My little sister turned 18 last week (whattttt!!!!) and truth be told there is no one I prefer to spoil on their birthday. She may be a little shit but she’s a little shit that means the absolute world to me. So for her 18th birthday I wanted to take her away, just the two of us, for a little girls’ weekend. For a while I umm-ed and ahh-ed over where to go – the obvious choice for me is always Paris because I LOVE it, I also considered Amsterdam because we both really want to go, but eventually I settled on Budapest. I knew she wanted to go to Budapest as much as I did and as we are both 1/16th Hungarian, I thought it would be nice for us to go and embrace our roots!
Initially, I wanted to make this a surprise and not tell her where we were going until we were on our way; but
- Esmée hates surprises. And,
- I cut her hair wrong and so she made me tell her…
Leaving early on a Saturday morning, we were in Budapest for lunchtime. I’d booked us an Airbnb right in the centre of town – I didn’t take pictures but I’ll link it here because it was really great; so cheap, convenient, and the hosts were wonderful.
We unfortunately were not blessed with sunshine on our first day – but that didn’t stop us getting about and exploring the city. We walked along the river past the Chain Bridge, the Hungarian Houses of Parliament and then back through the streets to find some snacks.
After a little nap and relax in the apartment to reboot our energy levels – we headed out for a drink and a snack at a bar we’d found online. I’ve completely forgotten the name of it now… but it was in the main bar/clubbing district and it was so cool. We got nachos and beer and took in the cool, gap-year atmosphere.
After a 4am start – we were exhausted so we headed to bed ready for the most chilled out day at Budapest’s renowned Széchenyi Thermal Bath Spa.
While our Airbnb host told us to get the subway, we decided to walk to the spa. The walk was along Budapest’s expensive shopping street, which was absolutely beautiful. We went past the opera house, designer stores and beautiful flower shops before reaching the gorgeous park that houses the Széchenyi Spa.
We spent the whole day bathing in 26 degree thermal baths, sunbathing in 30 degree heat and eating local food. It was probably the most relaxed I’d been in months, and to top it off, the baths were beautiful.
On our way back we realised you could walk through the river we had crossed (it literally looked like people were walking on water). So, naturally, we had to do it too.
On our way back, we also called in to get one of Hungary’s renowned local delicacies; the chimney cake. For some reason, I don’t have the picture of the full thing (but essentially, it looks like a chimney). It is basically a fried bread/donut kind of thing covered in cinnamon sugar (or an alternative topping if you prefer) and it is DELISH.
After getting showered and ready to go out, we spent some time looking up vegetarian restaurants in Budapest (my sister is veggie too). We found that a lot of places in the Jewish quarter had loads of veggie food and after deciding on a firm fave – we headed there.
The restaurant was called Mazel Tov and it was INCREDIBLE. The building itself was SO cool and the food and wine just topped it all off. I would HIGHLY recommend this place, veggie or otherwise, if you’re heading to Budapest.
On our last day we went to Buda Castle via the Citadella, which both have incredible views of the city.
We enjoyed some chips and a mojito before heading down back into town for our last few hours in the city.
After a late lunch, we collected our things and headed to the airport for a delayed flight back to London, where we arrived to cancelled trains and had to get the bus. Arriving back in the early hours we settled in for a long sleep before my graduation the next day – pictures to follow!
I have to say, Budapest is one of my favourite city breaks I’ve ever been on. The architecture is so cool, the restaurants and bars are amazing and, the spa was so special. Such a cheap, cool, and vibrant city to visit and I really couldn’t recommend it any more.
Happy 18th Birthday Mimi, I love ya!