Strolling Budapest, Hungary // Fungarian Walking Tours

Strolling Budapest, Hungary // Fungarian Walking Tours

Sintra, PortugalBUDAPEST.

It’d been on our minds for months – years, actually. For Dan, it had always been a dream to visit the city. George Ezra’s “Budapest” was even the song we choose for our wedding video. We had heard it was exotic, culturally diverse, and beautiful. So when I stumbled upon cheap flight with GermanWings a few weeks ago (by way of Stuttgart, not far from Heidelberg), I immediately booked tickets for a long weekend. It was a no brainer.

Within the first hour of arrival there’s a few things that became immediately clear: it’s incredibly reasonable – beautiful coffee and breakfast in a charming cafe set us back the equivalent of $8 total. It’s real – a functioning and vibrant city. It seems like so many of the cities and towns around Europe are stuck in a sleepy spell. Heidelberg most certainly is. But Budapest, no, it’s absolutely teaming with energy. If I had to draw a comparison, I’d say it reminded me most of Berlin. A young, boisterous vibe, funky counter-culture and HISTORY. Tons of modern-era history at every turn.

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To get the scoop on the roots and culture of Budapest we joined Fungarian Tours for a two part experience. 

Navigating Budapest has got to be one of our more challenging tests. Simply enough, the construction of letters and vowels in Hungarian defy all English-speaker’s logic. For example, a simple “Cheers!” (clinks glass) is “egészségedre!”. 

Do you even know where to begin when pronouncing that? I certainly didn’t.

So, to kick things off, we joined Edit for coffee and a quick Hungarian lesson to aid us in our navigation of the city in the days to come. Edit was an absolutely delightful teacher, and with helpful instruction material, Dan and I began to understand how to navigate menus and even how to pronounce the street our Airbnb apartment was on. A huge win in my book!

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We tried our best to be good pupils but also enjoyed chatting with Edit and learning about her experiences growing up in Budapest. 

Bidding Edit our farewells, we joined her Fungarian colleague Miklos for a walking tour of the Jewish Quarter and surrounding neighborhoods. There’s a lot to see in Budapest- Buda and Pest were actually two different cities separated by the Danube and united only 140 years ago, so we chose to focus our energy on the modern day culture and stayed in Pest. 

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As a tour guide and former university professor, Miklos knows just about everything relating to Hungarian history and politics. His perspective is unique in that it’s intellectual and also merged with many of these events he witnessed first-hand, like the Soviet occupation that lasted for a total of 45 years, until 1991,. 

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While we enjoyed seeing some of these famous government buildings, it was the ruin bar Szimpla Kertmozi that absolutely stole the show. Ruin bars are immensely popular in Budapest, appearing to be the makings of squatters, these bars are rough in appearance – with graffiti and bare walls – but are, in reality, converted spaces with an indescribable cool, hipster vibe.

Our tour took place on a Sunday, coinciding with an indoor street market that was taking place inside. 

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Later our tour led us along the Danube, popping in to see the architecture and metalwork in The Four Seasons. Miklos shared insightful stories on the construction and history of the property while I snapped away pictures of the mesmerizing ceiling.

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Then we moved on to see the marvelous Cafe Gerbeaud, not far away. Inside the true elegance of old-world Hungarian culture was evident while locals and tourists enjoyed coffees and beautifully presented sweets.

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All and all we really enjoyed our time with Miklos and Edit and left feeling incredibly informed about the Hungarian language and history. I’d definitely recommend the walking tour for history-lovers while I think everyone, young and old, would benefit from their quick one hour Hungarian language course. 

This post is sponsored, however all opinions are (of course!) my own. Furthermore, tours that I would not recommend to my nearest and dearest are note shared in this space.
  • Budapest looks lovely as always! And I totally agree with the language – I took a semester of Hungarian as a lark in my last semester and boy was it hard. The only thing I remember is “Amerikai vagyok” (I’m American) haha.

    • haha. that’s one of the first phrases we learned – “Amerikai vagyok”. supposedly you can just throw vagyok at the end of anything you do and it works?

      blogger vagyok!

  • I’m excited to hear more about your trip in Budapest!

    • ha, well, you know me – there’s more from where this post came from! 😉 between the great weather and fun tours, budapest gave me a lot of great blog material!

