November was a whirlwind month for us and I absolutely loved every second of it (once I got over the stress of having overlapping house guests in our 2 bedroom apartment). Our long time friend Joey came to visit right as my Mom was leaving and we headed to Budapest for a weekend of exploring. Getting there was a bit of a pain, I thought I purchased us round trip tickets which would be around €150 total but instead found out I never purchased them – ticket prices were then €150 each and we just ended up driving instead. The drive went smoothly but a 7.5 hours drive is rough!
We ended up scoring the most perfect AirBNB right in town (the only downside was having to pay for parking around the corner) but we couldn’t beat the location, price, & the remodeled space was adorable. There were 2 bedrooms, a bathroom with a giant whirlpool tub, great kitchen space, a lift, and the view from the balcony was incredible. The biggest perk was that is was IN town so we were walking distance to tours, the river, lots of cafes and restaurants, shopping, massage shops, and the Christmas Markets.
We were a short walk away from everything we needed and ended up finding the most amazing delicious bakery called Jacques Liszt that we went to for breakfast in the mornings (literally every morning!) One of everything, please.
The first day we were in Budapest we walked across the famous Chain bridge & hiked up Gellert Hill to see the most amazing views of the town, I definitely recommend doing it on a beautiful day so you can see everything. There are some shops at the top, a cafe/bar and toilet you can use if you need it before trekking back down
Of course, we had to go over to explore Buda Castle, Fishermans Bastian (the giant sandcastle) and Matthias Church. All of them are super close, so you can tick a lot of boxes in a short amount of time while getting another incredible view of Budapest.
One of the things we were most excited to do was visit the Szechenyi Baths which were definitely the highlight of the trip for me. There were 18 different pools, saunas, and therapies you can visit after purchasing your entrance ticket. Presley had a blast exploring and testing the temperatures in the different pools, and I could have stayed all day long!
Of course, we had to stop by Szimpla Kert one of Budapest’s famous Ruin Bars. We got some funny looks having Presley with us but kids are allowed until a certain time at night! During the day, there are some booths set up with food and trinkets, live music & at night it turns into more of a dance music bar scene. We found a table and played Farkle while people watching and she looked being part of the ‘adult activity!’ – she is definitely an amazing traveler! It was so much fun to explore around the endless maze of rooms of bathtubs, artwork, and the indoor plants.
St. Stephens Basilica cost just a donation to go inside and is definitely worth it! The interior is absolutely gorgeous and if your lucky you can listen to a service and some beautiful music (see more on my Instagram highlight reel for Budapest!) You can pay an extra fee to take a lift up to the bell tower, but we passed on it.
When we travel, I always try to find activities that will be fun for Presley to break up the boring adult stuff and Get Your Guide (one of my favorite activity finders) had a Ghost Tour at night which was right up Presley’s alley! We rented LIME scooters and zipped around Budapest learning about some of the haunted histories, deciphering clues & making our way to the next location! Such a fun way to explore the city while keeping you entertained & learning!
Second, to Get Your Guide activities is AirBNB experiences – when I am trip planning I always check both to find things to do. I love AirBNB experiences because a lot of times you can meet and interact with the locals who know the MOST about the area and can be great sources of information. I found a Crystal Bead Jewelry Making session on AirBNB and knew that it would be perfect for Presley and me to do. I messaged Dalma about whether Presley would be old enough to attend and she said she could one on one help Presley and then when I went to book all the dates were booked up, so I sent another message & she opened up another slot just for us! Presley felt so cool being in an adult class & learning about all the gemstones, she made a necklace and a bracelet and we had so much fun on our fancy mother/daughter date.
Another GetYourGuide activity we found was a Night cruise on the Danube, we got a free welcome drink and had the option to purchase more. We strolled up and down the river and got to see everything all lit up at night. It was definitely worth the €9 per person!
Hands down our favorite activity in Budapest was visiting the Pinball Museum! After you pay your entry fee (approx 10eur), you get unlimited access to over 150 pinball machines. Just pick your game, push start and you are good to go! We could have stayed for days on end, it was absolutely fantastic! There are of the original pinball and other arcade games, right up until totally current and fancy pinball games. It was amazing!
We definitely did a lap around the Great Market Hall – it would have been a great place to do your shopping – although we found out no bartering, so if you want something, check a few different stalls for the best price because there are hundreds of stalls and they all have similar things.
We were in Budapest when the Christmas markets up so it was fun to explore and eat to our heart’s desire. We tried so many new foods and drinks – I was in heaven, plus it’s pretty magical walking around when everything is lit up in twinkling lights.
Need MORE inspiration? I pinned a bunch of things HERE you can check out on Pinterest but these were my top posts when doing my research on Budapest:
25 of the best things to do in Budapest from The Crazy Tourist
2 days in Budapest from Linda on the Run
Most instagramable spots from Of Leather & Lace