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The BEST of Budapest - Budapest Travel Guide



Budapest is without a doubt one of the best cities in Europe. Personally, we think it is the best city in Europe - essentially it cannot be missed off your European bucket-list. It has beautiful architecture to rival that of Rome and Paris, but it has a charming grundgy edge similar to Berlin

We spent a whole month in Budapest to put together this ultimate Budapest travel guide for you. 

WHAT YOU'LL GET FROM THIS TRAVEL GUIDE TO BUDAPEST

  • How long to spend in Budapest
  • Best Budapest attractions and must-sees
  • Best things to do in Budapest
  • Best places to eat in Budapest
  • Best hotels in Budapest
  • And more!

HOW LONG SHOULD YOU SPEND IN BUDAPEST?

Longer than that. Lots of travel guides plonk Budapest in on a check-the-capitals-off trip next to Prague, Bratislava and Vienna. Most recommend 3-5 days in Budapest, but Budapest is a vibrant and awesome city and deserves longer so you can truly appreciate it. We spent a whole month there. It wasn't enough. We're coming back to Budapest and Hungary this year (give us tips on where to go!)

But if you don't have much holiday time obviously a month isn't going to be an option. I just urge you to take as much time as you possibly can and spend it all in Budapest (aka if you have a week off, spend it all in Budapest, don't smush Budapest into a 'tick-it-off' type trip). 

BEST BUDAPEST ATTRACTIONS AND MUST-SEES

HUNGARIAN PARLIAMENT


The Hungarian Parliament Building is the third largest parliament building in the world (after London's and Bucharest's). It may not be the largest but it is definitely the prettiest. Like the one in London, it has a house of commons and used to have a house of lords until the Soviets got rid of it. 

There was a competition to decide who should design this parliament building. Obviously this one one, but second and third place were so popular that they were built too - right opposite. 

SAINT STEPHEN'S BAZILIKA
bike tour budapest

St Stephen's is cool for two reasons: firstly the views of Budapest from the top are epic and secondly there's a mummified hand inside.. what?!

Now St Stephen was the saint that made Hungary Christian. His hand was said to be sacred and so when he died they cut it off because they were scared that grave robbers would nick it. 

The hand was mummified and to this day (1,000 years later) it can be viewed inside the church - check it out!

DOHÁNY STREET SYNAGOGUE  
Dohány Street Synagogue (or the Great Synangogue) is the second largest synagogue in the world, and the largest Synagogue in Europe! It's very pretty from the outside. 


LIBERTY BRIDGE


Liberty Bridge is our favourite spot in the city. Sometimes they shut it off to cars and trams, so pedestrians are free to roam along it and even climb up the sides! This is the perfect place to drink a bottle of wine and watch the sun set.




THE DANUBE 



Budapest used to be two different cities - Buda and Pest. They were divided clearly with the river Danube. On the Buda side are fancy apartments and Castle District, on the Pest side you'll find the parliament, the Jewish Quarter and more.

ERZSEBET TER

Erzsebet Square is a cool place to hang out in the summer - have a few drinks here before heading over to the hip bars in the Jewish section. 

BUDAPEST CASTLE DISTRICT


Budapest is mostly nice and flat, apart from Budapest Castle District which is on a hill (and has great views of Pest). Wander round and see if you can spot the bullet holes from WW2.

MATTHIAS CHURCH


The prettiest church ever (in my opinion). Founded in 1015 by St Stephen's (the guy with the hand), in the 16th century the occupying Turks used it as a mosque and in the 40s the Nazis and Soviets used it as a stable! 


Nowadays it's just the prettiest church in the world. 

CITY PARK


The city park is a cool place to hang out with your new Hungarian friends (in the winter this water freezes and you can ice skate here)!

HOUSE OF TERROR

This is a museum about the fascist and communist regimes in Hungary. Outside is a small exhibition about the 1956 uprising. It includes a gift from Germany: a section of the Berlin Wall. 

BEST THINGS TO DO IN BUDAPEST

TAKE A SIGHT SEEING BIKE TOUR
Prices from 16 EUR per person

Budapest is flattttt. This means that you can easily walk around and see all the above mentioned sights. But do you know what's easier, quicker and more fun? Seeing them by bike. Rent bikes and zip your way safely through the city (we found Budapest to be very bike friendly). Even better, go on a bike tour with Budapest Bike Breeze - you tour with a real Hungarian expert who can properly explain the sights and history to you, and you get a traditional Hungarian lunch! 

This is the perfect way to get your bearings of the city - you won't see absolutely everything but you will certainly see a good chunk of Budapest which will leave you 'Hungary' for more. (#sorrynotsorry)

VISIT THE THERMAL BATHS IN BUDAPEST


You HAVE to visit one (or more) of the Thermal Baths when you come to Budapest: Hungary is the third most thermal country in the world (after Iceland and New Zealand) and Budapest is the only city in the world with healing thermal baths!! You have to visit! 

We recommend visiting as many as possible, (we visited three in one month). But they are kind of expensive (worth it, but expensive). So which bath should you visit in Budapest?

Firstly here's what they all have in common:
  • Around 5000 FT entry price (£13/$17)
  • You need to bring your own towel (or pay to rent one)
  • An outdoor pool (or two)
  • Lots of indoor pools of different sizes and temperatures
  • Steam rooms and saunas

Essentially no mater which bath you go to, you're going to get to try out some awesome baths and saunas, and you're going to go back to your hotel feeling as soft as a baby's bottom, but, despite their similarities, each bath was still unique.



