On our first day in Budapest, we woke up late and ate breakfast at our hotel. (Eggs and smoked salmon, if you were wondering).

Then we bundled up in coats and scarves before heading in to the city, in search of coffee and pretty views. (Spoiler: we found both. A LOT of both.)

The French call it flânerie, the art of going for a stroll with no particular destination or goal in mind.

And that’s EXACTLY what we did.

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FUN FACT: Budapest is actually made up of two medieval cities.

Buda is on the west bank of the Danube. It’s very hilly and leafy and fancy. You’ll find Budapest castle, the Citadella and Fisherman’s Bastion on this side.

Our hotel was on the Pest side of the river. It’s home to the Jewish quarter, stunning Parliament building, and Heroes’ Square.

It only took us a few minutes to wander down to the river bank and find the Széchenyi Chain Bridge. Stone lions flank the entrance to the pedestrian walkway, and you have a lovely view of the hills as you cross over.

I overheard a tour guide telling a group not to bother with the funicular up the hill, as there’s a path you can take, that leads right up to the castle, and is completely free.

But I’m a sucker for any form of vintage transport, so we ignored him and bought tickets anyway!

The funicular looks like an old-school wooden tram and sweeps up the leafy hillside in seconds, depositing you at the entrance to Budapest Castle. It’s fast and it’s pretty and the views on the way up are SPECTACULAR.

(And it only costs about £4, so hardly expensive!)

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budapest funicular
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Just as we reached the top, the sky went dark and the views went misty with rain. We’d forgotten the umbrella, so ducked under a tree in the Castle courtyard for shelter.

It chucked it down for all of ten minutes, and then, just as suddenly, the clouds cleared and the sun popped its head back out again.

Just in time for us to catch the changing of the guard!

(How epic is this dude’s moustache though?)

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This was one of the (admittedly few) moments on the trip where I wished we had a guide to tell us a bit more about the history of the city.

It’s very unlike me to go on a trip without any planning or researching, but we’d said we just wanted to relax, so I didn’t bother. Now I know for next time!

(And this is also why you’re getting more of a story post than a city guide, like I did for Copenhagen and Rome!)

We wandered around the Castle grounds, dodging the drizzle and soaking up all the architecture and pretty outdoor artwork. Then, after a very average lunch, we crossed back over the Bridge and went for a walk through the streets of Pest.

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budapest rainy streets

We walked for several hours, stopping for coffee breaks, getting lost, and discovering beautiful street art tucked away down little alleys.

By five o’clock, the skies were darkening and the rain had started to fall again.

We looped back round to our hotel, arriving just in time for the wine and cheese


Our Second Day in Budapest

Our Stay at the Aria Hotel Budapest

  • Your photo’s are always stunning, Katy! It’s my goal for next year to go on as many city breaks as possible, as I’ve hardly visited anywhere. Budapest looks amazing – it wasn’t somewhere I’d considered before!

    Soph x | http://www.sophierosie.com

    • Thank you so much lovely!! <3 that means a LOT coming from you!!! :D

      Definitely keep it in mind. It's honestly one of the cheapest weekend breaks we've ever done. Food and drink is stupidly cheap and even the flights were only about a hundred return for each of us :) xx

  • Joanne

    I’m also really keen on planning my trips to every detail, so even though choosing to just relax and aimlessly wander around is great, it does give a sense like we’re not getting the most out of our time there, haha! But it’s good to get lost and experience things by our own though. Budapest looks quite similar to Germany, for some reason. These are some gorgeous photos. <3 Lovely post!

    Joanne | Life in Blue Skies

    • That’s exactly how I felt Joanne! We left, already making plans to come back!! There’s so much we didn’t see or do, and I’m kind of annoyed at myself, but also kind of not: because I really needed the relaxation!! such a conundrum haha.

      It really does look like Germany! It’s on the border with Austria, so I think it gets a lot of it’s architectural influence from there tbh :) xx

  • Emily Frances

    What beautiful photos! I visited Budapest back in February and had a lovely few days – you definitely captured the city perfectly in this post. I would like to return in the summer though as it was an incredibly cold and rainy city break x


  • Brooklyn

    What a good looking city! I love history and architecture, and Budapest seems to have lots of both!


  • Budapest looks so gorgeous! I can’t believe I’ve not been yet. Definitely on my list for next year :)

  • Great photos of a gorgeous city! I really do need to get over there and visit xxx
    Lucy @ La Lingua | Life, Travel, Italy

  • Oh Katy, these photos are stunning! Budapest looks like such a gorgeous city. I love to just explore a city with no set plans, although it is annoying when you realise you’ve missed out on stuff. xxx

  • I loved Budapest when I went earlier this year. We didn’t really do much research either – just the odd bit of googling the evening we arrived! I spent two days there, but it was nowhere near enough to really see and do everything. I’m definitely going to go again one day and finish it off. And you made the right choice with the funicular – we walked and it was such hard work on a hot day haha. Probably because my fitness was at an all-time low having just returned from Cape Town where I’d Uber-ed everywhere and been making the most of very cheap food and wine :D
    Jennifer x
    Ginevrella | Lifestyle Blog

  • Totally would have taken the trams up the hill too, I’m also a sucker for all those sorts of things, as long as there isn’t a huge line! Then I’ll just walk. I really want to go to Budapest now after you talking about and some others, it looks so pretty even in the rain!

  • I love the word flânerie. I’m still trying to find that happy balance between planning and spontaneity when it comes to trip planning myself – Budapest has been on my to visit list for a while and this has def pushed it up a couple of places! xx