I thought I will not make it for Autumn trip this year since plane ticket price surged like crazy even after Covid-era. For about 2 months, I regularly checked the fare it showing a constant amount around USD 1,200 or more for return trip, which considered as pricey (to me).
Guess that my luck never betrays, I randomly checked on google maps, looking for alternative city around Budapest or Vienna. Tadaaaa! I found Jakarta – Munich return for only USD 600! Thank you Eva Air, to conspired with the universe to make my Autumn travel itches came true!
What I like about traveling to Europe in November is that, we somehow still got the chance to enjoy Autumn nuance although the air starts to get colder. Aside from that, tourist crowds also way more manageable compared to December’s. And to top it all off, Christmas glows already starts everywhere because it’s just entering Advent period. Three birds, one stone.
The evening I arrived to the city, the road seems fairly busy. I could smell Christmas around the town soon after the Airport van dropped us in Christmas Market next to St Stephen Basilica which happened to be just one block from our hotel. I am so happy with the location of our hotel, the H2 Budapest, it perfectly sits in the center of everything with affordable price, decent room, also a good breakfast! Buda area supposedly only a stone-throw away, but unluckily the Chain Bridge that connects Pest and Buda were still under construction, so it was not available to walk through.
Budapest is small, but so pretty and inviting. I spent only 2-3 days in the city, absorbing the pleasant vibes while visiting one by one the city must-go. Started from Parliament Building, Shoes on the Danube Banks, Danube Banks walk, Andrassy St, Coffee in the downtown, the world-famous Schzelenyi bath, and the lovely and well preserved Buda area. Other thing that I noticed was that many streets that we walked by was pretty quiet, makes it feel even cozier despite the cloudy weather.
Nevertheless, my most favorite highlight in the city is :
1. Thermal Bath Schzelenyi
As a bath lover, checking the thermal bath off the bucket list is a must. So paying €26 to experience this bath is a no brainer. After a day walking around the Pest area, we planned for an afternoon soak at Schzelenyi Bath. But we did an unnecessary mistake because I did not research enough on what NOT to do in experiencing the bath. That is .. not bringing my own towel and slippers! Hence I ended up spending €40 to buy them. Yep, twice more than the bath entrance itself.
It’s pretty ironic because I tried to save time by purchasing online ticket to get us through fast line to enter the bath, but due to that towel and slippers problem, I eventually spent half an hour to stand in line on the shop.
Anyhow, the bath was such a great experience to do. Although it was super busy, but somehow we still managed to get some space to squeezed in. I like the outdoor pool more, clearly. To me, indoor pool was a bit awkward, let alone the sauna! Lol. I mean, the space was too small to host tons of people. Don’t be surprised if you’ll be sitting knee to knee and eye to eye with strangers in the sauna.
Unlike the Onsen Bath that I experienced in Japan, this bath required no steps or ritual. Just simply go to locker room, change your clothes and get soak in as long as you want.
2. Fishermen’s Bastion
It’s a very good place to play princess, every corner of the castle is just too pretty! They say, come early in the morning for an empty space. But my lazy ass said no, I’d prefer to have my breakfast in decent time and left the hotel at 10-am ish. We took a bus from the hotel to Buda Area, got off at Clark Adam Square and head to Buda Castle Bus reception. It’s a hop-on-hop-off bus that takes us around Buda area without hassle. But if I may suggest, it’s better to walk from one place to another because there are so much to see in the area that are too cool to missed if you go by the bus.
The castle is definitely A MUST GO, it’s kind of a symbol of Budapest. It has 7 towers that represents 7 tribes who founded Hungary in the first place. And the view from the top will be the ultimate reason why you should go here. We unintentionally found a cafe that has the perfect place to enjoy the view of Pest area along with Danube river.
3. Christmas Market Stroll
Budapest offers many options of Christmas Market which I always keen to visit and look around. I managed to go to 2 of most recommended : Vörösmarty Christmas Market & the one near my hotel St. Stephen Bassilica’s. Vörösmarty is the biggest but I like St. Stephen’s more because the church itself enrich the vibes of the market. People are literally standing side by side, talking, under all the Christmas ornaments with beautiful church as the background – super likey!
Both of the market are quiet walking distance, so it’s very doable to do both in one night.
Another reason why I like Christmas Market is because it’s the best place to explore and try out local snacks and drinks. I tried Kürtőskalács, a Hungarian deserts with Cinnamon flavor that taste so good! My friend also recommended me to try Forralt Bor, a hot mulled wine to help ease the cold air struck, that also taste surprisingly nice and warm!
Though it was pretty short but I really enjoyed my easy Autumn days in Budapest. There are things I wanted to do but did not have chance to, such as witnessing the cool Hungarian dances. Well, maybe that will be the reason for me to come back next time 🙂