We went to Gellert, Rudas and Szechenyi and liked them in that order. Gellert was just absolutely stunning and we loved the decor - there was also a wave machine. Rudas had the most amazing (and ancient) indoor medicinal baths. It also has an outdoor-rooftop pool with awesome views of Budapest, but the pool is small. Rudas also has the disadvantage of being male only for most of the week (Mo, We, Th, Fr); it's females only on Tuesday and at the weekend it's everyone. Szechenyi is the largest medicinal bath in Europe and definitely has the most tourists. It's also pretty, but we found the other two more authentic (because there were fewer tourists). 

You can also go to a Spa-rty here! (Nighttime spa club disco party thing)


GO TO A RUIN BAR


Ruin bars are ruined buildings that were bought by students, so that they wouldn't be demolished, and then turned into hipster bars. They are über cool and worth a look in.  

Szimpla is the most famous ruin bar in Budapest. It's very touristy, and many Hungarians will tell you to go somewhere else. But we say you've SIMPLY got to visit Szimpla because it's SIMPLY awesome! (Okay, maybe I should tell you 'Szimpla' is pronounced a bit like 'simp-la' and simpla sounds like simply... note to self, if you have to explain your jokes, they're not funny...)


What we really liked about the Szimpla bar (other than the decor) was the fact that they've turned each little room into a bar in its own right: there's a wine bar, a cocktail bar, a beer bar, a food bar and even a shisha bar. Another great thing is that this isn't just a place for annoying tourists (like us), real locals do hang out here too and they only accept Hungarian Forint here (i.e. the local currency, which isn't Euros).


WINE CRUISE ALONG THE DANUBE 
Prices from 20 Euro per person

One way to really enjoy the Danube is to go on a river cruise. If you're anything like us, you might find river cruises a little boring which can be cured by going on a wine river cruise! 

We went on one with Budapest River Cruise, it including 7 glasses of Hungarian wines and traditional Hungarian music. 


PET A KITTY


Did you know that Budapest has it's own 
cat cafe!! 




Sure the cats are kind of rude, and the 'Cat-uccino' was dreadful BUT it's still a nice place to sit down, relax and get some much needed pet loving.


Purrrfection!


HELP THE HOMELESS


Sadly, like a lot of European cities, Budapest has a lot of homeless people. Apparently the government tries to keep them out of sight of the tourists, which just isn't right! 

What is right, is the project Budapest Bike Maffia have: using donations, they buy sandwich ingredients for the homeless, then they get together to make the sandwiches and cycle round the city to give them out.



We joined them for two evenings and it really is a great project, you can have fun hanging out with like-minded people and cycling round the city, but you can also do something meaningful and kind. 

Perhaps you don't have enough time on your trip to go along with them, so instead please consider giving them a donation.

You can also read more about them in our blog post How to Help the Homeless in Budapest.

BEST PLACES TO EAT IN BUDAPEST
Speaking of eating, what are you going to have in Budapest?

TAKE A HUNGARIAN FOOD TOUR
Prices from $90 per person

Taste Hungary is the perfect way for foodies to explore Budapest (and the surrounding areas). And when I say foodies, I mean anyone and everyone who loves food, because these tours and evening events are perfect for everyone: from wine snobs to food novices. 

We tried a Hungarian-Vegetarian Food Tour with Taste Hungary, and absolutely loved it, we got to learn more about both Budapest and Hungarian cuisine (what more could you want?) and yes Budapest can cater to both vegetarians and vegans - yey. 



HAVE DINNER AT THE TASTING TABLE


We enjoyed our food tour so much that we went back a week later for a dinner party at the Tasting Table. This was a delicious and enjoyable affair which had a great ratio of tourist to locals.

For more of the best places to eat in Budapest, check out my Guide to Hungarian Cuisine!





BEST HOTELS IN BUDAPEST
THE ARIA  
aria hotel budapest review
Prices from 220 Euros

We spent the night at the Aria which was voted the number one hotel in Budapest. It deserves this title, it's a comfy, luxurious hotel with a perfect pool and sauna. Check out our full review here.

And to book your own room head over to their website or find them on your favourite booking website: Agoda | Booking.com | Expedia | Hotels.com 


AIRBNB

place to stay budapest

As we stayed for so long in Budapest, we decided to rent out a place on AirBnB, as AirBnB offer great discounts for weekly or monthly stays. 


We loved the AirBnB we stayed at (you can check it out here). And were glad we stayed with AirBnB because we had 'luxuries' like a washing machine and a kitchen. 


If you're new to AirBnB, have a £20 AirBnB discount voucher on us! :) 


HOUSE SITTING


Browse house sitting in Budapest to find free accommodation in return for looking after a house and pet (or two)!

If you'd like to try House Sitting, don't forget to sign up to our mailing list to get a 10% discount to our favourite house sitting website - TrustedHouseSitters and if you'd like some tips on being a first time sitter, check out our ebook.




MORE INFORMATION
We used to make daily vlogs on YouTube, so if you're looking for more information on any of the above tours/hotels and/or you just fancy vegging out and watching a playlist, be sure to check out our Budapest playlist!



CONCLUSIONbest of budapest

Hopefully it's clear at this point that we LOVED Budapest, it's a fun, pretty, cheap city and one of our absolute favourites places in Europe.



There's lots to do in Budapest, no matter what your tastes are and so hopefully this post has given you some ideas to add to your own Budapest bucket-list. 


Need a quick post to convince your significant other or travel buddy try this one: 10 Reasons You MUST Visit Budapest

Over to you: have you been to Budapest? Did we miss anything off this list? Let us know in the comments below or find us on Facebook


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ABOUTME

We're Laura and Tanbay, a British/German couple who have successfully weaselled our way out of the rat-race and want you to do the same! We also want to make it clear that we sometimes use “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we use personally and believe will add value to our readers.

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