National Gallery Hungary by András Szántó


Reward Flight saviours: Budapest

Hannah Ralph 2019
Hannah Ralph


Are you making the most of your Avios? Our Reward Flight Saver could have you winging your way to a new destination for just 23,500 Avios plus as little as £1.* In this new series, we suggest the places to go and the perfect weekend itineraries…

When it comes to late spring escapes, Eastern Europe offers up all the marvels of a magnificent city break in Budapest. It’s an exceptional ‘pack your bags, I’m surprising you’ weekender in the Hungarian capital, to which you could just as easily take your hiking boots as your high heels (we’d recommend taking both). Best of all, for only 23,500 Avios plus £1* for an off-peak return flight in Euro Traveller (economy), this photogenic city is all yours.


National Gallery of Hungary (SantoPhotography)


Not something you will have difficulty finding in Hungary’s glistening capital – after all, there are few streets you can walk here without stumbling on something historically or artistically significant. But for a concentrated culture hit, its off to the best, and biggest, art gallery in town: the Hungarian National Gallery. Located inside Buda Castle, the gallery begins with the classics and builds, floor by floor, to some of the most spectacular modern art in all of Europe – look up for the suspended wire sculptures hanging inside the castle dome. On the other side of town, Ludwig Museum has some equally stirring pieces. To be truly moved, though, familiarise yourself with the city’s tragic past at the Dohány Street Synagogue.


Gellért Thermal Bath first opened in 1918


Made up of Buda and Pest, Budapest is a city of two halves. While Pest is relatively flat, Buda, the city’s western sprawl, is a bumpy ride. Ideal for keen hikers, it’s where you can work up a sweat walking from the base of the Liberty Bridge (the same green copper as New York’s famous monument) up to the Liberty Statue (or ‘The Lady on the Hill’) and on to the Garden of Philosophers – a secret corner of Gellért Hill – via the St Gerard Sagredo statue. Of course, no trip to Budapest is complete without a visit to one of its thermal baths: Széchenyi is the most famous but altogether nearer to this hike is Gellért, a dazzling example of Art Nouveau architecture in the city.


Salt’s Michelin-starred chefs at work


If there’s a celebration on the cards, Budapest has eight, incredible Michelin-starred restaurants to choose from – but only Salt, the ground floor restaurant at Hotel Rum, has both a Michelin star and a Michelin green star, the guide’s recognition for above-and-beyond sustainability efforts. Your 15-course tasting menu starts with a tiny wedding bouquet of herbs, designed to mop up a precious cornel of salty, yeasty cream – things only get more elaborate from there. For an altogether more humble feast, head to Retek Bisztro for tender rabbit leg and spicy goulash

Top tip: A trip to the Hungarian capital isn’t complete without a chimney cake – the citys famous cinnamon-coated, sweet dough snack. Get yours at Budavár Kürtőskalács pastry shop, en-route to the Fishermans Bastion look-out. 

nightlife-hotsy totsy

The bar at Hotsy Totsy


There isn’t a slicker operation in town than at Hotsy Totsy – a surprisingly classy blend of Peaky Blinders and 1920s New York (with a cowboy Americana soundtrack, no less). Flat-capped staff will see to it that you’re comfortably seated while you watch the bartenders shake up concoctions with the precision only true perfectionists can achieve – even when they’re selling to a packed-out show. The house cocktail menu is ever-rotating, but the best thing to do is tell them what you’re in the mood for, your favourite tipple, heck – even your favourite kind of glass. Some of the cocktails could double up as desserts, so come here after a dinner in the Jewish district.


Original stairs lead up to the billiards room at Kozmo Hotel


Budapest has plenty of bougie beds, but there’s a faded glamour to many of its most expensive stays. Instead, go for a slice of modern luxury at Kozmo Hotel and Suites. On the eastern stretch of the sparkling Danube in Pest, this former 1920s telecommunications HQ is now a sleek assemblage of 84 rooms and suites that are, thanks to the building’s former incarnation, impeccably sound-proofed. A top-notch breakfast prepares you for a day of street-strolling while its spa, home to two pools and a dark, alder wood sauna, will soothe you once youve returned. A final flash of indulgence comes in the form of an ice-cold martini – just ask the bartender if you can have it in the billiards room upstairs.

*Reward Flight Savers are British Airways’ best value reward flights. Reward Flight Saver offers customers great value flights with a low, flat fee to cover taxes, fees and carrier charges and a fixed Avios amount. To be eligible for Reward Flight Saver, you need to have collected at least one Avios in the past 12 months. To find out more about Reward Flight Saver, click here.

Reward flights are subject to availability. The price referenced here is for a Reward Flight Saver fare and based on an off-peak, return fare for one passenger travelling in Euro Traveller (Economy), from London. All prices and Avios amounts quoted are correct as of May 2023.

This article has been tagged Destination, Avios