tour. Two ticket prices exists, one for European nationalists and one for none-Europeans. Tours are organised in languages. You can prebook online (like we did) or walk up to the ticket counter at the visitor centre. The tour lasted close to two hours and require some walking. You will learn about the history of the impressive neo-gothic building, the Hungarian empire itself and visit the normally out of bounds main entrance hallway, the coronation crown and assembly hall.
|Assembly Hall, Hungarian Parliament|
Another of our favourite cheap eateries is Pizzica, the pizza joint found on the off beaten track, Nagymezo Utca - close to the State Opera House. Frequented by locals, Pizzica serves probably one of the tastiest pizzas we've had outside of Italy (Pizzarium in Rome - check it out!). We had a couple of slices of pizza and beer for under 4000 HUF for dinner on the third evening of our visit.
|Grand Hotel Budapest|
Our final meal in Budapest was at the retro Menza cafe and restaurant in Liszt Ferenc. Adorned with 1960s style furnishing, including wallpapers, the stylish restaurant serves classic Hungarian dishes including the garlic soup with langos as well as contemporary European cuisine. The prices were very reasonable for the quality and portion we got - we had two courses (one of which was a main from the daily lunch specials) and two drinks for about 8000 HUF, which turned up to be just under £20.
More pictures of our trip to Budapest