Travel Guides

The Complete Budapest, Hungary Travel Guide

December 12, 2016

Bathing at the outdoor thermal baths at Szechenyi bathhouse budapest hungaryI’ll admit that Budapest wasn’t at the top of my travel list, mainly because I didn’t know much about the city. But after visiting last month, it’s clear that Budapest is an amazing destination! The architecture is on a level I still can’t wrap my head around. Not to mention the food (Hungarians are definitely foodies), the design, and the historic thermal baths – this city truly is any traveler’s dream, and it’s also super affordable! Trust me, if Budapest isn’t on your bucket list yet, it’s time to re-prioritize your European bucket list destinations…

Walking the walls of Fisherman's Bastion in Budapest Hungary View of Buda Castle from Széchenyi Chain Bridge in BudapestShops and signs on old walking street of budapest hungaryCity of budapest hungary at sunset



needed to take it all in


Where to Stay

  • Hotel Palazzo Zichy – located in a quiet street with shops and restaurants nearby, this old-meets-new hotel was a former palace from the 19th century. The staff is unfailingly friendly and the pricing is very reasonable.

Exterior of Old Palace Hotel Palazzo Zichy

  • Aria Hotel – if you are looking for luxury and convenience, look no further. The musically inspired Aria Hotel is situated within the old town of Pest (Buda and Pest together make up what we know as Budapest), and has one of the most incredible views of the city.
Rooftop view of st stephen's basilica from the Aria Hotel Budapest Hungary

Rooftop views from the Aria Hotel

  • Airbnb – there are plenty of options to explore the city on a budget. My tip if you have the time: spend a few nights on the Buda side of town, then switch to Pest!

Where to Eat

  • Két Szerecsen – this cozy café has the most amazing tapas. A clear winner is their buttery garlic shrimp.
  • Pest-Buda Bistro – I suggest trying the classic Hungarian dish “Paprika Chicken” here. It’s so tasty.
  • New York Café – this lavish restaurant is an experience on its own, and perfect for a leisurely meal amongst beautiful architecture.
The beautiful ceiling at New York Cafe budapest hungary

The ceiling of New York Cafe

  • Noir ChocoBar – craving something sweet? This chocolate bar serves up the most decadent and unique desserts, including lavender hot chocolate and chili ginger chocolate fondue.
  • ToLTo – if you are looking for something classic with a unique spin, don’t miss Tolto. Their sausages (yes, sausages!) are works of art.
Hungarian sausages local food at ToLTo Budapest Hungary

Sausages at ToLTo

  • Kürtőskalács Food Stands – don’t miss a classic Chimney Cake if you’re visiting during the colder months – look for a stand with a line so you know they are being made fresh!

Where to Drink

  • Ruin Pubs – Budapest is known for its Ruin Pubs, old tenement houses and factory buildings converted into bars (which started happening in the 21st century). Try Ellato Kert Taqueria or Szimpla Kert for a fun night out.
  • Jonas Sorhaz – This is the spot for craft beers, views, and outdoor seating on a sunny day.
  • Espresso Embassy – this cozy cafe serves the best coffee in town and is a locals’ favorite.
coffee and hot chocolate at Espresso Embassy in budapest hungary

Delicious lattes at Espresso Embassy

Where to Shop

  • Andrassy Avenue – this avenue features the big brands as well as some smaller boutiques once you venture down the side streets.
  • Váci Utca – the most famous shopping street in Budapest is great for an afternoon stroll and a bite to eat.
Cute plant shop in Budapest Hungary City Center

A typical pop-up shop in Budapest

  • Central Market Hall – this indoor market hall features local produce, food stalls, souvenirs, gifts and more.

Where to Go

  • The Parliament Building – it’s worth viewing this incredible structure from across the Danube River and also getting up close to admire the details.
View of the parliament building from Budapest Tuk Tuk

View of the Parliament Building from our Tuk Tuk

  • Fisherman’s Bastion – this is a great spot for city views. Go in the morning or at sunset and you can likely walk the walls free of charge.
St Stephen's Basilica in the rain budapest hungary

St Stephen’s Basilica in the rain

What to Do

  • Visit a bathhouse. I suggest going in the morning (before the crowds) to the grand outdoor baths at Szechenyi.
  • Browse the Budapest History Museum. This museum is located within Buda Castle and perched overlooking the city. Take the funicular up and explore the works of art – some are massive!
The indoor pool at Gellert Baths Budapest Hungary

The indoor pool at Gellert Baths

  • Take a TukTuk ride. This is a great way to see the city as TukTuks can enter side streets that trams or cars simply can’t. It’s also a perfect rainy day activity!

What to Bring

  • A warm jacket. The weather in Budapest can get chilly in the colder months.
  • A swimsuit. You really can’t miss the thermal baths!
  • A public transport card. The tourism office offers city cards which provide unlimited use of public transportation (very useful in Budapest!) and additional discounts on some of the places I mention above.

Danube River view from Elizabeth Bridge in Budapest Hungry

View of the parliament building from Fisherman's Bastion Budapest

You won’t run out of things to see here – every street in this magical city is fascinating. I hope I’ve convinced you to visit soon!

What’s your favorite city for beautiful European architecture and sights? Let us know in the comments below!
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  • Reply Martina January 9, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    Thanks for sharing your tips, sounds amazing! I visited Budapest when I was a kid but cannot remember much.

    What a shame I didn’t manage to visit it again since then, especially because it’s so close (only 200km) to my home. It’s definitely on my list for 2017 now! Greetings from Slovakia!

    • Reply - Selena January 19, 2017 at 6:00 pm

      So glad to hear that! Slovakia is on my list, I’m hoping to visit it soon. Thanks for reading!

  • Reply Kyle Studstill February 6, 2017 at 12:24 am

    Those foggy photos are fantastic! Thanks for adding great new spots to me Budapest list 🔮🙏

    • Reply - Selena February 6, 2017 at 12:29 am

      Glad you like them! Enjoy, it’s an amazing city. 🙂

  • Reply Murad February 8, 2017 at 10:54 am

    Hey Selena,
    This is Murad Hasan From Bangladesh. After a long time, I am reading travel guide blog to got spends my time. Although I know maybe it is impossible to go Budapest with me. But after see all the images and body, I seem to go to Budapest. Don’t know it is possible or not at all. But you can visit my country. Bangladesh is a small country but very comfortable for travel.

    • Reply - Selena February 20, 2017 at 12:43 pm

      Hi Murad! So glad you enjoyed the travel guide. We are always open to visiting new places so I’ll add Bangladesh to our list. 🙂

  • Reply roxi February 15, 2017 at 9:34 am

    You have such an amazing style 🙂

    • Reply - Selena February 20, 2017 at 11:56 am

      Thank you Roxi! 🙂

  • Reply Maia May 15, 2017 at 1:32 am

    Will be Budapest in October this year and I cannot wait to visit the city, thank you for your guide!

    • Reply - Selena May 16, 2017 at 8:50 pm

      So glad you like it! Enjoy – Budapest has so much to offer, I would go back in a heartbeat.

  • Reply Danielle July 20, 2017 at 11:38 am

    I like this post so much! Your pictures are beautiful!
    I wanted to ask when did you visit? I was wondering if the city gets too cold around October or November and wanted your opinion about it 🙂

    • Reply - Selena July 28, 2017 at 11:59 am

      Hi Danielle! Thank you so much! We visited in November and it was typically around 40-50 degrees Farenheit, but the wind chill is what made it feel colder. I think even going beginning of October would make a huge difference. Or if you don’t mind the cold, go in December and hit the Christmas markets while you’re there. 🙂

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