We were in Budapest for 2 nights over the May Day celebrations a quick trip whilst my daughter was on a Scout Camp!
Arrived late afternoon Friday 30th April to beautiful sunshine and took a taxi to our hotel the Corinthia Royal. We had the Executive Club deal and were ushered swiftly to 1st floor where we had a dedicated book in and were introduced to the buffet and bar which was available to us free of charge until 10pm each night. The hotel was wonderful and room did not disappoint was large, comfortable and well appointed couldn't recommend it too much. We will return!
We had foolishly not booked the Bock restaurant but asked in case and the hotel tried their best but failed. We were directed to Liszt Ferenc and took a wander in the sunshine before settling down for a cocktail trying a couple of places before settling at Beuna Vista. The atmosphere in all the bars and cafes in the area was wonderful a mix of tourists and locals, service was great and very helpful English being spoken widespread. We ate at Beuna Vista my wife having the wild boar and I had the pike. Both were superb. We eventually left for the hotel at approaching midnight with the area still going strong and new revellers turning up.
A great night sleep and lovely breakfast at the Executive Club ( wide choice including omelettes, salmon,bacon, fruit salad the lot!) and it was out to get onto the Hop on Hop off bus. As it was May Day all the shops were shut and obviously everybody had the same idea. We had to wait 3 buses before we could get on but this wasn't too much problem as the stop was on Liszt Ferenc so it was into a cafe for coffee. We boarded the red Budapest Sightseeing bus and took the trip. Commentary was provided through earphones but blurred into the background as the wonderful sights of Budapest rolled by. Heroes Square, the May Day Party, Elizabeth Bridge, the Chain bridge, the Danube, the Castle,St Mattias, the Citadel, Parliament. the Great Synagogue, St Stephen's, Opera House and much more.
The sun was shining the whole city was alive and it wasn't a day for going into museums or churches. We regularly stopped for coffees and drinks, took a wander around the castle, sat and listened to the band and had ice creams. Don't think either of us stopped smiling!
Early evening back to the hotel a drink and snack in the Executive Club then a taxi to the Danube and a night trip with Legenda. The sights we had seen during the day were all lit up and displayed magnificently. The trip was very enjoyable and we would recommend it. When we docked we strolled around for a while before getting a taxi back towards the hotel. Of course we diverted to Liszt Ferenc and ended up back at Beuna Vista! It was well passed 11pm by then but the whole area was buzzing. A tenderloin steak for me and hungarian chicken for wife. Possibly even better than the first night!
Sunday morning leisurely breakfast and packed before checking out. the hotel kindly offered us use of the spa and executive club for the rest of the day but the sun was shining so back out we went. Onto the other HOHO bus, orange one. Slightly more expensive than red bus but more extras, day and night cruises, couple of walking tours, discount vouchers etc. The commentary was also much better much more than a dry recitation of facts. Better route as well taking in the zoo and Szecheny Baths. I managed to leave my jacket whilst waiting for the bus but the guides spotted it and I was able to pick it up from their head office later. Well done to them! We also took the day cruise on offer another view from the Danube and this time around Margaret Island. All very good.
Then you guessed it back on HOHO to Liszt Ferenc before heading to the airport. Varied this time as we didn't go to Beuna Vesta we ended up opposite at Cafe Vian! Chicken paprika for me garlic lamb for the wife. Probably even better than Beuna Vista food wise though the Mojitos were better at BV.
Picked up our bags from hotel and cab to airport. Our time in Budapest should have ended there but a technical fault with the plane meant we spent a night at an airport hotel before finally getting home the following Monday evening ( very scary experience as we had been stuck in Berlin for 6 days with the Ash cloud!).
So in summary our thoughts about Budapest. Wow! Prettier than Prague which we had loved, a definate Parisian feel with the cafe culture maybe like Paris in 50's before everyone started to rush. The sights were marvellous, there is so much to do. We fully occupied our 2 and half days but didn't enter a church or museum, didn't see a show or concert and did't stop. Definately our favourite place in Europe and we are already planning our next visit. The people were welcoming and helpful. The hotel was tops comparing well with Grovesnor House, London, Bellagio Las Vegas etc. We will be back and thanks to this board for advice in planning the trip!