Budapest is such a beautiful and romantic city and also a great city to have some fun. And the best part, it is a really budget-friendly city. Prices are much more affordable than other cities like London or Paris. Ideal for a short weekend getaway. We went for 3 days in November. The time was quite enough. Since it was pre Christmas season, the city was covered in lights and decorations. Some of the best Christmas markets in Europe are definitely in Budapest I would say but I have to warn you, the weather was super cold.
Budapest is like a combination of Prague, Berlin and Vienna. The city is built around the river Danube. One side of the river is called Buda, the other side is called Pest, so Budapest :) You will probably spend most of the time on the Pest side. Most tourist attractions and restaurants are around here. But you should definitely cross the bridge and explore Pest as well. But more on that later.
Best time to go to Budapest 📅: I think best time would be Spring / Summer, just because of the weather. The only reason you should go in winter are the Christmas markets. I would avoid visiting from January to March.
Where to stay in Budapest 🏨: Hotel prices are very reasonable. It is possible to find a proper hotel between 50-100 euros per night. I can really recommend The Magazine Hotel. We also stayed at the Best Western Plus Ambra and it was ok.
Getting around in Budapest 🚋: Budapest is not a very big city. The airport is also quite close. Taxi drive from the airport costs around 22 euros. If you are not traveling alone, I'd say take a taxi since public transport is not very comfortable. If you want to go by Metro or train, you have to go to the nearest station by bus which departs from the Terminal 1. I recommend using the shuttle service called miniBUD instead. The fare varies according to your destination, the lowest price is 7 euros for one way. You can use the Metro and Tram network within the city. We got on the subway once and it was the sweetest subway I've ever seen. The city is best explored on foot.
So what are the best things to do in Budapest?
• Széchenyi Lánchíd is probably the most famous landmark in the city. Walk across the bridge and go up the hill with the funicular to see the city from the top.
• Visit St.Stephens Basilica, you can also get on top.
• Parliament building is one of most impressive buildings in Europe I would say
• If you are going before Christmas, like us, you will visit some of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe.
• Head to the Jewish Quarter (District VII) for a fun evening in Budapest, where the nightlife is also very colorful. This area is very similar of Berlin. Gozsdu Udvar passage is great for some dinner or drinks. Afterwards go dancing at Szimpla Kert or any other ruin bar in the area.
• If you are interested in Opera it is possible to find tickets starting from 5 Euro in Budapest.
• Enjoy coffee and dessert in one of Budapest's famous Kavehaz (Coffee House)
• History Museum, Hungarian National Gallery, Museum of Fine Arts, Museum of Applied Arts
• Explore Budapest's Thermal Baths
• Take a ride on the Sziget Eye
• Take a walk in the Városliget park in beautiful weather
• Eat the famous Hungarian dessert Kurdőskalács
• Shop at Central Market Hall
Most importantly, take this guide with you, it is impossible to keep the names in mind!!
Here are some great places to eat in Budapest:
Spiler - Good for dinner and drinks - Király u. 13
Koleves - Very nice bistro, pretty garden - Kazinczy u. 41
Nobu - Budapest branch of the world-famous Japanese restaurant - Erzsébet tér 7-8
Central Kavehaz - A historic cafe, also nice to eat - Károlyi utca 9
New York Cafe - A must! - Erzsébet krt. 9-11
Ramenka - Great Ramen - Kazinczy u. 9
Macesz - Cute place, jewish cuisine - Dob u. 26
Vicky Barcelona Tapas Bar - great tapas - Dob u. 16
Trattoria Mamma - Italian - Hercegprímás u. 3
Burger Market - great burgers - Király u. 8
Borsso Bistro - great for a fancy dinner - Királyi Pál u. 14
Borbirosag - greta steaks - Csarnok tér 5
Baltazar - great for lunch - Országház u. 31
Jamie's Italian - Szentháromság u. 9
Halászbástya Etterem - Funny name and incredible view - Halászbástya Északi Híradástorony
Cirkusz Cafe - breakfast- Dob u. 25
Buddha Bar - great for sushi and a night out - Váci u. 34
Kiosk - super cool place - Március 15. tér 4
Monk's Bistro - Fine dining - Piarista köz 1
Mazal Tov - super nice place, make sure to book ahead - Akácfa u. 47
Blue Bird Cafe - Dob u. 16
Alexandra Bookstore - super cool bookstore with historic coffee hidden inside - Andrássy út 39
Goamama - Interior shop and cozy coffee - Király u. 21
Cafe Gerbeaud - A Budapest classic - Vörösmarty tér 7-8
Arioso Cafe - Király u. 9
Espresso Embassy - Best coffee in Budapest - Arany János u. 15
Szimpla Kert - Budapests most famous ruin bar - Kazinczy u. 14
Kisüzem - Cozy local bar - Kis Diófa u.