Eco-friendly travel guide to Budapest advises how to be a responsible tourist. Learn how to explore the attractions in a sustainable way and how to respect the local people and culture. Make your trip green by supporting locally owned hotels, organic restaurants and other businesses. Read more on how to protect the environment by making conscientious choices and how to travel green in Budapest, Hungary.
- Air quality: 3.5 / 5
- Exploring by foot: 4 / 5
- Exploring by bicycle: 5 / 5
- Public transportation: 4 / 5
- Parks: 4 / 5
- Outdoor activities: 4 / 5
- Locals' English level: 2 / 5
- Safety: 3.5 / 5
- Accommodation: US$ 15 - $400
- Budget per day: US$ 50 - $700
- 1 Responsible Travel
- 2 Air Quality and Pollution
- 3 Respect the Culture
- 4 Top 10 Places to Visit
- 5 Explore
- 6 Eat
- 7 Drink
- 8 Activities
- 9 Accommodation
- 10 How to Get There
- 11 Moving Around
- 12 Sustainable Shopping
- 13 Recycling
- 14 Work and Study Abroad
- 15 See Also
Budapest is the capital city of Hungary and home to the largest population. Budapest is both a city that has strengths in commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and entertainment. The city is rich in culture and has many museums to commemorate its rich and amazing history. Budapest is a rather popular tourist destination. The city is very safe for tourists, with no violent crimes against tourists and also the cost of living is relatively low, making it an awesome place to go on vacation. Various things can be done to ensure responsible travel, and these include:
- Using Public transport such as trains, trams, buses, and streetcars that are available across the city. You can also walk, where possible.
- Purchase locally made products and avoid haggling.
- Eat local food. Numerous restaurants serve local dishes that you can try.
- Avoid littering and try to recycle whenever possible.
- Find non-profit organizations and try to support them either financially or by volunteering.
- Packing light.
- Carry reusable bags and bottles.
Air Quality and Pollution
The air quality in Budapest is moderate. The city is considered to be one of the most polluted Capital cities in Europe; with the majority of the pollution in the city coming from transport emissions and as there are not many heavy industries in the city, so there is less air pollution than in places with many heavy industries. The main roads do have heavy traffic, although air pollution from traffic tends to be minimal as you will not see many old cars in the city. The air pollution from cars does not affect most people unless they have underlying breathing conditions.
Water pollution is relatively low in Budapest. The city has been able to manage water pollution levels resulting in most of the rivers being reasonably clean, which is a good development, compared to when the water pollution levels were high, due to various solid waste products, especially plastic and sewage. The city put up an intense fight against water pollution by plastic, especially and has successfully reduced pollution levels.
Budapest is considered to generally be a noisy metropolis compared to other capital cities of Europe. The most noise polluted areas of Budapest are the access road sections of motorways and freeways, where a large number of cars makes a lot of noise, with the noise levels being most noticeable at night. Also, the fact that the city is highly populated means that there will be noise from day to day life in general.
Respect the Culture
Budapest has a very rich culture, and a trip to the city without indulging in the various exquisite cultural experiences would be a total waste. The culture of Budapest is reflected by the city's size and variety. Most Hungarian cultural movements first emerged in the city. The city is an important center for music, film, theatre, dance, and visual art, and many artists have been drawn into the city by opportunity. The government is well invested in keeping the arts alive and ensures that it funds the arts with adequate financial resources. Another aspect of culture that puts the city on the map is that it is the headquarters of the Hungarian LGBT community. There are also numerous museums, libraries, and historical sites that document and show the rich cultural background of the city, which are a must-visit.
Top 10 Places to Visit
There are several places in and around Budapest that offer a fantastic sightseeing experience. The city has many historical, architectural, and outdoor wonders that will keep you entertained throughout your stay. Below is a list of the top 10 places to visit in the city.
- Buda Castle: It is the historical castle and palace complex of the Hungarian kings in Budapest in the past it was known as either the Royal Palace or the Royal Castle. Buda Castle sits on the southern tip of Castle Hill and is home to the Hungarian National Gallery and The Budapest History Museum. The castle is a part of the Budapest World Heritage Site. The original castle was ruined during WW2 and there have been refurbishments over time, making it more majestic. The castle grounds are breathtaking and there is an amazing view of the city from the castle. Because it is one of the busiest tourist attractions in Budapest, it can get a little crowded, but it is worth it. There is a changing of the guard ceremony if you're lucky to be there at that time. The area has cobblestones though, so it is advisable to wear comfortable shoes such as trainers.
