It was a long time since we’d managed a couple’s getaway. So once we had found cheap flights to Budapest for a weekend and were able to get my parents to babysit Little A, we started making arrangements. Susann had actually visited Budapest at the end of November on a solo trip. For me, it was the first visit since 2018. However, when we both lived in Bratislava about 10 years ago, this was a common weekend getaway for us.
Flight from Stockholm Skavsta Airport To Budapest
We flew from Stockholm Skavsta Airport, which is only about a 30-minute drive from our home. It was quite an uneventful flight down to Budapest. The flight was far from full. So even though Wizz Air seated us as far apart as they could, we were still able to sit next to each other. The only sad thing about flying to places like Budapest for a weekend is that there is always a group that is traveling there for a party. And they always start way too early. That was also the case this time, with one group not behaving. Sadly the flight attendants only gave them warnings, not as if they learned anything from that. Loud and noisy, without respect for the rest of the passengers. So our plead to all readers, keep respecting your fellow passengers in the way that we already believe that you are doing.
Arriving in Budapest
Once we arrived at Budapest Airport, we arranged for a transfer to the city center. We opted to be dropped off at the old market hall as it was a convenient location. There was no need to head directly to the hotel as we were traveling light. Instead, we started a hike across Gellert Hill, located on the other side of the Danube River. I cannot remember that we have walked up this hill since a weekend in 2013. Actually, that was the same weekend that we went on our first overnight trip as a couple. There had only been one day trip to Győr prior to that.
Exploring Gellért Hill
It was a grey and cloudy day in Budapest, but we made our way toward the top of the hill. We really enjoyed the view of the Danube River below and at the same time, we were a bit sad that it seems to be impossible to keep areas like these clean. The is garbage in many areas along the path and it does really destroy the possibility of a great first impression. The disappointment increased when we reached the top and noticed that the area around the monument was closed off. Well, we had to find another route down towards the river, which wasn’t so hard.
Finding our Hotel
Once down from Gellert Hill, we had some pasta for lunch before trying to find our hotel for the weekend. We were staying at the Danubius Hotel Helia, a bit north of the center. We did expect a decent walk to the hotel, so the three kilometers until we reached it wasn’t too bad. The hike up Gellert Hill and then onwards to the hotel had in total only resulted in about 7.5 kilometers of walking.
We were soon checked in and could start to plan our evening. What did we want to eat? Finding somewhere for a drink? Going to one of Budapest’s famous baths? There were plenty of options and few answers at this time of the day.
An Evening to Relax
A short rest was needed before we left the hotel to walk around a bit more. The first thing we found was actually another market hall, one that was actually more focused on the local inhabitants. It was actually quite nice and the building itself was fascinating. Unfortunately, it was impossible to get a good photo of it, but it was a positive surprise. It is a short distance from the Westend Shopping Center, where we did actually end up afterward. Not for shopping, but more out of curiosity if there were any stores that would be interesting and unknown to us.
We didn’t find anything interesting at Westend, which was quite chaotic and hard to navigate. Instead, we were soon on our feet and walking back toward the hotel. We had decided that we either find dinner along the way or eat in the restaurant at the hotel. We had almost reached the hotel when we found a cozy little restaurant and decided to sit down. It would turn out to be a good option as we shared a meat platter for two. A lot of meat later and we were more than satisfied. Sadly, it was impossible to eat it all.
Once back at the hotel, we headed to their swimming pools to relax a bit more. It is always nice when the hotel has proper swimming pools and these were enough for us. We didn’t need to find one of the traditional baths during this visit. After some time in the pool, we moved on to the restaurant bar and spent the rest of the evening talking about what to do the next day.
A Day Enjoying Budapest
We had several thoughts about what to do during our first full day in Budapest. Our first thought had been to go to nearby Szentendre and head out on a hike to Visegrád. Our second consideration was to take the train to Bratislava for a day trip. Well, looking at transportation options we noticed that many lines had alternative routes at the moment. Parts were mostly covered by bus according to some sources. So we did instead decide to remain in Budapest and there is not a lack of places to see in this city.
A Long Walk Through Budapest
After breakfast, we set out on a 10-kilometer-long city hike. The hike took us along the waterfront of the Danube River. We stayed on the Pest-side of Budapest until we reached Margit Bridge. After crossing the bridge, we continued along the river, getting a great view of the impressive Hungarian Parliament Building. We actually dismissed the Buda Castle and instead continued to the Elisabeth Bridge before crossing the Danube a second time. We strolled around in the center for some time before heading towards the Budapest-Keleti Train Station. It is a very impressive building and nearby is the Arena Mall. We were in need of one new backpack, so we headed to the shopping mall to find one. At the same time, we took the opportunity to have some lunch before taking a taxi back to our hotel.
Food and Drinks in the Evening
We rested for a few hours before walking back toward the center of Budapest. It was time to find something for dinner. It would turn out that we were not alone to look for a dinner restaurant. Several places seemed full and we did eventually ask for a table at a hamburger restaurant close to St. Stephen’s Basilica. We were lucky, they had one table for two. Less lucky was the number of people arriving soon after us, none being able to get a table. And what a hamburger, one of the best I have had for sure. Susann had the only vegetarian dish on the menu, a goat cheese burger. So with the hope that this was not a one-time occasion that they succeeded, do check out Meatology if you are looking for a hamburger.
The dinner was followed by a shorter walk until we found a small bar for a drink. It was not really our kind of bar, but it was interesting to see how the locals prepared for the Saturday night of partying. We did not continue our night out. Instead, we headed back toward the hotel. My clock was more than happy to announce that I had reached a personal best. My 35.500 steps during the day were apparently the most steps I had taken in a single day. At least in the years since I purchased the clock.
Last Day in Budapest
Unfortunately, we did not have many days to enjoy Budapest. Instead, our last day came far too soon. So, we had our breakfast and soon checked out from the hotel. We had arranged transport back to the airport from where we were dropped off, at the old market hall. But that was first in the afternoon, we had plenty of time before that to enjoy Budapest.
We once more walked along the Danube River to reach the center of Budapest, where we spend a few hours strolling around. Actually finding streets that we had not seen during the many earlier visits to the city. We had some great goulash soup and had some time for some sweets. I’m always happy to find some trdelník or kürtőskalács as it is known in Hungary.
Catching Our Flight back Home
That was actually our short day before we headed to the old market hall. Soon after we were in our taxi heading toward Budapest Airport. When traveling light there is not much to worry about at airport security. Especially since check-in had been done online earlier. We had a disappointing airport dinner, a normal occurrence when traveling. Then we were soon boarding our WizzAir flight back to Sweden. We felt a bit sad that the weekend had come to an end, but happy to see Little A again.