Budapest! It’s been amazing five days in this beautiful Danubian city and as always I didn’t know how time would fly. Now it’s back to reality again (I still have to write my seminar paper), but that doesn’t hinder me from writing about my wonderful experience.
So we went as quite a large group, my friend Sarah with her boyfriend, Laura, Katharina and me. Lucky for us Sarah’s boyfriend had studied for over a year in Budapest, so he knew the city and especially the nightlife quite well, no need to buy a map or anything tourist-related. We arrived on Friday evening at our apartment, situated around a patio. Quite a nice place with tall windows and those cute little reading nooks under them (I love those), high ceilings and old hardwood floors. A dream for everyone who loves old apartments and Budapest seems just the right place for those.
We basically dropped everything and went to get something to eat – and I must say we ended at a hell of a place. Positively speaking of course. And this is it: Szimpla.
A converted closed down factory turned into a so-called ‘ruin-pub’, which have been very popular since 2003 in Budapest. It’s rather a roofed garden than a closed building, holding a huge open-air cinema, several bars, snack places and innumerable corners and spaces to sit, eat and drink your beer (or wine or whatever you’re having). They’re able to host concerts, theatre shows and other cultural events and every night a DJ is putting on records.
But the best part is the enormous amount of mixed old furniture, nick-nack and crazy artsy things that are found on walls, ceilings and on the ground. Every room you enter looks differently and although everything is pieced together it fits perfectly into their concept. You can sit in an old car (!) and enjoy the chatter around you or you take a bite upstairs – relaxing in an old bathtub. It’s a very lively place and if you don’t get crazy of overstimulation or getting lost in the sheer amount of rooms I guarantee you that you will have a good time there. We certainly did on our first evening and I’d call that a very good start to a vacation.
(images via facebook)
1075, Budapest Kazinczy utca 14
So after this fantastic first insight on Budapest nightlife we spent the next day doing the usual sightseeing stuff. That is, the strikingly beautiful Castle Hill and Castle District where you have the most stunning view over the city. It’s definitely a must!
After that we got lunch at yet another great place (which was so good that we went there just the day after). It’s called Anker Klub.
At daytime a café, bar and restaurant, at night time a club, Anker offers very good food ranging from snacks (chicken wraps with fries and an incredible dip – seriously, what do they put in there? Or fish n chips with yet another incredible sauce or the beef and cheese burger) to main courses. And they have special brunch or lunch offers which leaves you stuffed and happy for a good price. Worth a visit to pop in for lunch!
(images via welovebudapest.com)
1061, Budapest Anker köz 1-3
Coincidently there was this crazy retro shop across from Anker, which is equally worth a visit; they really have a nice collection of vintage and second-hand pieces. Aaaand creepy ones as well (I found a lot of cats on shirts), but I think you find those everywhere. So if you want to browse through old band shirts, dresses, shorts and rather funny things which I just couldn’t pin down properly, give this a try. Definitely an experience!
One other location I wanted to share with you is just another kind of ruin-pub which we visited Friday and actually Monday night with a group of friends. Rather similar in form (several rooms around a roofed patio and a second floor with gallery) this one had me within seconds. I think it was the Alice-in-Wonderland kind of interior which fascinated me from the first second we entered this world. There was something surreal, mystic and Dadaistic about this place that had me looking up and around all evening, the beautifully drawn animals on the walls, the strangely intimidating owl slash hors-ish creature up in the centre and all these rabbits running and flying from one corner to another. It was brilliant, it is brilliant. And I think my description surely does not suffice for the atmosphere at Instant. They have 23 rooms, 6 bars and 3 dance floors with different kind of music, so there is something for every taste. You can easily spent a whole night here, dance to electronic music or mainstream or (like we did) to 50’s rockabilly beats. It was glorious and absolutely my favourite spot.
(images via welovebudapest.com)
1065 Budapest, Nagymező utca 38
Well, one last spot I’d like to recommend here: Spíler! It’s a rather newly opened bistro-pub with such a cool atmosphere, food that is to die for and some great wines and beers on the menu. The waiters were incredibly nice and funny and once again I was blown away by their interior design (makes me wish to own a bar), which was sort of factory-like but with really creative details (ladders hanging from the ceiling functioning as lamps or a bar made out of plastic boxes). And they had this special room in the basement which you could book for a private dinner for two. How cool is that? Again we went there twice because it was that good, I had a delicious Cesar Salad on Sunday and then a tarte flambée (they call it flamed pie) with chicken, oyster mushrooms, crème fraîche and pickled cucumbers(!) on Tuesday. I’m so gonna try this at home!
(images via welovebudapest.com)
1075 Budapest, Kiraly utca 13
I think I have it all covered now, of course we did so much more but these are the places I liked most and found worthy to share with all of you. My conclusion: The east of Europe is definitely underestimated! Budapest was brilliantly beautiful, reminded me much of Paris (they call it eastern Paris) and did not disappoint me in one bit. I’d say five days are long enough to get a good overview of the city, but I’d recommend leaving the tourist spots behind and experience the city on your own to get a real feeling of how nice the people are (they all speak German, sometimes better than English) and how the whole atmosphere of this city works. I am sure I will be there again and I hope you will all consider visiting Budapest!