Hungary’s capital is a city we’ve both visited before, and it was also one of those places we had the idea of renting an apartment and spending a month or so.
We knew that in 2014 we wouldn’t get around to visiting all the cities on that list we made, and when it happened that we had a free 10 days in mid January, we ended up choosing Budapest for several reasons.
One was price. For a capital city, it is surprisingly affordable, with lunch menus costing as little as 800 Ft (£2.20) and good coffee for just 500 Ft (£1.40). Plus we found cheap flights and a great deal for a tiny, but well organised and equipped studio apartment in a very central location.
Another deciding factor was that it would be easy for me to get to Austria after those 10 days were up in order to start a teaching contract there.
And of course, it was somewhere we’d been itching to go back together to since our first visit in 2009.
How much did it cost?
Since breaking down our spending by month doesn’t necessarily give an accurate view of how much the destinations we visit during any given month cost, here’s a breakdown of our spending for two people during our 11 nights in Budapest.
- Flights with Ryanair from London Stanstead to Budapest Liszt Ferenc airport £63.98
- Airbnb apartment £217.03 (£19.73 per day)
- Food £46.26 (£4.21 per day)
- Eating Out £115.17 (£10.47 per day)
- Cafes £62.52 (£5.68 per day)
- Entertainment £27.21
- Transport £14.12
- Total (excluding flights): £482.31 (£21.92 per person per day)
Some notes: we bought the flights about one month in advance, and Zab insisted on paying for priority boarding and paying to choose a seat (something I wouldn’t bother to do if left to my own devices, but which I rather enjoyed once on the plane). Initially we booked a when using Airbnb. We generally ate breakfast at home and cooked other meals at home about a third of the time, otherwise we ate out, and found some great vegan friendly restaurants in the city.
We went out to a café almost once a day, and entertainment was just for one museum plus tickets to a ballet. We hardly used the public transport as from our apartment most parts of the city were walkable; this just accounts for arriving from the airport to the city centre, taking the metro once during the week to cross town and using public transport for Zab to return to the airport and for me to get to Keleti train station to leave for Austria.
What did we do?
Not all that much, really. We mostly enjoyed the quiet of our apartment, worked in cafés, ate good vegetarian food and wandered around the city.
Zab persuaded me that we should go see a ballet (something I’ve never really been interested in). We saw The Rite of Spring at Nemzeti Táncszínház, which I quite enjoyed aesthetically, though didn’t fully understand. We would have liked to visit one of the Budapest thermal baths, but somehow didn’t get round to it.
How was the weather?
So we must have been mad to decide to visit Budapest in January, right? Actually the weather wasn’t too bad. We had unseasonably warm temperatures for what is usually the coldest month of the year with average daytime temperatures of 8°C. It rained once or twice, but on the whole was dry and cloudy. Not amazing, but not terribly either.
I, on my own, had spent a week there in June 2011 and the weather was absolutely gorgeous. Not too hot, but incredibly sunny with long days and bright blue skies.
Would we go back again?
Absolutely. Those 10 days of staying in the city really gave us a taste for it, an we definitely plan to go back and make our fourth visit. While we wouldn’t choose January as the best time to go again, we don’t regret having gone then.
The entire extended summer, from May through till September seems it would be the ideal time to visit, for us at least. And we’d love to do a vegan tour of Budapest next time!
Hoping to see you again soon, Budapest!