Budapest Travel Tips

View from Fisherman's Bastion in Budapest
Budapest quickly became one of our most favorite destinations amongst all of the cities we have visited so far. Budapest is located on the beautiful Donau river in Hungary, which separates the western side, Buda, from the eastern side, Pest. Therefore, Budapest actually consists of two cities that joined together to represent the Hungarian capitol. From each side of the river, you have a spectacular view of the opposite city. Another characteristic of Budapest that makes it so interesting is the fact that it is home to many nationalities, giving visitors and citizens a sense of home, no matter where they are from. However, one of the best advantages of the multicultural metropol of Budapest is that it is incredibly cheap compared to other countries, such as Germany, the U.S., Holland, Denmark, Sweden etc. To help you make the most of your trip to Budapest, we have jotted down some tips for accommodation, food, transportation, sightseeing as well as general tips and tricks.

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Budapest Tips & Tricks

Finding the Best Accommodation

Budapest offers countless beautiful AirBnBs for really low prices, even in the very heart of the city. Therefore, we suggest booking one of these instead of looking for a hotel, as an Airbnb usually has the advantage of having a kitchen and allowing you to live like a local. That being said, booking.com does offer these types of accommodations as well, so it never hurts to look there to see if you can find an even better deal.

We stayed at the following Airbnb, which we highly recommend: Top Location Quiet 2 ROOM Apt @Váci

We do not think we could have stayed in a more perfect location. Rita’s Airbnb is super centrally located, but unbelievably quiet. Everything was really clean and we immediately felt at home. We paid €122 for 3 nights (€40/night).

Hungarian Food and Drinks

We went to several very delicious restaurants, bars/cafes and food stands/food trucks that we would like to share with you. Our experience with food in Budapest was amazing, as we got lots of tips from a Hungarian friend who lives there. Thanks to her, we can provide you with a very authentic list of places to eat.

Best Restaurants:

Ruben Étterem: Probably the most expensive restaurant we went to while in Budapest. The food there is very high-quality and mostly Hungarian. We paid around €16 for two meals and two beers, which is still quiet cheap.

Dinner at Ruben Étterem in Budapest

Regős Vendéglő: This is the place to go for a super delicious Hungarian lunch. They have an absolutely affordable 3 course lunch deal, which you can check out on their website. We paid around 11€ for one 3 course meal, one 2 course meal and two big glasses of Hungarian wine. Be sure to be there early, as the restaurant fills up fairly quickly.

Lunch at Regős Vendéglő in Budapest

Best Bars & Cafes:

Molnár’s kürtőskalács: Most likely one of the best cafes for chimney cakes, but also one of the most expensive ones in Budapest. It’s so famous because they put soft serve ice cream in your chimney cake and it’s delicious. We paid €8 for two half chimney cakes with ice cream. It is definitely a must try when in Budapest, as it is very traditional.

Our chimney cakes from Molnár's kürtőskalács in Budapest

STart Craft Beer Bar-Kézműves Sör Bar: This small craft beer bar has a huge selection of beers to offer. We highly recommend it if you want to try a few good Hungarian beers. Here, we paid around €4 for our two beers.

Szimpla Kert: This bar/club is a must see in Budapest! It is a bar/club built inside ruined buildings and consists of multiple differently themed bars. The style is very unique and it’s definitely worth a visit, no matter your age! This is a place everyone goes to, young and old, locals and tourists. Alcohol prices high, as it is a very popular place, but Szimpla Kert is Szimpla awesome!

Bors Gastro Bar: This is a small bar that is very famous for their Hungarian soups called Fozelek. They also serve tasty sandwiches. However, it is fairly expensive compared to other places: We paid around €8 for a soup and a sandwich.

Bors Gastro Bar soup and sandwich

Best Food Stands & Food Trucks:

Street food Karavan Budapest: We loved this place. This is a street food market that never moves. They have lots of different food to try. We highly recommend eating Langos, which is a very traditional Hungarian dish that is super tasty. We paid €3 for one Langos. They have three different types that you can try, but we recommend eating the “red” one which comes with roasted red peppers.

Retró Lángos Büfé: This is a tiny food stand next to Arany Janos metro station. Here, you can get Langos in all kinds of variations. One Langos costs between €2 and €3. However, all Langos come with some kind of meat at this place. So, for vegetarians it is better to try it at the Karavan food market. For meat lovers, Retro is the better place.