- The Hungarian Parliament Building: It is also known as the Parliament of Budapest is the seat of the National Assembly of Hungary, a notable landmark of Hungary, and a popular tourist destination in Budapest. The building was designed in the neo-Gothic style and opened in 1902 and has been the largest building in Hungary since its completion. This building is a real jewel and the symbol of Budapest. The building has about 700 rooms, but only those in the north wing of the building are open to visitors. There are 90 figures of famous Hungarian personalities on the outside and 162 statues in the building. The rooms are richly decorated with 22 and 23-carat gold and many art pieces and a special attraction are represented by the Holy Crown that is also on the coat of arms of Hungary. The building is gorgeous and very photogenic. The area around it is very well kept, and you won't come across any beggars.
- The Halászbástya or Fisherman's Bastion: It is located in Buda Castle and is one of the most popular monuments in Budapest. It is a vast monument with amazing architecture made up of seven high-pitched stone towers that symbolize the seven chieftains of the Hungarians who founded Hungary, these towers have lookout terraces that offer an amazing view of Budapest. The area is a heritage site and historians say that in the Middle Ages this part of the castle walls was protected by the guild of fishermen. The monument is a romantic place for the couples, although it can get a bit crowded during peak seasons. The best time to visit is in the afternoon to avoid the heat as the sun will be shining on the walls.
- The Széchenyi Medicinal Bath: It is the largest medicinal bath in Europe and it's is supplied by two thermal springs with temperatures of 74 °C and 77 °C. The thermal water has sulfate, calcium, magnesium, bicarbonate, and a significant amount of metaboric acid and fluoride. It a great place to relax after nights of heavy partying and drinking as the various temperature level of different pools ensures body relaxing water therapy. There is a Sauna, which is also good for the whole body, and a beer spa where you can spend peaceful hours lying in the tub of beer and drink the unlimited supply of beers from the Taps mounted right next to your tub. The place is worth a visit and the prices are affordable. The staff speaks English which is convenient. The baths are quite popular and can get overcrowded. You can book a Széchenyi Spa Fast Track Ticket which enables you to skip to the front of the queue even on extremely busy days.
- St. Stephen's Basilica: It is a Roman Catholic basilica in Budapest that was named after Stephen, the first King of Hungary. The church is really beautiful with amazing architecture and decor. The entrance doors are monumental and admirable and the interior is remarkable with gold plated decoration, beautiful stained glass windows, and magnificent painted ceilings. The entrance to the church is free, but if you want to enjoy the fantastic views of Budapest from the dome, you will have to pay 1-2€. The right hand of Saint Steven was stored in the church and is still there and available for those who want to see it. There are sometimes organ concerts held at the church.
- Hősök tere (Heroes Square): It is one of the major squares in the city that is known for its iconic statue complex featuring the seven chieftains of the Magyars and other important Hungarian national leaders, as well as the Memorial Stone of Heroes. The square is home to the Museum of Fine Arts and the Műcsarnok and it has played a significant role in modern-day Hungary as it has been a host to many political events. The square is rather romantic and a great place to go with your partner; especially during winter or for an evening stroll. There are several restaurants and bars around. It would be wiser to have someone explain to you the meaning behind it all.
- The Széchenyi Chain Bridge: A chain bridge that spans the River Danube between the western and eastern sides of Budapest. This was the first permanent bridge across the Danube in Hungary and at the time of its construction, it was regarded as one of the modern world's engineering wonders. The bridge is very beautiful and it is possible to walk over it separate from the cars. Once across it, you can take the cable car to the top of the hill and enjoy the beauty of the whole structure. The bridge looks amazing at night and is a stunning place to take pictures and take in the sights of all the old wonderful buildings that the center of the city and the riverfront has to offer.
- Margaret Island: It is a 2.5 km long island, 500 meters wide, in the middle of the Danube in central Budapest. The island is a popular recreational area that is mostly covered by landscape parks which are very beautiful and colorful gardens along with some fountains, a small zoo with few animals. There are ruins from the medieval period that serve as a reminder of the importance of the Middle Ages as a religious center. Due to its size, people can either walk one way then take public transport on their way back, or they can rent the electric scooters or lime scooters that are found at the entrance. There are several lovely and small mobile stalls for buying drinks and snacks. The park is a great place for people of all ages as there is something for everyone; whether you are an athlete, a mother with her kids, a couple, etc.
- The Hungarian State Opera House: It is originally known as the Hungarian Royal Opera House is a neo-Renaissance opera house located in central Budapest, and it is the second-largest opera house in Hungary. The opera house is worth visiting as it is beautifully looked after, with murals on the ceiling and gold painted everywhere inside. It is a fun and glorious place and there are impromptu mini-concerts just off the main stairs every day. The staff members are friendly and they provide well-paced and very informative and in the end, there is a 10-minute concert showcasing local talent.
