Are coming to Budapest? Yeeeeey, I’m so excited! I’ll tell you how to get here, where to stay, what to do and where to eat in Budapest. And I live here, I’m a local, so read my local’s travel guide to Budapest, Hungary to know more about the must-visit tourist attractions, cultural activities and must-try restaurants.
If you are interested in a place, just click on the pink text to reach the websites.
How to get to Budapest?
By aeroplane to Budapest Airport (BUD)
Budapest Liszt Ferenc Airport isn’t that big, so it’s not that hard to get around.
I know it doesn’t belong to this topic (just a bit), but it’s important. DO NOT EXCHANGE YOUR MONEY AT THE AIRPORT!!! Not worth it.
Just follow the exit sign and take a taxi or a bus.
You can reach the city centre easily by shuttle bus 100E. It goes directly to Deák Ferenc square (which is the centre of the centre), or take off at Kálvin square or Astoria (which are also in the centre). The ticket costs only 900 HUF. You can buy your ticket in a vending machine at the airport bus station, you can pay by cash and card as well (it also has a pay pass option).
The bus can be crowded during the summer season.
It operates from 4 am to 1:20 am and goes in every 20 minutes, check the time schedule on the website of BKK (Centre for Budapest Transport). It takes around 30 minutes to reach the centre, depending on the traffic.
Or take bus line 200E, which has many stations till Kőbánya-Kispest metro station (around 25 minutes), where you can change to the metro line 3 to the city centre. A single ticket costs 350 HUF. So your trip to the centre will cost 700 HUF and around an hour.
If you spend more days in Budapest and want to use public transport, the best solution is to buy 10 tickets for 3000 HUF.
By taxi to the centre costs around 6000 HUF depending on the traffic. The basic fee is 700 HUF. If you want to pay by card, always ask them about this option. ALWAYS CHECK THE TAXIMETER.
Budapest have 3 main railway stations: Keleti pályaudvar, Déli pályaudvar and Nyugati pályaudvar(on the photo (from WeLoveBudapest), this railway station was designed by Gustave Eiffel, the architect of the Eiffel tower). All of them are close to the centre.
A metro station belongs to all of them, so it’s easy to reach the city centre or your accommodation.
There’s another one called Kelenföldi railway station at an outer part of the city.
By bus to Népliget bus station
Our main bus station is called Népliget. Its metro station name is the same and metro line 3 will bring you to the city centre easily.
On the Danube you can arrive by boat, this option takes more time, but I bet the view is beautiful.
Now, you (virtually) arrived! Welcome!!! And let’s talk about Budapest 😉
Where to stay in Budapest?
I live in Budapest, so I’ve been in hotels only as a visitor, but I know about the most well-known hostels and hotels. Enjoy your stay here 🙂
Airbnb homes in Budapest
Budapest offers more than 300 Airbnb homes, mainly in the city centre of Pest side. Search on Airbnb for your perfect location.
Hostels in the city centre of Budapest
Wombats city hostel Budapest
Wombats (photo from Booking) is your place if you’re ready to discover the city and its nightlife. The hostel is opposite the Gozsdu courtyard, which offers many restaurants, cafés and bars. Deák Ferenc tér is few minutes on foot, so Budapest is waiting for you to explore it.
Maverick lodges Budapest
Maverick has 3 locations in the city centre with a different type of accommodations. Every three offers free cancellation, no deposit and no extra fee for late check out. You can also book rooms with private bathrooms. Visit their website for more information.
Maverick city lodge is situated in the historical Jewish Quarter in Kazinczy street (the street of Szimpla ruin bar), so bars, ruin pubs and restaurant are in your neighbourhood. I visited my friends in this hostel once and it looked very stylish and clean. Their room looked amazing with a huge Budapest wallpaper. Photos from Booking.
Maverick hostel can be found around Váci street in a renovated royal mansion building, so the rooms combine modern design and historical style. They have both private rooms with up to 5 beds and 4, 5, 6 and 10-bed dorms.
In Maverick apartments, your privacy is guaranteed and you can also access to Maverick reception desk services. 6 of the rooms are in the previous royal building and 1 apartment is just a 3-minute- walk away in another historical building. This separate apartment offers a truly amazing panorama of the Danube and Buda side.
Flow hostel is also located in the centre, close to the Great Market Hall. It offers premium quality accommodation with dormitory and private rooms as well. The rooms are decorated with stylish handmade furniture and vivid colours. I adore the design of the rooms. Photos from Booking.
Boutique hotels in Budapest
Brody House, Brody Apartments and the Writer’s Villa
BrodyLand offers 3 historical building as accommodation: Brody House and apartments on the Pest side and a villa on Buda. Each location is unique and dressed with contemporary design and art. You can stay for short and long-term as well.
The heritage building of Brody House is located in the centre, next to the Hungarian National Museum. It has 11 rooms, every room was designed by a different artist or curator.
