The most BUDAful city you’ll ever visit, Budapest has always been high on my bucket list to visit- with it’s beautiful architecture, rich history and affordable prices, it’s a no brainer for a European getaway.
I have been loving creating my travel guides recently and it makes me so happy to hear that they’ve helped with your travel plans. Before going away, I scrolled through many travel guides to Budapest and to tell you the truth… I was a bit disappointed. I didn’t find any of the guides very informative or helpful and didn’t find out any new information which I couldn’t have gotten off of Google.
SO I wanted to create my own guide to be as informative and detailed as possible so that I can tell you exactly what we did, where we went and how we got there.
I hope you’ve a cuppa in hand because this is going to be a long one.
One of the biggest questions I had before going was how the hell would we get around. I’ve seen so many different recommendation for different modes (with one blogger even suggesting to hire a car and driver, seriously?). We chose to use the hop-on-hop-off bus service. We’d heard that the metro was very confusing to use, and taxis were just too pricey to keep using so this seemed like the perfect option. We went for the Big Bus service, as they seemed fairly regular, had a solid route and you got the post for your money. The bus service here takes you all over the city, but bare in mind it only goes in one direction, so if you’re wanting to catch it, remember that it only goes one way.
There are so many places to visit in Budapest for food but the top places I would recommend are…
Mazel Tov- a very touristy attraction but I can understand why!! They have a more Israeli menu, with loads of meats to choose from. I would defo say to book ahead though because there is always a queue out the door for walk ins! It’s based in the Jewish corner and is really close to a load of old ruin bars, so it’ll make a great night out once you’ve finished dinner.
Tunin Burger- Right next to Mazel Tov is a burger joint which is hands down the best burger I have ever eaten. And the best part? They offer a gluten free bun!! The kitchen is small though so be aware of cross contamination.
La Trattoria- An Italian restaurant based right next to St Stephen’s Bascillica. The restaurant offers the most authentic Italian menu and also offers a fee gluten free options. It’s also so affordable, especially given it’s amazing location.
Spoon the Boat- On our last night we treated ourselves to a v fancy meal on Spoon the Boat, but I would say that you should save your pennies if you are planning on going here. The food was insane and the boat is situation on the river overlooking the Chain Bridge, so seeing everything light up after sunset was just magical.
What to do
Okay now here is the meaty stuff. The ‘what the hell do I choose to do and what day shall I do it?’ question. Believe me, I had the same one before travelling. I’m the kind of girl who likes to plan her days to a T and organise an itinerary for the week. But especially with city breaks, it can be hard to decide what to do, what not to do and when to do it. So I shall explain what we did as best as I can and as simply as possible.
The bus tickets that we bought also came with the opportunity to tour around the city, and also jump on the night tour to see the city lit up. I would recommend the first thing that you do when you arrive is the bus tour- be it day or night. That way you can get to grips with the city, where landmarks are and what you want to come back to. Being able to do the bus tour meant that there was a lot we got to see/ witness, but we knew we didn’t need to see it anymore than we did on the bus.
I would 100% recommend dedicating a whole day to exploring the area around Fisherman’s Bastion/ Budapest Castle. There are so many shuttle buses which take you up to the top, so you don’t have to worry about walking. Fisherman’s Bastion is the infamous blogger’s spot, where you can get a gorgeous picture of the stunning architecture overlooking the city. I would recommend heading here as early as possible, as otherwise you’ll need to bring a stick to battle the tourists for the perfect snap.
After Fisherman’s Bastion, you can explore the church and area around it- there’s even a building which still has the bullet holes from WWII!
I would then recommend heading to Budapest Castle. Again, you’ll get stunning views of the city and be able to explore the historic building. The architecture is just to die for! The castle has some gorgeous gardens to walk around in and explore- something I would defo recommend doing. There’s also plenty of cafe’s and restaurants around the gardens which you can stop at for a light lunch.
After lunch I would recommend catching another shuttle to the —- hill. You’ll be able to walk right beside the Liberty Statue and see the most stunning panoramic view of the city- if you though that the view from Fisherman’s Bastion was good, just to wait….
I would recommend heading to the Great Synagog after your market trip. But be warned- there is a dress code. They mainly ask for you to cover your shoulders, but also ask no short-shorts or skirts. A midi dress with sleeves is probably the best option. The Great Synagog is an amazing place to go to experience the beauty of Hungary’s architecture, but also see the devastating past that the country faced.
You have to, without a doubt, visit the famous baths. There’s two main baths in the city, but a local recommended the Szechenyi baths as she said they are bigger and more beautiful. She did not lie. The baths are just so gorgeous and a complete maze to get around! We ended up having to ask the staff for directions from going to one pool to the other.
You could easily spend all day at the baths, I would 100% recommend bringing a book and some snacks as you can literally sunbathe and splash in the naturally heated pools all day. Defo get there early though as by mid-morning all of the chairs have gone and it’s vulture city to nab a chair!!
We spent all morning in the baths ourselves, and decided to pop out for lunch/ for the afternoon. We headed over to the river and to the —— castle- a building which we found out was actually supposed to be a temporary attraction made out of wood, but ended up being so popular was commissioned permanently!! Visiting this beauty, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped foot into the Warner Bros studio and onto the set of Harry Potter. It’s truly stunning.
The Hero’s square is a gorgeous attraction in the city to sit and admire. I would 100% recommend heading there for sunset, as it just looks spectacular!
I would defo recommend catching the night bus. If you are planning on taking the night bus, I would defo recommend catching dinner in the Italian restaurant I recommended and getting to the stop 15 minutes early. The tourists are like vultures and as soon as the bus appeared, began a mosh pit to get on and get a good seat. Be ready to push, shove and get on that bus as soon as you can!
On our last day, we chose to take a riverboat cruise down the Danube to see all the sights from a different perspective. There are loads of tours to choose from which offer guides, simple cruises or even dinner. We chose to jump off our boat and take an hour or so to explore Margaret’s island. An island in the middle of the river, it really is a sanctuary which makes you completely forget where you are.
After an explore around the island, I would recommend jumping back on the River boat and heading back down the river.
If you’re looking to pick up some gifts, a quick stop to the famous market in Budapest is a must. It’s located in the Jewish quarter, so we had to jump on one of our hop-on-hop-off buses, which dropped us off directly infront of the market. Here’s where you can get all your souvenirs and gifts to take home to your loved ones. They also have a food corner, so if you’re peckish now’s your chance!
For our last evening we chose to have a fancy dinner on Spoon the boat, where we got to watch the sun set over the river and stayed until 9pm when the lights come on all the famous buildings. It was so, so magical and definitely worth the treat!
Day 4 (ish)
We only had a morning available on the last day, as our flight was early afternoon, but we did manage to squeeze in breakfast at the New York Cafe. We actually stayed in the hotel, so had tables reserved as hotel guests, however if you are coming from elsewhere, all you need to do is reserve a table. I would 100% recommend breakfast here if you can, and make sure you stock up on coffee and croissants!
Shop the Post
Okay I’m off to have a big ol’ cuppa after that mammoth post. If you are still with us then I salute you, that was a long’un. But if you are heading to Budapest then I hope this post gave you all the info you needed and helped in some way.