Pictures by me and casipicles.
Oh lovely Budapest! Since you let me stay here in August I fell deeply in love with you. Reason enough for me to write an entire Budapest travel guide for you guys! This city is definitely worth a visit and perfect for a low budget trip with your best friends. Discover the charming historical areas of Budapest and learn some of their history, get to know the Austrian roots of Budapest and be part of the never ending change and development this place has to offer.
There are many budget airlines that offer flights to and from Budapest – book flights at unregular times, they’ll be a lot cheaper. We booked a flight really early in the morning from Dortmund to Budapest with WizzAir and everything went perfectly fine. Plus arriving early enables you to seize the rest of the day in the city!
Hotels in Budapest are also really cheap, in the off-season you can even book 5* hotels for good prices. I would recommend checking travel operators like DERTOUR for rooms that are available. Another possibility would be renting a private flat for getting the ultimate locals feeling. Also make sure that you are well connected to the public transport system!
Most of Budapest’s city center and historic districts are suitable for walking, but meanwhile, Budapest offers a good and easy accessable public transport system. Most of the city’s streets are lined with cables, as Budapest has a vast system of trams and trolley buses. Budapest also has an efficient metro system. Outer suburbs are well served by HÉV trains (suburban railway). Tickets are valid for the metro, buses, streetcars, trolley buses, the Cogwheel Railway and the suburban HÉV lines (only within the city limits), and are available at any subway station. For example, a single ticket costs HUF 350, a one-day travel card costs HUF 1,650 and a seven-day travel card costs HUF 4,950.
I must admit that I didn’t really get to enjoy the Hungarian cooking skills so much as I became addicted to the Mexican restaurant right below our apartment in Budapest. It is called Arriba Taqueria and there are three different locations in the city. They make the best burritos and tacos ever! If you have a chance to go there, do it. A nice possibility to get your hands on real Hungarian food like goulash, visit the Nagycsarnok, the Great Market Hall, and go to the upper levels. There you will find loads of food stands and restaurants who offer a large diversity of all kinds of meals.
Budapests city centre offers all large fashion retailers that you usually find in each shopping district, furthermore you will find stores like Stradivarius, Pull & Bear etc. The main shopping street is called Váci utca, but be aware that this is a really touristic area. Andrássy út is another large boulevard and one of Budapest’s main shopping streets, with fine cafes, restaurants, theatres, and luxury boutiques. There are also many shopping malls in Budapest, like the Mammut mall, which are also equipped with the usual stores and some Hungarian boutiques.
If you want to go vintage shopping, check out one of the many fleamarkets in Budapest, like Ecseri Piac – but be prepared that you might find some relicts from the Socialist or even Nazi periods.
From the usual tourist sights that you will find in every travel guide, there are a few ones that I loved the most. Starting with Buda Castle Hill, a mountain situated right in the middle of Buda – on it you will find Buda Castle, Fisherman’s Bastion (which has to offer one of the best views over the city, especially in the early morning hours when the sun starts rising), Matthias church and various museums and restaurants. Furthermore, try doing a boat trip on the Danube, Budapest offers beautiful bridges (for example the famous Chain Bridge), islands and it is a great possbility to see the Parliament from it’s most beautiful side. Talking about islands, don’t miss out on Margaret Island and its large parks – they are a very pleasant place to relax and wander.
Going to public baths is a matter of course in Budapest – it is famous for its thermal baths, where tourists and locals go to swim, meet friends or soak in hot or cold mineral waters. These baths differ from normal swimming pools because their hot water is drawn up from hot springs deep under the earth’s surface. I can recommend everyone to experience an original Budapest bathing adventure! We went to Gellert bath, which is the most beautiful and exquisite swimming pool I have ever seen – you feel like jumping into a time-machine and coming out in an ancient pool!