Budapest is the capital and the largest city of Hungary. Cited as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, its list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites includes the banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter, Andrássy Avenue, Heroes' Square and the Millennium Underground Railway, the second-oldest metro line in the world. Since 1993, Budapest has been hosting The Sziget Music Festival, one of Europe’s largest music and cultural festivals.

Things to do in Budapest!




Budapest became a single city with the unification of Buda and Óbuda, on the west bank, with Pest, on the east bank. Budapest has 23 districts. Some of these are:


  • Castle District (Várnegyed) – This district is the city's most beautiful and historic district, dating back to the 13th century, with some settlements here even earlier. Castle District has charming, cobbled streets and grand medieval monuments like the Royal Palace, Matthias Church or the Fishermen's Bastion. Other attractions include the thermal baths like Rudas Turkish Bath.
  • Watertown (Víziváros) – Víziváros is historically a quarter where fishermen and artisans resided. Built on the steep slope of Castle Hill, it has narrow alleys and stairs instead of roads in many places. Northern Víziváros has the northernmost Islamic holy place in Europe, the Tomb of Gül Baba, near the Buda foot of Margaret Bridge, in Gül Baba Street.
  • Rose Hill (Rózsadomb) - Rózsadomb (Rose Hill) is the most notable part in District II. Spectacular views and clean air attracted Budapest's most influential to this area.
  • Buda Hills - The Buda Hills are numerous remote neighborhoods that feel as if they're nowhere near, let alone within, a capital city. The hills are ideal for hiking and to get some fresh air and peace after the busy city center. Enjoy the beautiful view of Budapest from the lookout point on Széchenyi Hill. You can go up there by the cogwheel railway.


  • Óbuda makes up district III and is the oldest and second largest Budapest district. The extensive Roman ruins of Aquincum and the beautifully preserved old-town main square are Óbuda's chief claims to fame. Archeologists discovered several monuments from the Roman era that you can visit today in the Aquincum Museum.


  • Inner City (Belváros)- The historic center of Pest, the Belváros, literally meaning "city center" is the area inside the Inner Ring, bound by the Danube to the west. Making up part of district V, it has many of Pest's historic buildings in this area.
  • Leopold Town (Lipótváros) - The area between Újépület and the former inner city was named Lipótváros in 1790. In 1897, the Szabadság Square was formed. Today Szabadságtér is a lively place with lots of cafés and restaurants. The Soviet War Memorial dominates the northern end. Budapest’s biggest church, St. Stephen's Basilica (Szt. IstvánBazilika), also stands in this district.
  • Theresa Town (Terézváros) - The character of Terézváros, district VI, is defined by Andrássyút. Andrássy Avenue is Budapest's Broadway with the Opera House, Liszt Ferenc Music Academy, and the Operetta Theater.
  • Elizabeth Town (Erzsébetváros) - Directly to the southeast of Terézváros, Erzsébetváros is the historic Jewish neighborhood of Pest. The Great Synagogue in Dohányutca is the second largest and the most beautiful synagogue in the world. Erzsébetváros also has some famous Budapest landmarks like the New York Palace on Grand Boulevard (Nagykörút).
  • Joseph Town (Józsefváros) - To experience true Józsfeváros and find some hidden treasures, walk through the streets beyond Grand Boulevard and on Rákócziút. It has one of the largest gardens in Budapest, Orczy kert and the National Museum is here as well. The Hungarian Natural History Museum on Ludovikatér houses exciting scientific exhibitions.
  • Castle Hill:
    • This UNESCO World Heritage Site includes the 700-year-old Matthias Church, houses from the Middle Ages, and the Royal Palace.

    • The Royal Palace is a blend of architectural styles. The original Gothic Palace was built in the 13th century and expanded for 300 years. In the 18th Century, the Habsburgs built a completely new, small Baroque palace. Reconstruction after 1848-49 War of Independence, revealed Gothic and Renaissance foundations that have been incorporated in the building during the works. Today the palace houses the Budapest History Museum, the Hungarian National Gallery and the National Széchenyi Library.

    • Bécsikaputér (Vienna Gate Square) is the only existing old town-gate.

    • Fishermen’s Bastion - Despite its name it's a look-out terrace. It has seven turrets, one for each of the Hungarian tribes. The design was inspired by the Far East.

    • Labyrinth in Buda Castle - Medieval architecture - travel back in time under the ground to see the magnificent royal palace of King Sigismund of Luxembourg and King Matthias as well as monuments from the era of the Turkish rule.

    • Wine Tasting in Buda Castle - Faust Wine Cellar - The vaulted cellar within the Hilton Hotel is a part of the underground labyrinth system.

