You’ve booked yourself a few days trip to Hungary and don’t know what to do in Budapest, the capital?
If I tell you every little thing that one can do in this fantastic city, then this would be a hell of a post, and none would really read every single word of it. So I want to keep this quick guide to Budapest short and straight to the point with all the things I’ve done when I visited the city for the first time.
What to do in Budapest #1 – Stroll the Castle district
Let’s start with a Budapest Sightseeing tour, which is pretty simple: Explore Castle Hill, and you’ll be good. Approach the beautiful hill from Pest (the eastern part of Budapest) and make your way across the Danube using the beautiful Széchenyi Chain Bridge. Then either take the historical funicular up the hill or simply walk up the hill if the queue is too long. On top, you will be speechless of how beautiful the city looks from above. Then stroll around the castle and the castle district until you reach the Fisherman’s Bastion. From there, you can gaze at the Parliament on the other side of the Danube. The whole castle hill is an attraction on its own, and if you have explored this part of the city, you can tick off almost every important sight at once, which one or two exceptions.
What to do in Budapest #2 – Explore the Jewish Neighbourhood
The Jewish Neighbourhood is as unique and fascinating as is the whole city. I never expected to find a district as vibrant and full of energy in Budapest. When we entered the area on our first evening, we simply thought it would be a shortcut to the famous Synagogue. Instead, we found ourselves speechless on all the great restaurants and fabulous street food markets. It was winter, and still, people were strolling the alleys or standing outside a hip restaurant smoking their cigarettes. Bizarrely I felt like I was walking the streets of Rome – in summer. It seems as the whole city was up and around the Jewish Neighbourhood – it was great. There were so many lovely little restaurants and bars where we first had problems deciding where to have dinner that night. However, as we had 3 days in Budapest, we came back every day for lunch and dinner. However, still, there are many restaurants that I noted for my next visit.
Believe me, you gonna love this area, and I’m sure this is the place where Budapest finally wins your heart for good!
What to do in Budapest #3 – Shop at Szimpla Design Shop
The design shop called Szimpla offers a great deal of everything you can imagine. Packed with old and new design products ranging from old radios to funny wall clocks and lovely jewellery to antlers. You definitely won’t walk out of this basement shop without a little souvenir! I’m sure you gonna like it there!
What to do in Budapest #4 – Have a coffee at Espresso Embassy
Whenever someone asks me where to find the best coffee, I suggest checking out this little coffee shop in Budapest called Espresso Embassy. Honestly, I cannot find the right words to describe the coffee I had at this little coffee shop near the Parlament, and I don’t think anyone would understand. One has to experience the art of coffee making as it is celebrated at the Espresso Embassy in Budapest to know what I mean. It’s a super lovely place crowded with students working on their laptops and people from all over the world enjoying the most delicious flat white ever. A great atmosphere and the most friendly staff make this place my favourite café in Budapest and a must for any lover of freely brewed coffee.
What to do in Budapest #5 – Enjoy dinner at Fat Mama Eatery
We actually had lunch there once but only because every table was booked the night before when we wanted to go there. But having lunch there was perfect as well. With its laid back atmosphere and delicious food, I simply have to share this restaurant with you and highly recommend it to anyone who loves a Hungarian interpretation of modern western cuisine (fantastic!).
What to do in Budapest #6 – Have fun at Boutiq’Bar
This is for sure one of the top 5 bars I’ve ever been to. But, first – and this is always a good sign for bars – the Boutiq’Bar is hard to find. In a strange-looking back alley, you gonna find a small door, and when you push it open, you gonna enter paradise for speakeasy fans with a secret passion for the old fashion. Anyway, Christoph and I had the best time there in this small crowded bar. We slurped the most delicious cocktails ever – all created by the barkeepers of Boutiq’Bar.
One Tip: Talk to the barkeeper and tell them what kind of cocktail you usually prefer. They will come up with something that will blow you off your feet (metaphorically speaking). Enjoy!
What to do in Budapest #7 – Gaze at the Parliament
Okay, this most famous building of Budapest simply has to be a fixed point on this 7 things-to-do list. Just like the city, this crown jewel of Budapest’s architecture is simply breathtaking. Every little detail is perfect within the imposing structure, and it is hard to find the words that would do its justice. So stand still and take all the view in – and for this, I recommend either sitting on the river bank on the other side of the Danube (at the bottom of the Castle hill) or walking on one of the jetties beside the Parliament to get a spectacular angle for your snaps. Of course, you can enter the Parliament, but we wanted to explore the Neighbourhood some more. Hence, we only strolled around the building and then headed back to the city centre.
I hope you enjoyed my suggestions of what to do in Budapest, and maybe try some of my tips yourself on your next trip.