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14 Places to Visit in Budapest and Travel Tips

Budapest, the capital of Hungary in Central Europe is a beautiful and astonishing city that serves as an all year round vacation spot. The city is historically rich and packed with very diverse architecturally buildings, bearing the influence of Roman ancient town Aquincum, Romanesque 12th century, Gothic, Ottoman to the present contemporary structures. Another alluring factor that makes Budapest attractive things are relatively affordable here for a tourist, ranging from food, accommodation, transportation and attraction entrance fees. For instance, popular street food such as Langos may fetch around €2-3 (670 - 1000 Hungarian Forint) and a main dish in decent restaurant probably cost around €7-14.

We spent around 3 days in Budapest and had a considerably great time here by enjoying stunning view and savouring some delicious food. Read our article on how we manage an amazing 3 days in Budapest! 

14 Places to Visit in Budapest and Travel Tips
Our photo taken at Buda Castle in the evening, featuring the iconic Szechenyi chain bridge and Hungary Parliament

Getting To Budapest City From Ferenc Liszt Airport Via Bus

All arrivals via flight to Budapest will land you at Ferenc Liszt Airport, the sole airport serving the Hungarian capital city.

There are a number of ways reaching the city centre from the airport depending on your budget. Nonetheless, the most economical way will be taking the public bus. You can find the public bus station at the exit of airport with ease. 

Express bus N100E will take you directly to the center of Budapest (Deák Ferenc tér metro station, Kálvin tér metro station or Astoria M metro station) within 45-60 minutes with a frequency about 20 minutes interval per bus. A special ticket that cost 900 HUF which can be bought from the driver or the ticket machine can be bought. Having said that, the usual transport card used for metro rides cannot be used for bus N100E. 

Therefore, if you are on a budget trip and have a plan to take metro ride for your adventure in Budapest, airport shuttle N200E will be the best option. The shuttle N200E will take you to the nearest metro station in around 30 minutes, though you have options to get down at other station with Nagyvárad tér metro station as the terminus station. 

The reason we took N200E because the usage of Budapest 24-hour / 72-hour / 7 days travel card (1650 HUF, 4150 HUF and 4950 HUF respectively) are allowed for shuttle N200E, unlike bus N100E that require a specially bought ticket). Then, we can use the travel card for subsequent metro, trams and buses in the city. 

Spot the ticketing machine adjacent to the bus waiting area. Translation of major languages are available you can manage it with ease! Credit card is accepted, so no hurry to change your cash into HUF yet.

14 Places to visit in Budapest, Hungary
Ticketing machine adjacent to bus waiting area

Currency in Hungary 

The official currency in Hungary is Hungarian Forint. 

Nevertheless, there is no urgency to get it until you arrive in Hungary. Exchange rate is horrid at airport foreign currency exchange counter, even though it says no commission. Wait till you go to the center and look for proper currency exchange bureau, which is available in abundance even on the same street. Most of the exchange bureau might have minor difference in the rate they offered, and even with commission charged (which they clearly stated), we still get a better rate compare to airport relatively.

Luggage Storage Service in Budapest

Although there are a number of places providing luggage storage facility in Budapest, one of the most economical and easiest way is to get the public storage facility at Budapest Nyugati Railway Terminal.

The luggage storage room is located next to the railway ticketing counter and a little effort might be required to locate it (we spent about 20 minutes looking for it). Cabinets with various sizes are available, with the smaller cabinet cost 600 HUF while the largest cabinet cost 800 HUF for 24 hours. 

Be wary as the machine only accepts Hungarian Forints coins. While there was a coin changing machine, it did not work during our visit. Fortunately there was an attendant there to help changing our notes to coin and helping us to operate the storage as well.

Similar storage facility is available at Budapest Keleti and Budapest Deli station as well. 

Cautious: We were pestered by a guy demanding money from us in hostile approach. After we refused, he somehow tried to make us feel uncomfortable by sitting next to us and stare at us. Fortunately nothing happened, and thankfully there are cops patrolling the area regularly.

Places To Visit in Budapest

1) McDonald's at Budapest Nyugati's Railway Station

14 Places to Visit in Budapest and Travel Tips

We walked into this McDonald's just to have a look at its menu but got astonished by its impressive architecture. It looks more like a posh fine dine restaurant instead of a franchise fast food chain that available in almost every corner of the city.