Hotels in Budapest
Hotel RUM Budapest
Hotel RUM Budapest is a contemporary design hotel in the historical city centre. I’ve been in the foyer and its rooftop bar called Toprum only, but it looked awesome. Rooms are available in 4 different sizes, every room is dressed uniquely. For more photos visit their website or the page of Roadster.
Lánchíd 19 Design Hotel
In Lánchíd 19 Design Hotel every room has an individual look too. The multi-award winning hotel offers an amazing view to the Danube and the Chain Bridge. It’s located under the Castle District, next to the river. During the night the facade is illuminated with blue and green lights inspired by the Danube. Photo from Booking.
Aria Hotel Budapest
Aria Hotel Budapest is next to St. Stephen’s Basilica in the centre, it was the best hotel in Budapest in 2017. The design of the 5-star luxury hotel was inspired by music.
Hotel Clark Budapest
Hotel Clark opened in March 2018 at the Chain bridge. The design is modern and classical at the same time. Its lion logo (Leo) is a beautiful art piece in every space. The Leo Budapest rooftop bar offers you a tropical mood and the best view to the Danube and the Buda Castle. Photos from the hotel’s website.
What to do in Budapest?
Must-see tourist attractions in Budapest
- Gellért Hill (Gellért hegy) with Citadel and an awesome panorama
- Central Market Hall for food and souvenirs
- Castle District with the Royal Palace, Fisherman’s Bastion (Halászbástya) and Matthias Church (Mátyás templom) (the church is on the photo)
- Parliament with its 96-meter height
- St. Stephen’s Basilica (Szent István bazilika) with its Panorama terrace
- Andrássy Avenue with historical buildings and fashion stores
- Heroes’ Square (Hősök tere) and City Park (Városliget) with Vajdahunyad Castle
- Margaret island (Margitsziget) to enjoy the nature
Discover Budapest and its must-visit tourist attractions from these scenic viewpoints offering amazing panorama to the city. Read my post about Top 5 viewpoints in Budapest. My favourite guide is the 40 reasons to fall in love with Budapest post with a downloadable checklist.
Budapest is famous for its thermal baths. Most of them were established by the Turks in the 16th century. The thermal water has healing properties.
- Gellért Thermal Bath is my personal favourite, it’s perfect in every season. The building is super beautiful with the mosaics and its historical indoor pools. Aaaaand in summer the outdoor pool functions as a wave pool in every hour! So fun!
- One of the most unique experiences in Rudas Thermal Bath is the rooftop panorama pool. Its 450-year-old steam bath also offers an intimate atmosphere.
- Széchenyi Thermal Bath is the most popular and well-known. The outdoor pools have a totally nice atmosphere (on the photo) and the inside seems like a maze at the first time.
- Palatinus Bath on Margaret island has indoor pools and wellness area as well. The outdoor pools are very busy during hot summer days.
- St. Lukács Medicinal Bath and swimming pool is considered to have the most efficient healing water.
- Király Bath is a small hidden gem in Buda with steam bath, hot air chamber, jacuzzi and fitness room.
Best museums in Budapest
Most of the museums are closed on Mondays, so before visiting check their website for the opening time.
- Hungarian National Gallery (Magyar Nemzeti Galéria) in the Buda Castle (visit the amazing Frida Kahlo exhibition till the 4th of November 2018).
- Museum of Fine Arts (Szépművészeti Múzeum) on Hero’s Square is closed temporarily until the end of October 2018.
- Kunsthalle (Műcsarnok) is situated opposite the Museum of Fine Arts and it’s the home of contemporary Hungarian and international fine art.
- Hungarian National Museum (Magyar Nemzeti Múzeum) has a huge collection of Hungarian artefacts, archaeological, historical and ethnical relics.
- Ludwig Museum is located in the building of the Palace of Arts and showcases contemporary art on three stories.
- House of Terror Museum (Terror Háza) on Andrássy Avenue hosts a shocking exhibition about life during the fascist and communist occupations in Hungary.
- Robert Capa Contemporary Photography Center (Robert Capa Kortárs Fotóművészeti Központ) is a home of press and documentary photography including Robert Capa’s photos.
- Museum of Applied Arts (Iparművészeti Múzeum) is CLOSED TILL 2022 due to renovation but put it on your list.
Classical and contemporary music venues
- The magnificent building of Hungarian State Opera (Magyar Állami Operaház) on Andrássy Avenue has the 3rd best acoustics in Europe. It’s CLOSED TILL 2019 due to renovation.
- Palace of Arts (Művészetek Palotája) has a 1525-seat concert hall and Festival Theatre, both with an amazing interior (on the photo) and acoustic. It offers classical, contemporary, popular and world music, moreover, jazz, opera, contemporary circus, dance, literature and film.
- Budapest Music Center is the home of classical and jazz music. Aaaaand the building was designed by art1st design studio where I work as an architect!
