Next up, we went to Budapest, Hungary which we both really enjoyed!! Our AirBnb was in an awesome location, which was the old jewish ghetto during WWII, and is now surrounded by hip bars and restaurants. Although still cold (23 – 30 degrees) we were able to brave the weather a bit more and explored our neighborhood, the big park nearby, a main square and old castle! We grabbed drinks at a local brewery, and explored one of the traditional ruin pubs. Budapest has many “ruin pubs” which are really old, kind of falling apart buildings that are full of chic, funky decor. They started popping up in the early 2000s when entrepreneurs took over abandoned buildings from their communist era (they were communist until 1989). The ruin pub we went to was Szimpla Kert – it was huge! Inside there were two floors and about 20 different rooms and themes bars plus a cafe, restaurant, coffee area, patisserie, and a big outdoor patio!!
We also went to a few places to grab a bite to eat that were trendy but in a little bit of a grungy way- think like the mission district in SF! We LOVED this soup place – Bors – and highly recommend it if you ever travel to Budapest. It was a tiny soup cafe, full of funny decor and happy guys who loved working there. After every order taken they chanted something in Hungarian and clapped or high fived. All of the soups we tried (we went there twice :)) were so delicious with a big punch of unique flavor. Yum!
Budapest is full of absolutely beautiful buildings! Everywhere you look, there are stunning old buildings. Castles, government buildings, Turkish baths (read more below!), churches, synagogues, and more! Even most of the ordinary offices and stores had epic old structure. “Wow look at that building! Oh ha, it’s just a pharmacy.” :)
One day we spent several hours at a Turkish bath, a traditional Hungarian past-time. We went to the Széchenyi Baths, the largest bath, & it was huge! There were about 20 different indoor hottubs and pools of various warm/hot temperatures, about 15 different saunas and steam rooms (some with aromas – like the chamomile steam room), and a few plunge pools for a quick cold dip after sweating in the saunas. There was also a gym, message area and nail salon. Plus, there are 4 outdoor heated pools, one of them with a huge whirlpool (so fun). We spent about half a day at the baths and it was a great experience!
Budapest was our last destination in Europe, goodbye Europe! We spent an evening talking about all our favorites, best and worsts of the trip. It was a fun way to wrap up being in there. Asking each other what the best meal was? Nicest people? Most “wow” moment? City that didn’t meet your expectations? City that exceeded your expectations? Worst travel experience? Best apartment? Etc.