On your European interrail travels Budapest cannot be missed. Recognised for its renaissance spas, the iconic Chain Bridge and the Fisherman’s Bastion, along with the lively nightlife in the ruin pubs, Budapest will never fail to disappoint. The best thing about the city – it’s super cheap!
Arrival by train on an Interrail route to Budapest Keleti Station is an easy option and within a half hour walk of the city centre. If arriving by plane, then a bus and metro can get you to the city. The city is walkable, but sometimes a cheap metro journey can speed things up.
Where to Stay
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Hungary is only 1 hour ahead of the UK.
Recognised for its renaissance spas, the iconic Chain Bridge and the Fisherman’s Bastion, along with the lively nightlife in the ruin pubs, Budapest will never fail to disappoint.
The Hungarian Forint (HUF). The exchange rate, for 2017, is roughly 1 HUF to 0.0028 British Pounds. This makes for a bit of a brain twister, so download a currency converter to your smart phone to make your life easier. Try to bring your HUFs with you, readily converted in the UK, to prevent your expenditure being higher than necessary.
Find out the soonest possible free walking tour you can do and head on over to the town square. An experienced guide will give you an insight into the city’s history and help you get to know your way around. The city is split into two parts – Buda and Pest, separated by the River Danube. Buda on the Western bank is generally the more residential area where the Hungarians live, however it also includes the Fisherman’s Bastion. Pest is the area to the East – tourist central.
Many of the main sights will be included briefly in the tour so you can pick and choose which areas you revisit. The tour will probably end in Buda. The main area on the Buda side of the city entails the Fisherman’s Bastion and the Matthias Church. This enchanted-looking castle district winds its way along the river bank.
Buda on the Western bank is generally the more residential area… Pest is the area to the East – tourist central.
If you are visiting on a leisurely retreat, take the time to have a drink overlooking the city from the bars and restaurants; if you are on a limited backpacker’s budget, like myself, then enjoy the views and take some stunning pictures. It’s also worth simply wandering around this area as there are numerous statues and architecture to help you embrace the Hungarian culture. For the Pest side of the city head back over to St Stephen’s Basilica on a sunny afternoon (or in my experience, torrential downpour) and climb up the tower at a very small price for an amazing, far-reaching view of the city.
In the evenings be sure to spend some time in the ruin bars. These are vibrant, authentic places to spend your evening and meet other young travellers. Some bars have dancefloors hidden away in them too or if you want to have a full night out, make your way to one of the many clubs hidden around the city, including Szimpla Kert or Instant. If you happen to be in Budapest at a weekend during the summer, multiple people will recommend the bath parties.
Take a spa day. A summer visit to the city cannot exclude a day at one of the city’s famous spas – the Szechenyi Spa. In a city where June/July temperatures can fluctuate around 30 degrees Celsius, an opportunity to laze by a pool seems unmissable. Budapest’s spas have multiple baths both inside and out. Enjoy a sleep by an outdoor bath or rejuvenate yourself in the saunas.
Do your research to find out which bath will best suit your visit or just go with the flow and tag along with others you meet on your journey.
The entrance prices are not too expensive, but it is worth knowing they become cheaper in the afternoon/evenings and prices vary depending on the day of the week season. Do your research to find out which bath will best suit your visit or just go with the flow and tag along with others you meet on your journey.
Take a further wander to Heroe’s square nearby the Szechenyi Spa while you are over in this part of the city. You can also take a lie down in the park with a beer for the remainder of your afternoon or evening.
The view is truly breathtaking and brings your visit to a pleasant, memorable end.
Before you leave, take a small, yet steep, hike up to the Liberty Statue for one last view of the city. This statue makes up the skyline of the city. From here you can look back over both Buda and Pest and trace the sights you have seen. The view is truly breathtaking and brings your visit to a pleasant, memorable end.