A while back I visited Budapest, a thoroughly enjoyable experience. A few weeks ago one of my friends was going and asked me for a few tips, which I happily emailed over to them.
So this is for anyone who is thinking of visiting Budapest – city of Spas, Statues, and Stylish nights out.
5 Things to pack
- Comfortable shoes – you’ll be walking a lot in Budapest.
- Swimming costume – visit a bathhouse – 2 of the better known ones are Gellert and Szechenyi – follow the old people, they know what to do 🙂
- Chillout gear – hit the ruin pubs and enjoy!
- Waterproof camera – go off the beaten track on a trip to Heviz, the thermal lake. Bus trips are a great way to see a country.
- Water bottle – most fountains in budapest have drinking water!
5 Money saving hints
- You don’t have to buy a Budapest Card when you arrive at the airport, you’re better off getting a 3 day Travelcard, which gives you free transport for 72 hours, it will cost 3850 Ft (written in 2010). NEVER travel without a ticket.
- Check how much drinks are before you order them – don’t ask for a glass of wine without looking at the wine list – in some tourist places they will automatically give you the most expensive choice.
- Don’t pay for a cabin or a towel at the bathhouses, you just need a locker – bring your own towel, the towels provided are like bed sheets.
- Most hungarians eat early – chances are if somewhere is open past 11 o’clock, that means tourist prices. You can get street food at ruin pubs.
- Learn a bit of Hungarian and it will go a long way.
I-gen = yes, Nehm = no
Koh-sa-num = thankyou
Kay-rem = please
5 Things to Do while you’re there:
- Free budapest walks- do this at the earliest opportunity – these guys will give you some great tips on how to get the best out of your trip, and were instrumental in us having a good time while we were there. http://twitter.com/budapestwalk – say @ljrich says hi!
- Walk along the chain bridge – take a tram to look around the Central Market Hall – http://www.piaconline.hu/ has opening hours for all the markets.
- Visit a ruin pub – try this one to start Szimpla Kert
- Visit a bathhouse – try Szechenyi
- Get out of Budapest and visit Lake Heviz, a natural thermal lake (here’s my review on Qype) – it’s better to stay in Budapest and visit the lake, perhaps stay overnight there, than the other way round – there’s so much more to do and see in the city centre!
Get the best out of Budapest
- As with most cities, you need to be aware of pickpockets. Make sure you can see your stuff.
- Taxis charge absolutely loads, and will know you’re a tourist, so be aware and only use them if you have to. The trains and trams are great.
- If you do have to get cabs, the hotels can call taxis for you. Make sure you know the price before you start the journey.
- Food is priced well here – eat early, go out late! Watch out for drinks prices in restaurants- they can be expensive