Title Image

Budapest

Transportation and Accommodations

Getting around

We walked almost everywhere, except late at night and to and from the airport. It’s a big city, but if you are located in a central location, you can easily walk everywhere. We also just used a car service to get to and from the airport (between 20 and 25 euros total). If you prefer to use the metro, the 100E metro will take you to and from the airport (from the main square which is about a 5-10 minute walk from Vaci street). The only other time you really need the metro is to get to the Sczhenyi baths. It’s about an hour walk, or you can take the metro there (M1).

Accommodations

I would recommend staying in District 5. This is a great place to be for the nightlife and for reaching all the different sights. We stayed very close to Vaci street and it was prime location because it is in the heart of the city.

Things to do and see

Buda

Castle Hill

Check out Castle Hill. It’s a great area to explore. We spent an afternoon up here. To get up Castle Hill you can take a funicular or you can walk up. I would recommend walking up because there’s a long line for the transport up and it is very slow. The walk takes about ten minutes and is not bad at all. The spots we checked out up here were:

Buda Castle (inside there are 2 museums if you’re interested)

Matthias Church (very cool and different church; about a 15 minute walk from Buda Castle)

Fisherman’s Bastion (a neat little area around the Church to take pictures in the arches that look out over Danube River and the Pest side)

Famous pastry shop up here called Ruszwurm

We got lunch at the oldest restaurant up there that was a typical Hungarian restaurant with Gypsy music. It was called Black Raven

Faust Wine Cellar (this was closed when we went so maybe it is a summer thing? But I heard it is a cool wine tasting in the Castle)

Gellert Hill

Citadella—hike up here. It only takes about 20 minutes to walk up from the bottom and there’s a wonderful panoramic view of Budapest. The top is marked by a large statue.

Gellert Spa – This is found at the bottom of the hill. We didn’t go here, but it’s one of the bigger bath houses in Budapest. Note: 1 pool requires bathing caps and you should bring own towel and flip flops

C­­hain Bridge

A well known bridge you will use to cross between Buda and Pest. It leads you to the bottom of Castle Hill on the Buda side.

Pest

Szechenyi Baths

This is the biggest bathhouse in Budapest with a lot of indoor baths and then 3 large outdoor baths. The building is a large yellow building. I would just skip the indoor ones and go straight outside. The indoor ones are kind of weird and smell like sulfur. The outdoor ones are large and fun. There are 3: one is a lap pool so it is the coldest, then one is lukewarm and one is like a hot tub. We went on an overcast, cold and rainy day and just hung out in the outside warm one for a while after experimenting with the others.

Note: no one really speaks English here so try to do a little research beforehand. We just bought the locker and day pass (4700 for weekends in their currency. 295 of their currency is about 1 euro)

You can store your stuff in the lockers while you are in the baths, but bring your own towel! You can buy them there but we just shared one between us. I would recommend bringing flip flops as well to walk from bath to bath in

Heroes Square and City Park

Just walk through here on your way to the Szechenyi baths. Those baths are located inside City Park and Heroes Square is the main entrance to the park. Apparently there is an ice rink in City Park in the winter but it wasn’t up when we were there.

Andrassy Avenue

We walked down this major street to get to the Szechenyi baths

Hungarian Parliament Building

This is the huge building you see associated with Budapest. It is beautiful on the outside. We walked around the outside and saw it from across the river. You can go inside, but you need to reserve a spot in advance if you are interested.

Shoes on the Danube Bank

These are a memorial for World War II (the Nazis took the Jews shoes before they were killed). These can be found on the Pest side between the Chain Bridge and the Hungarian Parliament Building

Stephen’s Basilica

Church in Budapest. We went inside, you can also go to the top, but we did not.

Vorosmarty Square

Big square in Budapest with the largest Christmas market here in the winter! If you’re here around Christmas time, definitely check this out! There are lots of food stands and little shops outside. It’s pretty at night with all the lights lit up

Vaci Street

This is the most famous street in Budapest and runs from Vorosmarty Square to the Central Market Hall

Central Market Hall

Big market, mainly has fruits, vegetables, and meats on the bottom floor whereas the top floor has a few little places to get food and lots of vendors selling touristy things to clothing to other random items. Note that this is closed on Sundays

Elizabeth Square

Square with a large ferris wheel (Budapest Eye)

Danube River cruise

They have these during the day, at night, and for dinner! We didn’t end up doing one because of the weather, but it would’ve been fun.

Margaret Island

Park/recreational area

Hungarian Wine Tasting

Food and Drink Recommendations

Food

Black Raven

A bit more expensive (we spent about 17 euros a person) but it was a typical Hungarian restaurant and there was live gypsy music. It is located up on Castle Hill

Robinson’s

Had a good lunch here after the Szechenyi Baths and is located only 5 minutes from the bath house

Chimney Cake!

You have to try one of these. They have them a lot in Prague too, but I found them to taste slightly different. They are essentially baked dough, but the inside is hardly cooked and the outside is crunchy. You can get different things on the outside but my favorite was just the cinnamon sugar

Nightlife

In general, District V is a great nightlife area and the areas around it

Ruin Bars

All seem very cool and are fun to explore

Szimpla Kert

One of the many ruin bars and is a two story bar with multiple bars inside the building. This was my favorite spot in Budapest and a must do. It was so cool inside. It’s a lot of foreigners, but still some locals and it’s all different ages. It was pretty reasonably priced too

Fogashaz

Another ruin bar. This one is more like a club because we got there too early one night and it was almost empty. I wouldn’t go until at least after midnight, if not later. It seemed like it could be pretty cool though

Instant

This is one feels more like a club. It is one of the best known ruin bars with about 23 rooms, 6 bars and 4 dance floors

DiVino Borbar

Lively wine bar located by St. Stephen’s Basilica/ Went here one night before going to one of the bars and clubs

Peaches and Cream

This is another club, and it’s on the same street as Instant. It was okay, not my favorite, kind of had a different crowd than I like, but still was cool

Other Notes

It is such a big city, but so fun and cool! We loved it, even though it has been overcast and raining most of the time we were there. There was a lot to do in the city and the nightlife was really fun. We went in late November and it was definitely getting chilly, I was glad I had a thick jacket.

Budapest is technically made up of Buda and Pest, which are separated by the river. Hungary is on a different currency that definitely gets confusing, but in general Budapest is very cheap!! As a whole, we felt very safe in Budapest (3 girls traveling together), but we were told to avoid the outer parts of districts Vii, VIII, and IX at night.

Luggage storage: We stored our luggage just off of Vaci Street for the afternoon when we had to be out of our airbnb in the morning