Budapest is the capital city of Hungary in Central Europe. It’s a medium sized city, home to over 1.7 million people. Despite being part of European Union since 2004 they still use Hungarian Forints as their currency. Certain places will accept Euros, however this cannot be guaranteed everywhere.
1 Euro = 310 Forints (approximately)
Taxi from the Budapest Airport to the Center of the City is approximately €25.00. The hotel we stayed in offered a rate of €50.00 return; I’d highly recommend to contact your hotel prior to arrival for best advice on how to get to the property – they might be able to offer you a favorable rate or perhaps have their own shuttle. We have booked our hotel via booking.com, click here for a 10% off your next room booking.
The best way of getting around the city is the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus (just like I did when we visited Dubai).
** TIP ** If you keep your ticket from a previous visited city you will get an additional 10% off your ticket. I.E. Tickets from Dubai allowed us to receive 10% discount for Budapest; Next city we go to I’ll provide them with tickets from Budapest to get my next 10% off.
The 48 Hour Hop-On Hop-Off Ticket costs 7000 Forints per person (approximately €22.00) which includes a cruise on the Danube River; Walking Tour and a Bonus Booklet. With the 10% discount I paid 6300 Forints (approximately €20.00). You know what they say, look after the Pennies and the Pounds will look after themselves!
** TIP ** Take few minutes to review what discounts are available in the Bonus Booklet (this will vary based on the season), as this will save you a small fortune on things such as: Goulash; Beer & Shots; Bike & Segway Tours; as well as discounted entries to places such as: Labyrinth, Museums, Exhibitions as well as the very popular Thermal Baths.
Food & Drink
There are plenty of pubs and restaurants in the city center at really affordable prices, however I’ve done my research prior and below you will find few very tasty, affordable and Instagrammable Places.
- Szimpla Kert
One of Budapest’s most famous ruin pubs. Ruin pub means it’s in a pre-war building that was not renovated since, with number of wall paintings, graffiti and the most ridiculous items within. There is absolutely no dress code required, everyone is welcome from Hippies to Suits. It’s definitely one of a kind. Prepare to stand in line, however luckily for us the line moved quite quickly.
2. Karavan Street Food
It’s an open air space with local cuisine served out of caravans. It’s decorated with hundreds of fairy-lights and has a very unique atmosphere. If trying out local food is your thing then this is the place to go! It’s actually located right next door to Szimpla Kert Pub mentioned above, therefore you can kill two birds with one stone!
3. St. Andrea Wine & Sky Bar
I stumbled upon this rooftop bar completely accidentally looking for some shelter from the cold! It’s quite fancy, modern and chic. There is an indoor & outdoor seating area and it overlooks Vorosmarty Square which is where one of the local Christmas Markets is usually set-up. It’s not as expensive as you’d expect by looking at it’s interior. (Winning!)
4. New York Cafe
This is an absolute MUST when coming to Budapest. This landmark building is actually listed on all tourist information & it has it’s own stop on the Hop Off Tour too! It is the most magnificent building when it comes to architecture and it’s history. It has survived both wars and still managed to regain it’s class and name as the Most Beautiful Cafe in the World. It is an Instagrammable heaven! Be prepared to queue, as it is a tourist hot spot – try to go before lunch or after. Again, it’s not as expensive as the interior would suggest; however I found their menu quite limited. I’d also strongly advise to dress smart for this cafe, as you will feel out of place otherwise.
The panorama of Budapest is best seen from the Citadel. It’s the highest point in the city overlooking the Danube River. It’s also one of the stops on the bus tour – the bus waits for 20 minutes to let you walk around take photos.
2. Danube River Cruise
The river cruise is included in the 48 hour ticket and it takes approximately 1.5 hours. You can purchase light snacks and drinks on-board. This cruise is definitely recommended for summer months, as in winter time all you want to do is sit by the heater! From the cruise you can see the Parliament Building and the Chain Bridge – another major tourist attractions.
3. Great Market Hall
This is a trade hall, also known as Central Market Hall due to it’s location being only 5 minutes walk from the city center. If you are a lover of local, fresh produce as well as getting in some culture then this is the place for you! Located over 3 floors, the walk through this market is an experience in itself.
4. Budapest Eye
Located on Erzsebet Square, this Ferris Wheel gives you another panorama view of the city as well as a beautiful view of the St. Stephen’s Basilica nearby. For breathtaking experience, I’d advise to go in the evening when all the city lights are on.
5. Fashion Street
If you go to city breaks mainly to do some shopping then Fashion Street is for you. Packed with cafes, restaurants and picturesque window fronts this very busy street is an equivalent of Grafton Street in Dublin. It features old local stores and high end brands too.
6. Thermal Baths
There are two main Thermal Baths in Budapest – Szechenyi & Gellert Baths. I went to the Szechenyi Spa which features 2 outdoor pools & 13 indoor pools. The outdoor pool water temperature goes up to whopping 38 Degrees!
** TIP ** Bring your own towel (if available); flipflops and a bathrobe. Also, renting a cabin is much better than a locker. Cabins face the outdoor pools and you have privacy when changing and storing your items.
You can also buy a robe in their gift shop and rent out the towels however if you can bring them with you from your hotel you’re saving money! 5 Minutes walk from the Szechenyi Baths you will find Hero’s Square another one of major tourist attractions.
There are number of other tourist attractions in Budapest such as Buda Castle, Fisherman Bastion, Gellert Hill and many more. We have made this city break into 50/50 trip: both relax & cultural therefore we did not see ALL of the sights. I usually try and pack absolutely everything into the city breaks just like I did in Prague, however this time I decided we needed to take a well deserved break and it was a great decision!
I hope you guys enjoyed my firs-hand tips on a weekend break to Budapest. If you have any further recommendations perhaps from a local’s point of view I’d love to hear them.