Lucy Sheref of WanderLuce fame recently enjoyed a few days in Hungary’s vibrant capital, Budapest with her new husband Oli following their wedding. Here she shares why it makes for a surprisingly great minimoon destination…
Budapest was not the number one destination on my, admittedly far too long, list of places to chill out after the hectic palaver of my wedding.
But we wanted somewhere pretty close to the UK, with culture, yummy food and wine along with a bit of a wow factor. And as the avid travel planner that I am, I searched the internet until my fingers were sore from typing “cool honeymoon city break” and “alternative mini moon for neurotic 30 something with a love for cheese” and happily, I found Budapest.
Soon after, with a Lonely Planet guidebook in hand, and one KILLER hangover (totally worth it though) we flew to Budapest and checked into what would fast become our favourite hotel ever: Brody House.
Brody House is special for a few reasons; it’s aesthetic is like nothing I’ve ever experienced. For a start, it is actually a house – the former Hungarian Prime Minister’s house to be precise. You have to press a buzzer to get into a grand, but welcoming lobby, and once inside are faced with the most elegant spiral staircase I’ve ever seen. Secondly, the elegant and, let’s face it, totally hipster vibes of the place will soon completely entrance you.
And if you are still so aloof that you are not overtaken with love for Brody House, head on up to the piece de resistance – the welcoming living area resplendent with art, refreshments of the hot AND cold variety and…..an honesty bar. An honesty bar packed to the brim with fabulous Hungarian wine, champagne, beer, spirits aplenty and, of course, bar snacks.
We didn’t want to tear ourselves away from our new favourite place in the world (especially as the rooms are huge, beds comfy and – for honeymooners – filled with rose petals and fizz) but tear ourselves away we did. Once outside in the big bad world we were rewarded with some of the best food we have eaten, streets so beautiful they begged to be photographed and wine so quaffable we were in a constant state of bliss.
But don’t forget about the culture, which in historic Budapest is in abundance. Most of the main sights can be found on the Pest side, where Brody House is found, and my favourites were all around the Jewish quarter. The House of Terror Museum, Great Synagogue (pictured) and Shoes on the Danube memorial tell a gruesome and heartbreaking story of a city overtaken by the Nazi’s, then the communists. You won’t be left unmoved.
But it was also our mini honeymoon aka “mini-moon” so we wanted to relax, and be pampered after a year of planning the damn wedding (which we totally enjoyed, despite my histrionics!). Budapest has your back on that front too, with public baths to soothe your aching muscles and spa treatments on hand too. We loved the Gellert Baths over on the Buda side.
Lastly, do not dare leave Budapest without enjoying the famous ‘ruin’ bars like the fun Szimpla Kert (pictured), the place to see and be seen (and surprisingly cheap as chips). The ruin bars popped up a few years ago, and are literally bars in the ruins of the city, before becoming super popular in the last year or so. Alongside being totally hipster, they have a romantic, otherworldly vibe too, and are great for a final night out n beautiful Budapest.
Where to stay
Lucy and Oli stayed at the gorgeous Brody House – our top pick for Budapest. Set in a beautifully converted mid-century mansion, each room is individually designed but all are stylish, fun and unfailingly comfortable. With a decidedly creative feel throughout, the communal areas are appealing places to hang out and, overlooking the Hungarian National Museum, you couldn’t be better placed to explore.
Address: Brody Sandor utca 10, Budapest, 1088 Hungary
There are daily flights from London to Budapest. The airport is a 25-30 minute drive from town – just hop in a taxi or catch a bus or metro