One of the gems of Eastern Europe, Budapest always holds near to my heart. As the Danube River connects the two cities of Buda and Pest, it provides the perfect grounds for a historical exploration of the heart of Hungary. A quick guide to Budapest, Hungary shows how much there is to do in this city.
I’ve often said my favorite architecture is found in Budapest. It seems that every corner you turn offers an opportunity for something to feed the eyes whether it’s baroque, neoclassical, or art nouveau. Budapest, for me, blends the best of Europe’s cities with history, lively culture, and the romantic cafes sprinkled out for an afternoon of coffee and people watching. It’s everything you know of Europe to be, but better. A turbulent past can be found in the stories that each building holds, and on the other side, a generation ripe with an energy to last through the late hours of the night.
Picture ruin bars found underground, geothermal baths to soak in, and grand boulevards that rival any Parisian street. This is Budapest, and it’s for those to looking to explore something new.
A Quick Guide to Budapest, Hungary
What to Know Before Visiting Budapest
- The local currency is the Hungarian Forint.
- You can easily get around by foot, Uber is everywhere, and the trams are very efficient.
- The city is split into two, Buda and Pest.
- Most take credit cards but it’s important to have cash too.
- It’s considered rude to clink glasses when cheering.
- Be sure to have a swimsuit with you as the thermal spas are incredible.
Where to Stay in Budapest, Hungary
- The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest: With one of the best addresses in the city, this is the luxurious place to call home while visiting. Book a room with a view, and enjoy a comfortable stay right in the heart of the city.
Where to Eat in Budapest, Hungary
- Ket Szerecsen: A traditional restaurant with Hungarian dishes and mostly known for their breakfast.
- Deak St. Kitchen: A lively spot with a terrace perfected for a great meal and Hungarian wines exclusive to the restaurant.
- New York Cafe: If there is one spot worth going to, it’s indeed this. I can’t say the food is exceptional, but coffee and dessert is the way to go in this gorgeous space.
- Scribbler Cafe Restaurant: We ate here one night the traditional space was beautiful. A wide range of options for food and a live pianist makes this place a must.
- ToLTo: Head here for a drink in an energetic bar.
- Grab coffee at: Espresso Embassy and Goamma Coffee Bar.
What to Do in Budapest, Hunary
- Visit the Castle District: It seems that all roads lead here and with plenty to do, you could easily spend a full morning here. My tip is to arrive before 8 am to have the place to yourself. Walk around the Fisherman’s Bastion, see Buda Castle, enter Matthias Church, explore the side streets, and take in the most beautiful view over the Danube River.
- Go into the Parliament Building: With daily tours in multiple languages, an opportunity to step inside this icon of Hungary should not be missed.
- Bath in the thermal waters: This is a tradition of Budapest, an afternoon of soaking. The Széchenyi thermal bath is the largest in Europe and you can stop in for a few hours.
- Cruise the Danube at sunset: As the sun starts to set, the sparkling lights of Buda and Pest illuminate the sky.
- See the sights: Stop at St. Stephen’s Basilica, Hero’s Square, and more.
- Spend an afternoon at the zoo: One of the oldest zoos in Europe, this has been one my favorites to date. You could spend an afternoon here and a great thing to do after you’ve seen most of the sights.
- Explore the Great Market Hall and taste the best of Hungary through endless food stalls.
- Walk over the Chain Bridge for one of the best views of the city.
- Head to the top of St. Stephen’s Basilica for a panorama view.
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