Kimberly has been an expat in Budapest, Hungary since 2011. She is from Alaska and spent a couple of years in Kenya too. Her blog is the Other Side of the World where you can read interesting posts about Budapest and in general Hungary too as seen by an Alaskan teacher / expat in Budapest.
Here is our interview with Kimberly about living in Budapest, Hungary
What was your first reaction when you got into the city of Budapest?
My first reaction was “This is so beautiful and easy.” Budapest has a beautiful yet antique feel to it that makes you feel like you’re in old and new Europe all at the same time. It’s also so easy to get around and explore, which made my first weeks in Budapest a great adventure.
Did you have any preconceptions about Budapest that proved to be wrong?
I had never been to Budapest before moving here, so I didn’t know exactly what to expect. However, Budapest proved to be a vibrant and relaxing city to live in.
What are your favourite hidden gems in Budapest? (any attractions, museums, parks, cafes, playgrounds, baths, etc.?)
My favorite place in Budapest is Margit Sziget. The peacefulness of this island right in the middle of the city is a quiet retreat for me. Whether I’m going for a run, laying by the pools of Palatinus, or enjoying a picnic in the grass, I love the gardens and options the island offers. It’s fun to watch the seasons change there too. Fall, winter, spring, or summer. It is always a beautiful place to relax alone or with friends.
Have you tried any of the thermal baths or lidos? If so, which did you like / dislike?
My first experience at the baths was Szechenyi on a dark winter night with snow falling around us. It was beautiful. I like Szechenyi Baths for the beauty of the building and the crowds it draws. Kiraly Baths is more quaint, small, and less known, but I like it for it’s very old feel and ambiance.
Do you have a budget tip for budget travellers?
Week day lunch in Budapest is a great deal! Most big hotels and fancy restaurants have a business lunch menu for 1000-1500 HUF. It’s a set menu with two or three courses and a drink. Make this your big meal for the day and it will save you a bit of money. Just ask for the lunch menu of the day.
Is it worth splurging on something in Budapest?
Sunday brunch at the big hotels will cost you about 8000 HUF, but it is a great afternoon with friends. My favorite is the Corinthia Hotel. You can spend 3 to 4 hours eating, drinking, and chatting with friends. A nice relaxing Sunday afternoon in a 5-star location.
Suppose you need to take a friend to a good restaurant in Budapest for a casual dinner. Where would you take him / her?
There are many restaurant options in Budapest with a variety of well prepared ethnic foods. Whenever I have guests from out of town, however, I like taking friends to Klass, a Hungarian restaurant that combines traditional Hungarian dishes with a modern twist and fresh ingredients. It has a good atmosphere and excellent Hungarian wines selection. Its location on Andrassy puts you in a central location for a nice walk after dinner as well.
Is there any traditional Hungarian food you would really love to take home with you?
Fruit soup. As an American this seems more like a dessert, but I have really enjoyed adopting Hungary’s summer soup as a traditional appetizer. And it’s really easy to make!
If you can share some dos and don’ts with visitors to Budapest, what would be your top choice(s)?
Do be respectfully quiet in public areas. Don’t talk so loud on trams and in cafes. Hungarians tend to be quieter than other Western cultures, so observe your surroundings and notice that your voice level should be softer in public.
Is there anything you really hate(d) about Budapest?
Honestly, there is nothing I hate about Budapest. Budapest is the easiest city I’ve moved to. The city has a lot to offer and people are kind and accommodating to foreigners.
Is there anything you absolutely love(d) about Budapest?
I love public transportation in Budapest. It’s everywhere, affordable, and easy to use. I can get anywhere I want in the city any time I want to get there, day or night.