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Welcome to Budapest, a city split down the middle by the Danube River into two towns, each complete with its own distinct personality. You'll find rolling hills, historic Ottoman relics and the famous Castle District in Buda, whereas flat Pest is marked by wide, tree-lined boulevards, crumbling apartment blocks and trendy ruin-style bars. Budapest is a city that merits a longer visit, but if you're just here on a flyover, follow my guide to the must-see places.

Good for
  • History Buff
  • Art and Architecture Lover
  • Nightlife Seeker
  • Foodie
  • Thrifty Traveller

9 Places

7 City Tips

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Map

9 Places

Castle Hill

Historic Walking Areas

Chain Bridge (Szechenyi lanchid)

Bridges

Kantin

Restaurants

Hungarian State Opera House (Magyar Allami Operahaz)

Architectural Buildings, Operas

Book Cafe - Lotz Terem

Gift & Speciality Shops

Szechenyi Baths and Pool

Historic Sites, Thermal Spas

Varosliget Cafe & Restaurant

Restaurants

Heroes' Square

Historic Sites, Monuments & Statues, Points of Interest & Landmarks

Szimpla Kert

Bars & Clubs

Jennifer W's City Tips

  • Tipping is often done by rounding bills up to 10% extra. It's customary to tell the waiter how much you want to pay, including tip, rather than leaving it on the table.
  • Avoid the tourist traps on Vaci Street — the food isn't particularly good and the prices are high. The same goes for most of the restaurants on the Danube Banks.
  • The public transport system is excellent in Budapest, so it's worth investing in a 24-hour ticket if you don't fancy walking. A 10-journey or single ticket is better for walkers.
  • Validate your tickets before getting on the tram, bus, metro or trolly bus. Plain clothes ticket inspectors prowl the routes, and you could get a hefty fine if you're caught.
  • Make sure you take the historic Millennium Underground — it's over 100 years old, one of the oldest metros in the world, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Take care of your belongings at all times, especially in crowded areas and bars.
  • There is a local law about photographing people without their permission; mostly this isn't enforced, but avoid photographing the police or demonstrations just in case.
  • Save
    Castle Hill
    Historic Walking Areas
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    Jennifer W Says:

    No trip to Budapest is complete without a visit to Castle Hill (Varhegy). Take a walk around the cobbled streets of this historic part of the city, and make sure you head up to Fisherman's Bastion, one of my favorite lookout points in the whole city. It's a nice area to simply wander, but if you want to step inside for a while, you can visit the Hungarian National Gallery in Buda Castle.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Check out the oldest part of the castle on the southern side. You'll find old turrets and Medieval walls here away from the crowds.
    • If you don't want to walk up or take the funicular, there are local buses running to Castle Hill from Deak Square, numbers 16 and 16A.
    • Most of the restaurants here are overpriced and not particularly good, so you're better off heading back to town.
    Plan to stay:/
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #7 of 472 things to do in Budapest
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Beautiful at night and day! 22/08/2017
    • Amazing 21/08/2017
    • Castle Hill
    Address:
    Szent Gyorgy Ter
    Budapest 1014
    Hungary
    Phone:
    +36 1 201 4927
    Other:
  • Save
    Chain Bridge (Szechenyi lanchid)
    Bridges
    See more photos
    Jennifer W Says:

    A must-see while in Budapest — Chain Bridge (Szechenyi Lanchid) is easily the city's most beautiful bridge, with stunning views over the Danube and up to Castle Hill. Pedestrian-friendly, it's definitely worth walking across and taking the time to savor the view.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Make sure you go right down to the Danube Bank on the Pest side to snap the perfect photo of both the bridge and the castle.
    • I personally love strolling here when the lights come on at night.
    Plan to stay:/
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #8 of 472 things to do in Budapest
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • bridge 22/08/2017
    • Lucky day to visit 22/08/2017
    • Chain Bridge (Szechenyi lanchid)
    Other:
  • Save
    Kantin
    Restaurants (European, Eastern European, Central European, Hungarian)
    See more photos
    Jennifer W Says:

    For a taste of the modern Hungarian kitchen, Kantin is the place where I like to take my friends. The set menu here is a good price, and you can mix and match your starters. The dishes are seasonal and made with fresh local ingredients. The chic industrial interior might lack the romantic feel other restaurants have, but you can't really beat it for location as it's right in the heart of the city.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • Take the metro to Oktogon or Opera and walk up.
    • If you're a vegetarian and you want to try some Hungarian dishes (not usually vegetarian-friendly), then try the Mushroom Paprikash!
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #938 of 2,686 restaurants in Budapest
    • Avoid this place! 20/08/2017
    • Cheap and cheerful 16/08/2017
    • Kantin
    Address:
    Andrassy ut 44.
    Budapest 1061
    Hungary
    Phone:
    +36 30 527 2076
    Price range:
    US$12 - US$24
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    12:30 - 23:30
    Other:
  • Save
    Hungarian State Opera House (Magyar Allami Operahaz)
    Architectural Buildings, Operas
    See more photos
    Jennifer W Says:

    One of my favorite buildings in Budapest, the Hungarian State Opera House is one of the city's most beautiful monuments and a must-see on your trip to the Hungarian capital. If you have more time then make sure you catch a show, otherwise you can simply take a guided tour of the interior. And if you're really in a hurry, then just stop by and snap a photo!