  • Rinka Inka

    I want to visit Budapest so badly – it looks beautiful!

    • Yes, I hope you get to see Budapest sometime soon too! It’s such a special place, I’m so thankful we were able to find a cheap flight!

  • Diana Cloudlet

    Like this your post, because it’s really awesome! Can’t wait to see the next one!)

    p.s. new
    post – how I met Victoria Beckham http://www.dianacloudlet.com/2015/02/victoria-beckham-zip-pouch-met-victoria-beckham.html

    Diana Cloudlet

    http://www.dianacloudlet.com/

    • Thanks so much Diana! 🙂

  • What a beautiful city, so much character. Your photographs are also beautiful! What camera do you use?

    • Thanks, Laura! I use a Canon 70d with stock lens. I’m definitely team Canon all the way, I’d definitely recommend looking into getting one if you haven’t already. 🙂

      • I’m definitely team Canon too! I have a 50d but thinking about getting a compact for more discreet photos!

        • I hear ya completely. I daydream about not lugging around my giant DSLR for something that fits inside a sling bag. Sigh.

  • Ashley

    Budapest wasn’t really that high on my list in the past, but lately it’s become one of the cities I want to visit most. It looks so beautiful! Amazing photos as usual!

    http://www.ashbam.com

    • yeah, I completely agree! I feel like it’s become ‘the’ city to see in Europe. perhaps it was prague before but now everyone is all about Budapest.

      thanks so much for the kind words about my pictures! xo

  • Ahh, I am dreaming of Budapest right now after all of these photos! It’s been on my list of places to visit for about 5 years now. The affordability makes it even more attractive 😉 Thanks for sharing your lovely images and stories!

    • of course, Love! budget-wise I’d also put lisbon up there in terms of reasonable places to visit. london/paris, not so much! (I seriously paid 6E for a coffee in london one time. I’m still ashamed.)

      • Good to know about Lisbon! I’ve been dying to go there as well, especially after all of your posts and day drips! I was in Paris a few months ago and had a pretty embarrassing price on a meal as well 😉

  • What an amazing adventure! Beautiful photographs too, it almost made me feel like I was there! Maybe one day…

    • Thanks, love! I hope you can make it one day too. Ya know what’s funny though, I spotted that you live in Sydney, Australia. In my world, visiting Sydney is an absolute dream. We should switch lives for a few weeks, whattya say? ;D

  • I love Budapest, so glad you found cheap tickets and went. Gorgeous photos!

    • thanks, dear! where are you headed to next (after Paris, of course!)? 🙂 Seems like you’ve been traveling a ton lately!

  • I loved Budapest too and would love to return. My three-day weekend didn’t feel like enough, especially trying to cover ground in Buda and Pest. Love the photo of the guitar player, by the way.

    • Thanks, Jennifer – I thought the guitar players were a pretty cool, eclectic duo as well.

      I agree, 3 days is tough to get it all in. Just that cliche but true statement: “just another reason to go back”… right? 😀

  • OMG. Look at your short hair! Adorbs!! Sorry—I’m so behind, I need to sit down tonight and recap all my fav blogs tonight! Budapest looks amazing! 🙂

    • no. you’re amazing.

      (that’s all I’ve got! xo)

  • Budapest does look amazing – and it does look like a real city! I love that you guys use airbnb – it’s too fun.

    • Yes, seriously! We love Airbnb. So we actually just booked an Airbnb apartment in ROME for late May. Maybe we could meet for coffee or something? I’ll be with Dan and his folks so we’ll be trying to knock out some of the big tourist sights but if you’ve got any must-eat/must-do places definitely let me know (I’m sure there are many!). 🙂

      • I would love to meet for a coffee! And I’ll shoot you some restaurant / my favorite things to do later this week!

        • Wonderful! We’ll be there May 26 – 30, I know it’s early to make a plan but just so you can have it on your calendar. 🙂

  • How cool that you guys took a little language lesson! Budapest looks so amazing, it is in the running for our next trip in Europe:)

    • Sighh… Kiki and the Viking take Budapest, I can see the posts now! Yes, please, go! 😀

  • Nuno

    Many friends always compare Prague to Budapest, saying Prague is an artificial place, and Budapeste is the opposite – although the inhabitants are not the most friendly on earth.
    I only know Prague, and I didn’t fall in love with. I agree, it’s a beautiful town, well preserved, romantic… but too “cold”, too perfect, too tidy…

    Do you agree?!