Certainly the burgers and fries tasted better when you are seated in soft leather seat in a dining hall designed in Beau-Arts Style with some Baroque elements.

2) Hungarian Parliament

14 Places to Visit in Budapest and Travel Tips
View of Hungarian Parliament opposite Danube River

Many come to Hungarian Parliament for a 45 minutes guided tour (including security check time) to have a better understanding of history, or perhaps a look at the Hungarian crown jewel. The historically rich coronation crown was made in Constantinople in the 1070s and has been used by the Kingdom of Hungary for most if existence, and currently sit quietly in the central Domed Hall of the parliament. 

It is best to book the reserve ticket online via jegymester website, as most likely you will land yourself in disappointment if you just walk-in.

We had a different objective of visiting Hungarian Parliament though - to get a beautiful picture of this largest and picturesque Parliament building in Europe. There are two spots we found:

a) Opposite Danube River
b) At Buda Castle

14 Places to Visit in Budapest and Travel Tips
The signature shot of Hungarian Parliament Building with Szechenyi Chain Bridge in front

3) Shoes Memorial on the Danube Riverbank

14 Places to Visit in Budapest and Travel Tips

This memorial made of shoes is erected on the east bank of the Danube river, stretching about 300 meter. Erected on 16th April 2005, it was meant to honour the Jews who were killed in Budapest during World War II. They were ordered to take off their shoes, and were shot at the edge of the water so that their bodes fell into river and get carried away. The memorial represented their shoes left behind on the riverbank. 

It is located within walking distance from Hungarian Parliament. 

4) Budapest Central Market Hall

14 Places to Visit in Budapest and Travel Tips

We are always excited going to market at foreign land, and Budapest Central Market Hall (Nagyvásárcsarnok) elated us even more with over 100 stalls! At the same time, the market is an architectural grandeur with a Neogothic design - pointed arch and rib vaults. 

14 Places to Visit in Budapest and Travel Tips

There are 3 floors in Budapest Central Market:
Basement - pickles, butchers
Ground Floor - Hungarian specialties such as paprika, salami, pastries, cheese (we spent most of our time her)
Second Floor - restaurants and souvenirs stores (not our favourite, there are better food out there)

14 Places to Visit in Budapest and Travel Tips

Nope, we did not buy any paprika because the chances for cooking is slim. Instead, we had a huge discovery in this stall - Apple Strudel and Poppy Seed Strudel, each cost 280 HUF. The Poppy Seed Srudel in particularly has an unique taste that we never tried before.

This ought to be my favourite spot in Budapest! Kindly take note Budapest Central Market closes on Sunday. 

14 Places to Visit in Budapest and Travel Tips

Direction to here: Take metro M4 or tram 47 and 49, then stop at "Fővám tér M".

5) Ruin Bar

14 Places to Visit in Budapest and Travel Tips

14 Places to Visit in Budapest and Travel Tips

Budapest is indeed an interesting place. This dilapidated factory with gritting stone walls and graffiti laden wall has turned into a place for social gathering, and has since gained popularity since the beginning of 2000s. 

We walked into one of the ruin bar - Szimpla Kert, only to be amazed by the intensity of activities there. People were happily enjoying pints of beers in this seemingly abandoned place, with lighting of various design and colour further enhanced the atmosphere. 

If we had a longer stay in Budapest, we would definitely spend one evening here and enjoy it like how the locals do.

Direction: A short walk from metro Astoria M or Deak Ferenc ter M

6) Budapest Night Cruise

14 Places to Visit in Budapest and Travel Tips

Want to go luxury or enjoy one of a kind cruise experience in Budapest? Then consider this Budapest Night Cruise. 

Various package ranging from cruise guide, snack cruise, dinner cruise and etc is available. It will give you a tour on Danube River to selections iconic landmark in Budapest such as Szechenyi Chain Bridge, Budapest Parliament building, Budapest Danubius Hotel and others packed in a night cruise. 

Check out theiwebsite for more information. We only manage to catch a photo of the cruise instead of trying it.

7) Szechenyi Thermal Bath

14 Places to Visit in Budapest and Travel Tips

Soaking into thermal bath is a culture of Hungarian that you shall not miss, and dipping into the largest bath complex in Szechenyi Thermal Bath is one of the lifetime experience that worth trying.

