It’s your anniversary, your husband’s birthday, the celebration of her new job, or just any other reason to say I love you. What do you do? Sure, you can book the standard night out but what if you could step it up a notch….tell him how much he means to you or tell her that she really is that special!
My husband and I have set out to explore Europe’s most exciting cities and hidden treasures to give you a tried and tested Date Night itinerary that will blow your loved one out of the water.
Let me start by saying that if you haven’t been to Budapest. Stop reading. Open another browser and book your tickets NOW! This city is truly spectacular…it’s friendly, it’s affordable, and it’s undeniably romantic.
Named the Paris of the East, Budapest is the perfect city to explore with someone you love. The city literally screams extravagance from every corner. From the jaw-dropping views over the night-lit river embankment to UNESCO World Heritage sites like the Buda Castle and the Hungarian Parliament, to sitting on top of Gellert Hill or standing under the roofs by the balcony of the picturesque Fisherman’s Bastion, Budapest was made for lovers. Come for the weekend and you’ll never want to leave again.
The city is full of affordable luxury. Many of the world’s top hotel brands are located here but for a fraction of the price you would normally find in other European cities….Ahem, did someone mention Paris?
One of our favourites, however, was the Corinthia Hotel. This iconic 19th century building very much mirrors the city in grandeur and its striking elegance hits you from the moment you arrive. The hotel, one of the largest in Budapest caters to each guest with the personalised attention you’d usually find in a much smaller boutique hotel. If the city wasn’t so inviting, you might find it hard to venture out. The spa (a perfect end after long sight-seeing trips) and Michelin-rated restaurant (which hosts one of the best Sunday brunches…EVER) are well worth sticking around for.
For those who want to be located in the heart of it all, look no further than the Kempinski Hotel. Located in the heart of downtown Pest, just a few blocks away from the Danube River. If you can tear yourself away from your fantastic room, all beautifully decorated with lithographs by Nobel Prize winner Imre Kertesz, you are literally steps away from the city’s major shopping artery. Something I kept reminding my better half…you know, in case he got the sudden urge to buy me a present! Fun and relaxed, this hotel and its down-to-earth bistro Es Bisztro makes for the perfect base in a city with so much to offer.
Fun and tasty options are plentiful and there’s no end to the number of trendy places to eat in Pest. Go to the Jewish District and you’ll find an assortment of Manhattan- style restaurants, wine bars and cosy cafes.
For your date night, stoke the fires of passion by indulging in a nine course Michelin-starred tasting menu at Tanti. Tanti, meaning auntie in Hungarian, combines traditional and modern techniques providing an elaborate yet familiar taste. From the comfortable space to the warm service, Tanti might be one of Budapest’s best-kept secrets. Located on the Buda side, Tanti gives you a great excuse to take a trip to the more residential half of the city.
On the way back, be sure to take in the views of Pest by walking back over the Chain Bridge – the sights are equally as fantastic on both sides.
Budapest has a tremendously rich natural spring water reservoir, right under the city. Called the City of Baths, you can soak up the goodness at one of the city’s ten bath houses. We suggest: Szechenyi Thermal Bath, Gellert Bath or Rudas Bath.
Next, exchange your bathing suit for your ball gown and treat yourself to the Hungarian State Opera in Budapest. This spectacular building would have been well worth seeing in its own right, even without experiencing the spectacular performance of Carmen, one of my all-time favourite operas, conducted by István Dénes. Simply incredible.
Flights to Budapest
-Karyn Gorman and Olav Adami