As the capital city of Hungary, Budapest is rich in culture, history and architecture – not to mention traditional food and incredible nightlife. The Danube river splits the city into two, with Buda on one side and Pest on the other, the later being full of accommodation, bars and restaurants. After spending 10 days exploring this breathtaking city, I can confidently say visiting Budapest should be on everyone’s European Bucketlist. Here is my guide to exploring this beautiful city…
Flights to Budapest from the UK are frequent and take approximately 2 and half hours. A return flight will cost as little as £50, depending on when you’re visiting Budapest. If you are flexible on dates, head to Skyscanner and select the whole month – this shows you the prices across the whole month, helping you schedule your trip at the most cost-effective time.
Getting to the city from the airport is super easy. From outside the terminal jump on the 100E bus which takes you right into the city. There are a few stops in the city, but the final stop takes you to Deák Ferenc Tér – which is really central. Tickets cost 900 HF (2.55 GBP / 2.88 EUR) per person, which you buy from the driver.
When I travel to a new city, my first port of call when looking into accommodation is always Airbnb – I love finding properties that suit all of our travel needs. We work remotely as we travel, so it’s always vital for us that we have a reliable wifi connection and space to work, and because we travel slower and tend to stay in locations for longer, so having a washing machine and cooking facilities is always really nice to have too. The studio appartment we chose in Budapest ticked all of these boxes and was in right in the heart of the city, with everything we needed close by.
If Airbnb isn’t for you, there are plenty of accommodation options including hostels and upmarket hotels – the easiest way to check out the options is to search via Booking.com
Things to Do
When visiting Budapest you’ll never be short of things to do – here are some of my favourite things to do in this city…
Walking Tour: We went on a 2.5 -3 tour with Free Walking Tours who were great. The tour touched on the culture, history, traditions, food and drink of Budapest and was invaluable for getting a feel of the city. There is no upfront cost, you are free to tip as you wish at the end. The company also offer more specific tours too, if theres an area your keen to learn more about.
House of Terror: Extremely interesting (and harrowing) museum showing the history of Budapest since WW2. Adult tickets cost 3000 HUF (8.51 GBP/ 9.60 EUR) – more info here
Great Market Hall: A huge, beautiful market hall full of all fresh produce – fruit and veg, meat, fish, bread and cheese. Upstairs there are Hungarian food stalls, which are slightly pricey for food stalls, but we had the BEST Langos there – so definitely give it a try!
Evening River Cruise: A great way to spend an evening is on the River! It’s a great way to see the city at night – it’s stunning! We opted for a wine tasting trip – but there are plenty of other options, including dinner cruises. Our trip was with Budapest River Cruise – and we were given a lot of wine!
Thermal Baths: Across the city there are many thermal baths – This site explains in more detail about each! (We didn’t actually go to any baths – but were told on many occasions that we should, so it’s definitely worth looking into if you’re visiting Budapest)
Night out in a Ruin Bar: When visiting Budapest, a Ruin Bar is a must! Derelict buildings, filled with junk, covered in art and super cheap beer – what’s not to love?! There are lots dotted around the city, but the most famous is Szimpla Kert – we LOVED it
View of the city at night during our River Cruise
Sites to See
Castle Hill: Castle Hill was one of my favourite parts of the city to wander around. It was one of the stops on our walking tour – but we had to go back to explore further. Be sure to check out Fisherman’s Bastion (my favourite spot of the whole city) and The Royal Palace (which has two museums and the royal gallery inside) while you’re there.
Citadella: Just before sunset walk up to the Citadella for incredible views over the whole of Budapest. We arrived just before it was dark and waited to see the whole city light up – it was beautiful! From Gellert Baths, it’s around a 15 minute walk up (including lots of steps!). There’s a clear (and lit) path – follow the green and white flags and you can’t get lost!
City Park: A 20 minute walk out of the city you’ll find City park complete with Heroes Square and the stunning Vajdahunyad Castle (it’s like something from a fairy-tale!) There were market stalls selling food and souvenirs when we went on a Sunday too.
Parliament Building: It’s definitely worth walking along the river and enjoying the beautiful views of Parliament.
Places to Eat & Drink
- Szimpla Kert – THE Ruin Bar to visit
- Gerbruaud – Beautiful cakes in a beautiful setting
- Great Market Hall – Hungarian food – 1st floor
- Spiler – Hungarian and Asian fusion
- My Little Melbourne – Amazing coffee
- Gringos Amingos – Awesome Mexican food
Traditional Food and Drink
In all honesty, healthy, plant-based eating was hard to come across in Budapest. Bread, meat, sour cream and cheese are staples to any meal, so my advice – embrace it!
- Kürtőskalács (Chimney Cake): Delicious dough rolled into a cone and cooked over a fire…and our favourite of the food we tried in Budapest
- Goulash: (of course!)
- Toltott Kaposzta: Cabbage leaves stuffed with pork and rice
- Langos: Fried flatbread with all the toppings (try the one at the Great Market Hall)
- Dobos Cake: Layered cake topped with caramel
- Unicum: (Think Jaegermaester!)
- Palinka: Sweet fruit brandy – it comes in loads of flavours!
I hope this post might have inspired you to visit Budapest, or helped you plan your trip if you’re already heading there. If you have any questions, feel free to ask – I would love to hear from you!
I made a video if our time in Budapest too, which you can watch here!
I love using my lonely planet books to help me plan my travels to new places – I used Lonely Planet’s Best of Europe when Visiting budapest (…and it’s given me loads of inspiration for future European trips too!)