When it comes to Honeymoons, it is almost if not as important as the wedding itself. What are the first destinations for a honeymoon that comes to your mind? Greece? Thailand? Bora Bora? Yes, indeed we are being very stereotypical when it comes to this topic. Maybe the Hollywood movies have implanted in our minds that Honeymoon means beach, sand, palm trees and cocktails by the pool. And it is, but that doesn't mean you have to follow these "rules". When it came to our honeymoon we didn't want to be a typical one. So we choose our Honeymoon to take place in Hungary. The country we had never visited before, that seemed Budget-friendly and that didn't sound so typical for this kind of trip.
We travel a lot, which also means that we enjoy exploring new places from top to bottom, from start to the finish... basically as much as possible. I think you got the point. So this was no exception. We started our Honeymoon in Budapest, and rented a car to see much more of this country, later on.
Why did we choose to spend our Honeymoon in Hungary?
First of all, we were thinking about the expenses (Yes, we are budget travelers so even Honeymoon for us is not a time to splurge). A lot of Honeymoon-type places are terribly expensive, so this was a really good reason to choose something less typical. This also meant that travel expenses like flight tickets shouldn't be too crazy. We also had a budget in mind, so we wanted to stick to it as much as possible.
Second of all, we love nature, so we wanted a country that has a lot to offer in that field. And Hungary really does. Green lakes, thermal activity, and mountains.
The third reason for choosing this was that we really wanted to end this trip in Rome, where our friend invited us over. That meant that our destination had to have affordable direct flights to Rome.
End the last but not least, we had never been to Hungary and that was a huge bonus. Exploring new places is very exciting for us.
First impressions of Budapest.
We didn't do major research in Budapest before going, to make it more surprising. We only knew that It used to be two cities Buda and Pest, each on the opposite sides of the river. Only in 1873 they united and became what we now know as Budapest. We also knew that it is famous for its public thermal baths. So that was surely on our list.
When we arrived I instantly knew that decision to have our honeymoon in Hungary was a good idea. Budapest surprised us in multiple ways. The first of them was the architecture. It was so diverse and beautiful. Buildings are in a wide range of styles and from different periods, from ancient times to very recent and modern. The city is also very very clean and tidy. Also, there are many bigger and smaller squares that make the city feel spacious.
Where to stay in Budapest?
When it comes to bigger cities we always try to look for accommodation closer to the center. First of all, because we love to be able to walk everywhere, second of all it saves money on transportation even if you have to pay a little more on accommodation.
This time we decided to stay at Pest side. Most of the Hotels are located on this side so this was an obvious choice. The prices in the center are a bit more on the expensive side. So I highly suggest making bookings a while ahead. We did it 4 months before. We stayed at City Rooms which was one of the cheapest options unclose to the old town. You should also check Airbnb, there are good options around 30 EUR per night.
Traditional food in Hungary!
One of the best ways to explore other cultures is food. This was no exception. When we decided to have our Honeymoon in Hungary I already knew that food will be involved. Actually, to be honest, our trips revolve around food most of the time. :D
When I think of Hungary - Goulash was the first thing on my mind. No doubt you can get this food in many other countries (even in Latvia), but here it is almost iconic. This food has a long history going back to the 9th century. It has turned into a national symbol of Hungarian identity. I can't argue with that!
Another thing you should try while in Hungary is Paprika Stew and Nokedli (something like egg noodle dumpling) often served together. For dessert, there is Dobos torta (Dobos cake), which we tried in Pecs city and many other foods. These three definitely stood out for me, but you can learn about many other typical Hungarian foods HERE.
Where to eat in Budapest?
We are not really fancy people, even if it's a Honeymoon. We probably spend a little more money on special occasions, while still keeping in mind our budget and limits. But there is one place we couldn't resist so we went for dinner. It is called Regős Vendéglő . The restaurant is rustic, with a touch of countryside romance, but the food is very delicious and authentic. It's not a big place so it is advised to make reservations before dinner time.
Another place is Fülemüle Étterem which looks pretty simple, but don't let that fool you. The food is great.
If you want something closer to the center than give Tüköry Étterem a try. It is a bit more touristy.
For breakfast try Inez Bagel Shop, just keep in mind that it is a very small place, you might want to choose a takeaway. Another good breakfast place is Patmos Records Book&Café. It is not the cheapest, but the portions are big and the food divine. My husband tried the huge burger and it did not disappoint.
For non Hungarian food we tried Hummus Bar which has more than one restaurant around the city.
What to do in Budapest?
There are a lot of things to do in Budapest, whatever your interests might be. The first thing we did was climbing up the Gellert Hill early in the morning. It is a nice view from the top, and you can also see The Statue of Liberty there.
Architecture is so diverse and a long walk through both sides of the city is a wonderful way to admire the grand and beautiful buildings. Hungarian Parliament Building is the mightiest of them all. It is actually the largest building in Hungary. The best view of this majestic giant is from Fishermans Bastion. It is a very nice place and close to the Castle District - another beautiful place. The walk wouldn't be complete without visiting Margaret Island. Basically, the whole city center is a wonderful place for sightseeing and what can be a better way than do it on foot.
Another nice place to visit is City Park. On the way there you will see Heroes' Square and the Museum of Fine Arts. The park itself is very beautiful and there are nice spots to relax in the grass and stunning places for pictures. During the warmer months, all the cafes and restaurants are open.
Visiting Thermal Baths is also a good idea. It is not only beneficial for your health but also very relaxing. Budapest is lucky enough to have a lot of steaming, mineral-rich thermal water underground, therefore there are multiple Thermal Bath options to choose from. We visited Szechenyi Baths and we really loved it. I suggest choosing times when there are fewer people like early morning, evening and definitely on a workday. We went there in the morning on the first day at school, September 1st. The place wasn't crowded, but there were a lot more people coming in after midday. You can learn about other Thermal Baths in Budapest HERE.
Take a River Cruise! This was probably one of the most romantic things we did while visiting Budapest. There are multiple cruises to choose from, varying in prices and additional entertainment or even a meal. Most of them you can find close to Elisabeth Bridge, near Dock 10. We chose a regular cruise in the evening with no additional meals or other things. And we also could use the ticket the second time the next day.
One thing we didn't manage to do is The Invisible Exhibition. It is an exhibition where, in completely dark rooms are various artificially created environments (gardens, stores, etc.) and registered blind guide will take you on a tour. It is a glimpse into the life of completely blind people.
We spent three full days in Budapest, and it was enough for us. But the city has a lot to offer, so take your time. Depending on what you are looking for, Hungary can be a great choice for honeymoon. Budapest surprised us, so it was a good start for our vacation.
We rented a car and explored a lot more cities and towns, but that's another story...