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Travel guide to Budapest | Cool things to see throughout the year

Are you about to visit fantastic Hungary and need a travel guide for your trip to Budapest? Then read all our tips to make your vacation even more exciting and safe!

The Hungarian capital is one of the most visited cities in Europe. Good wines, great food, and efficient public transport make it the perfect tourist destination.

Budapest is also home to beautiful thermal baths where you can relax alone or with the whole family.

Called the Paris of the East, the city offers its visitors amazing museums, an interesting Old Town, and a beautiful basilica — St. Stephen’s Basilica.

Perhaps not everyone knows that in the past, Budapest was divided into two cities: Pest, the flat part, and Buda, the hilly area — separated by the Danube River.

Travel guide to Budapest | The city at a glance
  • Budapest Airport: Budapest Ferenc Liszt —learn how to reach it and get to the city centre from the airport.
  • Hungary UTC: Central Europe GMT+2.
  • Currency: the Hungarian forint – 1 Hungarian forint corresponds to approximately €0.0028 and $0.0033.
  • Where to change money: best to use traditional banks rather than ATMs.
  • Official language: the inhabitants of Budapest speak Hungarian, a language belonging to the Finno-Ugric group.
  • Famous people: Ferenc Deák (politician), Ferenc Puskás (football player), Ernő Rubik (the inventor of the famous Rubik’s cube).
  • Typical food: goulash, lángos (deep-fried flatbread), kolbász (sausage), dobos torta (multilayer sponge cake), kürtőskalács (horn cake).

Travel guide to Budapest | 10 places you should visit

Many people have asked us how many days it takes to visit the Pearl of the Danube. Well, you should know that since emerging from behind the Iron Curtain, the city has turned into one of the best-loved short-break destinations.

Generally, visitors stay in the city for 3 or 4 days, seeing the main attractions.

Anyway, if you want to visit the city with its museums, spas and historical monuments, we recommend a full week.

Let’s go into detail and discover together all the must-see attractions of the city.

1. Visit St Stephen Basilica

travel guide to budapest: st stephen's basilica

Budapest’s old town is home to the city’s most important church: St. Stephen’s Basilica. 

This Roman Catholic church is named after Saint Stephen, the first King of Hungary. 

The Basilica houses the relic of the right hand of St. Stephen and the body of the footballer Ferenc Puskás, considered by the Hungarians the Maradona.

Tips: In the avenue in front of the basilica’s main entrance, you’ll find the tastiest langosh in the entire city!

Address: Budapest, Szent István tér 1, 1051 Hungary.

2. Go for a shopping spree in the Great Market Hall

Great Market Hall Budapest: among the best places to visit

Not far from the Grand Budapest Hotel (by Wes Anderson), you’ll find a large indoor market with several stalls. Here are typical Hungarian products, clothes, souvenirs, and postcards.

Besides, inside the market, you can also stop to taste the real Hungarian street food.

Opening hours (source: GoogleMyBusiness):

Tuesday 6 AM–6 PM
Wednesday 6 AM–6 PM
Thursday 6 AM–6 PM
Friday 6 AM–6 PM
Saturday 6 AM–3 PM
Sunday Closed
Monday 6 AM–5 PM

Address: Budapest, Vámház krt. 1-3, 1093 Hungary.

3. Explore Pest and its Ruin Bars

tram in pest: best moments in budapest

Pest is the area of Budapest that you meet going into the city from the airport. Surely Pest represents the more youthful side of the city, but it retains a lot of history (St. Stephen’s Basilica and the Parliament Building are located here).

Also, in Pest, there are the famous Ruin Bars — vintage bars located in an old ruined neighborhood and the beautiful Synagogue.

That Pest is very youthful is also proven that it is home to the oldest Escape Room Game in the world.

From a historical perspective, the oldest metro line in Continental Europe is active here.

4. Take a soothing soak at Széchenyi Baths

Széchenyi Baths: spa

We have visited them often, and we can say that they are the best-organized spa in Europe

The cost of the entrance ticket is affordable compared to the spa’s tickets in other European capitals. Plus, it gives you access to all the pools.

You’ll find different services inside the facility, such as lockers, showers, and hair dryers.

There is also a well-stocked store to buy bath suites, hair caps, beauty products made with thermal water, and souvenirs.

Tips: Don’t forget to bring your bathing suit and bathrobe!

Address: Budapest, Állatkerti krt. 9-11, 1146 Hungary.

5. Use your transport ticket to take a ride on the Danube

A travel guide to Budapest can not forget to recommend a short cruise on the Danube river!

If you do not want to buy expensive tickets for private cruises, you can take advantage of your public transport pass!

You can get on the public boat that leads passengers to various city districts thanks to your ticket.

This way, you’ll be able to admire from the river all the beautiful buildings that overlook its banks, such as the Castle, the Fisherman’s Bastion, and the famous Parliament Palace.

6. The shoes on the Danube

The composition Shoes on the Danube Bank is a memorial located on the east bank of the Danube River to remember the Jews killed by Fascist Hungarian militia during the Second World War. 

The monument is situated in Pest Promenade near Zoltan Street and between Roosevelt Square and Kossuth square. 

Address: Budapest, Id. Antall József rkp., 1054 Hungary.

7. Cross the Széchenyi Chain Bridge

budapest chain bridge: info

The Chain Bridge Budapest is one of the city’s most important monuments and dates back to 1849. 

It represents the first permanent bridge between Pest and Buda and spans the River Danube.

Over the years, it has become a symbol of the united city and national pride.

You can walk, bike, or drive across the bridge.

We recommend crossing it on foot to enjoy beautiful views, especially at sunset.

Address: Budapest, Széchenyi Lánchíd, 1051 Hungary.

8. Climb the Fisherman’s Bastion

Fisherman's Bastion: Budapest's sights

If you’re in Pest, near the Chain Bridge, you’ll notice a stunning Disney-style building it’s the Fisherman’s Bastion.

Before you venture out to explore this site, remember to wear a pair of comfortable shoes because the climb is steep! Alternatively, you can get there by public transportation.

Fisherman’s Bastion was once known as Fisherman’s Town. In medieval times it was the fishermen’s quarter and housed a large fish market.

The Bastion, the Buda Castle, and the Danube riverfront are listed by UNESCO in the World Heritage sites.

Address: Budapest, Szentháromság tér, 1014 Hungary

9. Don’t miss the Castle

The Castle of Budapest is the royal residence where the mythical Princess Sisi lived and the seat of the monarchy of the Hungarian territory since 1200.

It’s connected to the Chain Bridge by a characteristic funicular, and in 1987, it was included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.

As it is a huge architectural complex, we suggest you book a guided tour to discover it at its best!

For more information on opening hours and ticket prices, visit the official website.

Address: Budapest, Szent György tér 2, 1014 Hungary.

10. Visit the Hungarian Parlament

budapest parliament building: landscapes

Everyone knows the Palace of Parliament (Hungarian Országház) in Budapest before having visited the city. This beautiful building overlooking the Danube, in fact, can be found on all postcards and tourist images of the Hungarian capital.

It’s one of the most important symbols of the entire nation and was built between the end of 1800 and 1904 by a project of Imre Steindl.

The architect drew inspiration from two European architectural masterpieces: Cologne Cathedral and the Houses of Parliament in London.

The exterior structure is in neo-Gothic style, while the interior rooms boast Baroque and Renaissance styles.