City Break Budapest: 10 Must Do Activities and Sights

Budapest is closer to us in Cluj-Napoca than my own mother is in Bucharest. And we visited at least 3 times, but never as organized as this time when we had a list of objectives, a list of foods and time to enjoy them all.

The overall feel of this city is a melange between Paris and Vienna, so if you love those, you’ll have your fill with the atmosphere and sights.

We recommend the transportation here. Just like Paris, Madrid, Vienna which we already covered, Budapest has the great transport system you’ll expect from a large city. You can buy rows of 10 tickets at vending machines next to the stations and then go down to marvel at the chic decor of the metro stations. The metro system is called the Millennium Underground Railway, in celebration of Hungary’s 1000 year anniversary as a state.

The difference between Budapest and other capital cities when going below into a metro station is the size. Here they are small cozy and tiled. And exchanging metro lines is easy, whereas in Paris you’ll need a marathon just to get to the next platform. But not all the stations are like this. Line 4 has some modern and hiiiiigh stairs taking you into the metro. (This movie is amazing too).

Fun fact> one of the lines was closed for work and the bus replacing the Metro literally came every 2 minutes. Amazing.

We can also recommend the Hotel because it was so near the Andrássy Boulevard, a 2.5 km street taking you through different historical buildings and picturesque side streets covered in leaves and flowers from the trees. The place is Mamaison Andrasy, a 4-star hotel that offers parking at 16 euros a day and a beautiful overview of the city, huge, I mean really oversized bathtub and a great intimate restaurant on the corner, with tables inside pockets of green, La Perle Noir.

The only downside was that the coffee in the room was charged, as opposed to other even 3-star hotels that offered complimentary coffee or tea.

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O postare distribuită de Mamaison Hotel Andrássy (@mamaison_andrassy)

The 2 experiences you should not miss when in Budapest

1. The Hungaroring F1 race – it’s scheduled for the end of July and the beginning of August every year. The how, why and where you can read on my blog, here.

The highlights in a video are there too.

2. Sziget Music Festival 1-15 august 2022 – a massive and innovative festival on an island inside Budapest making almost 400,000 people to party each year. In 2022, the lineup has names like: Dua Lipa, Stromae, Tame Impala, Alan Walker, Bastille, Steve Aoki, Arctic Monkeys, Kings Of Leon, Nina Kraviz, Inhaler and more.

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O postare distribuită de Sziget Festival (@szigetofficial)

City break Budapest – 10 Must Do Things

  1. Stroll the streets and enjoy the architecture, the shade, the green and the chic entrances. Budapest is like a smaller Vienna. That was my feeling of it and taking turns on streets you could find a cafe illuminated just like in Paris. Gerbeaud 1858 is the best place for french breakfast and a few amazing pics inside the place.
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O postare distribuită de Gerbeaud Café (@gerbeaud_cafe)

The beautiful Parisi Udvar Hotel is just as breathtaking as you see in the pictures and I’m sorry the passage was closed to the public. now you can take pics inside if you go in and stay at a table.

2. The cute metro takes you places to…well, also cute places : )), and you can resurface to discover little amazing places, like the garden with the porcelain fountains. Herendi and Zsolnay fountains are made by local famous manufacturers and the factory is across the street. The location is filled with ceramics and glass shops. Another Metro stop is close the Central park and you’ll resurface to see a magic castle. Vajdahunyad Castle really does look like a fairytale castle and the park is amazing too, with a hot air balloon going up every now and then.

3. Visit the Saint Stephen’s Basilica, a massive construction allowing for sightseeing from above and organ concerts. The large square and the streets near it are amazing too. Try a ride on the Budapest wheel, visit the Retro museum or the pinball museum, make a stop at the House of Terror. This last place holds exhibitions about the successive Fascist and Communist regimes which ruled Hungary during the 20th Century. Another impressive religious site is Dohány Street Synagogue, one of the largest in the world outside of Israel.

4. Up on the hill you can take a stroll in the large Gellert park, up the Liberty Statue and the Citadella. In August of 2022 they were renovating the whole area and the place was closed, but you can still rise above the city and take pictures like these.

5. Another high above place is reachable by funicular. The Buda Castle Complex offers amazing views and then the Fishermen bastion, a 20th century construction that looks older, built in a neo-Gothic style makes the trip up worth it.

6. Go on a statue hunt, meet Colombo and his dog, The fat policeman, the Sculpture of the Boys of the Pál Street, the Girl with her Dog, the little princess statue, Roland Reagan and Bud Spencer, all in brown green iron and fun to look at. Read their history and take a moment to pay respects to the victims of the Fascists commemorated by the Shoes on the Danube Bank installation. See all the other small or large statues on Instagram #budapeststatues.

