Hungary: A few days in the country's capital
Budapest has got to be one of the most stunning cities in the whole of Europe, potenitally the whole world. With cobbled streets and twisting and turning alleyways there is something around every corner which will appeal to all travellers.
I actually travelled from Ljubljana to Budapest using Bla Bla Car. This is a free app, downloadable from the App Store or Google Play. It connects you with drivers who are making a journey for a certain fee. You search dates, destinations and drop-offs to find one which suits you. I travelled the six hours as a passenger in Gregoy's car for less than 15 Euros! He even dropped me right at the door of my hostel as we arrived later than planned due to traffic and he didn't want me getting lost at 10pm. The drivers go through a screening process and you can see reviews left by previous passengers. I haven't been in a position to do anymore road trips of this nature since this trip but I would use the service again without a moment's hesitation.
The famous landmarks and beautiful architecture are must-see. You can join one of the free walking tours which run twice daily. No pre-booking is required, simply turn up at Vörösmarty Square at 10:30 or 14:30 for the original tour. If you are more interested in a specific tour - Communism and Judaism as a focus, these tours meet at the same place at 10:00 daily. Enjoy taking in the sights and receiving information from locals. At the end, simply tip what you think your tour was worth, no pressure.
Budapest is swarming with things to do, not only are there many sights to see but there are plenty of other activities too. Relax and unwind in one of the many thermal baths. Swimmers can be rented if you did not pack your own - this isn't as gross as it sounds! The baths are clean though some are older than others but hygiene is kept at a high standard. Alternatively, kick back with a beer at a famous ruin bar. These are bars which have been created in abandoned buildings and turned into some very unique and quirky spots. Every evening cruises sail along the Danube offering sophisticated dinners or late-night drinking trips. Often free drinks are included in the ticket prices. Shop around as prices do vary from boat to boat.
Budapest by night is definitely a stunning sight which must not be missed. If you are visiting, keep an evening free so you can meander along the riverbank, cross over the world-renowned chain bridge and take in the view. Of all the places in the world, I think Budapest is definitely one of my favourite to photograph at night.
There are literally hundreds of places to stay in Budapest. The accommodation is more expensive depending on your proximity to the river but the backpackers hostels are extremely reasonable. Of course, you do get what you pay for. However, if you're just looking for a place to sleep because you're going to be out doing a lot of exploring, save the extra pennies on sampling the different Hungarian food and beer. Whatever happens, do not forget to try Hungary's very own Kürtőskalács. A special cake, also known as Chimney Cake, flavoured with cinnamon and sugar which will delight any palette.
The rest of my trip, from Budapest to Croatia, was organised through G-Adventures. A company which specialises in solo travellers travelling together. They get discounts on hotels and travel due to you being in a group but there is absolutely no pressure to stay with the group once you arrive at a destination. Normally I arrange everything myself for my trips but on this occasion, it actually worked out considerably cheaper to go with a company. The first stop on the itinerary was Serbia. Click to find out more.