Budapest is by far one of my favorite cities in all of Europe! It’s nestled into the heart of Eastern Europe and is a very easy train ride away from another favorite city of mine, Vienna. I’ve been to Budapest a few times and fell in love with its charm, history, and beauty! Budapest is actually broken down into two parts separated by the river Danube- Buda and Pest (pronounced “pesht”). Buda is the quieter more residential side where Fisherman’s Bastion is located and Pest is the livelier side with more cafes, bars, and restaurants and definitely where I’d recommend staying!
There is so much to see in Budapest and so many amazing places to eat and drink that I put together my top spots for you when you visit! Budapest is a fairly large city and I’d recommend at least 3 days to really see / experience it all. Since it’s in Hungary, it’s a pretty inexpensive city. Hotels are very affordable and cafes and bars offer amazing food and drinks at a fraction of the cost of the rest of Europe.
What to see:
- Parliament Building: arguably the most iconic sight to see in Budapest, it’s nestled on the Danube just north of all the action. It’s gorgeous during the day but I also recommend taking a boat tour or booze cruise so you can see it lit up at night! If you plan ahead you can even go inside.
- Buda Castle: is a gorgeous castle on the hill of Buda overlooking the city of Pest and the Danube below!
- Fisherman’s Bastion: this gorgeous monument is in the Buda Castle and offers incredible views of the parliament building and Danube. It’s a bit of a hike to the castle but well worth the view!
- Shoes on the Danube Bank: Is a memorial commemorating jews killed in WW2 these iron shoes are permanently placed just in front of the parliament building. Often you’ll find that locals and tourists alike have placed flowers in the shoes.
- Sczechenyi Baths: Definitely one of the most visited spots in all of Budapest, these outdoor Turkish baths are always packed and are the largest Medicinal baths in all of Europe. It has 15 indoor baths and 3 grand outdoor baths and is an awesome way to spend the afternoon!
- Heroes Square: This massive square has an iconic statue right in the center. Take a walking tour to learn more about the rich history here!
- St. Stephen’s Basilica: This cathedral is a gorgeous Roman Catholic basilica and home to many markets throughout the year. There are tons of awesome cafes right here and it’s absolutely stunning to visit inside!
- The most beautiful McDonald’s in the world: I’m serious, this building is absolutely stunning. It’s a baroque beautiful building with an exterior just as stunning as the interior. You don’t need to eat here, but it’s definitely fun to see! If you need a quick coffee, their McCafe is a step above the rest.
Where to eat
- Gelarto Rosa: I couldn’t mention food without this awesome Gelateria featuring rose petal designs!
- Butter Brothers Buda: bakery & bistro. AMAZING coffee and baked goods!
- Central Market Hall: tons of groceries and local goods are sold in this beautiful hall. Stop by for souvenirs or a quick lunch and enjoy the delicious tastes of Budapest in a historic building while exploring.
- Hungarikum Bisztro: amazing local Hungarian food. Super authentic and affordable!
- New York Cafe: a fancy local spot for coffee and food. Literally coined “the most beautiful cafe in the world”. A little pricey but it’s an awesome spot for afternoon tea amidst chandeliers!
- Kiosk Pest: With an amazing ambiance and delicious eats it’s a great place to dine in Pest!
- My Little Melbourne: Super cute cafe with some incredible espresso drinks.
Where to drink
- Szimpla Kert: you can’t go to Budapest without stopping at one of their ruin pubs! The city is filled with old buildings converted to pubs while keeping their charm. Szimpla kert is arguably the most popular. It’s massive and when you go, you’ll see why people love it so much!
- Mazel Tov: A great cafe in the Jewish quarter with amazing cocktails and an iconic interior!
- Instant: massive nightclub in Budapest with 6 bars and 3 dance floors. Perfectly located for a night out.
- Budapest Boat Party: looking for a booze cruise in style? This amazing boat company sets up booze cruises that take you on a tour of the Danube so you can see the Parliament lit up in all its glory at night while dancing on a boat!
- Ruin pub crawl: want to explore all the best ruin pubs but looking for a bigger group experience? These pub crawls are a blast and take you to the iconic ruin pubs and the ones off the beaten path!
Definitely add Budapest to your list if you haven’t been yet. Other awesome cities to travel to while in Eastern Europe are Prague, Krakow, Warsaw, and Vienna. Hope you have an amazing time in this gorgeous city!