10 Things to do in Budapest, Hungary for the Adventurous Traveler
- by Ari Travels
Imagine walking up and down the stairs of a Disney princess look-a like castle, watching the sunrise and admiring the gorgeous city skyline. Well, in Budapest, Hungary you can do this exact thing! Upon my arrival to Budapest, I had so many friends tell me how much I would enjoy my time here and they were right. Budapest is a hipster-like city meets royalty and history. It's full of unique buildings out of movies and gorgeous outdoor and indoor spas. You can even travel to Budapest for under $30/day which includes accommodation and meals, so it makes for an extremely affordable trip. Additionally, the public transportation system in Budapest is easy to navigate, making it easy and affordable to see many different sites within. Get ready to save this blog post to your favorites tap, because your trip to Budapest won't be complete without visiting these 10 sights. For any questions about traveling to Budapest, don’t hesitate to reach out to me!
Things to Know About Budapest
Get the Public Transportation Pass to Save Money
The public transportation system here as I mentioned is easy to use and affordable. If you plan on seeing a lot of different monuments (which you should), they have an app called Budapest Go. On the Budapest Go app, you can purchase a transportation pass which will allow you to use unlimited public transportation. There are many different packages that range from 24 hours to one month. This will save you money in the long run. For easy access to public transportation, Google Maps will have the best instructions.
International phone plan abroad
Make sure your phone is unlocked before departing to Hungary. I would highly suggest getting the Airalo App and downloading an eSim Card. Airalo is an app that allows you to have affordable cell data plans all over the world without needing a physical Sim Card which is what makes using your phone without wifi extremely convenient. Use my code ARIAHN516 for $ off!
Use the Train to go Into the City
Whether you’re flying or taking the bus, the public transportation system is great here so to save money instead of taking a taxi, just use the metro or bus system. Its straight forward and easy.
Budapest City Pass
Another thing Budapest offers is a city card. This is different than the public transportation pass. You can buy one here.This pass will either get you free entry or half off into some of the best landmarks and activities depending on where you use it.
Use of Credit Card is Common
You can use your credit card in Hungary mostly, but be aware of foreign transaction fees. Use a card that doesn’t charge them such as the Capital One travel Venture card. I would recommend you still carry cash because I noticed some places only take cash or charge an additional 3% fee. Use a Charles Schwab Debit Card to withdraw cash from ATMs without getting the ATM fees.
The water is generally safe in Hungary to drink from the tap. Bring a water bottle to save money on purchasing plastic ones, plus you help the environment so it’s a win win.
Where to Stay in Budapest
There are two sides to the city, the Buda side and the Pest side. Both are great. I have noticed that the more affordable accommodation is on the Pest side. You can find GREAT hostels or hotels (split with one other person) here for under $25/night in peak season.
It’s very easy to get from one side to the next. All you have to do is take the blue 4-6 bus and you’ll be there within a short amount of time. Its also walking distance which takes about a half hour depending on where you are staying.
Hostel Recommendations in Budapest (click for more)
During my stay here, I chose to stay at Avenue Hostel. This hostel was in a perfect location. Right by restaurants, grocery stores, and all the bus/train lines. The people were friendly and I made a great group of friends shortly upon my arrival. The best thing I liked about this hostel was that each bed was equip with a full privacy curtain, which is always a winner in my book. Breakfast was included as well!
Avenue Hostel: $14/night
A&O Budapest City: $18/night
Netizen hostel: $20/night
Hotel Recommendations in Budapest (click for more)
If you are traveling with more than just yourself, hotels are extremely affordable if you’re looking for more privacy and not wanting to stay at a hostel.
Easy Star Hotel: $39/night or $19.50 per person
BPR Waldorf Wooden Home: $53/night or $26.50 per person
Benczur Hotel: $56/night or $28 per person
9 Things to do in Budapest
I spent five days in Budapest, and trust me…there is SO much to see here. Budapest has some of the coolest mid-evil like architecture I have ever seen, great food, unique restaurants and views for days.
Sunrise at Fisherman's Bastion
Fisherman's Bastion is by far my favorite landmark in all of Budapest. It reminds me of a Cinderella castle. This place is beautiful (and very crowded) during the day, but if you go during the sunrise you will have a whole new experience and less tourism.
If you aren’t a sunrise person, you really should still consider going. Because the castle faces east, you will see cotton candy painted skies with the skyline of the Pest side (including the parliament) and the view is just unreal. Fisherman's Bastion makes for great photos as well.
After visiting Fishermans Basin, make sure you walk down to the bridge to see the Parliament from far away. This viewpoint is a great perspective of the city. The Parliament is located on the Pest side, so for close up views you can walk or take the bus to that side. I recommend you see it from the Buda side and Pest side.
The thermal baths are iconic to Budapest. It's a must-do when you're here. The most popular one is called Szécheny, and I do think it's the most beautiful but you should also check out the Gellért bath which is indoors and has beautiful architecture. Both of these, you can receive 50% off with the Budapest card.
Budapest has an island called Margaret Island. The island has great restaurants and a nice place to walk around. Visit the Japanese gardens, fountains and zoo. Make sure you also try Budapest’s famous appetizer called langos.
Eat a Chimney Cone for Dessert
Chimney cones are a famous dessert native to Budapest. They are basically cinnamon shells filled with ice cream and topped with whatever you want. I got a Nutella one, and it was delicious.
St. Stephen's Basilica
This place is a beautiful monument of Hungary. Try to come here in the morning to enjoy it without the crowds!
Dessert at Gelato Rosa
While you’re at St. Stephen's Basilica, make sure to get a cute rose shaped gelato from the iconic Gelato Rosa.
See the Famous Ruin Bars
I am not a big drinker, but the Ruin Bars are a very popular tourist attraction and it was still worth visiting. They are famous for the graffiti artwork all over the interior. They are creatively decorated and make for a great happy hour spot! There is also live music here at times.
The Great Market Hall
Perfect for finding one of a kind souvenirs. They also serve unique delicacies here that you will want to try!
New York Cafe
This is by far the most beautiful cafe in Budapest. It feels as if you are sitting in a royal palace while you drink coffee and eat desserts.
I hope this mini guide was helpful! Please feel free to comment or ask me any questions regarding your upcoming trip. For more information about traveling to Budapest, you can book a consultation call with me or request a custom itinerary by heading to this page. Happy traveling!