TripAdvisor is a fantastic resource and after much research and deliberation (paralysis by analysis!) I've settled on the following itinerary. Please offer any advice - especially regarding geographical convenience (I've not sat down with a map), hints n tips etc.
I'm flying to Budapest this Saturday (23rd Feb) to celebrate my girlfriend's birthday. This is our first trip away together and I want it to be a special one. I'd like to take in as much as possible (visiting somewhere new excites me) without Anna feeling rushed around on a whistle top tour. Compromise is key and I know I can't fit in everything. Oh ... and food should figure quite highly too!
We're staying at the Art 'Otel and I've already paid the premium for a room with a Danube view. We're staying 3 nights and fly back on Tues 26th on a 4pm flight (EasyJet LGW). Breakfast is not included so I intend to stop for coffee and pasties along the way. I might consider room service on the Sunday (the big day) as breakfast in bed is always a treat. Can't wait for that view! I've requested a room as high up as possible ... but I guess we'll have to wait and see.
We touch down at 4.15 on Sat and, once we've collected bags, withdrawn funds from atm (will they accept maestro or only visa?) ... it's been well drilled in to get Zona Taxi to the hotel. Planning a quiet night on the Buda side - Le Gardin De Paris seems well reviewed? Can you give me a rough idea of cost? Would also consider recommendations for something more traditional in this location - perhaps with live folk music? Depending on time, maybe go for a drink after, either Oscars (Cocktails) or the Belguim Brasserie on the corner of our block (let me sample a few beers within stumbling distance).
Sunday is Birthday ... but assuming we don't spend the whole morning in bed, will try to be up and about by 10. First job is to get a 3 day travel pass - can we get this from Batthyany Square station? Planning to spend the day up at the City Park so first port of call is Heroes Square (10.30). Then its time for a splash and a soak and perhaps a little pampering at Szechyeni Baths (11-1pm). I dislocated my shoulder playing rugby last weekend - how can I explain this should I choose to have a massage. Can imagine myself gesticulating like Mr Bean (if you're British you'll know) so a few words will help my cause. I've made reservations at Gundel for 1.30pm for the Sunday Brunch ... seems the best way to enjoy this dining experience ... and by that, I mean most affordable! Unsure about timings for the afternoon but the plan is then iceskating on the lake (3pm) for an hour and then a trip to the Zoo. What are the key attractions at the moment? Anything cute and furry would probably go down well! Also how much is entry? Before heading back to the hotel, return to Heroes Square for the obligatory night time shot ... what time is best? Sundown? The evening meal was a toughy and I'm yet to make the reservation. Spoon has got mixed reviews on here but will be a special location for a birthday meal (romantic views ... plus the toilet "has got to be seen"). What am I expecting price wise? £25-30pp? And just when you thought I couldn't squeeze anymore in ... I can’t! Home time, for some well deserved rest.
If Sunday was a day of luxury, then Monday is a day to see the sights. I've booked a Segway tour of Pest for 10am. Not cheap ... £40pp ... but looks like it'll be a lot of fun. Currently no other bookings so would be great if we get the tour to ourselves. We might look like idiots but it'll be something my GF won't forget. Still waiting to hear back re: route as this could impact how we spend the rest of our time. Lunch or a bite to eat at a café - Gerbeaud is seen by many as "the must visit" but I'm open to more personal suggestions. After lunch we'll cross over to the Buda side and visit the Jewish quarter (2.30) ... with the Leo Frankel Synagogue the main attraction. The rest of the afternoon will be spent exploring the castle district. Intend to take the funicular up and then explore at our leisure, Matyas Church, Fisherman's Bastian, etc. Haven't really planned this part so any guidence much appreciated. The evening meal is planned for Cafe Kor (how could we not) ... I will ask the hotel to make a reservation on our behelf. As it's our last night, I wouldn't mind sampling a bit of the nightlife ... please point me in the right direction. I understand that the bars around Liszt Ferenc Square can be pretty lively? Again, specific recommendations welcome? Is it far?
Tuesday and the end of our trip is almost upon us. We've got a full morning with check-in not opening until 2.15. I'd really like to visit the Terror mueseum ... not sure how keen Anna will be? Perhaps this could be offset with some shopping along Vaci Utca? One post recommended nutella pancakes at Nagyi Palacsinta. Is this a real highlight? And how do we get there? Lunch will either be something cheap and traditional or a visit to one of the other cafes? Perhaps even tie-in with a finish at Market Hall?
I appreciate that this has been a dauntingly long post but I have put a lot of time into the planning and am keen to get the most out of this trip as possible. I look forward to your suggestions and contributions as the advice on here is so frequently invaluable.
Many thanks in anticipation!