It’s approaching the summer holiday season, and no doubt plenty of people around you are discussing favourite destinations or already worrying over what to pack. But if you just don’t have the time to get away for a full holiday this year, or maybe you’re keeping an eye on your budget, instead of turning green with envy, why not think about taking a short city break?
That’s right. Just because you want to take some time off, doesn’t mean you need to travel the world over. Being in Europe leaves you with so many options. And if you’re in the UK, have a think about what city is less than three hours away by plane and reaches temperatures of around 30℃ for most of the summer, and is cheap enough to allow a little indulgence without breaking the bank? Look no further than Budapest in Hungary!
Whether you are staying on the quieter side of the city in Buda, or in the centre of where everything is happening in Pest, there is good-quality, cheap accommodation to suit your needs. Public transport in Budapest is fantastic, with a 24-hour tram service for all the main parts of the city, and picturesque views from the number two tram that takes you along the edge of the Danube and through all the prettiest parts of town. So wherever you choose to stay and wherever you are thinking of going, you can be sure to have excellent connections at very little cost.
There are walking tours and tourist buses, modern art museums and historical buildings, a parliament building that looks like a castle out of a fairytale by day, and twinkles its reflection in the river at night. Margitsziget (Margaret’s Island) is a small getaway from the city accessible from Erzsébet híd (Elizabeth Bridge): here you will find a pedestrian promenade, numerous cafes and restaurants, an open-air theatre, and lots of grass to sprawl out on and relax.
If relaxation is what you are looking for on your break Budapest is home to several spas both indoors and out. Szechenyi Spa is one of the most popular: here you can enjoy a massage and other spa treatments or just bathe in the outdoor pools. At night these baths also become a party destination, so there are multiple options available to you!
The Jewish Quarter is a must-see for its architecture, history, and eateries. The Citadel, Gellert Hill and Statute, the State Opera and all of the churches are worth a visit if you want to do a little sightseeing. There are river cruises by day and night, a vast central market hall should you want to have a taste of local produce, clubs and coffee houses that open late into the evening, and various outdoor events and festivals throughout the summer to keep you occupied.
If you want to visit somewhere outside of the city for part of your break, there is the beautiful town of Szentendre not far from Budapest where you will be spoilt for choice for architecture and beautiful places to eat, or Sziget Lake which hosts one of the biggest summer festivals in Europe.
Whether your friends are planning a month-long trip throughout Southeast Asia or an extended getaway in Morocco, make your friends jealous when you tell them that not only are you heading to Budapest, but that you’re also learning Hungarian as wel! Learning a bit of the local language is always a good idea and you can get a head start with online classes with companies like Language Trainers or Future Learn.
In short, there is so much to see and do in Hungary and for so little cost, that once you’ve had a taste, you might just find yourself going back again and again. So what are you waiting for? Have a happy journey!