    • Kapisztrán Square - On the corner of Kapisztrántér and Országházutca is the Maria Magdalene Tower which was a Franciscan church in medieval times. Behind the Maria Magdalen Tower is the Military Museum. Visit the room devoted to the 1956 Uprising and you'll find out everything important about those 13 chaotic days. The hand of the legendary Stalin Statue is here too.

    • Matthias Church (Mátyástemplom) – Founded in 1255, Matthias Church has striking interiors. Despite the vaulting and the stained glass windows, it's nothing like a Gothic cathedral; it has a sort of mystic, Eastern vibe. The wall paintings are scenes from the Bible and events from Hungary's history.
  • St. Stephen's Basilica and St. Stephen's Square
    • The church is the largest monument after the Hungarian parliament building dominating the Pest side of the Danube.

    • Inside you can see one of Hungary's most treasured relics, the Holy Right hand of King St. Stephen.

  • The Central Synagogue in Dohányutca
    • The Great Synagogue of Budapest - This stunning temple was constructed between 1844-59, according to Ludwig Förster's plans. The second largest synagogue (the largest stands in New York) in the world can take in 3,000 people.

    • In the cobbled Raoul Wallenberg (Swedish diplomat who saved many Jews during WW II) park stands the Holocaust Memorial by ImreVarga. It was erected in 1989 above the mass graves in the honor and memory of Hungarian Jewish martyrs.

Getting around

General info

  • The closest airport to Budapest is the Liszt Ferenc Airport (BUD)
  • Shuttle services are available from Budapest airport. The Airport Shuttle-Minibus Desks can be found at every terminal (Terminal 1, Terminal 2A and 2B). Tickets can be booked online at here.
  • Airport Shuttle-Minibusz divides the territory of Budapest into three parts: Airport Area costs EUR 6, Hotels & City Centre costs EUR 10 and City Area costs EUR 22.
  • Reservations can be made in person at the taxi booths located at the exits at Terminals 2A and 2B. Online reservations can be made at here.
  • Private or shared transfers can be booked online here or here or here.
  • Additional details about Liszt Ferenc Airport (BUD) airport can be found on the airport website.
  • The closest train station to Budapest Airport Terminal 2 is Ferihegy, with trains operating to and from the Nyugati railway station in Budapest. For additional information on train services in Hungary, visit this link.
  • Eurolines provides bus services to Budapest to from most parts of Europe including France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, UK, Italy, Austria and the Czech Republic. Tickets can be booked online at the Eurolines website. 

As a visitor you might consider using the following fare information: 

  • The Budapest City pass is valid for public transport in Budapest by tram, bus, metro, or HÉV suburban railways, if you are within city limits. The City Pass is valid either for 2 or 13 days.
  • 33 EUR for 13 days.
  • 12 EUR for 2 days - valid from the day of validation till the end of the next day (24.00h).


  • Budapest is the center of all main rail connections.
  • Budapest has three main train stations:Eurail passes for Hungary are valid on all trains operated by the national railway company MÁV-START.
  • For additional information on train services in Hungary, refer here.
    • Keleti (Eastern) on Barosster (red metro line) services most international express trains as well as domestic trains to and from the north and north-east.
    • Nyugati (Western) on Nyugatiter (blue metro line) has trains for the Great Plain and the Danube Bend.
    • Deli (Southern) at Krisztinakorut has trains bound for Transdanubia and Lake Balaton.
  • Eurail Hungary Pass costs from EUR 183 (1st Class) and EUR 120 (2nd Class). The pass provides travel on Hungary’s national rail network, with a choice of 3-8 days unlimited travel in a 1 month period.
  • The Eurail Regional Pass provides travel to two bordering countries with pass options for youth, adult and family. The Croatia - Slovenia - Hungary pass costs from EUR 194 (1st Class), and allow unlimited travel for 4-10 days in a 2 month period on the respective national networks.  The Italy – Spain pass costs from EUR 206 (1st Class) for unlimited travel for 4 -10 days in a 2 month period on the respective national networks.
  • Additional details can be found at the Eurail website.
  • The Eurail Select Pass provides the option to choose extensive rail travel on the national rail networks of 4 adjoining countries for 5-10 days in a 2 month period. The Eurail Select Pass costs from EUR 407. Additional details can be found here.
  • Tickets can be booked online at the Rail Europe website.


  • There are 14 trolley bus lines in Budapest. The trolleys are red colored and operate until somewhere between 11:00 pm and 12:00 am.
  • Budapest has more than 30 tram lines. You can recognize them by their bright yellow color. Trams run between 4:30 am until around 10:45 pm on weekdays.
  • The details of the timetables can be found here.


  • The following are taxi services for Budapest:
    • Rádió Taxi: 7-777-777
    • Budapest Taxi: 4-333-333
    • Mobil Taxi: 333-2222
    • City Taxi: 2-111-111
    • Fotaxi: 2- 222-222
  • The trip from Budapest Aiport to the city centre costs approximately EUR 20-22.

