The must-see attractions in Budapest

Fisherman's Bastian
Located on the Buda side of the river, this neo-gothic viewing platform overlooks the banks of the River Danube. It takes its name from the fisherman who used to defend this stretch of the city wall in the Middle Ages. Offering stunning views of the city, this was my favourite thing I did. It was such a beautiful place to sit down and soak up the city sights. The view of the Hungarian Houses of Parliament was breathtaking. If you only have time to do one thing in Budapest, make sure it is this!

House of Terror
Communism is something I had a vague insight too but it's always Nazi Germany that you learn about in school and having spent quite a long time visiting Western Europe, it is part of history that is so prominent and you tend to visit. But since Communism had such a profound effect on Eastern Europe, I was desperate to get a better knowledge. After the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989/90, Hungary finally become independent and able to stand on its own two feet. It's hard to believe that Hungary has only become its own country and free to make its own choices for a quarter of a century. Set in a building that has a dark history, the museum focuses a lot on the 40 years of communist rule. It's harrowing, heartbreaking and intense. Lots of videos are scattered around with accounts of victims from the regime. They were so unbelievably sad and really hit home just how lucky I am to live and grow up in a country such as the UK. In the basement there is the original prison where hundreds of people were detained, tortured and murdered - I got the chills as we saw the gallows where so many people met the end of their life. It's not a cheerful morning out but one that I feel is so important to get a feel of Hungarian history and understand how the city has risen from the ashes.

St Stephen's Basilica
This Roman Catholic Basilica is absolutely stunning. The architecture blows your mind. As someone who isn't particularly religious, I always make sure to visit places of worship during trips away. They are always so ornate and feel at peace wandering aroundl. This was ridiculously busy but worth a trip anyway. I wish we had gone to the top of the dome for a view of the city but alas we didn't have time. So I'd definitely pop that in your itinerary if you visit.

Hungarian Houses of Parliament
We never got the chance to take a tour but spend many a time wandering around the outside in awe. It such a beautiful imposing building. Overlooking the Danube, it is one of Europe's oldest legislative buildings and the largest building in Budapest. There's a few cute cafes in the surrounding area that will make a great place to settle down, rest your feet and have a coffee while people watching. It looks even better when the sun has set and it's all lit up, showing off.

Shoes on the Danube Bank
Constructed in honour to the Jews who were murdered by the fascist Red Cross during WWII, this memorial located on the Pest side is worth seeing. Hundreds of men, women and children were told to line up along the river bank before being shot and falling into the river. The iron shoes represent all that was left behind. The memorial is just across the road from the Hungarian Parliament.

Szechenyi Baths
Located in City Park, these thermal baths are the most famous in Budapest and the largest in Europe. As you can tell by the popularity. There are probably less touristy ones but I wanted to tick these ones of my list.  Opening in 1913, the baths get their water from two thermal springs. The outdoor pools reach temperatures of up to 38 degrees. It's quite expensive to visit and I'd recommend going early and making the day of it. They offer sun beds and a snack shop so you can easily spend hours dipping in and out of the 18 indoor and outdoor pools. They also have a party on a Saturday night but we didn't have the chance to visit then.

Buda Castle
Perched in the Buda Hills, this beautiful castle over looks the river Danube. Now housing works of art, it's a beautiful, short walk up a hill offering great views of the city. Can you tell I'm a sucker for a view?! The castle district is a great place to spend an afternoon and it's not too far from Fisherman's Bastian so you can kill two birds with one stone.


The top five restaurants to visit in Budapest

As always, food played a big part in our holiday in Budapest. It's actually quite a hipster city filled with little bakeries, vegan and vegetarian options and trendy brunch places. Ice cream is also huge so make sure you hunt out the shops for a few scoops of the good stuff - especially if you need to cool down. Here are my top five restaurants I would wholeheartedly recommend because life's too short to have a bad meal right?

Nowadays I prefer going to a street food feast than a sit down restaurant. We are so spoilt by the street food scene in London. There's something about the sheer amount of choice and the greedy little piglet in me likes the fact you can eat more than one thing. We stumbled across this courtyard filled with various street food vendors next to the ruin pub Szimpla Kert and it was buzzing. We took it as a good sign and decided to try it out. I went for a cottage cheese and ham burrito which was nice but didn't blow me away. But the cheese and chicken nachos did. Oh my gosh, they were insanely good. My friends went for the burgers and said they reminded them of Five Guys. It's a great place to go if you're on a budget or planning a night out. It seemed most British people were drawn to it too as it seemed every single person had a familiar accent - guess us Brits do love our street food!