- House of Terror: A museum that was opened in 2002 and mainly contains exhibits related to the fascist and communist regimes in 20th-century Hungary and is also a memorial to the victims of these regimes, including those detained, interrogated, tortured, or killed in the building. The museum offers a wonderful and memorable experience and has information in both English and Hungarian. The tour leaves you feeling somber especially after watching the video of the leaving Soviet soldiers at the end of the tour which leaves you wondering why such things happen. The exterior of the building is also quite interesting when the sun casts the shadow at the right angle.
Budapest is one of the most visited cities in the world due to its numerous exciting and breathtaking sites. The city is buzzing as it is the center of commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and entertainment. The city is rich in culture and has many museums to commemorate its rich and amazing history. Exploring the city is an enjoyable experience as it is very safe for tourists, with no violent crimes against tourists and also the cost of living is relatively low, making it an awesome place to go on vacation. The choice to visit Budapest is, without a doubt, a great one, and it will be worth your time and every cent spent. Keep reading to be able to find out more about this fantastic tourist destination.
Budapest has many gorgeous parks and gardens, with some being for exercise, family time, and amusement parks to name a few. Listed below are the most popular parks in the city.
- Népliget or People's Park: The biggest public park in Budapest that is located southeast of the city center that was established to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the union of Pest, Buda, and Óbuda. It is a vast park that covers an area of 110 hectares. There are lots of trees, which provide a lot of shade, making it a great place to have picnics and sporting activities. There are also good running tracks, places for workouts, walkways, and also an area for dog walking. The park does not get too crowded so it is relatively silent.
- The City Park: A public park close to the center of Budapest with its main entrance at Heroes' Square, one of Hungary's World Heritage sites. The park has a lush green area and it is a safe area, even for those who want to spend time alone. The park has a beautifully renovated sports area, a playground, a dog park, and a garden. The park is nestled amongst beautiful hills and a stunning freshwater creek and has super friendly and helpful members of staff. The serene environment keeps people coming back. Also, besides the great architecture, there is a bathhouse, restaurants, bridges to cross, even a circus. It is worth a visit.
- Budapest Japanese Garden: An Asian-style park that is beautiful and offers a relaxed and tranquil vibe, where one can be harmony in nature. The garden is accessible by a small wooden bridge, followed by paths edged in centuries-old plants leading further in. On the inside of the garden, one of the most noticeable things is a softly cascading waterfall. The garden also has several reservoirs and channels which form a system of small ponds in which goldfish, turtles, wild ducks, and water lilies. At the center of the fishpond, there is a statue that is affectionately known as the little mermaid of Budapest. The garden is usually quiet during the week, and it tends to get busier on the weekend. Entry into the garden is free of charge.
- Károlyi Garden: It is a quaint, well looked after, gated, and landscaped garden that has many features that all add up to keep it looking natural and relaxing. The park can get quite busy, but this does not take away from the relaxing vibe. Some of the many features include a community bookcase and a notebook vending machine. There are many trees around providing adequate shade, and also access to the sun for those who intend to do a bit of sun-bathing. There are a playground and a sandbox for children to play in. The park has strict no dogs rule. If you are lucky, you might come across small animals such as rabbits and squirrels. The only downside is that you're not allowed to sit or play on the grass of the park.
- Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden: It is the oldest zoo park in Hungary and one of the oldest in the world, that is home to more than one thousand animal species and some valuable art nouveau buildings. The area is a nature reserve that has 1–1.1 million visitors every year. The most special animals that are present in the zoo are the Komodo dragon and the wombat. There are very beautiful gardens and pathways and lots of shade during the summer. There are also a few restaurants available at the territory of the zoo, plus many buffets as you walk around.
- Palvolgyi Cave: It is a vast, forested national park on the Danube River that offers hiking, fishing, wildlife viewing, and caves. The tour is both adventurous and safe. Most of the tour guides can provide the tour in English. There is a newly renovated visitor center that has a snack bar, a playground outside for the kiddos, and of course; the majestic nature. The hike has several staircases which make it quite challenging, so it is not recommended for children under 7 and people who generally have trouble walking.
- Budakeszi Wildlife Park: It is a large protected forest in the Buda hills, about 10 Km from the city center, making it a great out-of-town alternative to the zoo, with wild animals (rabbits, deer, foxes, wild boars, wolfs, brown bears, etc.) and farm animals (donkeys, goats, sheep, ducks, etc.) native to Europe and Hungary. The park is a great place to have family time as it caters to the needs of both adults and children. The attractions for kids include a petting zoo, a lookout, a play area, and information boards. There are also several tracks ideal for hiking. There are free parking and free entrance for children under 2 years of age.
There are several beautiful beaches in and around Budapest that are worth visiting for a day of relaxing or doing other beach activities. Below is a list of the most popular beaches in the city.
- Palatinus Beach: It the most popular beach in Budapest is found in the heart of Budapest on Margaret Island, a quiet island in the Danube River. The beach is in the middle of the city which makes it easily accessible, and it is rather peaceful and calm, despite its location. There are several thermal baths that are created when natural springs on the island feed into some of the pools. There are also a variety of types of pools, from wave pools to children's pools. The island also has a running track, open-air bars, a musical fountain, a little zoo, etc, meaning that you will have a lot of exploring to do, either by foot, bike or bus.
- The Római (Roman) beach: Itis located in the North Buda area not far from the River Danube just a little bit outside of the city center. The location is convenient as you can easily get there by bike or by bus. There are children's pools, adventure pools, several slides, different garden toys for children, ping-pong tables, and catering facilities as well. After spending the day cooling down in the water, you can also take a walk by the riverbank where there are several bars, buffet restaurants, and cultural events.
- Csillaghegy Open-Air Bath: It is the oldest and one of the most beautiful baths in the capital city and it is surrounded by huge trees. The beach has been there for a long time and is built into the hillside in a split-level manner. On the first level, there are swimming and beach pools, and the second level; which is slightly uphill has the children's pool and the sun-bathing area. There is a 4-lane, 33-metre- long swimming pool filled with natural mineral water that swimming fans will adore and enjoy. There is also a restaurant that offers both local and international cuisine that visitors can enjoy. The beach offers tranquility and it is strikingly beautiful, making it a great place to relax and have fun. There is a local train and a bus which you can take from the city center.
- Lupa beach: It is located right by Budapest's 'seaside' resort which aims to offer a true "seaside feeling" near the city with crystal clear water, white sand, palm trees, and sunshades. The beach is an exciting place to hang out as there as many activities; both in and out of the water to entertain the guests. These activities include but are not limited to scuba diving, SUP surf, kayaking, wake-boarding, beach football, and volleyball. The beach is easy to reach from the city center either by car or by local train. They also have a bus service that sticks to a strict timetable. There are a lot of bars and restaurants on the beach, although most of them are a bit expensive. It can get a bit crowded though so if you are not a people person; it is not the place for you.
- Buda Castle: It is the historical castle and palace complex of the Hungarian kings in Budapest. The castle is a part of the Budapest World Heritage Site. The castle grounds are breathtaking and there is an amazing view of the city from the castle. The castle is one of the busiest tourist attractions in Budapest and sometimes it can get a little crowded. There is a changing of the guard ceremony and if you're lucky to be there at that time you can witness it. The area has cobblestones though, so it is advisable to wear comfortable shoes such as trainers.
- Hungarian Parliamentary building: It is also known as the Parliament of Budapest is the seat of the National Assembly of Hungary, a notable landmark of Hungary, and a popular tourist destination in Budapest. This building is a real jewel and the symbol of Budapest. The building has about 700 rooms, but only those in the north wing of the building are open to visitors. There are 90 figures of famous Hungarian personalities on the outside and 162 statues in the building. The building is gorgeous and very photogenic.
- Fisherman's Bastion: It is located in Buda Castle and is one of the most popular monuments in Budapest. It is a vast monument with amazing architecture made up of seven high-pitched stone towers that symbolize the seven chieftains of the Hungarians who founded Hungary; these towers have lookout terraces that offer an amazing view of Budapest. The area is a heritage site and historians say that in the Middle Ages this part of the castle walls was protected by the guild of fishermen. The monument is a romantic place for the couples, although it can get a bit crowded during peak seasons. The best time to visit is in the afternoon to avoid the heat as the sun will be shining on the walls.
- Széchenyi Chain Bridge: It was the first permanent bridge chain bridge across the Danube in Hungary and at the time of its construction, it was regarded as one of the modern world's engineering wonders. It runs over the River Danube between the western and eastern sides of Budapest. This was the first permanent bridge across the Danube in Hungary and at the time of its construction, it was regarded as one of the modern world's engineering wonders. The bridge is very beautiful and it is possible to walk over it separate from the cars. Once across it, you can take the cable car to the top of the hill and enjoy the beauty of the whole structure.
- Central Market Hall: It is the largest and oldest indoor market in Budapest with numerous shopping and eating possibilities. The market tends to get crowded as locals also do a bit of shopping there. There are several restaurants and food stalls that sell both local and international cuisine. Also, there are many different souvenir stores from locals. The ground floor has fresh vegetables, meat, milk, and spices. This place also has many restaurants that offer good local cuisines. A majority of prices fair, although some are quite steep as they are created for the tourists, not for locals.
The fact that Budapest is the capital city means that there are a lot of stories it has to tell. There are multiple museums across the city that help to commemorate and keep the story and culture of Hungary alive. Numerous museums are worth a visit to ensure that you leave the city having learned about its history, amongst other things. Below is a list of some of the most prominent museums in the city.
- The Museum of Fine Arts: It is a museum in Heroes' Square facing the Palace of Art with a collection made up of international art, including all periods of European art, and there are more than 100,000 pieces. The Museum's collection is made up of six departments: Egyptian, Antique, Old sculpture gallery, Old master paintings gallery, and Modern collection and Graphics collection. The ancient part is worth a visit, although this part of the collection is only on the first floor and can be completed in around 30minutes. The descriptions are informative and you can take the tour on your own, but if you want assistance, it is easy to get it as the members of the staff are very friendly and helpful.
- The Hungarian National Museum: A rather small museum that acts as a repository for the history, art, and archaeology of Hungary, as well as some areas outside the borders, such as Transylvania. Despite its small size, the museum is very beautiful and it offers a lot to see and the exhibits are changed regularly to keep things exciting and new. The museum tells the history of Hungary well and also offers audio guides for those who prefer them. There are numerous amazing paintings and sculptures. There is an exquisite, kid-friendly park around the museum that is a great place to relax, run around, and play football, e.t.c.
- The Aquincum Museum: It is an Ancient Roman archaeological site in the heart of Budapest that has both an indoor and outdoor part and is worth visiting for anyone interested in history and archaeology. The museum is a bit out of the city and you might have to change buses to get there. There are very many information slides and most of them are translated into English, and it is quite easy for someone to enjoy themselves so much they don’t realize that time is passing. It is a self-tour museum, and the staff is very friendly. The best way to get to this museum is by bus.
- Underground Railway Museum: Historical exhibits on the city's subway and is focused on showing the history of transportation, particularly that of the Budapest Metro. One of the most interesting things about the museum is that you get to see a few wagons from a hundred years ago. There is also a lot of paraphernalia that you will need a tour-guide to explain to you as there are no boards in English or any other language. Entry into the museum is quite cheap, and they charge extra for photos.
There are several traditional Hungarian dishes found in Budapest. Trying various local dishes is one of the best things about being a tourist as you get to experience multiple dishes that you probably could never come across anywhere else. Several restaurants and street vendors sell different dishes that you could try, whether it is out of curiosity or so that you can have a story to tell later.
Traditional Local Restaurants
One of the best things about traveling across the world is trying the various local cuisines available in that area. In most cases, traditional restaurants are the best place to experience local foods' taste, and maybe even a bit of the culture behind said dishes. Budapest has many traditional local restaurants that you should try. Below is a list of the most famous traditional local restaurants in the city.
- Rosenstein: It is the most popular restaurant in the city and it serves some of the best traditional Hungarian and Hungarian-Jewish dishes in the city. The restaurant is family-run and serves its food family style. It is located a bit outside the city center and can be easily accessed using the city bus or private taxis. The catfish paprikash sprinkled with crispy specks is one of the most ordered dishes.
- Café Kör: A beautiful and snug restaurant with a historic theme that will make you feel like you've traveled back in time to pre-war Budapest. The decoration features bentwood Thonet chairs, a carpeted floor, and tightly crammed tables. The wait-staff are neatly dressed in formal attire. There is an oversized cardboard paper clipped to the wall that lists the daily specials, and you can never go wrong with any of the dishes on the list. The most popular dishes are the vegetable stews, known as főzelék, which are eaten as a main dish in Hungary and are best when paired with a side of meatballs.
- Gettó Gulyás: It is a traditional Hungarian restaurant inside Budapest's party district, also known as the old Jewish Quarter. This is a rather convenient location as most tourists want local dishes before they hit the neighborhood bars. The restaurant puts a twist to the Hungarian classics, for example, the veal paprikash arrives with a side of baked cottage cheese noodles that are rolled into strips of bacon. There is also a wide range of local Hungarian wines that are available for pairing with the dishes. The service is friendly, but not intrusive.
- Börze Budapest: A sleek downtown restaurant that serves traditional Hungarian dishes from early morning until midnight, seven days a week. The interior décor is classic and is made up of red banquettes amongst other things. The restaurant is frequented by both tourists and locals alike as they serve amazing dishes at reasonable prices.
Vegetarian and Vegan
- Napfenyes Restaurant: It is a vegan restaurant that also has a pastry shop. They serve multiple vegan dishes as full meals and also have a salad bar, vegan cakes, and baked goods. There is a large variety of international dishes, Hungarian specialties, pizza, and daily specials that you can choose from. They are a strictly vegan restaurant that uses some organic ingredients and purified water. The staff is friendly and offer impeccable service.
- Vegan Love: It is a vegan, American-style restaurant that serves a variety of burgers, hot-dogs, gyros, fries, donuts, smoothie, and lemonade. They also have a self-service salad bar. Besides being strictly vegan, the restaurant also has Gluten-free options available for those who prefer them. They do not take reservations, so you might have to go early, especially towards peak-hours. The restaurant also has a delivery service. There is a lovely staff that is very friendly and welcoming and offers quick service.
- Mennyorszag Szive: A vegan restaurant with mainly Chinese cuisine. Their menu has a wide variety as they offer organic dishes, some gluten-free products as well as fast food. The restaurant also has a juice bar where customers can choose from many types of icy refreshers in the summer or warm teas in cold weather. The restaurant is easily accessible as it is located right next to the east railway station.
- Fill Good : It is a takeaway vegan bakery that offers both sweet and savory interpretations of Hungarian classics, including cinnamon rolls, white and rye wild yeast sourdough bread, and roman style rustic pizza. It is a must visit for those who love baked goods. They also have a delivery option.
- Istvanffi Veggie Burger: It is a burger bar with a menu that features three varieties of vegan patties for the burgers, namely seitan, mushroom, oat. There is a wide selection of side dishes to choose from which include vegetable chips, salads, and juices. The sauces are unique and delicious as they are made in-house. The restaurant is dog-friendly. They offer both delivery and take-out options for those who do not want to dine in.
Street food is quite popular in Budapest, and there are several places where it can be found. There are several restaurants that were designed to sell street food and sell various amazing dishes. There are also many food stalls across the city and in some of the top tourist attractions where you can buy street food. Some of the top places to purchase street include:
- Cupákos: A mainly meat-based restaurant that serves up delicious traditional Hungarian meat dishes with a twist
- Zing: Offers delicious burgers made with prime cuts of beef and served up with high-quality ingredients by Zing Burger. They have a physical restaurant as well as various food trucks around the city. They also make unique house-made sauces.
- Paneer: It offers various fried cheeses from cheddar and camembert to Hungarian cheeses, with their most popular dish being their “Real Cheese Burgers”. They also have meat-free alternatives.
The weather in Budapest is divided into seasons that are either hot or cold. In most cases, the beverage of choice is influenced by the temperature at that time. There is an endless variety of non-alcoholic drinks, excluding water, to choose from in the city. In its various types and flavors, tea is loved by most people, and in most cases, they drink it even on a hot day. Other choice beverages include soft drinks, lemonade, milkshake, vegan shakes, and even iced tea or coffee. On the colder days, especially during winter, the beverages of choice are usually hot with things like tea, coffee, and warm milk being the most sought after drinks.
Alcohol consumption is relatively high in Budapest as alcohol is a source of entertainment or a way of cooling down after a long and hard day at work. There are several bars and pubs where people can go for a relaxing drink and hang out with friends, while some people prefer to drink in the comfort of their own home. There are various types of local beer, mainly larges which are the popular alcoholic beverage in the city. Several other alcoholic drinks are enjoyed by people depending on their taste in alcohol. These include wine, gin, vodka, and cocktails, to name a few.
The tap water in Budapest is very safe for drinking. The city has little water pollution and several top-notch water processing plants, which ensures that the water that comes out of the tap is clean and safe for drinking. Also, the city has an authority that focuses only on monitoring the quality of tap water.
Organic food is food that is grown without artificial nutrients, pesticides, or other chemicals. Eating organic has become a widespread trend where people are very selective about what they put in their bodies. Several organic cafes attract patrons of all ages who are careful about nutrition. There are many cafes in the city that cater specifically to this group of people. Below is a list of some of the organic cafes that one could try in the city:
- Eco cafe - Organic specialty coffee shop
- The Goat Herder - Espresso Bar
- Bio Cafe
The local beer brewing industry of Budapest is quite active as the locals prefer to drink local beer above imported brews. Numerous breweries are responsible for making local liquor, with the most popular being lagers. Hungarian breweries produce mainly light lagers, and the best known domestic brands are Dreher, Borsodi, and Soproni. These breweries are responsible for supplying a majority of the bars and pubs in the city. The most popular breweries are:
- Hop-Top Brewery
- Gravity Brewing
- Big Face Sörfőzde
- Mad Scientist
There are numerous activities that can be done as you explore Budapest. The city is one of the most visited in the world by both local and international tourists alike. The activities are designed to ensure that no one is left out, and people of different interests can still enjoy and have a great time. Some of the most popular activities include museum tours, hikes, bike riding, game drives, visits to the many religious sites, and beautiful gardens, to name a few. Some of the activities are in the city center while others are just on the outskirts. It is essential to carefully plan your itinerary to ensure that you get the best out of what the city has to offer.
Yoga and Retreats
Yoga is traditionally a Hindu discipline that focuses on physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines. It has become quite popular across the globe, and there are yoga studios in almost every country in the world. There are several yoga studios in Budapest and the most popular include:
- A Tiszta Forrás Központ
- Jóga - Lightmotiv mozgásközpont
- Mauna Jóga
- Asram Yoga
- Downdog Yoga Studio - Blaha
There are numerous accommodation options for tourists in Budapest. The type of accommodation that you end up in depends on your budget, taste, and sense of adventure. This section will look into some of the accommodation options that are available for tourists to select from.
There are several eco-friendly hotels in the city. They have the same aim of sustainability of the environment. These hotels tend to offer safe, non-toxic, and energy-efficient accommodation. Other characteristics include the use of renewable energy, organic soaps, energy-efficient light fixtures, and recycling programs. A few of the most popular ones are:
- Intercontinental Hotel Budapest
- Green hotel Budapest
- Danubius Hotel Arena
- Central Green Hotel
Hostels and Guest Houses
- Avenue Hostel: It is a simple hostel that has a home-like feeling and is modern and budget-friendly. It is located near lots of great restaurants and bars. There are several communal areas where guests can hang out and swap sight-seeing tips. They have both mixed and private dorms that offer a restful night's sleep. They also have a huge breakfast each morning. Some extras include free Wi-Fi, a café, a bar, and a self-catering kitchen for those who want to prepare their food.
- Maverick City Lodge: It is a classy lodge that has common rooms and social kitchens to meet with travelers from all over. They also provide multilingual local guides for a pub crawl to help you get used to the place. The neighborhood is exciting and there are several restaurants with plenty of international cuisines to be sampled. The rooms range from small to large mixed or female-only dorms, private doubles, some with en-suite. For those with bunk beds, the bunks are all enclosed for extra privacy, with curtains and reading lights. Some extras include free tea or coffee at any time of day, free Wi-Fi, cable TV, and board games. And to make your life on the road easier, we've got laundry services and an elevator.
For those who intend to stay in Budapest for a long time, staying in hotels might prove to be a bit too expensive. Several apartments are hired out for a minimum of one month, and these are more budget-friendly as they reduce costs on several levels. For one, apartments allow for self-catering, which means that you get to save as compared to having to buy all meals at hotels. Also, if you stay as a group of friends or family, you can share the cost, unlike hotels that charge per head. The rent charges range between USD 437 per month for a one-bedroom and USD 730 per month for a two-bedroom apartment
Couch surfing refers to staying with a host family that rents out a part of their house to tourists. This is a trend that is gaining popularity in Budapest. There are several websites where people who are willing can put their homes on offer, and tourists can book the one they find most interesting or convenient. One such website is simply called couch surfing.
There are numerous campsites across Budapest for those tourists who want to rough it, by living outside during their vacation. Camping offers a sense of adventure as it allows people to get the full outdoor experience and can be quite affordable. Camping provides a great experience, including the fresh night air as well as the magnificent night skies. Below are some of the more popular campsites in Budapest:
- Camping Arena Budapest
- Ave Natura Camping
- Zugligeti Niche Camping
- Haller Camping
How to Get There
Several modes of transport can be used to travel to Budapest, with the most convenient for you being dictated by where you are coming from, be it a local or international area. People from surrounding cities usually travel to the city by bus or train. While those coming from further away commonly use aeroplanes.
Liszt Ferenc International Airport is the only airport in the city and it is located about 40 mins from the city center. The airport is large and comfortable and it is fast and easy to get through customs and passport control, collect your luggage and off you go to explore the hidden gems of the city. There are several easy ways to travel from the airport to the city center with the most efficient being taxis, airport shuttle service, or public buses.
Buses are one of the cheapest ways to travel to Budapest from nearby European cities. Most buses have scheduled passenger coach services to and from several countries. The international bus station is located in Népliget. bus tickets can be purchased either in person or online.
Three international railway stations in Budapest are well connected with nearby European capital cities such as Vienna and Bratislava. Trains depart from Budapest to these two destinations every 3 hours.
Hitchhiking is not a popular mode of transport across Hungary due to the general atmosphere of distrust, and also most people have their cars. If you want to hitchhike, you should stand in places where the bypassing cars can easily stop. This is done to avoid accidents and also because cars are more likely to stop in places where they can easily do so. Remember that the signal for hitchhiking is a thumbs up, and also, it helps to boldly write the name of your destination on a sheet of paper.
Boats are also a mode of transport, usually between April and late October. These boats offer a cruise on the Danube river cruise from Bratislava (Slovakia) to Budapest or from Vienna (Austria) to Budapest. This is probably the most romantic and memorable way to travel to Hungary’s capital.
Moving around Budapest is quite easy regardless of the mode of transport that you use. You just need to select the way of traveling that you are most comfortable with, and you will be fine. There are several ways to move around within the city, as will be shown below.
Walking is the best way to discover Budapest as most tourist sites, restaurants, bars, and thermal baths in Budapest are easily within walking distance of the city center. Széchenyi Thermal Baths are one of the more far-flung destinations, but even that's only a 40-minute walk from downtown, and reaching it via the grand Andrássy Avenue is an experience in itself. Also, the bridges are much shorter than they seem so walking across them is doable.
