Hach Budapest. More than ten years ago, our very first trip together took us to Budapest. Since then we’ve been to the city countless times and we’ve come out as Budapest fans. The Hungarian capital is and remains for us simply a ideal destination for a city break.
Budapest is an extremely lively, extremely young city, that is constantly changing. Every time we come to Budapest, new cafes and bars have opened. That’s what we love so much about Budapest: Despite the many historical, magnificent sights there is always something new to discover.
In this blog article we will introduce you to the most beautiful sights and highlights in Budapest. Of course, we also reveal our personal tips for Budapest.
1. City trip to Budapest: What awaits you The flair of Budapest is imperial with a touch of Eastern Bloc charm. Many streets of Budapest remind us of Vienna, but Budapest is much less spruced up. The facade of some houses is crumbling, but that is exactly what makes Budapest so attractive.
Budapest is roughly divided into two parts of the city: Buda and Pest. (Hence the name Budapest.) Buda describes the hilly district west of the Danube. Here you will find, among other things, the Castle Hill with the magnificent Fisherman’s Bastion and the Gellért Hill. Pest lies east of the Danube and is the flat part of Budapest, so to speak. Here you will find the old town, the imposing government building and also the young, hip districts of Budapest.
Speaking of young districts: Budapest has a surprisingly large young, alternative Scene. This means that there are a lot of cool cafes and bars in Budapest. Budapest is a university city and you notice that when you are out and about in the city’s bars in the evening.
2. The most beautiful sights and highlights in Budapest: Our tips The center of Budapest is relatively small, so you can find many Highlights can be reached on foot. You should plan about two days to explore the most important sights. Although we are of the opinion that you can discover a lot even in one day.
The baroque castle district We suggest you to start right away with the highlight of the city: the Castle District on Castle Hill in the Buda district. There are some highlights on the Castle Hill, such as the Fisherman’s Bastion, the Matthias Church and the Castle Palace. You also have a wonderful view of the other side of Budapest from high up.
To get to the Castle District, you can take the historic Use the funicular. The price of a single journey is 1.88 Forint (almost 4 euros), for a round trip you pay 1.684 Forint (about 5,50 Euro). The journey is really quite short, so we recommend you to walk instead.
Many different footpaths lead up to the castle hill – for example the one that starts directly at the funicular and runs in a zigzag. You can easily reach the Burgpalast from here in about 10 until 15 minutes . Once at the top, you can then walk in the direction of the Fisherman’s Bastion and the Matthias Church (approx. 10 minutes). From here a footpath leads back down towards the center.
A little insider tip: Budavari Retesvar If you get hungry during your visit, you should rather avoid the restaurants on the castle hill. Most of them are classic tourist restaurants and simply overpriced.
But we have a good tip for you: In the tiny little bakery called Budavari Retesvar near the Fishermen’s Bastion there are the most wonderful strudel variations. We’ve tasted the whole range there several times: Curd cheese, apple, poppy seed and cherry strudel and other delicacies are freshly baked there. You will find the bakery in a small passage opposite the meadow at the Fishermen’s Bastion.
Fishermen’s BastionPalace View from the castle hill Matthias Church Budapest Top sight and landmark of Budapest: The Chain Bridge The Chain Bridge crosses the Danube and connects the two districts of Buda and Pest together. A walk across the Chain Bridge is simply part of a Budapest city break. You can combine this with a tour of the castle district, because the chain bridge ends or starts at the historic funicular.
The architecture The Chain Bridge is quite an eye-catcher: it is a suspension bridge with two piers reminiscent of triumphal arches. Cars can also drive over the Chain Bridge, so you have to think about which side of the bridge you want to walk on at the beginning.
St. Stephen’s Basilica On the other side of the Chain Bridge is the District Pest. Here you will find the old town of Budapest, so to speak, with numerous sights. A highlight is the St. Stephen’s Basilica. The church itself is quite worth seeing, but we were particularly impressed by the view.
From the dome of St. Stephen – Because you have a basilica 150-degree view over Budapest. You reach the dome after a short climb of approx. 350 Stages . Admission to the dome costs 1500 Forints (approx . 4 euros). We will give you more information in this article: The most beautiful views over Budapest.
Our tip: Near St. Stephen’s -Basilica is home to the popular Gelarto Rosa ice cream parlour. Here you will receive your ice cream in the form of a rose blossom. Tastes surprisingly delicious!
Parliament Building Budapest Impressive is still understated: The parliament building of Budapest is a neo-Gothic magnificent building and one of the most important sights in Budapest. You will see this gigantic structure from many places in Budapest. The view from the other side of the Danube is very nice.
