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What To Do And See When Visiting Budapest To Blend In Like A Local
I cannot recall how many times I have been to Budapest, however, every time it has been a different experience. Visiting Budapest is very laid-back and easy to navigate. This city has a deep history and natural beauty with incredible diversity.
Budapest, Hungary’s capital, is bisected by the River Danube. The city is divided into two parts. The hills of Buda district, and the flat Pest. Both are connected via the Chain Bridge.
Each side has its own distinct personality. The Chain Bridge offers a stunning view over the Danube and up to Castle Hill. We walked through here during the day on our first day.
The UNESCO World Heritage Committee listed the view of the Danube embankments and the Buda Castle District as a World Heritage site. Between so many European cities, Budapest is known as a major cultural center.
Another World Heritage Site you will find here while visiting Hungary the historic Millennium Underground which is over 100 years old, and one of the oldest metros in the world. It has what some might call a laid back vibe.
Despite the endless cafes, restaurants, historical sites and nightlife, the city is very quiet and lacked any major noise pollution. Start off your trip by riding the #2 tram along the Danube to get a feel of how Budapest is laid out.
The ride on the #2 tram passes by a lot of Budapest’s major sights.
The first time visiting Budapest was completely spontaneous for us. We live in Vienna so we are basically next door to Hungary. Since 2010, I have been 6 times. Every time we have been back, I have discovered something new to see and do.
Read on to find out what our recommendations are.
What’s The Currency?
I find Budapest to be relatively inexpensive. Unlike most countries in Europe, Hungary has chosen not to convert to the Euro, but stick to the Hungarian Forint. 3,134.22 HUF = 10 Euros = 11 USD.
Need To Drink From The Fountain Of Youth?
The Juventus spring, which is also known as the Fountain of Youth it said to be wonderful for its anti-ageing properties. It has also been know to help with both hypertension and rheumatism.
This fountain is located southeast of the Parliament in Freedom Square (Szabadság tér).
Szechenyi Baths And Pool
When visiting Budapest, make sure to visit the Szechenyi Baths and Pool, one of the best and largest spa baths in Europe. We paid € 45 for the entry which was worth every cent. Some say thermal baths in Budapest to have medicinal and healing properties.
The infrastructure is fascinating and equipped with everything you would need to enjoy a spa day. The bath temperature was 33 – 35 degrees (centigrade).
There are 15 indoor baths and 3 outdoor pools which vary in temperature. There are also saunas you can use and you can book a massage if you want for an end to a long day of sightseeing. Just make sure you book in advance. It is a great experience after a long and tiring day.
Other great thermal baths in Budapest:
- Rudas Baths
- Gellért Baths
- Lucaks Baths
Make A Stop At The Parliament
Completion of the Parliament building was in 1902. It boasts a total of 691 decorated rooms! You can also go inside the Parliament if you want to. However, it is only accessible if you are part of a tour. There are daily tours which take place and are offered in 8 languages. The tour takes about 60-90 minutes. You can online or in-person at the Visitor’s Center below the Parliament building.
Don’t Miss Out On The Várkert Bazár
Is great to see as it is one of the best places to take pictures. Várkert Bazár connects to the Castle via escalator.
There is no entrance ticket for the garden but you have to purchase one if you want to visit the exhibition area. You can also have some delicious coffee and cake while enjoying the scenery.
When Visiting Budapest, Make Sure To Stop At Heroes’ Square
While visiting Budapest, another place you should not miss out on Heroes’ Square. It is one of the major squares in Budapest.
Here you will find the iconic statue complex featuring the Seven Chieftains of the Magyars as well as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
The square has been a host to many political events, such as the 1989 reburial of Imre Nagy a Hungarian communist politician who was executed on charges for treason, in 1958.
Walk Across The Chain Bridge
This is great to do both during the day and at night. The stunning view is a must-see. As I mentioned earlier, Budapest divides into two parts. From the chain bridge, you’ll be able to see both the Buda and the Pest side. This is one of the highlights Budapest has to offer. Remember, these two cities did not unite to become one until 1873.
On our last night, we were lucky to catch a second walk along the Chain Bridge at night when all the lights come on. It is so stunning and beautiful!
St. Stephen’s Basilica
Named in honour of Stephen, the first King of Hungary and is the third largest church building in present-day Hungary.
The basilica can hold up to 8,500 people. At the top, you are rewarded with lovely views. I don’t advise taking the narrow staircases. The inside of the basilica is stunning, embellished in marble and gold it is a must see when visiting Budapest.
When you visit this church, you will also see the mummified hand of St. Stephen.
Tip: Make sure you turn off the flash on your camera. They remove non-compliant visitors.
Having Fun While Visiting Budapest
We had a great time, saw nice sites and ate some delicious food!
Arriving In Budapest
The main train station in Budapest is Keleti. Trains from here, Vienna, take about 2.5 hours to arrive in Budapest.
Find your train options and schedule here. Taxis to town will cost you approximately 2500 HUF (Hungarian Forints).
If you are hungry after arriving, go to the Great Market Hall. Hungarian specialties are on the top floor.
FIVE INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT HUNGARY
- Hungary is one of the oldest countries in Europe, founded in 896.
- Hungarian inventions include the noiseless match (János Irinyi), Rubik’s cube (Erno Rubik), and the krypton electric bulb (Imre Bródy).
- One third of the 15 million Hungarian speakers live outside Hungary.
- Hungary has the highest standard V.A.T. rate in the world (27%).
- The Hungarian language is Magyar.
Are you planning on visiting Budapest soon? Have you been to Budapest?
Share your experiences with me in the comments section below.
Wow, looks beautiful. This post is giving me serious wanderlust. And it’s on my bucket list, would like to get there within the next couple of years.
Great informative article. I am planning to travel Budapest next week and I will definitely check out out these things. I have bookmarked it for future references. Thanks for sharing.
Wonderful article – me being born in Budapest and being Hungarian, really makes me happy to read great things about my city!!! 🙂
Wow, that looks great. It’s always been one of my big regrets that I’ve never been to Budapest .
Budapest is an awesome City. All The images are very beautiful and eye-catching. I hope I would travel to this place once a day and turn my visuals into reality
I agree, Budapest is a fabulous city! I especially loved walking through the old Buda and visiting the Halaszbastya (Fisherman’s Bastion). I’ve only visited once and reading this definitely makes me want to go back ♥
One of my favorite girlfriends trips ever!!
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This is a really detailed description on how to fit in. I love to travel like a local, so found this post so helpful!