Here boasts of having 21 pools - 3 large outdoor pool and various smaller indoor pool with different temperature, some even with herbs scent. It was a chilling experience, having to get changed into swimming wear indoor and brace through the chilling outdoor wind around 15 degree before dipping into the big pool. There is a whirlpool at the outdoor pool and we had some fun spinning there.

14 Places to Visit in Budapest and Travel Tips

We felt kind of awkward initially, thinking of soaking into a large pool with hundred of unknowns that we never bumped into. Eventually, it turned out to be a nice experience. The awkwardness immediately went off the moment we stepped into the pool. Therefore, spend as long as you like in the day over here. Our daily ticket was 5500 HUF with locker access, which is accessible via the wristband. The ticket also inclusive of access to the saunas and steam rooms in the indoor bath. 

Do not be shocked if you bump into some of the doorless bathroom here! Fret not, as men and women bathroom are separated. 

You can even rent a bath robe or towel here. Other items such as swimming caps (if you plan to swim at the swimming pool), flip flops or food is by purchase.

Another tips - go as early as you could to avoid crowd! 

Direction to here: Tram 1 getting off at Kacsóh Pongrác út, bus 75 or 79 getting off at Hosok Tere, metro line M1 getting off at Széchenyi fürdő 
Operation hours: 6am - 10pm Daily 

8) Vajdahunyad Castle

14 Places to Visit in Budapest and Travel Tips

14 Places to Visit in Budapest and Travel Tips

Vajdahunyad Castle is located within walking distance from Szechenyi Thermal Bath. It is a picturesque spot, somehow looks like the castle in Harry Potter to us. At one instance, we mistaken it as a castle as there are many youngsters sitting on the lawn and chatting.

No entrance fee is required if you linger around the compound of castle but you have to pay certain amount to enter the museum - Hungarian Agricultural Museum, which we opted to skip.

14 Places to Visit in Budapest and Travel Tips

You can check online for some of the pictures of Vajdahunyad Castle during winter and it is really amazing! 

9) Heroes Square

14 Places to Visit in Budapest and Travel Tips

14 Places to Visit in Budapest and Travel Tips

When we were walking from Vajdahunyad Castle to a restaurant for lunch, we spotted this gigantic monument - Heroes' Square. It is clearly a popular tourist spot as there are rows of tourists buses parked at the adjacent car park.

14 Places to Visit in Budapest and Travel Tips

14 Places to Visit in Budapest and Travel Tips

The semi-circle colonnade has the statues of Hungarian king and heroes, while sitting on top of the largest column in the center is Archangel Gabriel holding St. Stephen's crown. Then the equestrian statues at the center column depict Seven Magyar (Hungarian) tribes' chieftains. 

Next to Heroes Square are Museum of Fine Arts and Hall of Art. 

I love to learn about histories but the only way to know more about it is via a guided tour, which I did not enjoy. So we just popped by here for some photo opportunities. 

Direction to here: M1 metro line, Hősök tere station

10) Fisherman's Bastion

14 Places to Visit in Budapest and Travel Tips14 Places to Visit in Budapest and Travel Tips

Fisherman's Bastion has garnered immense popularity and became a must visit in Budapest by visitors attributed to its strategic location that offers panorama view of Budapest from the Neo-Romanesque lookout terraces. Even if you have one day only in Budapest, a visit here is compulsory as akin like a proof of your visit to this social-media era.

People make a beeline queuing for the picturesque spot in Fisherman's Bastion, so you really need to have patient to wait the hot spot. One of the most famous spot is the small windows gate overlooking Hungarian Parliament. The queue was crazy long till we frustrated and did not manage to get any promising shot.

Good thing is Fisherman's Bastion is open 24/7 and free of charge. Only if you want to get a higher view, then you have to pay for a small entrance fee to the lookout tower. This makes Fisherman's Bastion a perfect place to catch sunrise / sunset.

14 Places to Visit in Budapest and Travel Tips

Apart from the astonishing view. there are other attractions - a medieval Matthias Church located right in front of Fisherman's Bastion, and Statue of St. Stephen. A restaurant is located there too should you feel like dining with a view, though we gave it a skip after having a glance at its menu.

14 Places to Visit in Budapest and Travel Tips14 Places to Visit in Budapest and Travel Tips  
        14 Places to Visit in Budapest and Travel Tips

14 Places to Visit in Budapest and Travel Tips

Although we admire the beauty offered by Fisherman's Bastion, the extreme crowding here is one of the deterrent factor that we did not enjoy. So we ended up having a cup of Starbucks there, enjoying the chilling breeze in the spring weather.