Generally, we recommend checking out one of the grocery stores, such as Aldi. Here, you can find all kinds of Hungarian food items to try. They are very cheap!

Must Try Food Items and Drinks (Recommended by Locals!)

Savory Hungarian Food:
  • Goulash (Hungarian meat stew)
  • Paprikas csirke nokedlivel (Chicken with peppers and pasta)
  • Halaszle (Fish soup)
  • Fozelek (Hungarian soup available in all kinds of variations)
  • Ciganypecsenye (Pork with bacon and garlic)
  • Hortobagyi husos palacsinta (Ham with pork)
Hungarian Sweets:
  • Turo Rudi (Cold candy bar – super delicious!!!)
  • Makos retes (Poppy seed pie)
  • Dobos torta (Chocolate cake)
  • Somloi galuska (Sweet desert)
Alcoholic Specialties:
  • Tokaj (Very sweet wine)
  • Egri Bikaver (Red Wine)
  • Villany (Wine)
  • Palinka (Schnapps)

HOT TIP: We recommend a great wine tasting in our transportation section, below.

7 Best Things to See

  1. Citadella

  2. The Royal Palace

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  3. Fisherman’s Bastion

    Fisherman's Bastion in Budapest

  4. The Parliament Building

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  5. St. Stephan’s Basilica

    St. Stephan's Basilica in Budapest

  6. Hero’s Square

    Hero's Square in Budapest

  7. Vajdahunyad Castle

    The Royal Palace of Budapest

Transportation to and in Budapest

Getting to Budapest is easy and comfortable. Pretty much no matter where you are in Europe, you can find a cheap and convenient bus to Budapest using Flixbus. The buses are comfortable, on-time and often even offer free WiFi. It’s worth looking here, as tickets start around €5 for some connections and it’s a great alternative to flying.

The only time you really need to use transportation in Budapest is when you travel to and from the airport. This bus ticket costs €3/person (one way). If you’re not up for walking, then you can get 10 tickets for €9 for city buses which exclude the airport shuttle. Otherwise, you can easily explore all sights by foot. Everything is really close and it would probably take longer to use public transportation than to just walk where you need to go.

If you do arrive to Budapest via rental car, then you should take advantage of the opportunity to drive down to Lake Balaton. This is where Ryne experienced his all time favorite wine tasting to date at the Valibor Vineyard. The website is currently only in Hungarian, but the owner speaks excellent English, personally gives the tour, provides the tasting and cooks an incredible meal.

Here is a little impression of the walking route we took to see all sights in Budapest except for the Hero’s Square. A lovely British couple gave us two bus tickets they no longer needed, which we used to get to this one rather distant sight.

Budapest Sightseeing Route

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5 General Tips

  1. Make sure to always pay in Hungarian Forint instead of Euros, as you will pay at least double the actual price when using Euros. Therefore, get some Forint from an ATM before you buy anything.
  2. When withdrawing money from an ATM always make sure to click “Continue without conversion” in order to avoid any extra charges by the ATM provider.
  3. Be careful when exchanging money in one of the currency exchange shops, as most of them use terrible exchange rates. The only one we found with a reasonable exchange rate was located in the Deak main underground station.
  4. Regardless of what you’re buying, make sure you’re able to communicate with the person you’re buying from, as they could easily misunderstand your orders and you might end up paying more.
  5. Cottage cheese (Turo): You will notice that a large majority of food items list “cottage cheese” as an ingredient. This is because there is no good English translation for this ingredient, which is very similar to Ricotta cheese. Germans know it as “Quark”.
View from the Royal Palace in Budapest

About the Authors

Authors Ryne Cook and Denise Braun from He Said or She Said

Ryne Cook and Denise Braun spent 4 days in Budapest, Hungary, where they were able to learn about the people and culture while discovering the best ways to move throughout the city, the best things to do and the cheapest ways to do them. Their local contacts provided valuable insider knowledge that they are passing on to their readers, so that everyone can have a great time in the Hungarian capitol on the Donau river.

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2 thoughts on “Budapest Travel Tips”

    1. It’s my favorite city too! We’re hoping to go back this summer as well. Glad you found the tips helpful! Be sure to let us know how the trip goes, when you do make it back. 🙂
      – Ryne

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