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10 Reasons to Visit Budapest!

reasons to visit budapest


There are so many reasons to visit Budapest. It's filled to the brim with gorgeous architecture, fun parties, relaxing spas, delicious food, unbeatable wine and some of the nicest people on the planet - Hungarians! There are so many things to do and see in Budapest and it's incredibly good value. 

We visited Budapest in the summer and loved it so much we stayed for a month. We then went back for another six months... It's without a doubt our absolute favourite city in the whole of Europe. When it comes to being in love with Budapest - we are the experts and we can't wait to show you around! We are honoured to have many Hungarian friends and most of these recommendations come directly from them showing us these places :) 

Here are 10 Reasons to Visit Budapest:




1. THERMAL BATHS 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 natural and healing spas:

reasons to visit budapest

There are lots of spas dotted all across the city - each with outdoor pools, indoor pools, saunas, tiny pools of different temperatures - it's the perfect way to spend an afternoon or two (and the ultimate hangover cure). 


Best thermal baths Budapest

The most famous spa is probably Széchenyi (good luck spelling and pronouncing that one... it's kind of like say-chain-ee". Széchenyi gets crowded, but there are so many pools to try you can usually find a relatively empty one. 

Rudas is another famous spa in Budapest and dates back to 1550, it's mixed at the weekend, women-only on Tuesdays and men-only the rest of the week.

Our favourite spa is Gellért - it's so beautiful inside and tends to be less crowded than Széchenyi, at least in the winter anyway. 



Best time to visit Budapest baths

Talking of seasons, when is the best time to visit Budapest baths? Winter is definitely the best time, because the air is so cold, and it's gorgeous to sit in the hot waters outside, in the summer this feels like being boiled alive. 

But if you are visiting in summer, don't worry, the baths are still awesome then too - the pools are all different temperatures, so it's actually a great place to chill out, literally. 

In terms of best time to visit Budapest baths during any season, I'd recommend going during the week (less crowded) early-ish - not so early that you find the Hungarians going before work, but early enough so you avoid the 'crowds'. (I say 'crowds' because crowds in Budapest are bearable when compared to crowds in London/Amsterdam/Paris etc.)

Last but not least, sparties are a thing in Budapest - nighttime parties in the spa, complete with drinking! Just make sure you avoid the pee.. and semen. lol. 


2. BUDAPEST NIGHTLIFE

And it's not just in the spas where Hungarians know how to party, have you heard about the ruin bars? These are abandoned buildings that were due for demolition and were then taken over by artists and transformed into insanely cool bars.  Visit them. Think two parts graffiti mixed with four parts cheap drinks and five parts meeting people from all across the globe and that's a ruin bar: 

visit budapest

Basically, if you're looking for SUPER cool bars with cheap drinks and fun people, Budapest is for you.

Everyone told us it was a big tourist trap, and it is, but we still love Szimpla (the most famous ruin bar). Other hot spots include Kuplung (best cocktails in town, half price on a Monday), Ankert (great pizza, cheap beers), Instant (a club which has a room for you, no matter what your taste in music is), 360 Bar (with a 360 view of Budapest), Morrisons 2 (a club even shittier than the British supermarket) and Élesztö (best craft beer in the city). 

If you're looking for something a little less 'lads on tour' and a little more 'authentically Hungarian', you'll have to go to pubs where the tables are even stickier, the staff are even ruder and the drinks are even cheaper (yey)! Hungarian recommendations include Hétker (tree growing through the middle of the room) and my personal favourite: Kárpit Café - once a comic book store, it's now been turned into a bar where I once saw the bouncer kick the shit out of a drunk guy.. nem jó. 


Highly recommended: If you're looking for a fun and unique (and safe) way to see several bars in Budapest, check out Bingo Bar Crawl. It's a pub crawl game that you can play with other pub crawl participants. It's lots of fun. I went along with my sister and we had the best time! It's a really great way to meet other visitors to Budapest (and of course to check out the best bars in Budapest).  

