Best of Budapest
Apologies for this being so late but again- craziness with moving and lack of good internet. So without any further introduction here’s the best of Budapest according to me. What I liked and didn’t like and my recommendations.
Need to know
The currency in Hungary is the Hungarian forint.
1 euro = 312.61 forint
1 usd = 291.44 forint
Kind of crazy to be pulling out 1000 “dollar bills” out of an ATM but the one I used actually showed the conversion. Most places are cash only so I’d stick to that to keep track of your money. The great thing about Budapest is that you get a lot of bang for your buck. Food, sightseeing and transportation is very affordable.
Public transportation is cheap and easy to use but I would still recommend good walking shoes as you’ll end up still walking quite a bit. I bought a block of 10 tickets from a machine above the metro but you can also buy tickets on board any bus or tram. See prices here.
Things to do
I so recommend the free walking tour! It leaves from St. Stephen’s Basilica twice a day. I liked it as it was my first time in the country and the host was a local who had a lot of good stories and background about the city and I learned quite a lot. There’s so much to see in the city and it’ll give you a good overview.
The House of Terror
I also recommend the following: Szechenyi Chain Bridge, Fisherman’s Bastion, Szechenyi Thermal Baths, Hungarian Parliament Building, Buda Castle, House of Terror. The tour takes you up the trek to the castle hill where you get the best view.
Walking down the Szechenyi Chain Bridge on the Free Walking Tour
View from the top and Fisherman’s Bastion and the ruins
Besides the obvious monuments there are so many Museums, Baths and Parks to explore! I didn’t go to the baths but I think they cost about the equivalent of about 15 euros. Since I was alone and it was very cold I just didn’t feel up for it.
Central Market Hall is definitely a must. You can find cool souvenirs and knick knacks as well as amazing food.
There is also a great amount of vintage stores! I went to the following: Ludovika, Retrock, Antifactory, Szputnyik shop D20, Dressing Room. I ended up buying a cute vintage 80’s dress from Japan from Szputnyik.
Food and Drink
There is so much local food to explore! Goulash, all kinds of different street food (Street Food Karvan) or the infamous Langos. I would recommend Tomi Langos a little stand operated by a little old lady. It tasted like a savory donut? It was fried and delicious is all I know. Budapest is also known for its Hungarian Wine and Craft Beer. You can explore “ruin bars”. Ruin bars literally came from the ruins of the second world war. Each one is unique and not gonna lie they are pretty touristy. Like a million stag parties touristy. However, I think they are worth checking out.
Breakfast & Brunch: Spinoza Cafe and Restaurant and BookCafe Lotz Hall
Ruin Bars: Szimpla Kert, Eleszto and Kuplung
Jonas Craft Beer House, Tomi Langos, Street Food Karavan and Budapest Bagel
So I think I would recommend staying in the center if at all possible. I stayed at an airbnb that was really far outside the center. If I would have known I would have probably opted for a hostel. It was a nice apartment really beautiful but the area was hard to get to from the center and it wasn’t the best area. Like pretty sketchy at night. In fact when I was outside of crowded areas if it was dark at all I didn’t feel 100% safe at night so I would hurry back. Outside of Buda and the central area the city was also kind of dirty. The other thing that bugged me was sometimes walking around it was just easier to walk than use public transit because metro stops were really spaced far apart. Then walking down major roads sometimes you couldn’t cross on the corner so it took much longer to get anywhere. Budapest was definitely very interesting, sometimes beautiful and had great food. However, if I had to choose to go back to Budapest or Prague I’d definitely pick Prague.
That’s all for now,