First Impressions of Budapest

I’m currently in the process of a Euro Tour. I’ve been using this particular trip as an excuse to cover a lot of destinations I have not yet been to in Europe, or may not have spent a lot of time in previously. This last week I had my first experience of Budapest! In one week you can never truly get to know a city or country, and as a result I plan to make many return visits to the city and Hungary in general, but there are 5 things which really struck me about the city during my short stay here…

The Price

Budapest is cheap! This past week I managed to spend a total of 150 GBP. This includes food, accommodation, nights out, and entry fees to attractions! You could easily come here and live off that sort of budget, and not feel like you were missing out on anything, or have to scrimp and scape to get by. One thing I did notice however was that Budapest was one of the few places where it seems to be cheaper to stay in a hostel than it is to get a flat share, due in most part because energy and water bills are pretty high here, and comparative to some parts of western Europe. That being said however, you can get a city centre flat with bills included for around 280 Euros per month, so it’s not hugely expensive, but the hostel I was staying at (11th Hour Cinema Hostel) was based smack bang in the city centre and you could live here for around 160 Euros per month (if you book online only), and that includes all bills plus free internet and a cinema room! It was possible to get beers on nights out in Budapest for 300 HUF which is around 1.09 Euros at the current exchange rate. Food was cheaper than western Europe in the supermarket, although to be honest you were just as well eating out as I was able to buy meals out in budget restaurants for the equivalent of 5 Euros. This included a meal plus soft drink. If you are looking for somewhere to lie low in Europe for a bit without spending too much money, but still be based quite centrally for exploring the continent, then Budapest could be a persuasive option I think – somewhere you could live cheaply, and still experience city life.

The People

The people of Budapest seemed very friendly for the most part. I would often bump into people walking their dogs, elderly people going out for walks, or just the people serving you in the shops in restaurants, all of whom made an effort to help you, who would smile, wave, and were just generally being very welcoming. One thing I loved about the city was that all the elderly men seemed to walk about in the same long black winter jackets with gold buttons, pressed dress trousers, smart shoes, and little black hats or bunnets. Down by the Danube River was a really cool place to sit and people watch, and I could literally sit there for days just watching the people go by and listening to my own thoughts. The people of Budapest were very sweet.

The Doggies

I once read a post by Christine Gilbert of about how some countries are dog countries, and some are cat countries. It was something I had never experienced before, until I got to Hungary… People in Budapest love dogs! Everybody seems to have one. Every time I went for a walk, which was almost every day, I would come across at least 50 or so different people out walking thier dogs in various parts of the city. I thought possibly I missing my two little doggies back home in Scotland, and may have been noticing it more until I started seeing statue’s down by the river of people playing with their dogs, and then I started to realise people in Hungary just love dogs! This made me happy, as I’m very much a dog person, and getting to see little puppies everyday was possibly the cutest thing ever, and made me like Budapest even more.

The Food

Everywhere I ate out in Budapest I came away from thinking I’d had a really delicious meal. I think the fact the it was so cheap to eat out here in many places also helped, but whether you’re eating pizza, local Hungarian food, curry, or potato salad, everything tasted yum! I literally could not find a bad place to eat out in the week I was here.

The River

Views across the Danube River were simply beautiful. I remember arriving here on my first day, having previously been in Paris a few day before and been abit disappointed with my walk along the Seine, only to be met by stunning views of Buda walking along the Pest side of the river. Even though it was freezing cold, and the middle of winter, it still looked breathtakingly beautiful. Taking a trip up to the castle also provided some stunning views of the river and the Pest side to the city. The island in the middle of the river was also somewhere that was a cool place to go for a jog, or take a picnic if the weather wasn’t too bad. I could spend endless days down by the Danube River…

Have you been to Budapest? What where the things that struck you about the city?

8 Responses to “First Impressions of Budapest”

  1. iñaki says:

    Nice place to visit!

  2. Gray says:

    Interesting! Your timing is impeccable, I just tweeted yesterday a question about cheap places to live in Europe. Of course, I was thinking Western Europe, but still. Do people speak English there at all?

  3. Rease says:

    What a beautiful place and surely overlooked quite often. You’ve convinced me it’s worth a stop.

  4. I love Budapest – it was much more beautiful than I expected – some of the buildings are just awesome. Just wandering round the Buda side is a lovely way to spend an afternoon, and there are loads of cool bars to get merry in. Also: the undercover food market is great!

  5. Adrienn says:

    It was good to see that you enjoyed yourself here in our lovely city 🙂 to answer a previous question: yes we speak English 🙂

  6. Oscar says:

    I loved very much Budapest, I went last February 10th of 2012, and was very cold -10 C, but I really enjoyed the snow and the beauty of this city, in the beginning I didn’t expect too much about this city because I didn’t know really info about, but when I stayed there I love it, most of the people talk in English or Spanish (I am from Mexico, I speak as 1st language, Spanish), Hingary is cheaper than Paris, London or another Euro countries, Nice food, nice people, nice public transport. This city was excelente and of course in the futuro I will love to visit it BUT in summer 🙂

  7. DavidGrent says:

    This is my country. I live in Holland, my mother is Hungarian and when the holidays just ended and the new year starts I yearn to see the beautifull city of Budapest. I love the country. There’s another town to the north of Budapest, Szentendre. It’s very nice and beautifull too. Everything is cheap there too and there are many little nice restaurants.

  8. Coralie says:

    I loved Budapest. You hit some major points. Low prices, very friendly people, etc. The public transit was super-easy to navigate, even for a midwestern, small town girl. I was there two years ago, for two weeks, in October. The other thing I would mention is the House of Terror, an incredible museum that all should see, along with Momento Park. Great museums, history, and people! I can’t wait to go back <3


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