Hungary’s capital has become a popular travel destination in recent years. From a rich history to a buzzing nightlife, the city has a lot going for it. Below are 10 brilliant reasons to visit Budapest.
Budapest is very affordable compared to many cities in Europe. The Savvy Backpacker recommends a daily budget of $20 – $45 per day – which is half the cost of Paris or Berlin.
Food and drink tends to be very good value. Accommodation can vary depending on where you stay in the city – hotels on the ‘Pest’ side of the river tend to be more affordable than those on the ‘Buda’ side.
Hungary uses the Hungarian Forint – 1 US dollar equates to roughly 317 Forints. It’s worth buying currency before you travel to get the best deal.
You’ll need a visa when travelling from non-EU countries. You can find out more about getting a Europe visa here if you’re planning to travel to other European countries too. There may be different visas worth looking into depending on the nature of your visit.
Budapest has a number of lavish hotels that could be a great option for those willing to spend a little bit extra.
The Anantara New York Palace Budapest Hotel is a well-known example – it features flamboyant baroque decor and has a number of luxury facilities.
The Four Seasons Gresham Palace is a similarly opulent hotel overlooking the Danube, which is also world-famous.
Such hotels would be unaffordable for the majority of people were they in any other city. In Budapest, such luxury is more within reach.
Budapest is full of impressive historic architecture. The Hungarian Parliament Building and Buda Castle are two of the city’s most renowned historic landmarks – however there are many other historic attractions beyond this.
The fairytale fortress of Fisherman’s Bastion dates back to the 1800s and offers incredible city views – it’s not far from Buda Castle and well worth visiting. Matthias Church meanwhile is an incredible building with roots dating back to 1015 – this is located right near Fisherman’s Bastion.
An unusual attraction worth visiting is the cave church built in 1926. This is tucked into the side of Gellert Hill and features audio tours.
There are also a number of fascinating museums worth visiting across Budapest. The Museum of Fine Arts and the Hungarian National Gallery are two of the grandest and most popular museums.
The House of Terror is meanwhile dedicated to commemorating those that suffered during the fascist and communist regimes – built within the old secret police headquarters. For some sobering 20th century history, this is a great place to go.
A more quirky light-hearted museum is Budapest Pinball Museum. Here you’ll find 130 vintage pinball machines, many of which you can play!
World-famous thermal baths
One of Budapest’s most unique attractions is its thermal baths. Szechenyi Thermal Bath dates back to 1913 and is the most famous of these baths – it includes a selection of natural hot spring baths at varying different temperatures.
There are other thermal baths across the city, some of which are combined with spas. They’re open throughout most of the year and don’t cost too much to enter. When you’re looking for a relaxing activity to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, this is just the attraction.
Thinking of travelling to Budapest with kids? The city features a number of family-friendly attractions.
Andrassy Entertainment Centre is an interactive experience centre full of fun and futuristic exhibits. It’s aimed at kids and is a popular place for kids’ parties.
Budapest Zoo is also a great day out, featuring hundreds of animals and a botanical garden. It’s one of the oldest zoos in the world and features some incredible historic architecture.
Don’t forget to also check out the children’s railway – a railway operated almost entirely by kids. The train runs through the woodlands and it has a magical feel about it.
Budapest has some of the finest restaurants for trying classic Hungarian dishes like goulash and langos. This guide at Offbeat Budapest lists some of the best places to try goulash in Budapest.
You can also try dishes from other countries around the world – over the last few years, Budapest has become a very cosmopolitan city and you can find restaurants dedicated to all kinds of cuisines from Italian to Chinese.
There are dining opportunities for all budgets. You can splash out on some fine dinings or keep it cheap with some street food.
There are a number of must-visit quirky bars in Budapest to grab a drink at.
One of the most unusual pubs is the For Sale Pub. Visitors are invited to scrawl personalised messages on notes and stick them to the walls and ceiling – in fact, the walls and ceiling are covered in paper notes, postcards and other trinkets.
If you fancy trying one of the famous ‘ruin bars’, one of the top favourites is Szimpla Kert. The decor is made out of mismatched items and scrap findings including an unused Trabant car. You can grab food and drinks here.
Budapest has some incredible nightclubs. It’s become a popular destination for young people to go on vacation for this reason, as well as being a hotspot for bachelor and bachelorette parties.
Otkert is a famous club positioned in a courtyard. A38 is meanwhile located in an old ship. The drinks are cheap and the music is great.
You don’t have to visit Budapest in the summer to enjoy the city. In December, Budapest features a number of festive events, including a huge Christmas market. This is also a great time for going shopping in Budapest as there are many fantastic Christmas displays.
You can also go ice skating on the City Park ice rink. This ice rink was opened back in 1870 and is one of the oldest and largest ice rinks in Europe. You’ll find people of all ages gathering here.