Discover Budapest

Sunset in Budapest. By Packing my Suitcase.

Buda and Pest were once two different cities divided by the Danube; Buda in the hills and Pest on the flat part. Later in 1873 both were united with another city, Óbuda, a unification that resulted in today’s capital of Hungary: Budapest. On contrary to what many people think, Buda doesn’t come from the father of Buddhism – the Buddha – nor does Pest is related to disease.

Chronicles of the middles ages says that the city of Buda was named after his founder Bleda, and that Pest might have come from an old fortress of the Roman times called “Contra-Aquincum“, referred as “Pession“. Who knows! What I know is that Budapest is an amazing city to visit in Europe, that I have been there twice and would happily return to.

Located in the Eastern part of Europe, built on both sides of the Danube, with over 1.7 million inhabitants, Budapest is one of the largest cities of the European Union and a very cheap place to visit, easily affordable by any type tourists. As Hungary has not adopted the Euro, the official currency is the Hungarian Forint – 1 Euro is approximately 312 HUF. To have an idea, one bottle of 330ml water costs 189HUF, less than 1EUR.

When in Budapest, take your time to walk up the Géllert Hill to the Citadella – Citadel – and be enchanted by the view of the city from the Buda side. It’s ok if you don’t want to leave – it’s that beautiful – so, sit down and enjoy yourself at this magnificent and unique place. When you decide to walk your way down, cross one of the famous bridges of the city: the Chain Bridge, Elisabeth Bridge or the Liberty Bridge – my favorite one – and make sure to pay a visit to the Central Hall Market and check out its local products.

 If you are now hungry and would love to have that so famous Goulash soup and a local beer or white wine, you will have plenty of options at the Váci street – just a few steps from the Central Hall Market – along with souvenirs for every taste.

Still craving for more spectacular views? You can’t leave Budapest without visiting the Buda Castle. Not only will you love the view, but will also learn a bit more about the city’s history and maybe have the opportunity to visit one of its exhibitions. From there, you can take a walk to the Fisherman’s Bastion to contemplate one of the most beautiful views of the Hungarian Parliament Building and the Chain Bridge. Just nearby, you will be able to walk through the old streets of the Buda city and visit the Matthias Church – officially named Church of our Lady – scene of several coronations and weddings.

Then comes my favorite part! What I most enjoyed doing in Budapest: taking a long, long walk at the Danube promenade, admiring the Citadella and Buda Castle’s lights at night, the gigantic bridges and old trams crossing them from one side to the other, and finally sitting at a restaurant by the river contemplating the view, with a glass of Hungarian white wine. Or even having dinner at a boat restaurant watching the sunset behind the city’s hills and admiring its peculiar architecture. Discover Budapest and fall in love with one of the most vibrant cities of Europe.

Some useful tips

  • Transportation is cheap and organized, buy the Budapest Card!
  • Decide when visiting the city: summer or winter? Your decision can make a lot of difference (I may help you with that in a future post);
  • Try their local white wine; I am sure you will not be disappointed. I recommend the ones from Nyakas. If you can’t find them at a restaurant, I am sure you will find them in any supermarket;
  • Or if you are more into beer, try one of the local beers too, like Soproni;
  • If you like shopping, Budapest is a very cheap city for that, especially when it comes to shoes;
  • Take a boat tour or simply dine at one of the boat restaurants found between the Chain Bridge and Elizabeth Bridge;
  • And of course you can go to one of the city’s famous spa for a thermal bath – this one is still on my list!

Where to eat

It’s no doubt there are endless great options to eat in Budapest, but I highly recommend these ones:

New York Cafe

New York Cafe, Budapest. By Packing my Suitcase.

This spectacular cafe will leave you breathless as soon as you enter through its door. But you won’t be only enchanted by its architecture and decoration styles, their sweets are to die for.

Esco Bar & Cafe

Escobar, Budapest. By Packing my Suitcase.

A great option to relax – after walking the entire city around – and have a glass of wine watching the sunset by the Danube. The food and the price won’t disappoint, and the view only matches!

Columbus

Columbus Pub, Budapest. By Packing my Suitcase.

Extraordinary food and service with a breathtaking view. A boat restaurant on the Danube, where you can sit on the terrace and relish a sunset looking at Budapest’s most beloved monuments. From the appetizer to the dessert, try it all and don’t worry about the bill, you won’t regret! *A review is coming up!

Where to stay

Soho Hotel

The location is good, not so far from the center, though not within walking distance to the Danube, for example. Restaurants nearby, as well as public, transportation. Great hotel, very different style!

Mercure Budapest Duna

If you are looking for a cheaper option, here is one for you. Breakfast is good, very close to the Danube and public transportation. Don’t expect luxury, its a 3 stars; but its very clean and they accept late check-out without additional costs.

For more information about Budapest visit: http://www.budapest.com/

About Allane

A Brazilian living in Germany. Married to W. mommy to a baby girl and a Golden Retriever. Traveler, writer, aspiring photographer, diver, wine appreciator, Formula 1 fan, avid reader of historical and young adult fictions books. City girl, nature lover, believer of a better world, one little change at a time.

  • Great Post Allane! I visited during the summers and it was amazing! However, i wasn’t as luck as you to find a good Hungarian white wine. 😉

    • Thank you Radhika! Ohh nooo, really? You have to try the ones from Nyakas, they are one of my favorite white wines 🙂 maybe you will like it!