3. HUNGARIAN CUISINE

Hungarian food is delicious, or at the very least, like the drinks, Hungarian food is cheap. And the portions are gigantic, you definitely won't starve here.

visit budapest

The Hungarian national dish, Goulash, is warm and filling - not great in summer but perfect in winter (another reason why the best time to visit Budapest is in the winter). Paprika and poppy seeds play a big part in a lot of Hungarian foods. 

As a country that is super into meat and dairy (especially sour-cream, God knows why), Budapest has a surprisingly awesome vegan scene. With over 25 vegan restaurants, a monthly vegan market and a vegan garden!! Find out more here: vegan Budapest guide

The best Hungarian food we've ever had has always been made by genuine Hungarians, if I've said it once, I've said it a million times - get some Hungarian friends. 


4. HUNGARIAN WINE

Speaking of Hungarian friends, another must in Hungary is sharing Hungarian wine with Hungarian friends. They like to mix white wine with fizzy water and call it fröccs. I don't really like fröccs, partly because it makes the wine taste weak, partly because Hungarians always tell me off for saying fröccs wrong (fruuuuchs), whatever, try it, it's a great way to drink a lot without getting a hangover. 

Before we'd been to Hungary we'd never tried Hungarian wine - in fact, we didn't even know Hungary made wine. 

reasons to visit budapest

It's obvious why though: Hungarians don't shout about their wine too loudly because it's SO GOOD and they clearly want to keep it to themselves ;) I don't blame them. Actually, don't try Hungarian wine, just give it all to me.  

There are lots of different wine tastings that you can try in Budapest, it can be overwhelming choosing which one is best for you, to make it easier here is a list of the top 6 Wine Tasting in Budapest

Whilst we're talking about alcohol, let's not forget Unicum which is our favourite Hungarian spirit: 


best time to visit budapest

And Pálinka, Hungary's national spirit, which can be made out of any fruit (including banana).

Hungarian beer is also dope! I always go for anything with 'meggy' in the name because meggy means sour cherry and Hungarian sour cherry beer is the best.  

And, if you're looking for something really special, know that the best time to visit Budapest is when the grapes are being picked - if you can find Hungarian friends who will let you help them with the harvest, do it!


5. DANUBE RIVER CRUISE


Whilst we're talking about alcohol, I should mention that in Budapest you can go on a river cruise and drink lots of wine (you can also go on a river cruise and drink no wine, but that's not as fun). 



best time to visit budapest baths


Hungarian wine is dope, and the Danube River is beautiful - combine the two!

We've been on A LOT of river cruises on the Danube, by far our favourite was Budapest Boat Party - if you get VIP tickets you get unlimited free drinks. It's another great way to meet people and the music is really good (definitely not always guaranteed in Hungary). 

If a Danube River Cruise is at the top of your bucket-list (as it should be), then the best time to visit Budapest, for you, would be the summer - it's much more enjoyable to be on the river when the weather is warm!




6. BUDAPEST IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL CITY  

Did you know that the Hungarian Parliament Building is the prettiest parliament building in Europe, and quite possibly the entire world?! 


best time to visit prague



And it's not just that, the whole of Budapest is filled with beautiful architectural structures - religious buildings and residential apartments alike.  


And it's not just the buildings, Budapest has a lot of beautiful parks and open green spaces. It's also the perfect place to bike around (it's super flat, or at least the Pest side is).  


7. BUDAPEST CAT CAFE


No longer do you have to trek out to Asia to find a cafe where you can share a cuppa with a cat - Budapest has a cat cafe!! 


visit budapest


Dog lovers, don't worry there are plenty of dogs all over Budapest - and you see Hungarian Vizslas everywhere!


8. WEATHER IN BUDAPEST


When is the best time to visit Budapest? All.Year.Round. 

Budapest has perfect weather: hot summers and cold winters. When we were there in the summer there were beautiful blue skies and it was hot every day (and only rained once). 

when to visit budapest

With the promise of snow we knew we had to go back in winter - so we did and spent Christmas in Budapest. The spas are even better in the cold weather and there are far fewer tourists in winter. The Christmas markets are a lot of fun. We also spent New Year's Eve in Budapest and it was the best NYE ever. Put simply, Hungarians know how to party.

