The charm of Budapest, which sits on the magnificent Danube river, overcomes the beholder . The city beckons you to venture back here again and again to discover the secrets hidden within. Most travelers write this city off for its better known eastern European counterparts of Vienna and Prague. Spend a little time here and you will fall in love with it's Bohemian charm. Budapest definitely makes it to the top ten cities we love and the food is to die for, and what makes it all the more better is its affordability.
You could also book day tours in Budapest where they cover many of these amazing sights. To book your tour click here.
The Hungarian Parliament Building
No visit to Budapest is complete without the tour of the Hungarian parliament. It is one of the most grandeur and architecturally amazing buildings in the world.It houses the Hungarian crown jewels. While one half of the parliament is still in use the other half is open for tours. If you think the parliament is alluring during the day wait till the sun goes down and the lights come on. It is a sight to behold. The fee for the parliament tour is 5,200 HUF with is roughly $17 per person. The tour lasts about an hour and is a must do while in Budapest.
This beautiful viewing tower is definitely Budapest's most visited sights. The panoramic views of the city along with its beautiful arches and winding staircases are not sight to be missed. For amazing pictures of the city go here just before sunset and don't forget your tripod.
Matthias Church - This Catholic church with its beautiful colored roof is astoundingly beautiful. It is a photographer's paradise.
The Hungarian State Opera House
The Hungarian State Opera House is considered to be one of the best opera houses in the world in terms of its acoustics. It has an auditorium that seats 1200 people. The Opera house was opened in 1884 and has been maintained impeccably. You can tour the Opera house with an English speaking guide at 3 pm and 4 pm daily. We did the tour and heard wonderful stories from back in the day followed by a short concert, we highly recommend the tour.
The Labyrinth of Buda castle
This unique underground cave and cellar complex perched beneath the Buda castle complex is a sight like no other. It is believed to have been used since the 15th century and served as a prison for the infamous "Dracula"! Yes you read that right! The tour of the labyrinth did give me shivers down my spine but it was well worth it.
Hike up Gellert Hill
A perfect way to spend an afternoon would be to hike up Gellert hill. A 20-30 minute uphill hike to Citadella. The top has beautiful views of Buda and Pest. What's more , you can hike down the south side and find yourself in the famous Gellert Baths.
Budapest has an abundance of Thermal baths and is knows as the "City of Baths". A must do while in Budapest is to spend an evening relaxing and getting pampered in one the many baths. A few to choose from are: Gellert baths, Szechenyi Baths, Rudas Baths, Lucas baths.
Nightlife at the Ruin bars
You have either heard of them or you have no idea what they are. Well Ruin bars are Budapest's eclectic and artsy local hangouts. From the outside they look like normal abandoned buildings. Walk inside and you are at a loss of words. The decor feels more like a garage sale than a bar. The randomness of the place makes it all the more interesting. If you haven't been to a Ruin bar, go to one!! A few good ones are Szimpla Kert, Ankert and Instant.
Night River Cruise
Cruise though the fairly-tale riverfront panorama of Budapest. The best part of the night cruise is that you get to see most of the attractions from a different vantage point illuminated and glowing.
Kürtőskalács or Chimney cake
This flaky spit cake is like a piece of heaven. It is made of sweet yeast dough rolled on a baking spit and roasted over charcoal. You can get them sprinkled with sugar or chocolate chips or cinnamon. Perfect for on the go breakfast. You can get them in the Great Market Hall or at a few subway stations.
This unbelievably creamy yet light cake was probably my favorite dessert in Budapest. You have to eat it to believe how light and fluffy it is. The best place to try it is at Cafe Ruszwurm, a short walk from the Matthias church. Its a quaint little cafe and an old tradition in Budapest. You will see a lot of local people and tourist here. After sightseeing grab a coffee and a cake and enjoy your evening.
The name "Kolbice" is a mixture of the Hungarian word for sausage, kolbász, and ice cream, referring to the cone shape . It is a whole grain bread in the shape of a cone and stuffed with homemade chicken and pork sausages and other toppings. The toppings are fresh sauerkraut and cheddar cheese sauce, crispy fired onions and tomatoes . Take a bite and there is a flavor explosion in your mouth. You can get them in the Great market hall.
Jokai Bean Soup
This hearty and satisfying soup is not to be missed while in Budapest. It can easily be found at a traditional Hungarian restaurant. it is a meal in itself and has a hint of spice to it which makes it amazing!
This is a staple Hungarian dish. Chicken simmered in flavorful sauce with paprika and other spices. It is traditionally served with nokedli , which are kind of an egg noddle, more like little gnocchi. We had the most authentic Paprikash at a tiny hole in the wall restaurant called "Regalos vendeglos".
Ways to Save Money
Public Transportation pass
One of the good things about Budapest is its great Public transportation systems. They have 4 metro lines and bus stops at each Metro stop which can take you almost anywhere in the main city. I recommend buying the 24 Hour Travel Card or the 72 Hour Travel card which is valid on all Public transport vehicles for unlimited no. of trips. Its a great money saver.
Hungarian Parliament Building
Instead of waiting in the long lines to buy your tickets for the parliament tour, why not buy them online. They also sell out pretty early.
There are myriads of bakeries and cafes dotted all over the place where you can grab a quick and delicious bite for a dollar or two!
We hope you enjoy your vacation in Budapest as much as we did. If you enjoyed reading this article why not pin it for later? Happy travels Ya'll.