I went to Budapest for business. Without any expectations or time for research. To combine business and pleasure, I decided to stay two extra days to explore this city a bit more! A decision I am not regretting. Budapest, you surprised me in so many ways and only from a positive point of view! Sometimes spontaneous trips are the best!

The Magnificent Parliament Building, Budapest
The Magnificent Parliament Building

We met the first time during our business quest, a lovely summer evening when the streets and restaurants were full of people. I got impressed at once by the beautiful buildings and streets on the Pest side, the friendly and relaxed atmosphere and of course – Donau or rather the Danube itself. We were all lucky that evening. Suddenly the sun disappeared behind a cloud and suddenly you were all dressed in a pink shimmer. A dream of every photographer (unfortunately I was still busy with the quest but managed to capture it in some photos at least).

Chain Bridge in lovely pink shimmer, Budapest
Chain Bridge in lovely Pink Shimmer
Four Season Hotel Building, Budapest
Four Season Hotel Building, Budapest

We ended our first the evening with champagne and dinner on a boat cruising down the river. Danube by night is quite a sight!

Chain Bridge by night, Budapest
Chain Bridge by Night

Aria Hotel Budapest – A true Boutique Star!

Aria Hotel Budapest, you had me the minute the friendly door man opened the door and you did not loose me since then.

This luxury boutique hotel made it to my top 3 list the minute I entered and walked down the piano patterned marble floor to the reception and the exquisite Music Garden, an indoor court yard with ceiling made out of glass! No wonder it has been voted #1 hotel in the world by Trip Advisor.

Thanks to the great service, I felt like a princess throughout my stay. Still it is the design, inspired by cool and contemporary music elements mixed with influences from an elegant historical palace, that I will remember together with the cool roof top and afternoon wine, cheese and live piano music. Apparently the piano is not a normal but worth a fortune…

The Music Garden, Aria Hotel Budapest
The Music Garden, Aria Hotel

I loved my purple and pink Opera Suite Duet  with the big cosy bed and the balcony overlooking the inner yard. I must admit, even though it is a bit cheasy, I had the TV in fire place mood most of the time!

The Pink & Purple Opera Suite Duet, Aria Hotel Budapest
The Pink & Purple Opera Suite Duet

The Harmony Spa with the heated pool and jacuzzi is the perfect escape for some real relaxation and pampering. If you need a massage, ask for Olga. She was great!

Above the rest, in the magnificent High Note Bar. That is how the evenings should be spent! Even if you do not stay in the Aria hotel this is a must visit. It must be one of the best views of Budapest, next to St Stephen’s Basilica and with a 360 view of the entire city!

The High Note Skybar, Aria Hotel Budapest
The High Note Skybar, Aria Hotel

Aria has it all if you are looking for a luxury boutique visit. The personal touch, the unique design, the luxury feeling but yet cosy and friendly atmosphere. Must admit, it was a bit hard to leave this place…

Budapest highlights

During my last days in Budapest, I had the pleasure of meeting a fantastic photographer and as it turned out, the best Budapest guide – Richard (@szokerichie). We had a lovely day together trying to cover as many must sees and hidden gems as possible!

The mornings started with a walk over the impressive  Chain Bridge. Even if the lions miss their tongues, it is still an impressive bridge. After a short tram ride with the Buda Castle Hill Funicularwe reach the huge Buda Castle and with that also the magical views. From here Budapest is so beautiful with all its bridges, impressive buildings and of course the Danube. Richard showed me the hidden gardens and paths and had a very nice walk downhill through the Castle Garden.

Buda Castle, Budapest
Beautiful Buda Castle
Buda Castle, Budapest
What a view & colors – Buda Castle
The Gardens of Buda Castle, Budapest
The Gardens of Buda Castle

The  magnificent Parliament Building and  St Stephen’s Basilica are some must sees as well as Budapest Eye (even though I did not take a ride).

St Stephen's Basilica, Budapest
St Stephen’s Basilica
Budapest Eye, Budapest
Budapest Eye

Being a food market lover we took the tram to the biggest market of the city, the The Great Market Hall and admired the view from Liberty Bridge.

Great Market Hall Budapest
Happy me outside the Great Market Hall
Liberty Bridge, Budapest
Not the right outfit for a windy day at the Liberty Bridge

I learnt that Budapest has its own Champs-Élysées. Strolling along this big avenue lined with all luxury brands, you get a bit of a Paris feeling. A visit to one of the land marks of Budapest – The Hero Square – was a good break from the bustling city, especially if you cross the street to the park surrounding the  Vajdahunyad Castle. This castle is a true fairy tale castle blending  a variety of styles from Roman, through gothic and renaissance to baroque!

Hero Square, Budapest
Hero Square
Vajdahunyad Castle, Budapest
Vajdahunyad Castle

We quickly passed through the more touristic and big fashion streets but one can conclude that Budapest is a great city for shopping. Here you can find more or less all shops you need but at a price level lower than in the big Western counterparts. A block from the main shopping street I found the cutest design boutique. As always you just have to search…

The Jewish Quarters

It was the more picturesque streets in the Jewish quarter I fell in love with. These shabby chic streets are filled with food and influences from all over the world. We started with a walk through Gozsdu CourtyardI honestly do not think I have seen so many small restaurants in one area before.

Visit the Kazinczy street and you will find the hip Karavan food truck court and Szimpla Kert – a ruin bar decorated by using old used things only and a party place during the evenings. Further down you will find one street food places after the other. We had lunch at the most popular and creative one, Bors Gastrobar. Not the most the most healthy food but still street food as you have never seen it before. What about a cold apple cake or truffle soup?

Szimpla Kert, Budapest
Szimpla Kert, Jewish Quarters
Karavan food truck court, Budapest
Karavan Food Truck Court

In these hoods the largest synagogue in Eastern Europe is located and if you want freshly roasted coffee Blue Bird Rostery is the place to visit.

Time for Dinner 

So what about dinner? Well to be honest, I was totally exhausted after 2 days of conference followed by a day full of Budapest impressions. So I enjoyed a delicious dinner in bed watching the fake fire!

For the evenings, I am sure a dinner in the Jewish quarter with the hip crowd is a great experience and I can also highly recommend a bistro in Buda, Bistro Deryne.

The second day, just before heading back I found  one more sweet spot for lunch –Vintage Garden! The cutest restaurant with the best from France; Provence and romantic vibes, delicious food with healthy alternatives, lavender, roses and flowers everywhere and last, but not least: a cool contemporary and rustic design. If you want some romance this is the place to bring your boyfriend or girlfriend!

Romantic Vintage Garden, Budapest
Romantic Vintage Garden

Budapest – you truly surprised me and I will for sure be back but will make sure to bring Fredrik and Jenny!