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When visiting Eastern Europe, Budapest is a top city to travel to, and rightfully so! Budapest is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and is rich in history, architecture, and culture. It has something to offer almost any traveler at a slightly cheaper price than its western European counterparts. This Budapest Travel Guide will help you plan your trip and tell you everything you need to know about visiting Budapest.
Only traveling to Budapest for two days? Read our Itinerary for Two Days in Budapest.
If want help planning your trip to Budapest, check out our Travel Planning Services where we will work with you to design your dream trip and do all the work in putting your trip together for you!
Where to Stay in Budapest
Budapest is divided by the Danube River. The two sides were originally two different cities with east side being called Pest and the west side Buda. Eventually, they were merged into one city giving the city its name. The two sides are connect by a few bridges.
When looking at where to stay in Budapest, you will want to stay on the east side of the river because that’s where the majority of things to do in Budapest are.
In Budapest, places to stay are overall cheaper than in western Europe, but more expensive than other cities in eastern Europe, like Zagreb or Bratislava.
Depending on your travel budget and how you like to travel will determine what type of accommodation you want. Hostels are great for budget travelers and hotels are typically better for those with a bigger budget who want the amenities and comfort of a private room in a hotel. Airbnbs are generally somewhere in the middle as some are entire houses or apartments and others are a private room in a local’s house.
Your preferences will determine which one you want to book. If you’re feeling lost in planning your trip, we offer our Travel Planning Services to help you plan the trip of your dreams!
What to Do in Budapest
Walk Across the Bridges
As previously mentioned, Budapest is cut in half by the Danube River. Beautiful, ornate bridges connect both sides of the city. Although the bridges aren’t short, it’s worth the walk across to experience the city and the river from a different vantage point.
If you can only make it across one bridge in Budapest, walk across the Széchenyi Chain Bridge. It’s the most beautiful and the most centrally located.
St. Stephen’s Basilica
The biggest church in Budapest is St. Stephen’s Basilica. If you’re traveling in Europe for a while you might get sick of going into numerous cathedrals and churches. However, this one is worth it, especially for the phenomenal rooftop views! Obviously, the architecture is great on the inside too, but if you’re a sucker for incredible views, visit st. Stephen’s Basilica.
One of the things Budapest is most famous for is its thermal baths because of the geothermal activity under the city. In fact, this is one of the main reasons the Romans took over the city long ago.
There are plenty of thermal baths throughout the city, which area mix between public and private, and new and old. The most popular thermal baths in Budapest are the Széchenyi Thermal Baths.
The Széchenyi Thermal Baths in City Park first opened in 1913 and have different baths with temperatures that range from near freezing to hotter than a hot tub. They also have a mix of indoor and outdoor pools. There are different price options available depending on how long you want to stay there and if it’s a weekday or weekend. The day pass at the Széchenyi Thermal Baths costs 5,900 Ft (€17 or $19).
While you can just visit for the day, the Széchenyi Thermal Baths turn into an all-out nightclub after hours, and the party keeps going until the sun comes up.
**If you’ve noticed that the thermal baths and bridge both have the name Széchenyi, it’s because he was a famous Hungarian politician and writer that many still consider to be “the Greatest Hungarian.”
Shoes on the Danube Bank
The Shoes on the Danube Bank is a piece of public art that was created as a memorial to Jews who were murdered in Budapest during the Holocaust. Make sure to stop by this memorial and remember the many who lost their lives due to hatred, intolerance, and anti-semitism. It’s important to remember and learn from the past, so we don’t let it happen again.
Hungarian Parliament Building
Hungary’s Parliament Building is an architectural wonder. It’s incredibly lavish and beautiful, even from just the outside. It’s located right by the Shoes on the Danube, so you check two things off your list of what to see in Budapest.
Once you venture to the west side of the Danube, you’ll see Fisherman’s Bastion, a 19th century fortress that overlooks the Danube River and the east side of Budapest.
While none of what exists today was an actual fortress for Buda, there did, in fact, used to be a real castle here. Nowadays, it just serves as one of the most visited, and instagrammable, sites in Budapest because of its beautiful views over the city.
Where to Eat in Budapest
Kádár Étkezde is located in the Jewish Quarter of Budapest. This is an authentic local spot to eat with plenty of Jewish-Hungarian classics. If you want to try an authentic place where locals eat in Hungary at a reasonable price, eat at Kádár Étkezde.
Also located in the Jewish Quarter of Budapest is Hummus Bar. It’s a more of chain-like restaurant, but is absolutely delicious and pretty cheap.
If you’re looking for a massive charcuterie board, look no further than Divin Porcello! You can pick out whatever meats and cheeses you’d like, and the staff is very helpful with assisting you.
Next to Simple Gert Ruin Bar, there is a food truck park with lots of food trucks. They have a huge variety of food, so there should be something for everyone. It’s an open air food truck plaza with plenty of seating. If it’s nice out, grab some food and soak up the sun.
Szimply Cafe is one of the best breakfast places in Budapest. The zucchini pancakes are absolutely delicious! It’s a small, cozy restaurant. Although, you might have to wait for a table, it’s worth it.
Where to Drink in Budapest
360 Bar is an awesome rooftop bar in Budapest. It has great views of city, outstanding drinks, and a rooftop DJ. While it’s not the closest to the city center, 360 Bar is the perfect place to stop for a drink after visiting the Szchényi Thermal Baths.
This rooftop bar in Budapest has a chill, but still party-like atmosphere. The drinks are killer too! The rooftop have great views of Budapest, and they have a DJ playing music in the background. If you are looking for a rooftop bar in Budapest, 360 Bar is the place to go.
Budapest is famous for its ruin bars, and Szimpla Kert is an outstanding one. If you are going to drink at one place in Budapest, going to a ruin bar is where you should go.
These unique bars really are built into the ruins of old buildings. They are often a labyrinth of different rooms and hallways that are also just fun to explore. Visiting a ruin bar in Budapest is an absolute must-do in Budapest.
If you need more help with travel in general, check out our Travel Resources, and if you would like to work with us on planning a trip to get you an authentic cultural travel experience check out our Travel Planning Services.
Still not inspired to travel to Budapest? Check out these 20 Photos to Inspire You to Visit Budapest.