Our travel guide for Budapest has everything you need to know before you head to this beautiful city. Including accommodation, prices, transportation and food.
Budapest is a real gem of Eastern Europe, with an abundance of stunning architecture and history. The Hungarian capital lies on the river Danube and is essentially split into two parts. The western bank of the river was once “Buda” whilst the eastern section of the city, “Pest”. Both sides are unique in their own right and equally, have much to offer travellers.
Buda has many areas of high ground that offer some of the most fantastic views over the river and the city below. As well as the famous Buda Castle and the Fishermans Bastion that can not be missed.
Pest is mostly flat ground and is the larger section of the city, with lots of restaurants, shops, and the iconic Hungarian Parliament Building.
Although part of the European Union, Hungary has kept its own currency. The Hungarian Forint (HUF).
The best way we found to avoid becoming confused when converting prices is to know that 1,000 Hungarian Forint is roughly £2.50 (GBP) or $3 (USD).
Generally, it is a good idea to have some Forint with you before you travel, however, most places do accept card payments. So if you have a card such as a Revolut (tag) or a Monzo you can cover most of your spends without extortionate transaction fees.
Where to stay
The best area to stay in Budapest is District 5. Here you have plenty of places to eat and drink and are not too far away from any of the main attractions.
Budapest, like most other European cities, has a variety of options, from stunning high-end hotels to low-cost hostels and everything else in between.
Some of the most beautiful buildings in the city are home to 5* hotels such as the Corinthia Budapest or the incredible Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace!
If these hotels are out of your budget there are many midrange hotels available and smaller boutique establishments.
There are also lots of hostels to choose from at the lower end of the scale. Hostels provide a great environment to meet people if you are travelling solo. Wombats hostel is a good all-around option if you decide to go down this route.
Of course, there are many Airbnb options too if you want a bigger or more personal space or are looking to book for a big group.
Travel from the airport
The airport in Budapest is around 30-40 minutes from the city itself. There are a few options available to make your way into the centre.
There are various shuttle options which can be purchased from booths within the airport, as well as a taxi office just outside of the arrivals exit.
Our recommendation, however, is to use the “Bolt” application. Essentially the same as “Uber”, you can order a car to pick you up from the airport. You will get charged straight to your card without having to pay over the odds.
Getting around Budapest is fairly straight forward. If you don’t mind using your feet, most of the tourist attractions are within walking distance of each other.
However, if you are short of time and fancy a more exciting method of navigating your way around Budapest, you can check out the “Lime” electric scooters!
The scooters are dotted all around the city and are easy to use. Simply download the app to your phone, add your bank card details and you are good to go. Use the interactive map to find the closest scooter and scan the QR code to unlock the wheels and begin. The app will take around £4 ($5.20 US) out of your account, however, if you don’t go too far, Lime will refund your account the difference. The scooters can hit speeds of around 20kph so be very careful and stay off the main roads (try to stick to the bike lanes) unless you are wearing a helmet.
Of course, if the weather is bad you may have to find other ways of getting about. There are plenty of taxis and “Bolt” taxis around the city. You never have to wait too long to get picked up.
There is also a tram network and metro system throughout the city. Making it easy to jump on and off visiting some of the more further afield tourist areas such as Hero’s square that would otherwise be a 40-minute walk from district 5.
Considering Budapest is a European capital city, the prices are very reasonable. Especially in comparison to cities such as London and Paris.
A 3-course meal for two in a nice restaurant, including a bottle (and a half) of wine and two fillets of venison and beef cost just £80! This same meal in an establishment of the same standard in London would cost almost double this price.
If you venture out for a drink or two, beers can cost as little as £2 with cocktails starting from £5. Again very reasonable considering the standard.
Foods to try
Hungary may not be particularly famous for its food, however, there are a number of native dishes that you should try when visiting Budapest.
The most well-known dish that features on most restaurant menus is goulash. Often served as a starter. Goulash is essentially a meat stew with vegetables and paprika.
Paprika is a staple spice in Hungary and also takes centre stage in another of their well-known dishes, chicken paprikash.
If you fancy a snack during the day you could also try out the Hungarian street food classic, langos. Langos is a deep-fried dough that is usually topped with sour cream, cheese, garlic and ham. There are many langos spots dotted around the city to try.
A popular foodie destination in the city is the Gelarto Rosa ice cream shop. Here you can take your pick of delicious ice cream flavours and watch it craft into a beautiful work of art right in front of your eyes!
Things to look out for
Budapest is brimming with amazing things to see and do. With so much to cram in, there are a few things that you should try not to miss. These include; the parliament building, seen close up on the Pest side of the river but also from the Buda side at night when the structure is magnificently lit up against the night sky.
A visit to one of the many thermal baths around the city is another experience not to miss out on. Along with a walk along the famous chain bridge across the river Danube.
On the Buda side, be sure to check out the Fisherman Bastion. The castle-like structure is breathtaking and offers the most incredible views over Budapest.
[read more in our things to do in Budapest article]
Although many people in Hungary speak some English, it‘s always good to learn language basics when visiting a new country. Below are the key phrases, followed by how to pronounce them.
Hi / Bye – szia (see-ah)
Good day – jó napot (yo na-pot)
How are you? – hogy vagy (hodge vodge)
Yes – igen (ee-ghen)
No – nem (nem)
Thank you – köszönöm (kur-sur-nurm)
Please – kérek (care-ek)
Got any more questions about Budapest? Let us know in the comments below and we will endeavour to help you out ASAP!
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