Budapest is one of my favorite cities in Europe so I’m so excited to be sharing my Budapest Travel Guide.
This Budapest Travel Guide will go over 17 top things to do in Budapest, how to get around, where to stay, and what to eat while you’re there. I also share the best times of year to visit and a few packing tips that will come in handy during your trip.
I’ve visited Budapest twice and it’s definitely a city I could keep going back to. There’s so much to see and do here and the city is filled to the brim with history. Not to mention, it’s one of the more affordable destinations in Europe!
So let’s get into it — here’s my ultimate Budapest Travel Guide:
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Budapest Travel Guide: How to Get From the Airport Into the City
The airport is quite a ways outside of the city center and it costs around 7000 HUF ($23.25) to get to the center by taxi.
A much cheaper way to get into the Budapest city center is to take the 100E bus, which runs approximately every 20 minutes from the airport. The bus costs 900HUF ($3) and you can buy tickets at any of the purple public transport ticket machines. Just make sure you buy the airport bus ticket and not a normal city bus ticket.
Budapest Travel Guide: What to Do in Budapest
1. Fisherman’s Bastion
The Fisherman’s Bastian is one of Budapest’s main attractions. This gorgeous fairytale-like castle overlooks the entire city, including the beautiful parliament building. It’s the perfect place to wander around for awhile and take beautiful pictures of the city.
Like most popular attractions, you’ll want to get there as early as possible to avoid crowds. You can easily reach Fisherman’s Bastian by Metro, followed by an easy 10 minute walk.
2. Széchenyi Chain Bridge
The famous Széchenyi Chain Bridge was the permanent bridge that connected Buda to Pest. The bridge is an attraction of its own, with beautiful architecture and statues.
3. Parliament Building
The parliament building in Budapest is one of the most stunning government buildings in the world. Although it’s very impressive up close, the best views are actually from across the Danube. You’ll be able to take in this huge building in all its glory when you’re across the river from it.
4. Shop at the Great Market Hall
The Great Market Hall is the city’s oldest and largest indoor market. This market is two stories filled with delicious food and local handicrafts. Even if you’re not going to eat, the market looks like an old train station so it’s every fun to walk around and admire.
5. Széchenyi Thermal Bath
You can’t go to Budapest without visiting at least one thermal bath. My favorite, and one of the most popular, was Széchenyi Thermal Bath. The outdoor pools are absolutely gorgeous and incredible to visit in any season. Make sure to give yourself a few hours to full enjoy and relax.
The other popular thermal baths in Budapest are Rudas and Gellert.
Széchenyi Thermal Bath is open Mon – Friday: 6AM to 7PM and Sat – Sun: 9AM to 8PM. Some days and hours are reserved for each gender so make sure you check that information before you go. The entry fee costs 3500-3900HUF ($11.50-13.00)
6. Eat Lángos
Lángos is a classic Hungarian comfort food. It’s basically just fried dough smothered in sour cream and grated cheese or garlicky butter (or both). It’s a super affordable grab and go snack that will fill you up and warm you up on a cold day!
7. Food Truck Gardens
Another trend popping up around the city is food truck or street food gardens. Street food gardens are one of my favorite places to dine in the summer because you can sample food and drink from a bunch of different places at once! Our favorite street food garden was Street Food Karavan.
8. Buda Castle
The Buda Castle offers impressive views of the city and is easily reachable on the Buda side of the river. The complex is free to explore but there is an entry fee to visit the National Gallery and Budapest History Museum, located inside the castle.
The courtyard and castle complex are open 24 hours a day.
9. Wine Tasting in a Cave
The Faust wine cellar, located in the Buda Castle District, is such a romantic spot to spend an evening. The wine cellar is part of a huge labyrinth cave system underneath the Caste Hill.
The wines were delicious and the atmosphere was so incredible. This was one of my favorite things we did in Budapest.
10. Matthias Church
Matthias Church is located right behind Fisherman’s Bastian. This gorgeous church features impressive architecture and a colorful roof, making it an incredible photo spot.
11. Shop on Fashion Street
If you want to do a little shopping while you’re in Budapest, Fashion Street is the place to go. There are plenty of stores, cafes, and restaurants to keep you occupied for a few hours.
12. Ride the Gellert Hill Funicular
Riding the Gellert Hill Funicular is a fun and unique way to get up to the top of the Buda Castle Hill. You can get on the funicular right at the end of the Széchenyi Chain Bridge on the Buda side.
The Gellert Hill funicular is open Mon – Sun: 7.30 am to 10 pm. It costs Adult: HUF 1,200 one way, HUF 1,800 return ($4 one way, $6 return).
13. Eat a Chimney Cake
You won’t have to look too hard to find Chimney Cakes in Budapest. It seems like there are stands on just about every corner. These sweet treats are made from long strips of dough wrapped into a cone shape. They have a ton of flavors and toppings to choose from but my favorite is cinnamon.
14. Drink a Coffee at the New York Café
The New York Café is one of the world’s most beautiful cafes, with sparkling chandeliers, stuccoed angels, and marble columns.
It’s one of the most popular places in the city to grab a cup of coffee but you could sit here for hours just admiring the Italian Renaissance-style architecture and design.
