Budapest, Hungary’s capital, is located on either side of the River Danube. Famous for it's turbulent history and distinct 'ruin bars', Budapest is both an affordable and interesting city, well worth a stop in for at least a few days.
How to get there:
As a capital city, Budapest is well connected throughout Europe via bus or train. See Go Euro for schedules and comparison on tickets.
Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport, is located around 15km from the city. Buses run between the city centre and the airport from 4am – 11pm and takes around 30 minutes. See more info here.
Single tickets, travel cards and monthly passes are sold at the Post Office at Terminal 2A (open Monday to Friday 8 am to 3:30 pm). Single tickets and ten-trip coupon books are also available at the Relay newsstands located at the arrivals-level at Terminal 2A and 2B (open daily 6:30 am to 11 pm).
How to get around:
Budapest is a very walkable city, however there are also buses, trams and a metro. For schedules, see here.
Where to eat:
Most is a ‘ruin bar’ – see more on this below – in the VI district. The lunch specials at this sunlit, busy bar can’t be beat, with two courses costing around at 1,390 Ft or €4, and three courses at 1,590 Ft (€5).
The Central Market Hall is a must visit to try local produce. There are plenty of stalls here to buy lángos, the popular Budapest street food staple with a trifecta of delicious calories – deep fried dough, cheese and sour cream.
Where to stay:
Example Daily Budget
€45 per day
- Hostel: €15 per night
- Breakfast made at Hostel: €2
- Foccacia for lunch: €5
- Gelato and espresso or snacks: €5
- Free Hostel Dinner
How long to spend here:
Three days will allow you enough time to explore Budapest.
What to see and do:
A rich history, vast range of architectural styles and plenty of landmarks makes Budapest a great city to join a walking tour. Free walking tours depart daily from Vorosmarty Square, just over the Chain Bridge.
Some of the best museums to see include:
Hungarian National Gallery: 1,200 HUF
Museum of Fine Arts: 1,800 HUF
House of Terror Museum: 2,000 HUF
Baths in Budapest has been a part of every day life for centuries, with approximately 1000 natural spring water sources in Hungary. Each bathhouse a network of saunas, steam rooms, and naturally warm pools differing in heat levels – and are especially good to cure a hangover! There are many bathhouses to choose from, some of the best include the world-famous Gellert Fürdő and the Turkish-built 16th century Király and Rudas Baths.
Entry costs around €20.
Halászbástya (Fisherman’s Bastion)
Built in the late 1800s to celebrate the 1000-year anniversary of the founding of Hungary, the Fisherman’s Bastion provides some of the most spectacular views of the Danube and city.
Az Országház (House of the Nation)
The House of the Nation, or Hungarian Parliament building, is the third largest parliament building in the world. It contains 691 rooms, houses the Hungarian Crown Jewels and took almost 20 years to build with almost exclusively Hungarian materials.
The Shoes on the Danube
The simplicity and realistic nature of this sculpture makes this one of the most moving memorials in Budapest. The monument consists of 60 pairs of 1940s-style shoes, true to life in size and detail, sculpted out of iron, left discarded on the east side of the Danube River. This is in memory of the hundreds of Jews during WWII who were lined up at the embankment, and shot into the Danube, execution-style.
St. Stephen's Basilica
This gorgeous cathedral was named in honour of Stephen, the first King of Hungary, whose supposed right hand is housed inside. Entry is free, but a donation is expected (around 200 HUF is suitable).
The Basilica is open Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm, Saturday 9am to 1pm and Sunday 1pm – 5pm. Religious ceremonies might alter the general opening hours so check out the calendar ahead of time.
Ruin Bars & Nightlife
Once the site of the Jewish Getto, this neighbourhood became derelict in the decades following WWII, with crumbling, abandoned buildings. In the early 2000’s, ‘ruin bars’ began popping up, celebrating the disarray of the buildings and offering a new kind of hang out spot for the young & creative crowd in Budapest.
Szimpla Kert was the first & is still arguably the best ruin bar to visit.The crumbling building is filled with willfully mismatched furniture – most which had seen better days decades ago - and knick knacks that often end up being taken home by visitors without asking, provides chaos and diversity unseen in most cities in Europe.