Budapest, Hungary’s capital, is bisected by the River Danube. Its 19th-century Chain Bridge connects the hilly Buda district with flat Pest. A funicular runs up Castle Hill to Buda’s Old Town, where the Budapest History Museum traces city life from Roman times onward. Trinity Square is home to 13th-century Matthias Church and the turrets of the Fishermen’s Bastion, which offer sweeping views.
What is Budapest famous for?
Budapest is famous for its rich culture, underground caves, the mighty Danube River, and for being the Spa Capital of the World. Budapest is also known for its world-famous Ruin Bars, the drop-dead gorgeous Parliament Building, and its delectable local temptations.
Discover the Best of Budapest
A cosmopolitan European capital with a relaxed vibe, Budapest’s wide boulevards and stunning architecture, steamy thermal baths, wealth of UNESCO World Heritage sites, and evolving food scene are sure to resonate with all types of travelers.
Budapest has a massive underground cave system formed by the same geological springs that provide water to the city’s many thermal baths. Three of the caves are open to visitors, with varying levels of difficulty. The fascinating Hospital in the Rock is part of the Buda Castle Cave and was used as a secret hospital and shelter during World War II.
Exploring the Budapest Jewish community’s recent history is a sobering experience, laying bare both the unbridled evil and unabashed humanity of our species. Don’t miss Shoes on the Danube, memorials to Carl Lutz and Raoul Wallenberg, and the Dohány Street and Kazinczy Street Synagogues.
No trip to Budapest is complete without a visit to the Castle Quarter, including Buda Castle, Fisherman’s Bastion, and the quaint cobbled streets and pastel buildings throughout. Before sunset is the best time to visit, when the sun lays a warm blanket of light across the area and the sky makes a dramatic and colorful transition from day to night.
Best Time to Visit Budapest
Timing is everything with a destination like Budapest, as when you visit can have a major impact on your trip. Factors like weather and tourist numbers can make or break a visit, so it pays to keep them in mind when you’re planning. Like most trips, finding the right time for you involves a trade-off between these considerations.
Generally speaking, the best time to visit Budapest is in the shoulder months of March to May and September through November. During these months you can expect pleasant weather suitable for sightseeing, while crowds of tourists won’t be at their worst. It’s also the best time to visit on a budget since rates are lower than in high season.
It’s in the summer months of June through August that Budapest is as its busiest, thanks to the warm weather and events like the famous Sziget Festival. The lead up to Christmas isn’t much better in terms of crowds, as Budapest is widely regarded as having one of the best Christmas markets in Europe. Of course, you can expect winters in Budapest to be cold and snowy, limiting how long you’ll want to be outside for. Visiting at either of these busy times, it’s best to book well in advance as rates are guaranteed to rise.
How to Get Around Budapest
While visiting Budapest you’re going to spend a fair amount of time getting from one attraction to the next. You may not realize just how large Budapest is until you’re there, but it’s safe to say you’ll want to know what alternatives there are to walking. While we have organized this Budapest itinerary to be as geographically logical as possible to make things easy, it’s always useful to understand local public transport networks.
In Budapest public transport consists of the metro, trams, buses, and suburban rail. Because of their coverage, you’re most likely to use the city’s metro and tram services. All the different forms of transport share the same ticketing system, with a single ticket costing HUF 350, roughly $1.10. Tickets can be bought at metro stations, tram stations, and street kiosks, or from bus drivers at a more expensive cost.To travel from the city center to Budapest airport, you have a few options open to you. Probably the easiest is the 100E airport shuttle bus which runs from the city center every 20 minutes, requiring a special ticket costing HUF 900. Alternatively, you can take a combination of the 200E airport shuttle to the nearest metro stop. Normally, you’d take the M3 metro from there, but long-term works mean that replacement buses are in effect. For this option, you’ll need a transfer ticket, which is HUF 530. Finally, there’s always the option of a private shuttle, which typically costs around €25 or the shared Airport shuttle for around €10.
Where to Stay in Budapest
Whenever you visit a new city, one of the biggest questions that pops up is where to stay. To work it out you need to take into consideration things like type of accommodation, budget, facilities, and location. The question of where to stay in Budapest is no different.
To find the best places to stay in Budapest, it’s important to understand that Budapest is divided by the Danube River that carves through it. In the past, Budapest was actually two cities: Buda on the west and Pest on the east. You’ll find accommodation on both sides of the river, although there’s much more choice on the Pest side. Which side of the Danube isn’t really important; instead focus on proximity to the river and the city center, as well as nearby public transport.
For a truly pampered stay of unparalleled comfort, look no further than the Kempinski Hotel Corvinus Budapest. This 5-star hotel, perfectly located in the city center, boasts rooms with elegant welcoming decor, as well as multiple dining and relaxation options.
Balancing comfort and affordability, Leonardo Boutique Hotel Budapest M-Square is a stylish mid-range pick. Recently renovated and with little touches like coffee and tea making facilities, this four star hotel in the city center will be a welcome sight at the end of a long day sightseeing.
For a perfectly-located hostel with a view, be sure to stay at Pal’s Hostel in the heart of Budapest. This hostel boasts helpful staff and affordable rates, with both dorm beds and private rooms available. To see more good hostels in Budapest, see our dedicated Budapest hostel guide.
For more accommodation options in Budapest check out Booking.com. They continuously offer the best rates and their custom service is on point.