You can visit the Parliament building in Budapest as part of a guided tour, but to be honest we haven’t been a single one yet times in the building. The view from the outside (at least that’s our assumption) is the most impressive anyway.
By the way, just a few minutes’ walk south of the parliament building you will find a special kind of memorial: the Shoes on the banks of the Danube. 45 Pairs of metal shoes are a moving reminder of the victims of the Holocaust.
Váci utca The most famous promenade and shopping street of the city is also located in the Pest district, just a short walk from St. Stephen’s Basilica. Typical fashion chains such as H&M and Zara are located on Váci utca. You can definitely walk through here, although we wouldn’t count the Váci utca among the absolute highlights of Budapest.
Our tip: We recommend staying away from restaurants in the area (especially directly on Váci utca) as most of them are overpriced. However, the Café Kuglóf that we visited is close by. You wouldn’t expect such a pretty café in the very touristy area. There is delicious coffee and also very good cakes and tarts. You can recharge your batteries in the small sidewalk café.
Budapest culinary delights: The Great Market Hall At the southern end of the promenade Váci utca you reach the Great Market Hall, so to speak the most important culinary sight in Budapest. In this huge, very photogenic market hall there is a row of stands. Fruit, vegetables, meat, sausages and of course numerous souvenirs are sold.
Although there are quite a lot of tourists, you can still enjoy the typical “native” market feeling. We were particularly impressed by the architecture of this market hall with its imposing steel construction.
High above Budapest: The citadel on the Gellért Hill A great view you have over Budapest from the striking Gellért Hill, which rises west of the Danube. At its peak is the citadel, a former fortress. Near the citadel towers the Statue of Liberty – a sight you will see from many places in Budapest.
You can currently (as of September
) not visit, but most (including us) visit the Gellért Hill anyway for the beautiful View. In any case, be prepared that you will not be alone, because this sight is one of the more popular in Budapest.
You can reach Gellért Hill either by bus no. 27 or on foot. (From the center it is about 30 Minutes – depending on where you are.) If you like it leisurely, you can also drive to Gellért Hill by car. Only a short walk separates you from the parking lot from the citadel.
The alternative attraction in Budapest: The trendy district of Elisabethstadt The 7th district, also known as Elisabethstadt, is the Jewish quarter of Budapest and at the same time the hip district par excellence. This district combines street art, hip bars and lots of dilapidated buildings in a very exciting way.
You can in this Browse the various shabby chic and second-hand shops in the quarter or while away the time in one of the many cafés. During the day you can still discover the streets in peace, while it can get very crowded in the evening. The trendy bars of Elisabethstadt (especially the famous Szimpla Kert) and the restaurants (e.g. the Mazel Tov) are visitor magnets par excellence. We will tell you more culinary tips further down in this blog article.
As a starting point for exploring the trendy Elisabethstadt district, we recommend Kazinczy utca. (The Szimpla Kert is also in this alley.) From there you can stroll through the small alleys and let Budapest work its magic on you.
Historical Thermal Baths in Budapest: Széchenyi The thermal baths of Budapest are cult. In Budapest there are over 100 hot springs from which the water for the numerous thermal baths. There is no other major city in the world where this is the case.
We ourselves finally made it to one of the thermal baths on our last city trip to Budapest. To be more precise, we were visiting the Széchenyi Baths. It has a very spacious, magnificent outdoor area, which is why we chose the Széchenyi Baths. The Gellért Baths are probably the most famous baths in Budapest. It is best known for its Art Nouveau architecture.
The flair of the Széchenyi Spa is really something special. Although the bathroom is showing its age, you should really see it with your own eyes. We definitely liked it best in the outdoor pools, but there are also countless pools to choose from indoors. Important to know: The Széchenyi thermal baths are very popular, so the rush is quite large. So please don’t expect a private wellness experience.
You can buy your ticket here in advance: Széchenyi-Bad day ticket
3. The best views over Budapest We admit it: we are always looking for the best views over Budapest our city. Of course, Budapest is an excellent choice. You have one of the most beautiful panoramic views of Budapest from Gellért Hill. Near the citadel there is a vantage point from which you have a wonderful view of the whole of Budapest.
Our insider tip: The 500 Bar. It is located on the roof terrace of a building near the Oktogon Metro station. The place is perfect for a sundowner with a view of Budapest.
You can find our detailed article with all the views here: The most beautiful Views over Budapest
4. Cafés and restaurants in Budapest: Our tips Budapest has a great coffee house culture . That means: You will find historical and very posh coffee houses as well as young hipster cafés here. For example, we personally love the Flat White at Espresso Embassy.