Go back into history, to the ruins at Aquincum Museum and Ruin Garden, the last vestiges of the ancient roman town here.

7. After all the walking, make sure to eat. In Hungary you can eat a lot and tasty. Try a Rose ice cream near St. Stephans basilica, a langos at Retro langos, a sweet chimney cake (kurtosh) found everywhere, a dish with the local famous Mangalitsa pork at Belvárosi Disznótoros in Király utca (a self serve place with large selection of local food). Try the 8th best pizza in Europe at pizzeria Digo (a pizza napoletana very appreciated even by Italian people). Visit the Central Market Hall for the food, the gifts and the special architecture. And at night, get into one of the ruin bars in deserted buildings Budapest in known for. Dreher and Soproni are the most common local beers and good after a meal.

For a local food experience, try one of the restaurants on the Pozsonyi street. The Pozsonyi Restaurant is great, with the snitzel and the gulas as amazing dishes. Try a soup at Bors Gartro bar for the vibe of the place and the uniqueness of the soups and sandwiches. The hyped Freyja – the croissant story is not so amazing, just expensive. But the Bundas (bread in egg) at Zoska is worth it!

8. Take a Danube Cruise after you visit the parliament area and take photos of the Bridges from up and under. The most special bridges are: Margaret bridge, Széchenyi Chain Bridge, Liberty Bridge. And the lighting is amazing at night in Budapest. 

9. Plan half a day on Margaret Island. The colorful singing fountain at the entry, the other fountain at the back and the attractions in between make the place a perfect stop for an afternoon. If you are tired, chose a bike or an automatic car.

10. And get a full day for something that has it all: the view, the food and the relaxation. Soak in a thermal baths either at The Széchenyi Baths complex, the largest “medicinal” bath center in Europe, amazing in view and in feel. Or at the Gellert Bath and Spa center, a complex built between 1912 and 1918, situated at the base of the Gellert Park and next door to The Budapest Rock Church, and our choice because of the more intimate feel and the amazing Art Nouveau style.

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O postare distribuită de Łania (@laniatomczuk)

Traveler tip: Be careful at the petrol station, as they show a price and charge another, mainly for foreigners I think. We were confused and so we warn you.

Traveler tip II: The check includes the service fee, anywhere between 10-20% of your check so no tip is necessary. Just be careful when paying.

Make a map of Budapest objectives*(see under the video): Even with all the trams and metro, we still did 66.5 km in 3 days, so be prepared to walk.

More pics and travel tips on Instagram – click here.

Like and follow for more trips, tips and tricks! Happy trails,

The GALs, Catalina&Florin

”We’re a couple in love with travel and research. We hope to give you some good tips from experience so that you can have the best of times.”

Decide on a trip to Budapest> book on booking
  • What I recommend as a must-have for Budapest is a chic dress for your walks on the castle grounds. Try iepemarie.ro
  • And a hat for the same bourgeois feeling of this city. Try this.

Legal disclosure: *These links are affiliate links. If you buy a product through these links, we get a small share of the price (without the product being more expensive for you). It’s up to you if you use them, thank you for reading!

And a piece from Béla Bartók, the hungarian composer recognised as one of the most influential composers of the time, this time as movie soundrak in The Shining.

Some of the places you need to see or put on Google My Maps, some with pointers as to why. Just create a New Google My Map, name it Budapest and look for these places, then pin them:

Hungaroring – Hungarian Parliament Building – Gellért Thermal Bath – Heroes’ Square – Margaret Island – Danube Promenade Tour – St. Stephen’s Basilica – Hungarian State Opera – Fisherman’s Bastion – Instant-Fogas Complex – Central Market Hall – Budapest Castle Hill Funicular – Andrássy út – Citadella – Széchenyi Thermal Bath – Nyiregyhaza Animal Park – City Park – Aquincum Museum – Hungarian National Museum – Dohány Street Synagogue – Buda Castle – The Chain Bridge – Gozsdu Court – Mazel Tov – Mall.hu Átvételi Pont – Flippermúzeum- pin ball museum – Shoes on the Danube Bank – New York Café – Barack és Szilva étterem gulash – Gelarto Rosa – Matthias Church – Café Gerbeaud – Párisi Udvar – Hungarian Parliament Building- Armada Budapest Hajózási KFT – Gellért Hill – Ruin Bars Budapest – Memento Park – Street Food Karavan Budapest – Havana Salsa Bar & Restaurant – Retró Lángos Budapest – Bajcsy-Zsilinszky út 25 – Belvárosi Disznótoros – Király utca – Nagyerdei krt. 1 – Szóda Bár – Déri Museum – Great Forest Park – K Bridge – Sziget Festival Entrance

City Break Budapest: 10 Must Do Activities and Sights

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