How to get there
Budapest airport has domestic & international destinations, as well as a convenient train linking to Budapest-Nyugati station. A private taxi into the city will take about 25 minutes and cost 26€ (8045 HUF). The price of a single bus ticket is only 3€ (900 HUF) and the journey takes the same time as a private transfer (around 30 minutes). The bus line 100E has a route from the airport to the Deák Ferenc tér central metro station. Bus 100E leaves from the airport every 30 minutes and the trip takes around 35 minutes. Bus 100E leaves from the BKK stop which is between the two terminals on the arrivals level at the airport. Read more about the bus here.
Things to Do
This is an ornate thermal bath house, built in 1913, with a cupola, large swimming pools & water jet massagers. This is a spa that is one of many Turkish style bath houses in the city that are a great place to see and observe the locals and have a spa day in the hot or cold. This is a fun way to have a day in the sun in the city since there are many cool pools as well as warm. This was one of my favorite cultural experiences here and my most relaxing day in the city. My favorite city bath I fell in love with was Szecbenyi Thermal Bath, pictured above.
Castle Hill: Trinity Square, Matthias Church, &Fishermen’s Bastion (Halászbástya)
The narrow cobblestone streets and leafy avenues of Castle Hill are filled with baroque houses, Habsburg monuments and cafes including early 19th-century Ruszwurm. The top sites include Buda Castle, a palace, now home to the Hungarian National Gallery and Budapest History Museum. The turrets and terraces of Fisherman’s Bastion offer views over the Danube and nearby the breathtaking Matthias Church.
Fisherman’s Bastion is a 19th-century fortress with 7 turreted lookout towers with panoramic views of the whole city. There is a city overlook terrace that is a cafe with the best views in the city. The drinks and food are pretty budget for being the best free spot and view in the city. Fisherman’s Bastion is free to enter and walk around. This is my favorite spot in the city and I sat and had elderberry lemonade which is a flavor used in many things here in Budapest. This place is packed in the summer but worth the wait and views to take your turn for pictures.
This is a 14th-century church named for King Matthias, who married here, with an ecclesiastical art museum. This is one of the most beautiful churches in Budapest. This was also one of my favorite parts of the city. The opening hours for tourists are 9am-5pm daily. An adult ticket to tour the church is 1800HUF or $6.34USD. That is the same price to gain access to climb up into the tower with views of the city all around. So in order to tour the church and tower it is 3200HUF or $12.70USD. Full tours, tickets and information here.
Hungarian State Opera House
This is a Neoclassical opera house with ceiling frescoes & statues of composers, for opera & ballet plus tours. This is known to be one of the most beautiful opera houses. The opera tickets are $50USD per adult ticket which is pretty budget in US standards for seeing a ballet, opera or theater production. You can walk in to see an afternoon concert during the day as well for cheaper. They let me walk in to see the building and take pictures. Their full site and info is here.
Hungarian Parliament Building
This is a government landmark Gothic Revival–style edifice with lavishly decorated rooms, plus a visitors’ center. It is open 8am-6pm daily and sits on the Danube river about a half mile down from the Chain Bridge. Open hours daily are Mon-Sun 8am-6pm between April 1-October 31, and Mon-Sun 8am-4pm between November 1-March31. An adult visiting from outside the European Union ticket costs 6,000HUF or $21USD. Full tours and information here.
This is a palace for the Hungarian National Gallery and displays Gothic altars to sculptures of ancient art. The Buda Castle can be seen as the picture above from the Chain Bridge crossing the Dunabe river. The Buda Castle is the green dome building centered in the lampposts. The national gallery and palace are open Tue-Sun 10 am – 6 pm (closed on Mondays, but often open on national holidays). A tour of the palace, gallery and fisherman’s bastion for a single adult ticket costs 10 euros and 5 euros for kids. Full tour options and information are available here.
The Chain Bridge
The chain bridge is the main connecting bridge between the two parts of the city over the Danube river. The chain bridge has the pedestrian side of the bridge as well as cars. This is a cool view of the river and the city from the bridge. This is a 19th-century landmark suspension bridge, designed by William Tierney Clark. You cross this bridge to go see the Buda Castle, the fisherman’s bastion, Matthias church and some of the thermal baths. This is the higher half of the city with great views looking out over the rest of the city.
