My first ever solo trip, May 2016. I remember feeling excited but nervous, the usual thoughts of something new like this. When I tell people about my travelling they say I’m brave, I don’t think I am, but it definitely takes some balls to make the first move. Anyway, that’s more for another day, lets get into why Budapest should be your first solo stop.
1. Budapest is tiny.
Trust me. I am AWFUL with navigation, do you know how I get around this city without Google Maps? I look around. There’s so many landmarks which can help you to get around easier, on a side note, this is the best city to wander. Public transport is brilliant and very, very cheap but honestly, you will be able walk the majority of it with ease.
Another positive for it being so small is the ability to organise your trip over a few days instead of a week or so. It may feel overwhelming if your first solo travel was a two week long-intense-see everything marathon (or maybe not!), I’d suggest taking it slow. There is a lot of fear that we hold about the world, about other people, a lot of time spent alone, it can be hard to deal with all at once.
My favourite thing to do is plan out a loose three day itinerary:
- One day dedicated to being a tourist. See the main sights, go where everyone is heading and get your pictures for the ‘gram.
- One day to get out of the city and explore a place close by, for example Szentendre.
- One day that you just chill, walk around and take it easy.
2. Budapest has everything you could want.
Right, listen. VisitBudapest.com or whatever hasn’t #sponsored me to say this…but it really is a city with everything. You want history? Gotcha. Architecture? Not a problem. Gluten free, low carb, vegan restaurants? Come the fuck in. I’m quite into Jewish history (don’t ask why, I’m not sure, just something I find fascinating) and it was surprising to me when first here that there was actually a hell of a lot. Budapest has seen wars, it has been knocked down and rebuilt. It has seen centuries of architecture and there is even a remaining wall from the Jewish ghetto.
Another great thing about Budapest is that there is a lot of quieter tourist attractions as an alternative to the busier ones. For example, I wanted to try a thermal bath. Obviously I wanted to see the stunning Szczesny baths but I know how nerve wracking it can be to stroll around half dressed, so I found a quieter one (Veli Bej) and enjoyed it so much I went back twice. Also, there is so much to see. Don’t try and rush yourself into seeing everything as inflexibility is a real fun killer. You can find a million and one pictures of places online, find places you’d really enjoy going and then spend time meandering.
I can’t remember how it was when I first came here but this time around I’ve noticed so many different types of eateries. I say this as someone who lived in London, the variety is outstanding. There are countless vegan, halal, gluten free, low carb and meat options to choose from that everyone can be included. I also just discovered a DIY kitchen which gives you the recipe and the ingredients, and…away you go!
3. Budapest is SAFE.
Walking around at night is my favourite thing to do here. Of course, in the daytime the sights are absolutely beautiful but in the night, when things are lit up against the night sky, that’s when this city really shows what it’s really capable of. I used to be of the ‘get home before sundown’ mindset, but through my experiences (including busy weekends) I realise that it is super safe to enjoy this city at any time. Aside from that, it is a LGBTQ+ friendly city. You will be able to find many bars, saunas, hostels and hangouts to your liking.
Along my way I met a few black girls and asked their experiences of travelling as a woman of colour and if they would blog about it. I think it’s an important part of travelling and maybe the worries that come with it, so I wanted to include that in this post. The girls that I spoke to said they didn’t feel out of place or unsafe, there were people from all over the world here and, although the majority were white people, you will be absolutely fine.
I didn’t experience any unwanted approaches or attempts to be scammed (that I know of!!). Hungarian people, in my opinion, are reserved until you get to know them and then they are super friendly, want to practice their English and have brilliant senses of humour.
So, to summarise why you should come to Budapest:
- Small enough for a short first trip
- Has a huge variety of attractions/food for all
- Extremely safe
- Cheap as hell!!!
Whack on five stars, book your flight now because this place will only get more and more popular!
Note: So if I’ve convinced you to visit this amazing city and you want a discount on your hotel, use my £15 off referral! You get £15 off and so do I, winner winner chicken dinner. 🙂