  • just added this to my bucket list. How is winter in Budapest? I might not make it there in autumn. Hubby has been bugging me about Hungary all year 😀

    • Awesome!! And his is right, its an amazing place to visit and its cheap… you can stay in 4 or 5 stars hotel for a price you would never pay in the rest of Europe 🙂 during winter is cold… very cold, because of the wind! But its beautiful anyways!! I have been there in January and now recently in July… both seasons have its pros and cons! But its worth to visit it all year long! 😀 I hope you make it there this year!

  • My boyfriends dad is from Hungary and we’ll have to go visit all the relatives around Budapest next year. So I’ll definitely keep your tips in mind. Thanks for the awesome pictures as well… 🙂

    • How awesome! Im happy I can help, Im sure you will enjoy Budapest, there is lota to do there! And thank you for the compliment, glad you liked the pictures

  • Oh my, you have made me want to go back to Budapest so I’ve already researched prices. I visited the city in 2011 for New Year’s Eve and the weather was just lovely, I am tempted to go again this year. Awesome pictures!

    • Ohhh really? How was New Years Eve in Budapest like? 2 years ago I considered going there for New Years. Hahah glad to have inspired you to go back there again

      • It was great, the only problem was that the days were shorter, haha. I forgot to mention, the cheescake at New York Cafe is to die for!

        • Ohhh awesome!! I bet it was only a bit cold! Ohhh yesss I had the cheesecake when I went there 😀 a dream!!

  • Love the NY Cafe. I was alone last time I went to Budapest and was kinda intimidated to go in there alone. But it was a must see and I did it! It turned out to be so nice. I was the only one alone in there…but the waiters were very nice and I had post cards to write. Anyway…your photos are beautiful!

    • Ohhh awesome you did it! It is a must see right? I loved it… thank you for sharing your experience! And thank you for the kind compliment 😀

  • Well, gollly, I want to discover Budapest now! Though I think I like your non-explanation of the derivation of “buda” and “pest” vs. the supposed actual root. 😉

  • Have never been to Budapest, but now I really want to go. Thanks for this inspiring post!

    • Thank you Izzie!! I am happy to have inspired you and I hope you make it there soon

  • …Me and my Aunt are hoping to see Budapest this winter–thanks for the suggestions, :-)!!…

  • Lovely photos Allane! Never been to Hungary and after seeing your post, I want to go!!!

  • Budapest is gorgeous… funnily enough though, the thing I remember most is the dog shit on the streets. Pick your dogs s”#¤ up people, it’s an amazing place that doesn’t have to stink!

    • I completely agree with you!! But there is not only dog’s but also people’s too… Whats even worse, sadly 🙁

  • I guess I miss a lot when I was there, I missed the New York cafe, as we need to book it days in advance, as well as the central Market. I guess I need to go back to Budapest then…

  • Love the views of the city at night!

    • Its amazing isnt it? I love it too, I also love the sunset, couldnt stop admiring it!

  • Great post and fantastic photos! Wouldn’t mind trying the sweets at New York Cafe one day. 🙂

    • Thank you Vasilis! Oh yes! The sweets are amazing, cake, cheesecake… pieces of heaven

  • theres no doubt that Budapest is a real gem. Great post!

  • Sha

    Looks awesome! I didn’t realise that the two was once separated. .buda and pest becomes budapest…:)

    • hahaha yes!! And there is a lot more of the story, its very interesting! 😀

  • Shikha (whywasteannualleave)

    Loved it when I visited a few years ago now – one of my favourite Eastern European destinations! But I wasn’t as good with researching cafes and the New York one looks amazing! This is a city I’d love to take my husband to some time as he’s never been and it’s so romantic 🙂

    • Oh yes take him!! You guys you will enjoy it a lot together, its very romantic indeed! Now you know about the New York Cafe, its one more reason to go back 😀

  • Wow! After reading your post, I needs to put Central Europe in my bucket list of places to visit before I die! Great post!

    • hahaha Ohh Helene, yes you do!! I love Eastern Europe, its not only beautiful and different, but its also cheaper than the rest of Europe. If I can give you a tip, do to Prague and Budapest on the same trip 😀 And thank you, Im happy that you liked it!!

  • A complete guide to Budapest! I have been there once and now I think I should revisit it after reading your post 😀 many things that I missed!!

    • Glad you liked it!! Yes, you should go back, especially if you missed somethings 😀

      • 🙂 yup! 😀 and many thanks for the tips and guides – it is inspiring!

        • You’re welcome 😀 I wish you a great weekend! And if you need more tips let me know!!

  • This is fantastic – me and some girlfriends are planning to go early next year. I shall be using your tips 🙂

  • Kan

    Budapest is one of the many, many places on my bucket list. Walking along the Danube sounds lovely! Very helpful post Allane…Pinning for future reference 🙂

    • You’re welcome, Im glad I can help 🙂 I hope you can cross this item off your bucket list soon, you will love it 😀

  • This is super-helpful. Vlad directed me to this post – I am heading to Budapest in 2 weeks, and having a hard time planning an efficient 2-day must-see itinerary. What else should I eat there besides the goulash?

    • Hi Anna!! Awesome, Im happy to help, glad you liked it! In terms of eating, the Hungarian cuisine is famous for soups, breads and sweets. You will find cuisine from everywhere in the World. There is a restaurant I would recommend, I made a review: http://packingmysuitcase.com/2014/08/25/columbus-pub-budapest/ it might be that you like it… the chef is famous, and they have some very nice dishes and an amazing view 😀

  • First time I went I didn’t buy the card, but on the second time it was worth it 😀
    I love the sunset in Budapest!!
    Hope you enjoy your trip!