Shoes on the Danube Bank
This is a historical monument that are waterside shoe sculptures memorializing those killed at the river by a fascist party during WWII. The monument is open 24/7 and for free as you walk along the riverfront path on the Danube river. Walking along the river is a great way to get great views and pictures of the Hungarian parliament building, Buda castle, and the chain bridge.
St. Stephen’s Basilica
This is a vast cupola-topped Roman Catholic basilica, built from 1851 to 1905, with regular concerts. This church stands in a central area with lots of restaurants, coffee shops and boutiques all around the passageways surrounding the church. Tours are Monday-Saturday 10am-3pm. An adult tour ticket is 1,000HUF or $3.54USD. Full information about tours here.
Great Market Hall (Central Market Hall)
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This is a restored neogothic hall for traders with grocery produce on the ground & souvenirs on the 1st floor. This is a great shopping center and a gorgeous building to walk through. Open daily 6am-6pm and closed on Sundays.
New York Café
Budapest is know for having the most grand cafes. New York Cafe is known as one of the most beautiful cafes in the world. This cafe is more than 120 years old and is in the most beautiful building, the New York Palace. The cafe is open 8am-12am daily. Afternoon tea for two is 60euros, starters are 16euros, meals are 20-30euros, beers are 4euros, wine by the glass is 7euros, and cocktails are 10euros. Their menu and information are here.
Go to a Ruin Bar
Szimpla Kert is one of the most popular ruin bars in the Jewish Quarter because it is the city’s first and has become iconic. There are many especially in the Jewish Quarter of the city. A ruin bar is There are also flea and farmers markets connected to the ruin bar. There is an old Trabant car that is in the outdoor garden section. Ruin pubs are a cultural phenomenon in Budapest and there are many to explore and try. There are several traits that make a ruin pub, mismatched furniture that’s worn and old, old antiques and artwork all over the walls in a disheveled manner, and gardens where you can hangout in the summer. This ruin pub has a vast garden area with plants that feels like a jungle and several cool themed rooms to explore. This pub is open 12pm-4pm daily. Their site and menu are here.
Budapest Wine Tasting underground in Buda
Faust Wine Cellar is in a historical underground wine cellar in the Buda Castle District. The stairs are leading down from the ruins of a 13th century Dominican Cloister, ending at the cellar which is part of the huge labyrinth system underneath the Caste Hill, carved in the middle ages as an escape route. This is connected to the Hilton Hotel there as well. They are open 2pm-9pm daily and closed Tuesdays. A 6 wine tasting is 17euros per person. More information and details here.
Spiler Budapest Bistro Pub & market
This is an artistic corner of the Jewish Quarter that has an open market and lots of cool restaurants, cafes and bars to enjoy with strung lights in the evening. This was definitely a gathering place of the city in the evening and was a great spot to hang out. This is a hip spot in the city with its own DJ and roof top terrace bar. This spot is known for great local food, beer and wine. Meals average $8-9USD, as well as lots of yummy tapas or appetizers for $5USD. They are open 11:30am-12am daily. Their full menu can be found here.
This is a charming restaurant/cafe in the city that was my favorite quiet place to come read and get out of the sun for some reading. They sell delicious local lemonades and I loved the lavender as well as the elderflower and rose that are also everywhere in the city. They have budget drinks during the day and a great spot on the city square overlooking St. Peter’s Cathedral. They are also a well known higher end restaurant in the evenings. They are open 11:30am-12:30am daily and open until 1:30am on the weekends. This is a popular bar in the area at night. Their menu and more information is here.
The hostel I stayed at within walking distance of the central park, zoo and bath house. It was really hard to find and quite an unassuming place but cheap. Baroque hostel is dorm style and has a garden and wifi. The address is ( Budapest, Dózsa György u. 80/a, 1071 Hungary). It was definitely a hub of many cheap backpackers. There is common kitchen access. Baroque hostel is A 7-minute walk from the metro stop at the Hősök tere landmark, this low-key hostel in a baroque row building is 9 minutes’ walk from Városliget park and 1 km from the Széchenyi Thermal Baths. It has private rooms to 9 person dorms with bunk beds. You may have breakfast there with an additional fee as well as rent bikes.
$18USD/night for a 3 person room, BOOK HERE