Suggested itinerary

Island of Budapest in 3 Days (Source: Tripomatic)


Day 1

  • Hungarian Parliament Building – This central landmark of Budapest is built in the Gothic Revival style.
  • Shoes on the Danube Promenade Memorial – This statue commemorates the Hungarian Jews who were shot on the bank of the river Danube during WWII.
  • Széchenyi Bridge - Colloquially known as the Chain bridge.
  • Buda Castle - Listed by UNESCO, a charming historical complex principally dated to the 13th century.
  • Matthias Church - Neo-Gothic gem with a replica of the coronation crown which can be seen inside.
  • Fishermen's Bastion - The neo-Gothic chalet was built as a lookout.
  • Liberty Statue - The memorial commemorates the Soviet intervention during WWII.
  • Citadel - Built as a military fortress on the highest point of Budapest's city centre, it features exhibits with WWII artefacts.
  • Gellért Hill - The forrested hill is a must visit for the views, citadel and monument on its top.
  • Rudas Bath - Built in 1566, this is the best preserved Turkish bath in Budapest.

Day 2

  • Basilica of St. Stephen - The neo-Renaissance cathedral is one of the most spectacular gems of the city.
  • Andrássy Avenue - Listed by UNESCO, this historical boulevardis Budapest's Broadway with the Opera House, Liszt Ferenc Music Academy, and the Operetta Theater.
  • Great Synagogue - Notable for its unusual architectural form resembling Moorish buildings.
  • Hungarian National Museum - Documents the history of Hungary since the prehistoric age.
  • Great Market Hall - This historical building holds three floors of shops and stalls selling local specialities, crafts and souvenirs.
  • Liberty Bridge - The busiest bridge in the city was opened in 1896 by Emperor Franz Joseph himself!
  • Gellért Baths - Showy Art Nouveau baths
  • Pauline Monastery and Rock Chapel - An imitation of the Lourdes cave carved into the southern slope of Gellert Hill.

Day 3

  • Széchenyi Bath - The Neo-Baroque spa complex has 18 pools and several different saunas.
  • Budapest Zoo & Botanical Garden – With a really impressive history dating back to the 19th century, its animal habitats are spacious and natural-looking.
  • Millenary Monument - The 36m-high cenotaph commemorates the lives of those who died for the national independence.
  • Heroes' Square - One of Budapest's sym­bolically most important squares is marked with several monuments referring to the glorious past.
  • Vajdahunyad Castle – The somewhat peculiar castle was constructed for the 19th century millennial exhibition.

Staying connected

  • Hungary uses the GSM 900 and 1800 frequency bands. For 3G carriers use the 2100 band. Telenorand Magyarare providing 4G services in the country now.
  • The phone will need to be able to work on the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz GSM bands and to use a local SIM it will need to be unlocked.
  • There are many local service providers in Hungary.
    • Major national carriers:
      • Telenor
      • T-Mobile
      • Vodafone
  • They have their own default area codes (although they offer free number portability today): 20 (Telenor GSM), 30 (T-Mobile) and 70 (Vodafone).

Eat / Drink


The food of Budapest is focused on the Hungarian diet. Some typical food items that you should try out while visiting Budapest are:

  • Hungarian goulash
  • Fisherman's soup
  • Újházy chicken broth
  • Pörkölt
  • Paprikás
  • Stuffed cabbage
  • Sweet pasta dishes include túrógombóc (cottage cheese dumplings), szilvásgombóc (plum dumplings) and palacsinta (pancakes)
  • Strudels
  • Fozeléks which is vegetables simmered usually in water and thickened with roux.

Some notable local restaurants in Budapest are:



  • Onyx
    • Cuisine: Hungarian and International cuisine






Some of the well known pubs in Budapest are:


Hungarians normally leave tips when eating out, having a drink at a bar, or when using a taxi. Leaving the small change behind to round up to the nearest Euro is the most common.

  • Hotels: You can tip your porter EUR 1-2 per bag depending on the bag weight
  • Restaurants: You are expected to add a further 10% - 15% to your restaurant bill and you generally need to communicate this to your waiter after you have received the bill. Check that a service fee has not already been applied and then tell your waiter how much to charge on your card or, if you are paying by cash, how much you expect in change.
  • Bars: Tipping is not expected but if you want to, you could tip the barman EUR 1 or 10% of the bill.
  • Taxi: It is common to tip 10%, or to round-up the fare. Alternatively, if you’ve had a particularly pleasant ride, a further 5% on the tip is a clear sign of gratitude.
  • Tour guides: An indicative amount for the guides running the free walks is EUR 1-2.

Banner image credits: Jimmy Harris

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