City Guide: What to do in Budapest

Lately, together with friends, I went on a weekend getaway to Budapest. And as there’s a lot to do and see in the Hungarian capital, I thought to put together a short travel guide with some tips and tricks. So, here we go!

Getting there and getting around

ÖBB, the Austrian National Railway, often has discounted tickets (the so-called Sparschiene), with which you can travel to different places inside and outside Austria at a reduced fare. But when traveling on this kind of ticket, you have to go at the day and time you choose when purchasing the tickets online in advance. So you better make sure not to miss your train and be at the train station in time. 

As we stayed at an Airbnb right next to the Parliament, we walked most of the time and didn’t have to use public transport often. Yet, public transportation in Budapest is cheap, and at most of the stations, you can buy different ticket types at the vending machines. When traveling with a group, the best option is the Budapest 24-hour group travel card for about 10 €, which up to five people can use to travel by public transportation. So, compared to a single ticket for around 1 €, it’s cheaper to go for the group ticket.

What do see and do

Budapest has a lot of sights to see all over the city, so you won’t get bored during your visit there. While the city’s architecture might be similar to the Viennese one, Budapest still has a different charm and much more to offer. Here are some of those sights you should not or, better said, can’t miss during your stay in Budapest.

Hungarian Parliament Building

According to some, the Hungarian Parliament Building is among the most parliaments buildings worldwide. Consequently, it is no surprise it was declared a World Heritage site in 2011.

Buda Castle

First completed in 1265, Buda Castle is the historical castle and palace complex of the Hungarian kings in Budapest. Today, it is home to the Hungarian National Gallery and The Budapest History Museum.

Fisherman’s Bastion

Fisherman’s Bastion is one of the top attractions in Budapest as it offers amazing panoramic views over the city. It is located on the Buda Castle Hill and can be reached either by foot or using an elevator.

Hungarian State Opera

With thousands of tourists each year, Miklós Ybl’s neo-renaissance palace has remained virtually unchanged in its 130 years and attracts admires of the opera and ballet. Moreover, the building is considered one of the most impressive 19th-century national monuments in the city.

St. Stephen’s Basilica

Named after the first king of Hungary and located in the city center of Budapest, St. Stephen’s Basilica is the third-largest church building in Hungary and home to the largest bell in the whole city.

Hungarian National Museum

Founded in 1802, the Hungarian National Museum houses the most important collection of historical relics of Hungary and is the oldest museum in Budapest.

What to see more sights in Budapest? Make sure to check out the following places as well: Matthias Church, Széchenyi Thermal Bath, Gellért Baths, Hősök tere, Liberty Bridge, Chain Bridge, and many more.

Eating out

But one thing should never be missed during a great holiday: good food. Going out for breakfast, lunch, or dinner in another city and trying out new places and dishes is always great. But sometimes it might be helpful to know in advance, which restaurants you should try and which to better avoid. While in Budapest, we had food at Amber’s French Bakery & Cafe, Fat Mama Eatery, Artizán Bakery, and Hummus bar. And hopefully the next time, we also manage to visit the café Szimply.

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