Budapest is amazing. Period. Being one of the most beautiful cities in Europe with its highly affordable prices, no wonder tourists flock to this city. Budapest is a must visit destination in Europe and its affordability makes it even more attractive to visitors. There is so much to do in this city and can be easily enjoyed over the weekend. If you are looking for top things to do in Budapest, look no further as we provide this (weekend) getaway guide to Budapest from a first hand experience of this dazzling city.
The Hungarian capital is actually made up of two different cities, the hilly Buda side and Pest, the more modern and urban area of the capital. These two cities are divided by the winding Danube river, which cuts across the two cities and are connected by a 19th century chain bridge. The bridge comes alive at night with its sparkling lights adorning the length and breadth of the bridge.
Did you know that Budapest is actually pronounced Budapesht?
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Guide for getting around during your (weekend) getaway to Budapest:
Budapest is blessed with good public transportation. Be it the historic colourful trams, buses or metro, the frequency of these services are quite good. Grab a Budapest card which comes in multiple duration options, depending on your duration of stay. The card offers you free transportation and free access to many museums.
We highly recommend riding the older trams which would give you a sense of living in olden times.
Guide for Accommodation in Budapest:
Budapest is very affordable when it comes to accommodation. A good room even in the city center would cost just around €50. We stayed at this hotel and we highly recommend you NOT to choose this place. They showed good photos in the website and gave us a completely different room.
However, we would suggest staying in Pest and closer to the Jewish quarter as this area has very good vibe and amazing night life.
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Guide to top activities during your (weekend) getaway to Budapest:
Having travelled though a lot of European cities, we have found that every city has something unique to offer. Budapest was one of those cities that took us by surprise as we never expected so many fun and amazing this to do there. In this (weekend) getaway guide to Budapest, we have provide further details of some amazing view points, some of the best thermal baths and much more..
Budapest is the city of spas. There are many thermal baths in Budapest and using these baths is a part of the lifestyle for people living in Budapest. The natural hot springs are used to cure many ailments such as arthritis, joint pains and aids in improved blood circulation.
The most visited spa is the Széchenyi Baths and its easily accessible by public transportation. They provide a private changing room and bathing suits can be hired or brought along. They also have both indoor and outdoor pools.
Széchenyi Baths is also a beautiful place to photograph. The bright yellow buildings in the backdrop of azure waters along with its fountains and impressive statues would compel you to capture this lovely setting. Go there early in the morning if you want to capture photos crowd free.
Other popular baths are Rudas Baths, Gellért Baths, Veli Bej Baths, Király Baths, Lukács Baths and Danubius Health Spa Margitsziget.
Travel Tip: Since the thermal baths are hot, they are best enjoyed during winter. If you are traveling to Budapest during summer, make sure you go here early in the morning or late in the evening as the warm water will be more tolerable during milder temperatures. You can also try out the Saturday night pool party at Széchenyi Thermal Baths.
This decorative bastion sits on top of a hill and requires you to hike up a bit to get there but the views from here are just exquisite. From the top, you get to see the panoramic view of the Danube river and also looking over Pest. Along with it, you would be able to see the St Stephen’s Basilica and the Parliament. The views are well worth it.! The Fisherman bastion was one of our favourite spots in Budapest.
Citadella and some amazing views of Budapest:
Although fisherman bastion offers a panoramic view of the city, the best view of the city is from the Citadella. Again, its at least 30 minutes hike but there are many vista points all along the route, offering a glimpse of the whole city.
Travel tip: Arrive at the citadella a couple of hours before the sunset and stay there until its dark. You would be captivated by the view from top. The gentle evening breeze, the soft glowing light from the sky, the magnificent view of the city along the Danube river , the dazzling chain bridge would be a great picture perfect moment.
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Ruin bars in Budapest:
For the tired travellers, Budapest offers a fantastic nightlife experience. Don’t miss the famous ruin bars in the old jewish quarter area. The ruin bars are basically bars built in the abandoned dilapidated buildings after world war II. From the outside, it looks nothing like a bar but once you step inside, it’s a different world altogether. The decor is fantastic with artsy furniture and the crowd is usually hip. They play funky music and colourful lights decorate the bars inside.
Ruin bars have become very popular lately and it’s definitely worth visiting a couple of them at the least. Some of the popular bars are Szimpla Kert, Mazel Tov, Anker’t, Dürer Kert, Ellátó Kert and Instant.
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This baroque palace sits on top of the castle hill and was the abode of Hungarian kings. The entrance to the castle is free but you will need to pay for the museums and the national gallery. The best way to reach the castle is to take the scenic route, which is to ride famous funicular from Clark Ádám tér near the Chain Bridge. Queues at the funicular could get long so you could also ride the bus no: 16 or 16A to get to the castle.
St. Stephen basilica:
Located in the center of the city is the impressive St. Stephen basilica. Enjoy the best view of this beautiful church by walking towards the church on the Zrínyi utca (Zrínyi street).
Chain Bridge, the jewel of Budapest:
The chain bridge connects the Buda and Pest sides and walking on the bridge is a must do activity. The bridge spans across the river Danube and looks fantastic both during the day and the night.
Coffee houses in Budapest:
If you are aware of the coffee house culture in Vienna, you should not miss the classic coffee houses in Budapest. Just like the Viennese ones, the coffee houses served as a meeting point for poets, writers and artists. However, most of them were destroyed during the world war and later the communist leaders considered the coffee houses as a place of conspiracy.
The good news is most of the Café’s have been restored since and welcoming locals and visitors from all over the world. Some of the splendid coffee houses are Ruszwurm, Angelika Cafe, Café Gerbeaud and New York Café. A perfect way to make an otherwise busy (weekend) getaway to Budapest a bit more relaxed.
Well that’s our take on the beautiful city of Budapest.! We hope you find this (weekend) getaway guide to Budapest useful in planning your trip.
Some more photos from our weekend getaway to Budapest: