Guide to Budapest
Budapest is a city perfect for architecture aficionados and leisure lovers, and has been growing in popularity in recent years – and it’s not hard to see why. With a wealth of beautiful buildings to admire, numerous thermal baths to choose from for an afternoon of relaxation, and a littering of super cool ruin bars offering a unique nightlife experience, Hungary’s capital city is a glittering gem yearning to be discovered.
Pay a visit to the Buda Castle complex, and take in spectacular views as you arrive in style – plus save yourself the hike up the hill – by taking the funicular. Once you’ve made it to the top of the hill, check out Matthias Church and its colourfully tiled roof (a work of art in itself); stop by the Budapest History Museum to learn about the city when it was broken into two separate towns, Buda and Pest; be inspired with a visit to the National Gallery to take in both Hungarian and international works of art. Both the museum and gallery are located within the Royal Palace, and the palace courtyards are open 24/7.
Europe’s largest synagogue, Dohány Street Synagogue, happens to be the second largest in the world, and is also referred to as the Great Synagogue. A ticket grants you entry to not only the recently restored synagogue, but to the Jewish History Museum located inside, as well.
Budapest’s House of Parliament, situated on the banks of the Danube River, is one of the most recognisable landmarks in the city. Whether you simply spend time walking around the exterior, appreciating the gorgeous gothic architecture, or buy yourself a ticket to tour the equally impressive, stunning interior, this is one of the city’s most beautiful and iconic buildings, meaning no matter how you decide to explore it, you won’t be disappointed.
Budapest is known for its many thermal baths fed by the more than 100 hot springs that lie beneath the city, and a visit to The City of Baths really isn’t complete without paying a visit to one. With several options to choose from, each with something slightly different to offer, there’s a bath for everybody. The largest and most well-known of them is the Széchenyi Baths, where you can get a massage, sweat it out in a sauna, pamper yourself with a facial, or simple take a dip in any or all of the 18 pools. Széchenyi Baths are mixed (meaning they allow both men and women) all week, while others offer separate pools for men and women, so be sure to check that when deciding which bath to visit. For lovers of old-school glam and Art Nouveau architecture and design, Gellért Baths might be the most beautiful bath in the city.
After you’ve spent a reenergising day soaking in the thermal waters, pampering yourself, and finding bliss, you’re probably ready to hit the town and experience the best of Budapest’s nightlife. Would you be surprised to learn that you can party in the same space you spend the day relaxing in? Yep, that’s right, some of Budapest’s baths host parties, which makes for a pretty awesome, totally unique nightlife experience. Summertime sparties (spa parties – we can’t take credit for coming up with that one) are hosted Saturday nights at Széchenyi, and the rest of the year you can find your weekly sparty at Lukacs Bath. Adult beverages, incredible laser shows, and DJs pumping out pulsating beats create the most unique spa experience you’ll ever have.
In keeping with the theme of unique nightlife experiences, Budapest has become known in recent years for its array of ruin bars – abandoned, derelict spaces that have been given a new lease of life in the form of funky, cool, and arguably artsy one-of-a-kind bars. Szimpla Kert is the original ruin bar, opened in 2002, and is a great place to go for a laid-back beer and lite bites. While every ruin bar has its own style and quirky charm, for something on the bit more refined side, head to Mazel Tov, whose string lights and hanging ivy create a dreamy setting for your evening libations.
Stay at any of our awesome Budapest hostels, including a chic boutique hostel with stylish themed rooms, and a spacious, renovated royal mansion in the heart of the city.