We would first like to thank our colleague, Jim Hershey for sharing this travel experience with us. He recently visited Budapest, Hungary and shared some amazing info for experienced or non-experienced travelers. We hope you enjoy his write up!
Here’s some intel for anyone that is planning on going:
When you exit the airport after baggage claim, turn left and walk a couple hundred feet to the purple kiosk. Purchase a 24 hour (or 72 hour, depending on how long you are staying) Pass. It runs about $4 per day and the public trans is excellent, very efficient and easy to navigate.
Get on the 200 bus and take it about five stops to the blue metro M line. Some local helped me get off at the correct stop. Blue line will get you downtown, depending on where you are staying you may transfer to the yellow line etc.
All public transportation is clean, efficient and safe.
I stayed at Avenue Hostel for under 20 Euro a night, included breakfast Daily and dinner three nights a week. Excellent location, walk-able to most places and across the street from the Octagon subway stop on the yellow line.
I would highly recommend you buy a 24 (or 72) hr transit pass at a purple kiosk. You can use it for all forms of public trans including the Ferries. Costs about $4 per day. I used public trans 8 or 9 times in one day.
The local currency is the HUF. Some shops accept Euros and or credit cards but most places take HUF and some are cash only. I got money out of an ATM, 50,000 HUF is about $175.
Lunch was around $7. Two beers on tap by the river was $7. Dinner was around $40 but I had the full Monty at a nice location. All in all, it is a very affordable city.
Places I visited:
Széchenyi Baths-bought my ticket at the hostel but you can buy them there. Took the yellow line, four stops. I got a private changing room but you can just get a locker. It’s a cool place, make sure you go inside the building with the dome, there are around 10 additional baths in there. The water was very warm and had no smell like some baths. Felt very rejuvenating.
There are other smaller baths along the river to go to, if I had more time I would have went to one of the other ones too.
St Stephen Basilica- beautiful basilica! Walk inside, it’s worth it. Behind it is a pedestrian street that runs to the river.
Chain Bridge- Walk across it, I took the Funicular (incline lift) up to the top of the mountain. It was cool, great views all the way around. Didn’t have time to go to the Fisherman’s Baston up there so not sure if it was worth the price for the Funicular but the views were spectacular.
Erzsebet Bridge – After the incline I stayed on the west side of the river down to the Erzsebet Bridge. There was a really cool outdoor market there with live music. Not sure if that is every night.
After the Erzsebet Bridge walked up the east side of the river, had an amazing dinner with views of the river and local musicians playing.
Fogashaz-Instant – If you want nightlife, you have to go here. It’s really cool maze of night clubs inside this old “ruins” manufacturing building. Techno etc. I was there around 11 and it was just getting going. It’s on Akacfa St, not far from Oktogon.
Be sure to have some Palinka! It’s a Hungarian liquor with some bite!
This morning I went to the Central Market Hall which is an awesome market, like Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia but much larger.
Everywhere I went in the city it was clean and well kept! The architecture, art work and parks are just amazing. The Hungarian people were equally amazing, people were very helpful and friendly. The city has a very vibrant feel, lots of cool little spots. People were out and about everywhere we went.
The quality of life here is very high.
IMO, this is one of the nicest cities in Europe.