Discovering Budapest: Sights and Beyond

Have you ever thought that you’ve been to a place enough times to know it pretty well and then you discover you were oh-so-wrong?

This is exactly what happened to me in Budapest! Are you curious how Budapest still surprised me, despite the fact it was my 4th time there? Read on!

Let me be honest here – With a Hungarian friend of mine, we used to fight about what city was better and more beautiful, Prague or Budapest. Each of us being extremely biased, we fought for our own cities – for me, Prague was the clear winner, of course! It didn’t help that he tried to show me something unique from Budapest nightlife each time I came.[clear h=5]

Only now, on my fourth trip, have I realized what a unique mix Budapest is.

Budapest Parliament
Beautiful building of Budapest’s Parliament, as seen from the river bank.

The accommodation that changed everything

During this past trip, my favorite hotel in Pest was fully booked so my boyfriend and I decided to stay in an apartment off the Nagymezö Street, on Pest side.

The way there was rather lengthy and we didn’t like it as much. But to our surprise, over the next days we found a myriad of great restaurants, bars and pubs that looked way different from those in the city center.

Gozsdu Budapest
One of Gozsdu passage’s many awesome bars

Nightlife and more

During this trip I found an area where all (yes, all) of Budapest’s locals hang out. It’s in a passage called Gozsdu, on Kiraly Street. It is packed there every night! There are so many bars, some of them have incredibly slow service and still they thrive!

So obviously, this is the place to be on a Friday/Saturday night.

Budapest’s ruin pubs deserve a special category of their own. They are so unique! I felt like I was in Berlin, and that’s a major compliment (I also complimented Valencia on having the ‘Berlin feel’ here).

Instant Budapest
One of the wild ruin bars.. Instant! It’s guaranteed to make you amazed (and perhaps scared) instantly!

Recipe for discovering Budapest

Below is my recipe for discovering Budapest one level at a time. The time period of your visits could either be weekends, keeping each level for one weekend, or you come for a week or two and experience it all together (which I recommend!).

3 levels of Budapest discovery

1. Main sights

Everyone needs to ride on the Budapest’s overpriced funicular and see the Buda Castle, St. Matthias Church, walk across the Chain Bridge and admire the view of the Parliament from there.

Having a soak in one of the many thermal baths when the weather becomes unpleasant is another must. So is strolling through the buzzing Váci Street and Vörösmarty Square.

Buda Castle Budapest
Buda Castle.. perhaps even whiter than Sydney Opera! ;)

Check out also this guide on 2 days in Budapest covering the main sights.

2. Getting past the main sights

Once you have all the main sights ticked off, explore further – go to the Big Market Hall, stroll around, see the Heroes Square and the City Park behind it with the impressive Vajdahunyad Castle. Doesn’t it feel awesome?

Go check out the ruin bars! And the Jewish Synagogue nearby, which is especially beautiful on a sunny day.

Vajdahunyad Castle Budapest
The majestic Vajdahunyad Castle in Budapest’s City Park, just off the Heroes Square

3. And beyond we go!

Now Budapest should be really getting under your skin, congratulations!

Go see the Gozsdu passage with bars where locals hang out in huge numbers.

If your budget allows, make a reservation at one of Budapest’s many Michelin restaurants!

To get back to Earth, take the metro line no. 1 – the oldest kind in town.

Catch a tram right by the river on Pest side and let it carry you further from the city center – great for people watching!

And what to do after that? Just pick any direction and stroll that way! Even if you’ll keep bumping into things you’ve seen before, Budapest is not going to become boring.

Plans for the next trip

I’m already making plans for my next visit and here’s my list of things to see in Budapest next:

  • Margaret Island: a beautiful park right on the Danube
  • Gellert Hill: a nice green hill with a Citadel on top
  • The Eye: Ferris wheel
  • Budapest Whale: new architectonic masterpiece
  • Fungarian: little intro to Hungarian language [clear h=15]

If you make it to Budapest before me, make sure you try some of them out and let me know if it’s been as awesome as I expect it to be! Thanks and enjoy your time in Budapest! :)

Btw. if you love museums, I’m sorry that I’ve excluded them – I’m not too much of a museumgoer. But feel free to share your experience and try to convince me to visit any of the awesome museums of Budapest ;)

In case you haven’t had enough and need to know even more, here’s a full on resource on all things Budapest.

Have you fallen for Budapest’s charm like I did? What do you like most about it?

PS: Let’s keep the slight rivalry between Prague and Budapest alive – check out this article about Prague! Especially if you’re deciding where to visit first ;)

TravelGeekery Budapest
Till next time, Budapest!

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Budapest is awesome in so many aspects - I managed to fully discover it only on my 4th visit! Here's what to pay attention to, so that you have the best experience.

 

14 thoughts on “Discovering Budapest: Sights and Beyond”

    • Glad it was helpful, Sara! Let me know how it went at Fungarian :) And if you wanna grab some coffee while in Prague, lemme know! :)

  1. It is so nice to read that Budapest convinced you about it’s beauty and unique atmosphere! :) There is always something new that you haven’t seen before, it is truly a surprising city. You may check out for some food experience next time:)

  2. What a great post. I’ve only been to Budapest the once and I loved it… but now I realise how much I missed, it’s back on the list again! Don’t you just love stumbling across a city that has so much to share and be discovered that you learn more time and time again. It’s what life-long love affairs are made of! Enjoy your next return trip :). Thanks for the great tips!

    Gabby

  3. Prague and Budapest are both such cool places and I love the detail that you put into all your posts, they make the places come alive a bit more. Margaret Island is beautiful in the sunshine; it has a huge rose garden, a tiny zoo and loads of open park space. Here’s what I thought of it (https://goo.gl/6nfGGt). There’s also a massive week-long music festival there at the beginning of August I think.

    If you want info on museums for Budapest then my friend and I stumbled upon the war museum (https://goo.gl/4BQGGG) which was really interesting if that’s your kind of thing.

  4. Love that city, it’s adorable. Been so many times, yet I still haven’t written a review about it on my site.
    Budapest is so unique… the culture, the language, the food.
    And recently they started restoring some of the old buildings and now they “shine”…
    It has the most beautiful capital city panorama in the entire Europe!

  5. You should SO visit Margit Island, it’s fun in summer (bring your swimwear). I blogged about it a while back as I was so taken with it. I’ve been to both Prague and Budapest and… Budapest is definately the winner for me, it’s more quirky I think and I just love Hongarian cuisine.

    • Thanks for the tip, Esther. I’ll make sure not to leave out Margit island next time I’m in Budapest! Good you prefer Budapest – after all, there needs to be some balance of supporters! ;)

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