The Beginner’s Guide to Budapest

Language: The official language of Budapest is Hungarian, but English is widely spoken within the city in hotels and restaurants.

Currency: Hungarian Forint (although Euro can be used in some parts of the city)

Transportation: Many of Budapest’s largest attractions are reachable by their extensive streetcar system. There are also three lines of underground metro which can take you to the main attractions in the city.

It’s hard to put your finger on what makes Budapest so special. Maybe it’s the classic architecture that looks as if it’s been torn straight from the pages of a fairytale. Or perhaps it’s the gritty ruin pubs and multi-culture nightlife that welcomes you with open arms (or swallows you whole depending on how much you drink).

Regardless of why you’re in Budapest, you’ll realize that it’s a city unlike anywhere else in Europe.


Where to Stay in Budapest

1. District V

As the undeniable heart of Budapest, District V is an excellent choice for first-time visitors. You’re never more than a stone’s throw away from restaurants, bars, and sweeping views of the Danube. It’s important to note that since you’re staying in the tourist center of the city, you should expect higher prices and international-focused restaurants compared to other neighborhoods.

Budget: Casati Budapest Hotel Superior

Mid-Range: D8 Hotel

Luxury: Aria Hotel Budapest by Library Hotel Collection

2. District VII (The Jewish Quarter)

If you’re looking for a lively, buzzing neighborhood, look no further than District VII. From trendy bars to local restaurants, there’s always some sort of excitement and action waiting for you. Not for the light sleepers, District VII is home to Budapest’s infamous ruin bars.

Budget: Hotel California

Mid-Range: Roombach Hotel Budapest Center

Luxury: New York Palace, The Dedica Anthology, Autograph Collection

3. District VI

To soak in the impressive architecture Budapest is known for, spend a few days in District VI. Home to the stunning Hungarian State Opera House, this District VI is centrally located while also feeling a little cozier than most other neighborhoods. Try and find a place on the historic Andrássy Avenue, one of Budapest most famous (and most luxurious) streets. Lined with neo-renaissance town homes and mansions, the entire boulevard is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Budget: easyHotel Budapest Oktogon

Mid-Range: Star Inn Hotel Budapest Centrum, by Comfort

Luxury: Opera Garden Hotel & Apartments

What to Do in Budapest

1. Relax at a Thermal Bath

Why not treat yourself to a relaxing spa after spending the day walking the city? There are over a whopping 1,000 baths in Hungary, many of which can be found right here in Budapest. Soak in the mineral rich waters (which are known to have healing properties!), or indulge in luxurious massage. And if that’s not enticing enough, go simply for the thousand year old buildings and jaw-dropping architecture. I bet it’s better than your outdoor community pool!

2. Drink Yourself Silly at the Ruin Bars

Okay, mentioning ruin bars in this article is like beating a dead horse. But they’re popular for a reason. Built inside sprawling, run-down warehouses, ruin bars are known for their eclectic interior, loud music, and best of all, cheap drinks. After a few beers, it can be confusing to make your way through the labyrinth of dance floors, bars, and game rooms, but don’t worry – you have until the wee hours of the morning to sober up.

3. Visit the Buda Side

Did you know that Budapest is actually divided into two parts? The Danube River dissects Buda from Pest, and the two areas couldn’t be more different. Cross one of the bridges from the city center of Pest and climb up the hills on the Buda district for some of the best views in the city. If you’re feeling a bit lazy (hey, we all have those days,) then take the funicular that glides to the top of Castle Hill.

4. Eat Langosh

With all the walking you’ll be doing, it’s okay to sit back and enjoy a Langosh, a delicious, classic Hungarian snack. Langosh is fried dough that’s topped with a variety of ingredients, such as cream cheese, garlic, and meat. It might be the ultimate street food after a night of drinking.

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