BUDAPEST TRAVEL GUIDE
WHERE TO STAY:
I’m super lucky to have friends in Budapest that have been kind enough to host me on my numerous trips (and shown me around the city!), but I would recommend staying as close to the Danube as possible, anywhere in the city center. Budapest is small and walkable. The main sites are within walking distance from the popular Chain Bridge (one of the many beautiful bridges that connect Buda and Pest). If I were to stay in a hotel, the affordable Brody House caught my eye. If you had a limitless budget, the Aria Hotel is gorgeous (as is their rooftop bar), or the Four Seasons is in the most perfect tourist location possible. (And, was actually commonly used as a meeting spot amongst my friends!)
WHERE TO EAT:
Mazel Tov - The coolest courtyard/outdoor dining space in the Jewish Quarter, and probably all of Hungary. Amazing food and atmosphere. This is my fav place in the city thus far.
Borkonyha - Michelin star rated Hungarian cuisine. Expensive but worth it.
Kiosk - Trendy, high fashion restaurant, in the a beautiful location right off the Danube. Weather was a bit chilly when I visited, but it appeared they had a huge patio on the square. Good cocktails and entrees.
Innio - I only went for wine (excellent selection!), but the food looked amazing too. Cozy, yet hip atmosphere. Definitely a spot I’d do again!
Govinda - The first thing I do when I arrive in any new city is Google “best vegetarian spots.” This one came up in the neighborhood I happened to be wandering in, so I stopped in for lunch and it did not disappoint. Highly recommended if you want healthy or veg options with a Hungarian twist.
Csendes Tårs - The most lovely kertek (garden cafe). Lots of small plates. Be sure to try fröccs (wine spritzer, very popular amongst locals!) on a warm summer day - or really any day.
On the to-do list for future travels:
Fillini Romai Kulturbisztro | Fioka | Macesz Bistro | Menza | Pesti Diszno | Szimpla Kert
WHAT TO DO:
This is true of many cities in Europe, and Budapest is no exception: I recommend wandering and getting lost! If you can, start with a free walking tour - most European cities have them, and it’s a great way to get oriented and get a taste of the main sites. The Chain Bridge is the tourist center, and connects both sides of the city. Be sure to walk across the bridge for great views along the Danube. On the Buda side (west), head up to the Buda Castle and Matthias Church to see these beautiful landmarks, the quaint neighborhood architecture, and views of the city below. Simply by wandering around this neighborhood, you’ll likely come across the Statue of St Stephen, Castle Hill, and the Fisherman’s Bastion behind Matthias Church with it’s beautiful turrets and castle-like feel (and more beautiful views). One could easily spend a full day exploring this neighborhood on foot. Wear comfy shoes and wander to your heart’s content.
On the Pest side (east side), besides for being home to a plethora of bars and restaurants also be sure to visit the Parliament and St Stephen’s Basilica (and the pedestrian avenue leading up to it from the Chain Bridge).
I’d also recommend strolling along the Danube to my personal favorite bridge, the Liberty Bridge. If you’re the type that wants to get a workout in, there are beautiful jogging/bike trails along the river that stretch for miles.
Overall, I promise Budapest center is quite walkable and I suspect most first time visitors would be content simply wandering. It’s pretty hard to miss the main sites and if you wander off the beaten path there are lots of gorgeous neighborhoods to explore.
On the to-do list for future travels:
Visit one of the many thermal baths the city is famous for!!
Want to get out of the city for a little adventure? Steal away for 24 hours in Vienna, or a few days in Hungarian wine country on Lake Balaton.