- Margaret Island Open-Air Stage provides opera, operetta, dance, classical and contemporary music during summer.
- Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music (Liszt Ferenc Zeneakadémia) is a music conservatory and also has a concert hall.
Discover the ruin bars and the nightlife in Budapest
The 7th district is the best area to find RUIN BARS, where the abandoned houses have been filled with life, vintage furniture and a little hipster vibe.
- The most famous ruin bar is Szimpla Kert. On Friday and Saturday evening, it can be very crowded, you have to wait in the queue to get in. So I’d recommend to visit it during the day and choose another bar for the evening.
- Another famous ruin bar is Instant-Fogas (used to be Fogasház), which is a good party place, but also busy during the weekend.
- Kőleves is one of my favourites outdoor bars. The colourful furniture and lights give a vibrant atmosphere to the courtyard (on the photo).
- Ellátó kert (opposite Kőleves) also offers a colourful and friendly environment.
- Mika Tivadar Mulató has an outdoor and indoor area too.
- Anker’t is the stylish ruin bar in the yard of an old brick building. Enjoy tasty food and drinks in the evening and farmer’s market on weekends.
- In the yard of Kuplung you can enjoy your drinks under colourful lamps.
- Csendes Vintage Bar & Café is a totally cute and vivid bar close to Astoria.
- Púder is a colourful and vibrant ruin bar close to Kálvin square.
- The look of Szatyor Bar is similar to Púder, but it’s on the Buda side.
Concert, music, party and more bars
- A38 ship is anchored near Petőfi bridge on the Buda side. It’s a popular club with a concert hall, open-air terrace, restaurant and bar. I enjoyed so many great concerts there by famous and less famous bands.
- Akvárium Klub has 2 concert halls with a great sound system and great bands. The big green area above Akvárium and Fröccsterasz are perfect places for a drink.
- Pontoon is located at the foot of Chain Bridge (Lánchíd) on the Pest side. Have a drink and enjoy the view to the Castle District.
- Lärm is the place to enjoy good quality electronic music. The black room is on the 1st floor of Instant-Fogas.
- In Madách square, a lot of bars are waiting for you, most of them have outdoor seats as well. Choose Castro Bistro, keksz, Telep, Központ or Hivatal.
- Toldi operates as an art cinema as well and you can enjoy the movie with your wine 😉 On weekends it hosts alternative parties.
- Gozsdu courtyard offers loads of options to hang out. Restaurants, bars, coffee shops… 4BRO Downtown and Spíler to eat, drink and party, DiVino to drink great wine, Padthai wokbar for Thai food, Vicky Barcelona for Spanish food.
Where to eat in Budapest?
- Gettó Gulyás is my favourite Hungarian restaurant. The food is super tasty for an affordable price (on the photo), the service is very good and the wine selection is just perfect. I wrote another blog post about the traditional Hungarian dishes. Read my Budapest food guide for more information and photo.
- The menu of M restaurant changes daily because they cook only from seasonal ingredients, bought freshly on the market. And I love the minimal style of the place with the wallpapers.
- Mazel tov is a must-visit restaurant because it’s more than a restaurant, it’s an urban paradise of gastronomy, interior design and perfection.
- Padthai wokbar is one of the friendliest Asian places with super tasty food. Choose your base, toppings and sauce, plus ask for some homemade lemonade or tea.
- Khan (in district 13) and Sáo food & bar (in district 7) are both Vietnamese-Chinese restaurants with amazingly tasty and beautiful dishes. And great design… (yes, I’m an architect).
- In Ramenka you’ll get the best ramen in Budapest. Enjoy your tasty soup, the minimal design and the friendly environment.
- Zeller Bistro offers a cosy atmosphere and delicious food. And they discovered my superpower, it was written on the wall. “I make wine disappear. What’s your superpower?”
- Most Bistro has a big indoor restaurant area and a bigger friendly outdoor area. The menu offers a huge selection of Hungarian and international dishes.
- Karaván Street food in Kazinczy street (the neighbour of Szimpla) provides all types of food. It’s the street of street food. Sounds good?!! You can choose lángos at Lángos Burger, the real cheeseburger at Paneer, Kolbice by Kobe Sausages, vegan burgers at Las Vegan’s, super tasty burger at Zing Burger, rice burger at Samurice, Hungarian dishes and ice cream or chimney cake for dessert. Some bad news to the end… it’s closed in January and February.
Tipping in Hungary
Give around 10% if you’re satisfied with the service. Before paying and tipping, always check the bill because the service can be included in some places.
Wow, thaaaaat was a long list… But there’s even more, you need to know about my lovely Budapest.
Interested in Hungarian food? I bet you do 😉 This Budapest food guide for traditional Hungarian is waiting for you.
Do you like to discover the city from the top? Read my post about the Top 5 viewpoints in Budapest, Hungary. My favourite guide is the 40 reasons to fall in love with Budapest post with a downloadable checklist.
And even more is about to come…
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