There are also plenty of wonderful restaurants in Budapest that are really affordable. One of our favorites is Dobrumba. Excellent Mediterranean and Israeli inspired food is served here. Clear recommendation!
You can find our detailed article with all the restaurant tips here: The best cafés & restaurants in Budapest?
5. Accommodation in Budapest: Our hotel tips Rum Hotel Budapest: Great and affordable boutique hotel The Rum Hotel Budapest is a very big insider tip! We have it during our stay in Budapest in the year 2016 discovered and were also 2016 and 2021 back there. We are still very enthusiastic about this hotel.
The rooms are rather small, but quite stylish. We have already stayed in two different categories: twice in the medium room and once in the large room. The decor might be a bit too purist for some, but we really liked it.
The location is great . You are almost in the middle of the old town. Particularly noteworthy is the Rooftop Bar on the roof, where the breakfast is served. Speaking of breakfast: This is rather manageable, but the quality is very good. There is homemade granola and delicious coffee. All in all: Clear recommendation!
Here you can book the hotel: Rum Hotel Budapest
Kempinski Hotel Corvinus Budapest: Luxury hotel in the center If you want to spend a little more money for your hotel, you are in the dignified Kempinski Hotel Corvinus in good hands. Apart from the fact that the location couldn’t be better, the hotel is one of the most comfortable we have ever stayed in. No joke: we have seldom slept better in a hotel bed . (And we are very demanding when it comes to that.)
The breakfast is – as you are used to at Kempinski hotels is – incredibly versatile and really tasty. Our favorite is definitely the muesli corner (you have to know that we are muesli freaks). All in all: Highly recommended for anyone looking for a bit of luxury.
Here you can book the hotel: Kempinski Hotel Corvinus Budapest
6. More travel tips for Budapest Arrival to Budapest From Vienna we travel almost always by car to Budapest. The journey time is around 2.5 to 3 hours. An electronic vignette is required for Hungarian toll roads. You can easily buy these at the border. For 10 days the e-vignette costs approx. 11 Euro.
Alternatively, you can travel by train or bus. Central Station (Budapest Keleti pályaudvar) and the bus station (Budapest Népliget) are just outside the city center but both are directly connected to the Metró network.
If you are coming from further afield you can also get to Budapest by plane . From the airport you need about 45 minutes to town. First you take the bus no. 100E to the Nagyvárad tér Metró station. (Actually, the bus should go to Kobanya-Kispest, but this section of the Metró is currently, as of September 2019, renovated). From the Nagyvárad tér Metró station you can then go straight to the city.
Transportation in Budapest: from A to B Public transport in Budapest Many sights in the center of can be reached on foot. Nevertheless, public transport is sometimes very practical or necessary. There is a metro in Budapest, the Metró Budapest, which is actually one of the oldest metros in the world.
The Metró network includes four lines. In addition, there are some trams and buses. We ourselves walk most of the routes in Budapest and only take long ones distances by public transport. In that case, it is best to buy single tickets (350 forints). Attention: If you want to transfer, you have to buy a transfer ticket (530 forints). There are also 27 hour tickets (1.530 forints) or 88 hour tickets (4.100 Forint).
By car in Budapest You should If you are coming to Budapest by car, then it is important to know that you should also take care of a suitable parking space. Some hotels offer (usually chargeable) parking spaces.
Otherwise we recommend that you park your car in a parking garage. In the center there are parking zones that (depending on the location) are not exactly cheap. We ourselves parked our car in the Pollack garage when we were last in Budapest. The price for 24 hours is 2.801 Forint.
Travel guide for Budapest For our last trip to Budapest we used the compact DuMont direct travel guide Budapest, which 2019 was released. We were very happy with that. In order to get an overview of the sights, the travel guide is definitely a good choice.
As App we now use on almost every one of our trips CityMaps2Go. There we can easily mark the desired restaurants and sights. Really recommended!
More blog articles about Budapest The most beautiful views over BudapestEating & Drinking in Budapest: Our Tips 32388 Transparency: Affiliate Links & Invitation This blog article contains our personal recommendations in the form of so-called affiliate links. If you book or buy something through the links, we will receive a small commission. For you, this does not change the price at all. A thousand thanks from both of us! We were born in May 2016 invited by the Kempinski Hotel Corvinus for two nights. The opinion of the hotel remains our own.
Have you ever been to the Hungarian capital? Tell us your tips for sights in Budapest in the comments – we look forward to it!