If you're wondering when you should visit Budapest I would recommend both summer and winter, but it depends what you're into. 



9. YOU CAN SEE A 1000-YEAR-OLD HAND 


visit hungary


If you've made it this far and haven't booked your cheap flight to Budapest then maybe this will persuade you (but probably not)...

In St Stephen's Cathedral, you can see the actual hand of St Stephen's. It was super special and when he died they were worried about it being stolen, so they preserved it. To this day you can see the mummified hand of a saint. Kind of ew, but something cool to tell your grandkids. 

10. HUNGARIAN PEOPLE ARE AWESOME 

visit budapest

Okay, I borrowed this photo from Pixabay because I thought it was funny - we never saw Hungarians in Budapest on horses or dressed weirdly, generally, Hungarians dress pretty cool. 

And that's one of the reasons we LOVE Hungarians: they are really, really cool! Really chill, really passionate with AMAZING taste in music.


But even more than we love their coolness, we love their niceness. Every Hungarian we've ever met and/or spoken to has been super nice. For example, we decided to embarrass ourselves on YouTube and try to speak Hungarian:


Needless to say, our Hungarian is awful, but man the comments and messages we had from Hungarians were so LOVELY, they were so helpful and supportive and kind about our awful Hungarian. 

Some of our very closest friends are Hungarian, they're pessimistic af but they make very loyal, genuinely kind friends. 


Reasons to visit Hungary

There are thousands of reasons to visit Hungary in Budapest alone, but Hungary isn't all about Budapest, there is so much to see and do outside of our favourite capital.


Best time to visit Hungary

Whilst we think the best time to visit Budapest is all year round, we think the best time to visit Hungary is during the summer. We are biased though because we Interrailed around Hungary one summer and had the best time of our lives. 

And it's not just the whole of Budapest and Hungary you have to see, one of the (many) reasons to visit Hungary is it's super central, you can easily and cheaply take trips to Vienna, Belgrade, Bratislava and Prague.


Best time to visit Prague. 

The best time to visit Prague, like Budapest, is during both summer and winter, both have their advantages: in summer Prague has beautiful, relaxing weather but a lot of tourists (more than Budapest). In the winter Prague has fewer tourists and the cold weather makes for beautiful Instagood photos. 

Read more: 10 things to do in Prague


Where to stay in Budapest

Best Hotels in Budapest

The Corinthia

best hotels budapest

We spent one of the best nights of our entire lives at the Corinthia - that's how good it is. Dinner, breakfast, our room, the baths - everything exceeded our expectations, put simply, we highly recommend you stay here. 

Cost: Prices from £165/night



The Aria Hotel


best hotels budapest



We also spent two nights for Tanbay's birthday at the Aria Hotel and also HIGHLY recommend it. They have a complimentary wine hour, a cool rooftop bar and an awesome spa. 

Cost: Prices from £267/night 



Hotel Parlament 

best hotels budapest

For my birthday we stayed at Hotel Parlament which has possibly the best location in the city - right by the parliament! The rooms are perfect and the breakfast is delicious - also highly recommended!

Cost: Prices from £132 / night


More hotels: for a full list of the best hotels in Budapest click that link. 

Airbnb Budapest

We stayed for a whole month in Budapest in an Airbnb - they're great for long-term stays because you get a good discount. Actually, they're great for short term stays too because you get a kitchen and all your other usual home comforts. 

If you're new to Airbnb have a voucher from us!

Read more: Airbnb deals not even the pros know


House sitting Budapest

We've never house sat in Budapest, but we did spend three whole years house sitting in Australia and Europe. House sitting in Budapest is definitely a great option - you can really immerse yourself into everyday living and have the company of a pet or two. Find out more about house sitting in Budapest here!



Conclusion: 10 reasons to visit Budapest

visit budapest

Conclusion: best city ever. We always said we'd slow down on travel when we found a place that we wanted to slow down in. Budapest is that place. It's very dear to our hearts and if you're about drop us a message on Facebook or Instagram, we'd love to show you around! 

Looking for 40 MORE reasons to visit Budapest? Check out our latest post - 50 Things You Must Do In Budapest

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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!

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