This is the fifth post in my Travel Tips series where I provide travel tips for specific destinations, whether they be cities, regions or countries. My Travel Tips guides aim to give you some of my best tips for exploring a new place and hopefully help you to save a bit of money, maximize your sightseeing time and find the most convenient ways to get around. You can find posts in this series under Destinations – Travel Tips in the menu bar. Today I’m featuring Hungary’s capital city, Budapest!
Travel Tips: Budapest
Food & Drink
- Try some traditional Hungarian food when you’re in Budapest. Hungarian goulash is a popular choice – this soup/stew is made with beef, onions, Hungarian paprika, tomatoes and green pepper. Lángos is another specialty and popular street food – it’s a deep-fried flat bread that can have either sweet or savoury toppings. I can recommend the restaurant Paprika near City Park for goulash and fisherman’s soup and Retro for affordable, delicious Lángos.
- The Great Market Hall in Budapest is a must see for foodies. The oldest and largest indoor market in the city is a haven for produce, meats, pastries, candies, spices, and spirits. It’s a great spot to pick up a few souvenirs and sample some local cuisine. Pop upstairs for a quick meal (but be forewarned – the food stands are very crowded)!
- Unbeknownst to me before our trip, Hungary is famous for its spectacular array of pastries and cakes. We were very happy to discover this on our first morning in Budapest when we stopped by a local bakery and were overwhelmed with the array of sweet pastries on display. I opted for a Kakaós Csiga, a spiral pastry filled with chocolate and it was the best breakfast decision I’ve made in a while. Our local walking tour guide also highly recommended trying Dobos, a sponge cake layered with chocolate buttercream and topped with crispy caramel and nuts, and a Hungarian cream cake called Krémes.
- The simplest and most affordable way to get to and from the Budapest Airport is by bus. From 4:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., the bus number 200E travels between Terminal 2 and the Kőbánya-Kispest metro terminal on metro line M3. The ride takes approximately 45 minutes. From the Kőbánya-Kispest metro terminal, you can take the M3 metro towards Újpest Központ to reach the city center. You can also change to metro lines M1 and M2 at the Deák Ferenc tér stop in the inner city. Bus tickets are priced at 350 HUF and are available at the airport from BKK (Centre for Budapest Transport) at its customer service desks or from the post office, news agents, and ticket machines at the bus stop. You can also purchase a ticket from the bus driver for 450 HUF.
- If you plan to take the bus, tram, and metro frequently in Budapest, consider buying a travelcard. Travelcards can be purchased in various lengths such as 24-hours, 72-hours or 7-days. We opted to buy the 72-hour travelcard for our 3 days in the city and it was a hassle-free way to get around Budapest quickly and efficiently.
- We encountered a ticket check point at every metro station we entered and exited. Make sure to have a valid transportation ticket on you at all times.
- Visit the helpful BKK website to see transit maps, schedules, and ticket prices.
- Our walking tour guide strongly advised us not to take taxis anywhere in the city and told us a few hair-raising tales he’s heard from tourists. If you must take a taxi, establish the price of the ride with the driver before you leave to avoid getting ripped off.
My Top Activity Recommendations
- There are so many things you can do in Budapest all year round. Popular tourist spots include Buda Castle, the Hungarian Parliament Building, Chain Bridge, Heroes’ Square, the Fisherman’s Bastion and more. Check out my Budapest Sightseeing Guide for more ideas.
- Take a free guided walking tour to see a lot of the city in a short period of time. We really enjoyed our Free Budapest Walking Tour which focused on the main sights in both Buda and Pest. Our guide was funny and knowledgeable and really brought the city to life.
- Enjoy a soak in a thermal bath, go on a tour of the Parliament Building, walk across Chain Bridge, hike to the top of the Citadella, visit Heroes’ Square at sunset, and try some Hungarian culinary specialties. You surely won’t run out of awesome things to do in Budapest!
For ideas on what to see and do, where to eat, what events are on, etc., check out the visitBudapest.travel website.
What are your top Budapest travel tips? I’d love to hear in the comments below!