Budapest is an amazing city. I happened to visit it twice so far. Once in 2007 when I was going to a summer camp and another time visiting a friend in 2015. When I was going there with a camp it was a middle of the summer, extremely hot (around 35 degrees in a shadow), so to visit famous swimming pools was a pleasure. But to go up a hill to see the city panorama and listen to a boring guide – a real disaster. So when you go – plan your time according to the weather and how you feel. 🙂 My second time in Budapest was even shorter – one evening of enjoying the city centre, walking along the Danube river and enjoying beautiful views. Of course, it is cheaper than in many other European countries so you can enjoy a nice dinner. There are many nice restaurants to try.
So today I have prepared some tips for your next trip to Budapest. If you are there – remember that Bratislava and Vienna are very close too.
Enjoy both – Buda and Pest
Buda and Pest used to be two cities divided by Danube river. Even though now it is one, you can still feel the difference in different sides. Pest is much more modern, sprawling and eclectic. Buda, set on the top of a rocky hill, is traditional and quaint, with the old being valued far more than the new. Make sure you take the time to explore both sides of the river, because they are equally incredible.
Take care of your money
Before going, change some money and you will feel like royal. 🙂 1 Eur is aprox 300 HUF – you can check here. So where is the trick? It is easy to mix 10000 to 1000, so you can be too generous sometimes. And of course, when you have this idea that oh wow, so cheap, then you just stop counting the money and end up spending too much. So calculator was useful during the trip. 🙂 But of course, it is cheap there, so for sure enjoy some shopping.
Visit a famous Budapest Baths
I think everyone heard of Budapest baths. There are 15 of them. Most famous probably are these two – szechenyibath and gellertbath. Myself, I have visited szenchenyi and it was really fun. Of course, it was during a hot summer day so it makes sense. 🙂 It is more of an experience than activity, but you can really have fun there.
Try Hungarian local food
Hungarian food is very good. I can say that as I am not a vegetarian, because it is all based on meat. Stews, pork, beef in every traditional restaurant. And it all comes with potatoes. It is really good and cheap, so you can afford to try everything. Of course do not forget to burn those calories later. 😀 During the summer they have many terraces for a nice dinner or a drink. Only for the atmosphere it is worth going to one of them. Enjoy!
Enjoy a great transport system
The first metro line was opened in 1896 and the newest in 2014. That makes metro in Budapest one of the oldest in the world. And it works really well. Also it is cheap – around 300 Fl, so less than 1 Eur. In the centre there are 4 lines crossing, so they will take you basically everywhere you need to go. More about historic metro line.
Enjoy the views of Budapest
It is always nice when city has a hill from which you can see all the city under your feet. In Budapest there is even a castle on the hill on the Buda side! From there you will get an amazing view of the Pest side, Danube river, beautiful bridges and a parliament. It was inspired by Westminster palace in London. But of course, while you are in Buda, enjoy that part. There is a cable car to the hill if you are too lazy to walk all the way up – it is useful during the hot days. And to try cable cars in the world is a nice thing to do too.
What are we about? If you have read more about Budapest, probably you saw the bars and pubs that are in abandoned buildings. Of course they renovated it, but still it is a very interesting experience. Most of the houses belonged to Jews, and after the WWII were ruined and abandoned. So people have converted them into huge, sprawling, eclectic bars that are popular with locals and tourists alike. When I was there I visited Szimpla Kert, Budapest’s original ruin pub, and apparently voted third best bar in the world by Lonely Planet in 2012. It was an interesting experience, cheap, nice food.
Use opportunity to see more
When you are in Budapest and you have more than 3 days – you can definitely go to Bratislava or Vienna as they are so close. Busses or trains are cheap to reach them. So when planning the trip, it is good to make this triangle and see 3 capitals on one getaway. In each you would need at least 2 days if you want to see main sights, but at least 3 to really feel the cities.