Da Mario
Usually when I'm away I like to stick to the local food but sometimes you just fancy some pizza. Who am I kidding? I always fancy pizza but my boyfriend isn't keen so I don't have it that often. So when he suggests it I have to take advantage. We had organised a trip to see the Hungarian Parliament and a walk along the Danube and after spotting this place in my Lonely planet guide book, I decided it had to be worth a shot. I opted for a gooey cheese based pizza topped with parma harm, cherry tomatoes and a mountain of rocket. It was absolutely delicious. The chewy sourdough base was cooked to perfection, the toppings were generous and the thin base soaked up the stringy cheese. For four pizzas and eight cokes, the bill came to about £50. Service was friendly and attentive and it has a lovely outside terrace to watch the world go by.

A little bit of a higher price point, this slightly swish restaurant offers a modern twist on Hungarian classics. While the price is more expensive than other eateries offering local food, the portions are huge. Certainly no need for starters if you're looking to save money! It's located on a great strip full of buzzing restaurant and bars. The Hungarain beef stew with homemade noodles was a delight. Full of tender cube of beefs in a spicy tomato sauce, the dish was delicious and a great introduction to the local cuisine.

Brunch is such a massive deal in London that I feel we are kinda spoilt. Therefore I find some cities don't quite live up to the expectations. After a little research I came across this all day breakfast place in the Jewish Quarter. It's a little off the beaten track and in what seems like a very local area but it's worth the hunt. We pumped for the Hungarian breakfast with crispy streaky bacon, perfectly poached eggs, a addictive wholegrain mustard sauce, spicy Hungarian sausages, crusty slices of bread and a bundle of salad leaves. I'm still dreaming about those sausages. Similar tasting to chorizo, they had such a delicious kick to them.

Beware to wait a while if you visit here - it gets very busy! Once again located in the Jewish Quarter, this colourful little restaurant does a brilliant brunch. The lunch menu looked pretty darn good too. The flaky, warm croissant was the best I've ever tasted! We were all nursing a little hangover so went for the recovery breakfast. A giant concoction with crispy bacon, creamy scrambled egg, cherry tomatoes, spicy sausages, green salad leaves and a croissant served with fresh orange juice. It's not a budget option but is still very good value for money compared to home!


Hotel review: Brody House, Budapest, Hungary

I'm usually one to do holidays on a budget. Cheap flights and cheap apartments so I can have more than one holiday a year. But for this trip I wanted luxury and boutique hotels. So during my weekly browse on Mr and Mrs Smith to see how the other half lives, I stumbled across Brody House. The slightly dilapidated interiors, quirky little features and perfect location had me hook, line and sinker. When I realised the price worked out about £60 a room, per night, I knew I wasn't going to stay anywhere else. Just keep in mind that you will get charged a city tax and VAT upon checkout so you don't have a nasty little shock like we did. But despite this, I still think it offers great value for money and we all deserve a little treat once in a while don't we?

Offering just 11 rooms, the boutique hotel has a similar vibe to the Soho House chain. Each room is named after the artist whose work hangs on the wall, meaning every one is unique. We opted for the Ludo room and boy did we pick well. With a huge soft king size bed and luxurious free-standing roll top bath, it made coming home every night a joy. The room was huge and more than enough space for two people sharing. I loved the waterfall shower tucked behind a rickety wooden screen and the quirky little interiors that made it feel like home. The daily maid service was great and they topped up our towels every day.

After oohing and ahhing at the room, we decided to explore the hotel. And stumbled across the honesty bar. Situated near reception, there are two room with comfy sofas, board games and mix matched wooden tables. Each one boasts an honesty bar filled with every kind of drink you can imagine, nibbles, cocktail book and ice cream in the freezer. The game is to help yourself whenever you fancy but you have to write down what you have so it can be charged to your room at the end of your stay. I loved this idea and we spent a few evenings treating ourselves to a gin before we went out for dinner. The courtyard was a great place to hang out on a warm summer's evening, putting the world to rights.

The hotel also offers a continental breakfast or an al la carte breakfast. Keen to put it to the test, we had it the first morning. It was nice but it not very big and a bit overpriced for what it was so opt for breakfast in the city. The wifi was a little hit and miss which is great if you want to complete switch off. But I had a few work emails I wanted to check and it was a bit annoying.

There is a private members club about a seven minute drive away. We never made it here but I've heard it offers good food, fun entertainment and as a guest of the hotel, you get to visit for free.

This was honestly my favourite place I have ever stayed - EVER! It was homely, quirky and in a great location. It really did feel like a home away from home and I'd recommend it in a heartbeat. It's such a cool concept and one that works so well in a city keen to become hip and happening. I'm tempted to visit Budapest again just so I can have a few nights here!


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