Budapest is one of those places that everyone seems to have been to, and everyone seems to adore – and for good reason! Sightseeing and spas in the day, then partying with ridiculously cheap drinks in cool bars at night. What is there not to love?!
- Currency: Hungarian Forint
- Local time: GMT +1
- Language: Hungarian
When choosing where to stay in Budapest, it’s worth noting that Buda and Pest are two different areas of the city, split by the river. Most of the sightseeing and nightlife happens in Pest, so this is definitely the side to stay. When looking at a map of the city, you want to be to the right of the river.
Budapest has an excellent transport system, meaning that wherever you stay in the city, nothing is too far away. However, if you’re heading to the city for the nightlife, you can’t go wrong staying anywhere downtown. You’ll be within walking distance of Kazinczy street, which is the main hub of evening entertainment. Many streets twist and turn off of here, and they’re all worth exploring as ruin bars pop up in the lest likely of places!
The map below shows the area I recommend staying within for the overall city in red, and the blue is downtown if you’re after the nightlife.
Do: Spas, sightseeing, ruin bars
You must try one of the renowned spas whilst in Budapest, and if you only have time to visit one, make it Szechenyi. With a huge heated outdoor spa pool, along with a huge variety of spa baths, jacuzzis, steam rooms and saunas indoors, this place will keep you occupied for hours and you’re guaranteed to leave feeling relaxed. (Tip: take your own towels to save on a fairly hefty fee to hire them) If you feel like indulging and visiting more than one spa (like we did!) Rudas is also well worth a visit. Very different to Szechenyi, the focus here is indoor pools and saunas, many with a set order of use based on increasing the body temperature gradually. The real gem here though is the hot whirlpool on the roof, offering stunning views over the river Danube.
There is plenty to see in the city during the day, and most can be accessed on foot. St Stephens Basilica, the incredible Hungarian parliament building and Heroes Square are all must-sees and will guarantee some excellent Instagram snaps!
Famed for its ruin pubs and bars, nightlife in Budapest is like nothing else I’ve experienced. From quirky garden bars with candles and hammocks to huge clubs perfect for dancing in until morning, theres something for everyone here! Szimpla Kert is undoubtably the most famous of Budapest many ruin pubs, and for good reason. With so many rooms to explore and an outside beer garden too, hours can be spent here (and were) drinking away the afternoon. Szimpla also run a farmers market on Sunday mornings thats well worth a visit.
Other bars of note worth visiting are Fogas and Instant for large dance venues that stay open late, and the colourful and quirky garden bars Psst Shhh! & Koleves (both a bit tricky to find, located on Kazinczy U, but worth searching for).
Eat: Karavan, Kazimir Bistro, Comme Chez Soi, Gelarto Rosa
Eating in Budapest is fun and varied; they have everything from 5* restaurants to amazing street food!
Stop by Karavan street food park for a chance to try some of the local cuisine. I personally recommend the Langos (a bit like donut bread) with sour cream and cheese. Doesn’t sound appealing, but please take my word for it and grab one, you won’t regret it!
For a dinner that offers traditional food in a relaxed atmosphere, had to Kazimir Bistro. Located downtown near the famous ruin bars, it has a friendly locals feel and authentic Hungarian cuisine. Not to be missed!
Another restaurant well worth a visit is Comme Chez Soi. It’s Budapests answer to fine dining, and the prices are in line with this, however the lunch menu is a lot more affordable for those on a budget. They’re closed on Sunday and get very booked up the rest of the week, so worth making a reservation here in advance.
If ice cream is what you’re craving, make sure you head to Gelarto Rosa, a great ice cream parlour that encourage you to pick multiple flavours so that they can turn the contrasting colours into a delicate ice cream flower. Another one for Instagram!