    • Prague is nice, especially if you move out of the city centre. It became too hip too quickly and thus less enjoyable. Hungarians are more temperamental, and that’s an understatement.

      • Nuno, I’m not sure I can completely agree about your sentiments of Prague. My visit to Prague was a bright warm fall weekend while my time in Budapest was a spectacularly sunny February weekend – likely rarities for both destinations (right, Miklos?). Either way, both cities are unique and absolutely beautiful, in my opinion at least. 🙂

  • I have been to Budapest as well and I loved my time there. I remember the city at night, with the warm golden glow spread all over, as I was standing on the Fisherman’s Bastion looking down. It has been called “Paris of the East”, but I truly believe that Paris should be called “Budapest of the West” 🙂

    Mersad
    Mersad Donko Photography

    • Normally I don’t like cliché comparisons but Paris being the Budapest of the West is a great pun.No Hungarian would dare to risk to say that. Definitely not to the French.

      • Mersad, what a lovely and poetic perspective! Although I think I agree with Miklos, comparisons are so tricky – especially when it comes to Paris. But, you’re right, there’s definitely something special and unique about Budapest that makes it a city all it’s own. 🙂

  • Great guide! I really want to go to Budapest since its so easy to get to from Berlin, so this was great! Can’t wait, though the pronunciation will certainly be a struggle 😛

    • eek, seriously! Hungarian is tricky alright!

      I was just catching up on your latest post – thank GOODNESS it all worked out regarding the apartment. I can’t imagine how stressful that must have been but at least you know you’re set for the time being. That view is amazing!

  • Wonderful post. I never realised my city was such a great place. You’re welcome to come back any time. There is more to see. mm

    • Thanks so much Miklos. It was an absolute joy to work with you and lovely Edit! 🙂

  • The slow pace

    Wonderful post, as usual! We doubted between Stockholm and Budapest for our getaway last weekend. We finally went to Stockholm but Budapest is in our bucket list. But first we have to go to Lisbon!

    • oh fun! how was stockholm? I’ve heard it’s quite pricey! I’m still daydreaming about Lisbon too!

      • The slow pace

        Oh it was amazing! It’s not cheap but it’s so worth it! Besides we were really lucky with the weather… oh, the sun!
        xx,
        E.
        http://www.theslowpace.com

  • Love all your pictures 🙂 I can’t wait to go to budapest to see everything for myself!

    X, Carina
    Running White Horses | Fashion + Travel

    • oh, exciting! will you be there sometime soon?! 🙂

  • Beth

    Thanks so much for sharing that- I know very little about Hungary (and Budapest) so this was an eye-opener for me. I’m glad you could navigate shopping and meals with English- Hungarian looks incredibly difficult.

    • Absolutely, Beth! To be honest, I really didn’t know much at all about Hungarian history (ex. the Russian occupation, etc.) until we went on this tour so I have no room to talk. History and language isn’t my strong suit! ha

  • Ines Marques

    I’m going to Budapest for the first time in two weeks and I might join the tour. It seems really nice listen someone local describing country’s history. Thanks for sharing it =)
    http://www.thelisboners.com

    • you’re so welcome, dear! I definitely recommend Fungarian to really delve into the Hungrian history and language… so much has happened in the last hundred years, it’s helpful to have someone make sense of it all for ya. 🙂

  • HandLuggageOnly

    Your Budapest photos are absolutely stunning!!! It portrays the city in such a unique light! Love this post!

    • Thanks so much guys! Not to be cliche, but as they say, it’s easy to take pretty pictures of a pretty city! 😀

  • You inspire me to get out there and take more photos. The you edit your photos make me swoon!!

    • Wow dear, that’s such a compliment! Thank you! If you’d like any help w/ Lightroom and editing just let me know. Happy to give you pointers where I can! 😀

  • Budapest looks like a beautiful city. I’m loving their architecture! 🙂

    Paola // Resuscitate

  • I’ll be in Budapest in September, and looking at these photos, I can’t wait!