Budapest: A Comprehensive City Guide

Here is a run-down of all the cool things I did when I was in Budapest.  I’ve noted some extra things which I wanted to do, but couldn’t because of time constraints.  I was in Budapest for two days, and it was not enough!  I would have loved to spend a couple more days in the city to really explore.

If I were to go again, I’d book at least a few days and do things that I hadn’t done before.  It’s really a lovely city, and one of my favourite European destinations!


The Castle District

This is an area of the Buda side of the city, and it is beautiful!  You should definitely come here!  There are trams and buses which can bring you here if it is hot and you don’t want to walk, and the public transport isn’t too expensive.

Here are many historic buildings and gorgeous streets, as well as many cute souvenir shops and lovely cafes.  Things to see in the Castle District include the Fisherman’s Bastion, Matthias Church and Buda Castle, all of which are stunning and shine brightly in the summer sunlight.

To reach the Castle District, I took a tram and then the bus which goes through the Castle District itself.  The bus dedicated to the District is the best public transport option in terms of getting in and around, as car access is restricted and the areas is predominantly for pedestrians.



Széchenyi Medicinal Bath

This is a must-do!  There are a few different types of tickets that you can buy, but I would definitely purchase one which allows you to spend at least half a day relaxing and trying out all the different baths and facilities offered here.

There are hot baths, cold baths, showers, saunas, exercise sessions/classes and pools.  I spent a whole morning lounging about in the different baths and it was such a revitalising experience!  You come out feeling very fresh and ready for the day!  Because of this, I think it is good to do in the morning before a day exploring the area, or in the afternoon after a morning of running around – either way, it is a lovely way to recharge!

Interesting to note is that some of the baths have time limits (i.e. 30 mins) which are linked to the temperatures/what is in the water and how long you should spend in it.

There are also other thermal baths in Budapest, but Széchenyi is the biggest and the most famous.  It is really cool, so I would recommend going here!

To reach Széchenyi, you must take the metro – it has it’s own stop.


Szimpla Kert

You MUST come here!  It is the best ruins bar in Budapest!  I spent two nights “out on the town”, and both of them started here.  There are two storeys and the place is bigger than it looks – there are heaps of nooks and crannies and so many people fit in!  This venue is ultra-cool and there are different bars for different things, e.g. a wine bar, a cocktail bar, etc.  There is also a shisha bar downstairs and a nice upstairs area where you watch the people below.

Here is the website:

The ruins bar isn’t too far from trams and buses, and you can also walk there fairly easily.


Walk along the Danube River (Pest Side)

I went for a walk along the Pest side of the Danube, as there are many buildings and points of interest along here.  If you don’t feel like walking, you can also catch a tram which runs along the riverside and jump off when you see something interesting.

Of note is the Parliament Building, which is very impressive!

I also really liked the Shoes on the Danube, a touching Holocaust memorial along the river’s edge.  It only takes a couple minutes to walk alongside the monument, and it is really beautiful.


Danube River Cruise

This is definitely a really nice thing to do!  A nice dinner cruise is a perfect way to see the river at night.  You’ll have nice views of Buda Castle, Parliament, and the other monuments and buildings on either side of the river, and their bright lights will reflect beautifully off the river itself.

Standing on the deck with a glass of wine and watching the brightly-lit monuments glide by was one of the most relaxing parts of my trip!

If you don’t get the chance to do a river cruise, I would definitely recommend going for a walk along the river at night time – it is simply beautiful!



Jewish Quarter

There is a big Jewish quarter in Budapest, and some of the buildings are quite nice.  The Dohány Street Synagogue (also known as the Great Synagogue) is open to visitors and is beautiful inside.  It is a nice place to visit and tours are offered in many languages.  Be mindful though that you must cover your shoulders and knees or purchase a little poncho to wear.

The best way to get here is walking or with trams and buses.


Váci utca

This street is great for shopping and has a lot of nice cafés.  It is known as one of the best pedestrian shopping streets, and it is a nice place to wander!  I bought all my souvenirs and postcards here, and also bought myself a lovely scarf!  There is an I Love Budapest shop here which is a one-stop souvenir stop, and there are heaps of restaurants and eateries if you are looking for somewhere to eat.


Café Frei

There are a few of these around the place in Budapest and the café chain is really nice!  They have an amazing range of drinks and cakes from all over the world.  I went here after the baths for a sugary “lunch”, and it was really impressive.

Café Frei is a chain in only a few countries in the world, and it hasn’t reached Australia yet.  I would really recommend coming here and trying one (or more) of the really cool coffees or other drinks that they have on offer.


My “I wish I’d had time for that” List

Margaret Island  –  You can get the ferry across to Margaret Island, which is in the middle of the city (in the river), and it is supposed to be very beautiful.

Central Market Hall  –  When I walked by, the big Central Market Hall (Pest side) was already closed for the day.  I would have liked to visit and see what the city has to offer in terms of market goods.

Parliament  –  I walked past Parliament, but would have liked to explore inside the building while I was there.  You can buy tickets online.

Jubilee Park  –  I walked half way up to Jubilee Park, but it was so hot and I had been walking all day, so I didn’t go all the way.  There are supposed to be really nice views of the city there, and I would like to revisit and have a look around at the monuments in the park area.



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