New York Café is open Mon – Sun: 8AM to 12AM.
15. Ruin Bars
One of the most unique things to do in Budapest is to visit a ruin bar. These bars are built in Budapest’s Jewish Quarter in the ruins of abandoned buildings that were left to rot after World War II.
The original ruin bar, and the most famous one, is Szimpla Kert. This bar was once an abandoned factory, but now is home to one of the coolest bars in the world. There’s a big, open courtyard when you walk in but as you explore a little more, you’ll actually find a bunch of smaller bars within each of the rooms.
There’s something for everyone at Szimpla Kert. We loved the room with the small Indie band playing live music, the craft beer bar, the hookah lounge, and just sitting out in the courtyard.
16. The Shoes on the Danube
The Shoes on the Danube is a memorial to those who died during World War II. It is said that 20,000 Jews were forced to remove their shoes and then shot along the banks of the Danube River.
This monument features 60 iron sculptures of 1940s style shoes and is an important part of Hungarian history. It is located along the edge of the Danube River, just south of the Parliament Building on the Pest side.
17. Explore the Jewish Quarter
The Jewish Quarter is one of the most vibrant and unique areas in Budapest. There are tons of great bars, restaurants, and hostels in this neighborhood. It is also home to the Dohány Street Synagogue, the largest Synagogue in Europe.
Getting Around Budapest
Budapest is an easy city to get around. The metro system, tram, and buses all take you to every popular spot in the city.
A single ticket for the metro, tram, or bus costs 350HUF ($1.10) but you can also buy a multi-day pass at the ticket vending machines.
Make sure you get your ticket validated correctly because the transport authorities are very strict. Tickets must be validated on the metro network before starting your trip, and on trams and buses after boarding before the vehicle departs. The validation machines are usually located near the doors on board the vehicle.
Note: Uber is not available in Budapest. You will need to rely on taxis or public transportation when you visit.
Budapest Travel Guide: Where to Stay in Budapest
Budapest has plenty of options for accommodation for every budget. Most hotels and hostels are located on the Pest side of the city.
Airbnbs are very affordable in Budapest and are a great option for a longer stay in the city. This is a great way to save money because you can typically cook food in your Airbnb. Here are two Airbnbs in Budapest that I’ve stayed in and would recommend:
Budapest Travel Guide: Where to Eat in Budapest
Budapest has an incredible food scene. No matter what kind of diet you eat, you’ll find plenty of options in this city. Here are some of my favorite restaurants in Budapest:
Vegan Love has some of the best veggie burgers I’ve ever eaten. Even my boyfriend who’s not a vegetarian wanted to keep coming back here. They serve burgers, hot dogs, gyros, fries, and salad. Expect to spend 1900-2500HUF ($6.50-8.50) for a meal here.
Vegażżi Nápolyi Pizzéria
This tiny vegan pizzeria is located inside of a ruin bar so it’s a fun atmosphere to grab a pie and relax at for awhile. Seriously some of the best vegan pizza I’ve ever had in my life. Their pizzas cost about 1700-2400HUF ($5.60-8.00) depending on toppings.
Szimply is an incredibly popular breakfast and brunch place located in the heart of the city. They serve the basics like avocado toast, eggs Benedict, pancakes, etc. Breakfast will set you back about 1500HUF ($5) here.
When is the best time to visit Budapest?
I’ve visited Budapest in the winter and in the early summer and I can confidently say there is no bad time to visit Budapest! The city is vibrant and beautiful at any time of the year. That being said, there are better times to do depending on what you want to do in Budapest.
Spring: Spring is very pleasant in Budapest. The weather is generally mild and the crowds are minimal. However, you may have some rainy days.
Summer: Summer in Budapest is beautiful but the weather can be scorching hot. We had some sweltering hot days when we visited. Rooms are also more expensive and can be harder to book.
Fall: Like Spring, Fall is a great time to visit Budapest because the weather is pleasant and there are less crowds.
Winter: Budapest can get extremely cold and snowy in winter. However, if you visit near Christmastime the city will be filled with a Christmas markets and fun events.
Over all, I recommend visiting in the Spring or Fall. The weather should be mild and rooms will be affordable. You should also experience less crowds at popular attractions.
Budapest Travel Guide: Packing Tips for Budapest
I always recommend bringing a portable phone charger when you travel, but especially in Budapest. I didn’t find many outlets when I was in cafes and restaurants so a portable charger will be handy to have.
If you have American electronics, you will need a power plug adapter in Budapest. The power plugs and sockets are of type C and F and the standard voltage is 230 V. This universal power adapter with voltage converter would work perfectly in Budapest.
You’ll be doing a ton of walking in Budapest, so be sure you pack sturdy and comfortable walking shoes.
Even though you won’t be visiting any beaches in Budapest, you’ll definitely still want to pack a swimsuit for the thermal baths. I have this cute bikini from Amazon and I’m obsessed with it! But any swimsuit will do.
This post was all about the ultimate Budapest Travel Guide.
I hope this Budapest Travel Guide was useful to you! Are you planning a trip to Budapest? Let me know if you have any questions about the city in the comments.
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