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • You can get here by taking the Millennium Underground and getting off at Opera.
    • You can book tickets for shows in advance on the website, but make sure you pick this location and not the Erkel Theatre, which is a totally different place.
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #10 of 472 things to do in Budapest
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Beautiful 21/08/2017
    • Beautiful 20/08/2017
    • Hungarian State Opera House (Magyar Allami Operahaz)
    Address:
    Andrassy ut 22
    Budapest 1061
    Hungary
    Phone:
    +36 1 331 2550
    Other:
  • Save
    Book Cafe - Lotz Terem
    Gift & Speciality Shops
    See more photos
    Jennifer W Says:

    If you're hankering for a spot of coffee, then the Book Cafe (Lotz Terem) on Andrassy Avenue is a must. Entering the art deco building, you'll first find yourself in a modern bookstore, but keep going and take the escalator up to the top and you'll discover a cafe that looks like a Venetian Palace. I love stopping by here for a cup of coffee when I want to treat myself.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    Tips
    • If you need to use the bathroom, ask one of the waiters for a card, otherwise you'll have to pay to use the toilet.
    Plan to stay:/
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 202 Shopping in Budapest
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • A Major Disappointment 12/08/2017
    • Don't go - closed 04/07/2017
    • Book Cafe - Lotz Terem
    Address:
    Andrassy ut 39
    Budapest 1061
    Hungary
    Phone:
    +36 1 461 5830
    Other:
  • Save
    Szechenyi Baths and Pool
    Historic Sites, Thermal Spas
    See more photos
    Jennifer W Says:

    Walking around the city can be tiring and sometimes you need a good pick-me-up. An afternoon at the Széchenyi Baths is the ideal way to enjoy the city and relax at the same time. The thermal waters here hold curative properties and bubble up warm, making them perfect to bathe in all year round. You can either splash about in the main area or soak yourself in the steaming hot pool where the old men sit around and play chess for hours.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • You can find the pool easily by taking the Millennium Underground to Szechenyi Baths.
    • Make sure you bring a swimming costume!
    Plan to stay:/
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #3 of 118 Spas & Wellness in Budapest
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Awesome early morning - too crowded after 11.30 22/08/2017
    • Lovely relaxing place 22/08/2017
    • Szechenyi Baths and Pool
    Address:
    Allatkerti korut 9-11.
    Budapest 1146
    Hungary
    Phone:
    +36 1 363 3210
    Price range:
    US$17 - US$17
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    06:00 - 22:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Varosliget Cafe & Restaurant
    Restaurants (International, Austrian, European, Eastern European, Central European, Hungarian)
    See more photos
    Jennifer W Says:

    The City Park (Varosliget) is Budapest's green lung and a popular spot for a stroll, with the Vajdahunyad Castle as the highlight. The romantic turreted building is actually inspired by the castle of the same name in Transylvania. It's one of my favorite places in the city, and while I wouldn't recommend the museum inside — unless you're a fan of taxidermy — the grounds are easily worth at least a short walk.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • If you come in the winter, go ice skating down on the lake!
    • Make sure you check out the statue of Anonymous!
    Plan to stay:/
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #37 of 2,686 restaurants in Budapest
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • 5* 21/08/2017
    • A nice place for adults 16/08/2017
    • Varosliget Cafe & Restaurant
    Address:
    Olof Palme setany 5
    Budapest 1146
    Hungary
    Phone:
    +36 30 869 1426
    Price range:
    US$4 - US$35
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    12:00 - 22:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Heroes' Square
    Historic Sites, Monuments & Statues, Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Jennifer W Says:

    Heroes' Square sits right up between the City Park and Andrassy Avenue. It's one of Budapest's most visited sites and an optimal place to snap a photo. Take a look at the statues of Hungarian kings up along the colonnades!

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • You can take the Millennium Underground to and from Heroes' Square at the station called "Hösök Tere".
    Plan to stay:/
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #19 of 472 things to do in Budapest
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Impressive Monument! 22/08/2017
    • Monumental 22/08/2017
    • Heroes' Square
    Address:
    Andrassy ut
    Next to City Park in the VI. District
    Budapest 1062
    Hungary
    Phone:
    +36 1 322 4098
  • Save
    Szimpla Kert
    Bars & Clubs
    See more photos
    Jennifer W Says:

    Budapest has an amazing nightlife thanks to its ruin-style bar scene. Szimpla Kert was the original ruin-style bar that started life as a squat-cum-bar in the dilapidated VII District downtown, and which has since turned into a cultural phenomenon. If you haven't been to a ruin-style bar before, then stepping into Szimpla will feel like being transported into a surreal world housed in a crumbling apartment block.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Trendsetter
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • If you're in Budapest on a Sunday morning, it's worth swinging by here again for the amazing local farmers market that's open until 2pm.
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 194 Nightlife in Budapest
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Excellent ruin bar 22/08/2017
    • Amazing Place 22/08/2017
    • Szimpla Kert
    Address:
    Kazinczy utca 14.
    Budapest 1075
    Hungary
    Phone:
    +36 1 352 4198
    Hours:
    Sun
    09:00 - 05:00
    Mon - Thu
    12:00 - 04:00
    Fri
    10:00 - 04:00
    Sat
    12:00 - 04:00
    Other:
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