So now that you have decided that you are going to Budapest, you are probably looking at things to do and see in this iconic city. Look no further, you have come to the right place. In this blog i’m going to give you all the information you need to explore the ruin bars, local food, must see places and hidden secrets of this iconic city.
Flights and Visa: You can get connecting flights to Budapest from literally anywhere in India. There are not direct flights but honestly I love it when there is a connecting flight. We went via Turkish Airlines where we had a layover in Istanbul. Even if you are at the airport during a layover, you get to experience the country just a little bit.
You can get flights to Budapest from 35K-45K depending on how early you book them. If you do not know how to book cheap flight tickets online, I have made a comprehensive blog on this topic, check it out right here
Budapest is the capital of Hungary. It falls under the Schengen area and you will need a Schengen visa to visit Hungary. If you want to apply for a Hungary visa, check out this link right here.
Best time to go: Budapest is going to be beautiful throughout the year but still there are high, shoulder and low seasons. The high season is going to be in the summer during the months of May to August . The shoulder season, which is when we went is during Autumn between the months of September and November. The low season is during the winter months of December and February.
During the high season, everything is going to be super expensive because that is when most of the tourist flock to Budapest. In the shoulder season, everything is going to be cheaper. I think you must experience autumn in a European country at least once. The transition that you see in the colors from Green to yellow to brown and eventually to snow is miracle of nature that you must experience at least once.
Expenses – Budapest is the capital of Hungary and it is the most expensive place in all of Hungary. Having said that the best part about Hungary is that the currency of Hungary called as the Forint is of lower value than the Indian Rupee. 1 INR is equal to 4 Hungarian Forints. If you live in cities like Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi, Chennai, you will find everything in Hungary and Budapest cheaper than back home. Hungary is one of the cheapest countries you can visit in Europe and it is perfect because of this exchange rate.
Day 1 : Just to give you a background about Budapest. The city is divided into two halves, Buda and Pest which is divided by the Danube river .
We landed in Budapest at around 3 PM and after renting a ca r from the airport we made way to our Airbnb. We had to rent a car as we were going to take a road trip all across Hungary and Slovakia over a period of 21 days. If you want to know how to rent a car and drive in Europe, I have made a dedicated blog on this topic, check it out right here.
After checking in and getting fresh we went for the opera in the evening. I had already pre booked the opera tickets. The best place to see an opera is at the Hungarian state opera house. The acoustics over there are by far one of the best in all over Europe. Experiencing an opera is something you can never do in India. That is why I highly recommend you include watching an opera performance in your itinerary.
After the opera we drove to Gellert hill. From the Citadella you have amazing panoramic views of the entire city and at night the view from this place is just magical !
Morning : After waking up in the morning go to a local cafe/ bakery for breakfast. You can get some of the best baked breakfasts like croissant, puffs and rolls all over Budapest. One place that really stood out for me was this place called as Friss Pekseg.
After breakfast walk over to the Szechenyi Chain bridge. There are bridges that connect the Buda and the Pest side. The city is really obsessed with the number 7. There were 7 finding members of the country, there are 7 bridges and they everything in the multiples of 7 here. The bridge was built in the memory of small boy who was trying the cross the river during winter to see his dying father on the other side. He made a lot of efforts but could not get through, the people of Budapest at that time were inspired by this boy and made this bridge in his memory. The bridge is beautiful and just walking across is an experience in itself.
Once you cross the bridge, you come to a funicular that takes you up to the castle district. The lines for the tickets even in the shoulder season was a big. So there is ana electrical buggy service that takes you up the castle district faster and for a cheaper price.
The castle district is just amazing. The best things to see in the castle district are the Matthias Church, Buda Castle, Fisherman’s bastion and just walking around this place will cobblestone footpath is an experience in itself.
Afternoon: After spending the entire morning in the castle district, it is time to come down and go back to the Pest side. In the afternoon have lunch at one of many river side pizzerias along with a cold beer.
After lunch go down to the Jewish quarter where they have Europe’s biggest synagogue and also in memory of the horrific incident that took place in the 1800s where hundreds of Jews were killed on the banks of the river Danube they have made these metal shoes in memory of this incident to pay respect.
If you like shopping there are two streets which are perfect for shopping in the evening. Andrassy avenue and Vaci Street are the best place to get some local and designer shopping done in Budapest.
Evening: When the sun goes down, Budapest really comes alive. It is one of the best places for nightlife in all off Europe. Especially when you have an economic advantage with the INR.
In Budapest, there is a concept called as Ruin Bars. The old buildings that were ruined by the war were never renovated technically. So what the local did was, but by neon LEDs, music, retro decorations and hip music to make for one of the most unique night life experience in Europe. One of the best ruin bar is called as Szimpla Kert. There are lots of ruin bars in Budapest, so ruin bar hopping is a very popular activity at nights. next to Szimpla there a food truck area that serves cheap snacks like amazing pastas and pizzas.
Morning : Next day if you are not too hung over, get up early and go for a cycle tour around the city. There are many companies who organize private and group cycle tours, that take you around some of the best places which are popular and not so popular in the city. I really think this was the best way to see this city. I have made a video of my cycling experience in Budapest, check it out below
During your cycle tour you will come across the St. Stephen’s Basilica. The best thing to do there is to go to the top of the Basilica by paying 3 Euros. It is totally worth it as the views from the top are just insane. Also do not forget to the Hungarian parliament. The majestic building stand tall on the banks of Danube.
Afternoon: Once you are done cycling, go to the Central market hall. It is basically a market place where the locals come to do their daily hopping. In the market you have fresh supplies of fruits, vegetables, meat and everything you need for cooking. On the top floor you have an area where you get the best local food.
There are 2 dishes I highly recommend you eat for lunch. The langos and Goulash are a local favorite. Langosh is basically fried bread topped up lots of cheese. and Goulash is basically a broth mixed with meat and spices from central Asia. It was super delicious and i highly recommend you try this at the market.
For desserts you have to go to this place called as the New York Cafe in Budapest. Apart from the fact that the desserts are excellent the experience of having a meal is something you will not forget for the rest of your life. The architecture, the roof paintings, the live music, and the entire vibe of this place is stuff of dreams. DO NOT MISS OUT ON THIS PLACE WHEN IN BUDAPEST ! ! !
Evening : Once you are done with running around, it is time to unwind and relax at one of many Thermal baths in Budapest. Hungary is bless with thermal water running in its veins and they really made good use of it, by making these recreational and therapeutic centers for locals. The water is full of minerals and doctors prescribe baths varying in temperature for conditions like join pain, muscle pain and even skin diseases.
My favorite thermal bath in the city is the Szecheyni Thermal bath and the Gellert thermal bath. It is massive with different areas with different water temperatures. Just to relax here and mingle with locals is an amazing experience. You will definitely be relaxed after this.
When it is your last night in the city, you want to soak every bit of it. The best way to do it is by going on dinner cruise with cocktails on the Danube. There are many places where you can get tickets for this. For a price of 1000 Rs and sometimes more depending on either you want to go for just cruise, Cocktails or full course dinner. For 3 hours they take up and down the Danube when the lights are shining on the city. It is a perfect way to say goodbye to this amazing city and will definitely leave with a feeling of coming back once again.
This brings us to the end of our three days in Budapest. In want a more visual experience of my three days check out the video below and subscribe to my YouTube channel. If you still have any more doubts, put it down in the comments section below. Share this article with the people who you think will be interested or are planning to go to Budapest.
Until the next time, Keep on traveling.