Budapest Travel Guide

10:24 AM

My house in Budapest, my aching treasure chest...

I finally understand why George Ezra has a whole song devoted to this city. You can’t simply sum up how amazing the city is in just a few words. Budapest is a city of architecture, coffee shops, food, and views. I’ve been all around the world, but I’ve never seen a city quite like this. I went on a two and a half week trip all over Eastern Europe and Budapest was my favorite place. It’s simply a dream, even when it’s below freezing and snowing. If you haven’t been, I highly suggest you go.

You only need about two to three days in the city. It has a good public transportation system but you can walk everywhere if you stay in the city center. I spent three and a half days in Budapest and never ran out of things to do, but two days is still good too. Budapest is split into two parts: Buda and Pest. Stay in Pest, Buda is across the river and is very quiet. Pest has the most things to do.

Budapest is all about enjoying the views, drinking at ruin bars and coffee shops, and admiring the architecture before ending the day at a relaxing thermal bath.

On the Buda Side

Walk up to the Buda Castle (don’t take the funicular – the walk is short and easy) and enjoy the view. The Buda Castle actually houses museums, not castle information. I didn’t go inside, but you can enjoy the view for free.

From Buda Castle, walk along Castle Hill to Matthia’s Church and Fisherman’s Bastion. Fisherman’s Bastion was one of my favorite places in Budapest. It has a better view of the city than Buda Castle. It’s a strange, neo-Gothic bastion perfect for Instagram-worthy pictures or a good place to enjoy a mulled wine. Matthia’s Church has a beautiful mosaic roof and although I never made it inside, it’s supposed to be spectacular.

Walk along the Danube river. You can get a great view of Parliament (which is on the Pest side) and admire all of the different types of architecture. The Buda side is pretty quiet and besides Castle Hill, there’s just restaurants and tourist shops. Walk over the Chain Bridge, over the Danube, and then head to Pest at night.

The Pest Side

Pest is where everything happens. It houses Parliament, the Jewish Quarter, Heroes Garden, the castle next to Heroes Square, ruin bars, the opera house, shopping, and the famous Szechenyi Thermal Baths.

St. Stephen’s: This is the large cathedral. If you pay three euro you can go to the top and have a nice view of the city (although I still think the view from the Fisherman’s Bastion is much better). The church is pretty and free to enter.

Parliament: The building is spectacular. You can take guided tours (it’s about twenty-two euros) or just admire it from the outside. And make sure to look at the shoes that honor the lives lost during the Holocaust.

Opera House: You can take a guided tour but I don’t think it was worth it. Just admire it from the outside as you walk to Heroes Square.

Heroes Square: A nice plaza by the park. Take a nice Instagram photo and dodge tourists. I loved the atmosphere and it was really pretty

Vajdahunyad Castle: It’s beautiful. I believe you can go inside but just admire the architecture on the outside – it’s made up of all types of architecture that somehow work together to build the castle.
Szechenyi Thermal Baths: When you’re in Budapest you have to do a thermal bath – it’s the thing to do. This is the most popular bath and you’ll understand why. It’s inside an old palace with inside and outside baths – but do the outside one. Even if it’s freezing out, you’ll be warm in the bath. It’s a cool experience and one of my favorite things I did in the city. Make sure to bring your towel, swimsuit, and if you’re changing there, get a cabin instead of a locker.
Szimpla Kert: This is the original ruin bar, built inside an abandoned warehouse in the Jewish Quarter. The drinks are incredibly cheap (wine was just over a euro for a glass) and the vibe is great. There are dozens of hidden rooms, a place to do hookah, live music, and food. There are a ton of ruin bars in the city (Instant is also good) but this the most popular one. (Beware: it gets crowded starting at 6pm).

Printa: A cute print store in the Jewish Quarter. If you’re looking for artwork or a unique postcard or even a good cup of coffee, eat here.

Kiraly Street: Eat here. There’s so many boutique restaurants and coffee shops along the side streets; it’s a hipster’s paradise. Hungarian food is delicious – get goulash or truffle pasta.

At night, make sure to walk along the river. The city lights up; it might be even more beautiful at night than during the day.

If you're planning on using a taxi, download Taxify! Budapest banned Uber, but Taxify is basically the same thing. Unless you're staying at a hotel, it's hard to find taxis in the city.

Budapest is amazing and everyone needs to visit it at least once in his or her lives. I went during the winter so I had a different experience, but try to go in summer or fall. 

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