Direction to here: 

1) Take bus 16A from Szell Kalman Square o bus 16 from Deak Square.
2) Take the funicular railway from Clark Adam Square directly to Castle Hill, then walk there.\

11) Buda Castle (Royal Palace)

14 Places to Visit in Budapest and Travel Tips

Buda castle (Royal Palace) is located approximately 20 minutes walking distance from Fisherman's Bastion. If you take the funicular, you can either come here first or Fisherman's Bastion depending on you schedule.

Two main things that you can do here:
1) Visiting the museum - National Gallery and Budapest History Museum (entrance fees applicable)
2) Enjoy the scenic view of Hungarian Parliament and Szechenyi Chain Bridge, which is amazing when the dusk set in. Most importantly, it is free of charge! Best to get the view from Savoyai Terrace. 

14 Places to Visit in Budapest and Travel Tips

             14 Places to Visit in Budapest and Travel Tips           14 Places to Visit in Budapest and Travel Tips

We braced through the chilling strong wind during evening just to get this shot. Was it worth the waiting time in your opinion?

Compare the above pictures of Hungarian Parliament with Szechenyi Chain Bridge in front, which is your favourite - the afternoon or night version? Share us your thought!

14 Places to Visit in Budapest and Travel Tips

14 Places to Visit in Budapest and Travel Tips

14 Places to Visit in Budapest and Travel Tips

14 Places to Visit in Budapest and Travel Tips

In front of Buda Castle lies a huge statue, featuring a warrior sitting on a horse. That is Statue of Eugene of Savoy, the Harsburg prince who wiped out the last Turkish army in Hungary at the battle of Zenta in Serbia in 1967. 

Historician knows the value for this statue, while I admire the beauty of it. 

14 Places to Visit in Budapest and Travel Tips

14 Places to Visit in Budapest and Travel Tips

14 Places to Visit in Budapest and Travel Tips

The other view from Buda Castle is Elisabeth Bridge, which is the third newest bridge in Budapest connecting Buda and Pest side. 

Again, we have comparison of the view taking in day time and night time. Which is better?

14 Places to Visit in Budapest and Travel Tips

14 Places to Visit in Budapest and Travel Tips

While walking to Buda Castle from Fisheman's Bastion or vice versa, we managed to get a nice and different angle of Szechenyi Chain Bridge. 

It was about 5pm+ when we were taking this photo, showcasing the rush hour in Budapest. 

12) Liberty Statue Budapest at Gellert Hill 

14 Places to Visit in Budapest and Travel Tips

Spotted this statue high up in a hill when we were in Buda Castle, and it turned out to be a statue with significant meaning. It is Liberty Statue Budapest at Gellert Hill. which was erected in 1947 in remembrance of Soviet liberation of Hungary during World War II. 

Gellert Hill is also a prominent spot overlooking Danube in Budapest. Standing at 235m, it is not hard to hike up there and reward yourself with an amazing view.

Direction to here:
a) If you come from the Pest side of the city, walk the Elisabeth bridge on the left side. At the end of bridge, take the one on the left and follow the path. 
b) Take the bus line 7 and 86 to reach the top. Get off at Búsuló juhász stop.

13) St Stephen Basilica 

14 Places to Visit in Budapest and Travel Tips

St. Stephen Basilica is named in honour of Stephen, the first king of Hungary. It is the largest church in Budapest and can house up to 8500 people at once. It also houses Hungary's most sacred relic  - St. Stephen's mummified right hand (The Holy Right).

Every year on August 20th, The Holy Right is being taken out for a walk in the day dedicated to celebrate the foundation of Hungary. On normal day, you can go to the right side of the Basilica and put a 200 HUF coin in the slot, then a light will illuminate the Holy Right for a minute.

You can climb to the very top of the Basilica to get a view of the city for a fee too.

14) Hungarian State Opera

Another must go is Hungarian State Opera! It is an architectural wonder and you can take a guided tour inside. It is located not far from St. Stephen Basilica.

You can get a show from 3 Euro and above. A good deal indeed.

This sums up the places and attractions we have been to in Budapest, Hungary. At the meantime, also check out the article detailing on our gastronomy journey in Budapest! 

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