Bicycles are a common alternative to walking in the city, and the bicycle sharing system is known as BuBi. There are over 140 docking stations and 1,800 bicycles, and the network covers the majority of the tourist destinations. To rent a BuBi bike, you'll have to quickly register at one of the main docking stations for either one-day, three-day, or weekly tickets. The system will charge you a fully-refundable security deposit that's automatically released after your ticket expires. Bikes can be used for 30-minute intervals and additional fees apply if you use the bike for longer.
Electronic vehicles are growing in popularity in Budapest, with the most common being the Trolleybuses which draw power from overhead wires using spring-loaded trolley poles. Trolley bus service is reliable, although they are only available on 13 routes in Pest only.
Lime electric scooters are a popular mode of transport in Budapest. They are easy to get around with and to sign up for through an app. They are a bit unsafe though, especially for pedestrians on the sidewalk.
There are over 200 bus routes within Budapest. Express buses with red number signs serve the busiest routes in the city and a majority of people in Budapest travel by bus. The red buses travel along the same route as the regular buses with black number signs but make fewer stops.
Tram, Train and Subway
Budapest has four subway lines that connect most of the city’s most important areas. There are also trams or yellow streetcars which run through five of the major routes across the city. A fun fact is that if you ride streetcars 4 or 6 from the first to the last stop in either direction in Budapest, you will have taken the world’s longest streetcar ride.
There are many shopping centers in the city whereby tourists and locals alike can go for shopping. It is more sustainable to shop in local shops as well as to ensure that you do not only stick to one shop but try to spread the wealth by visiting different shops.
There are several markets across the city that are dedicated to selling fresh food. They sell both local and international food, processed or unprocessed. Some of these markets include:
- Gyöngy Second Hand
- Hold Street Market and Downtown Market
- Hunyadi Square Market
There are several flea markets across Budapest that offer both an exciting shopping experience and a chance to mingle with the locals. Most of them sell various things at reasonable prices, some of which are found in local shops. However, they tend to double the price when selling to tourists. Some of these flea markets are:
- Ecseri Flea Market
- Gozsdu Weekend Market
- Flea Market Pilis
Second Hand Stores
The trend of second-hand stores has caught the world by storm; numerous stores have opened where people can buy things they wouldn't usually afford for less than half the price. The most common ones in Budapest are:
- Vintage Market
- Gyöngy Second Hand
People have become more cautious about how their actions and choices affect the environment and have started doing things to ensure that they reduce their carbon footprint. Below are three of the leading sustainable fashion brands in Budapest, namely:
Recycling is taken very seriously in Budapest and the city has several ways that recycling can be done. Shops offer recycling services; people can return most glass bottles to shops and supermarkets for a deposit refund, with many stores equipped with modern machines that take washed beer, wine, and soda-syrup bottles, before printing out your refund voucher with the press of a button. There are also outdoor recycling collection points found on several streets and squares all over Budapest. There are colorful containers that store household waste selectively.
Budapest has a well-functioning waste collection system that collects waste from door to door at least twice a week. Hazardous waste is collected at the locations where it is generated, selectively, in appropriate containers.
Work and Study Abroad
There are a few job opportunities for foreigners in Budapest. The city puts locals and European Union members first when it comes to most employment opportunities. There are, however, a few gaps where foreigners can be hired, European nationals can apply for jobs in the same way as Hungarian nationals, and do not need work permits, everyone else will have to apply for jobs with employers that are willing to support their work permits. There are over twenty-five tertiary institutions in Budapest and they are open to international students. Most of them offer some programs in English.
Universities in Budapest offer high-quality education at affordable tuition fees. The city is safe and friendly and, although it is not as well-known as other European countries in terms of international studies, you can study for many top-quality Bachelor's or Master's degrees in Budapest. There are several programs for exchange students in the city, and you just need to find out from your current University if they are affiliated with any of the institutions.
An au pair is a young foreign person who helps with housework or childcare in exchange for food, a room, and pocket money. The concept of Au pairs is relatively popular in Budapest and is a great way to get a job for those intending to move to the city. Several agencies and websites connect potential Au pairs with families that need them. One of these websites is "great au pair."
Volunteering is a rather noble act whereby an individual gives their time and energy in exchange for nothing to help those who are less fortunate. Several voluntary organizations across Budapest are always open to accepting volunteers on either a short or long-term basis. There nine volunteer organizations that are open to English speaking people and below are the three most popular:
- Bátor Tábor is a camp for chronically ill children. The volunteers use various methods to bring back happiness into the lives of these kids and show them that they are not defined by their illness.
- Háttér Society is one of the largest LGBTQI organizations in Hungary that focus on various issues affecting the LGBTQI community, such as human rights and HIV/AIDS prevention, etc.
- Noah's Ark Animal Shelter Foundation is a safe-haven for abandoned and abused animals.